Thursday, 31 March 2016

Why a repetitive food routine helps me stay happy



It was years before I connected the dots and realized I get hangry.


Years of skipped meals, sugary snacks, long intervals between meals followed by temper tantrums, anxiety and tears.  I'm not proud of that, I feel I should be able to handle being hungry without losing it. It doesn't help that I don't hugely enjoy cooking  - cooking is more a means to an end for me. I love food (and I do!) so I must cook food so that I can enjoy eating it (unless Stu cooks it - yaay).

However, I also love going out and seeing friends and going to gigs and exhibitions or the cinema and going to the gym and going for walks or whatever else might come up. Basically, there isn't always time to plan out meals, to buy ingredients to try new things or even batch cook. And even without the gym and socialising, I'm tired when I get back from work and I don't find cooking relaxing or enjoyable when tired. I do enjoy trying new recipes, but only when I feel like it!

This is why I have a basic food routine (food uniform?), basically meaning I have set foods that I eat each mealtime which makes life much easier for me. I obviously eat other things, try new things and eat out. However, if all else fails, I make sure the foods in my basic routine are always available so there is always something I can eat. Otherwise, I'm liable to forget to eat, or feel unable to deal with sorting out food.

For me, routine is essential for maintaining a healthy and hangry free diet without having to think about it. If I stave off hanger, have lots of fun and stay healthy, I have plenty of energy to try cooking new things when I get free time. Without the routine, I'm pretty crap at looking after myself.

I used to feel I had to mix things up, I had to have a huge repertoire of recipes and cook meals from scratch with loads of variation. Then I'd feel guilty when I was too tired or busy to cook and ended up ordering loads of takeaway or something.

Now, I have no problems with eating the same things repetitively with slight variations. My freezer is tiny (its a flap in the top of the fridge) so if I batch cook, I eat the same dinner 3 or 4 nights running sometimes! As long as I'm not hungry and I'm getting lots of the nutrients I need, I'm happy. If I get bored, I will do something new - the routine isn't a strict ruling, it's a failsafe.

Thinking back, I'm sure I grew up with a food routine of my mum's, and maybe everyone has their version. I guess I have only just accepted and embraced mine!

Pros

- Speed (I can shop/prepare my routine with no lists/notes/recipes)
- Nutrition (I know I'm getting my 5 a day, carbs, protein, calcium, fat)
- Cost (pretty cheap)
- Low effort
- Keeps my mood and energy balanced

Cons

- Lack of variation
- May also be missing some nutrients due to reason above but I figure that's better than missing most of them!


Anyway, here's my food routine!


Breakfast

COFFEE + a banana

+

cereal + unsweetened almond milk

or

toast

with

butter + honey or avocado or marmite

or

peanut butter + honey

or

tahini + honey



Snacks

an apple

and

a chocolate coated corn thin

and/or

office treats


SO hard to resist office treats - this week, one of my colleagues came back from a visit to his family in Greece where his family run a fancy bakery! He brought a big box of amazing nutty biscuits that his mum had made and his cousin had designed the beautiful box! That shouldn't be resisted!


Lunch

half a carton of fresh soup (varying the flavours)

and

3 crumpets with melted cheddar cheese

My colleagues call me the poster girl for crumpets but this lunch saves me so much time. Also, I used to wander around the supermarkets and cafes near my work, paralysed by choice and wanting nothing.

Dinner


variations on vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese - my mum's way!

or

roasted sweet potato and greens (usually broccoli or kale or spring greens) with fried eggs and hot pepper sauce

or

vegetable madras/dal with rice

or

marinated tofu and greens with rice

or

I've recently been making recipes from Rebel Recipes - the recipes are so simple and delicious. I've added 'harissa quinoa and lentil stew with lemony cashew cream' to my routine. Seriously, so easy and so good. AND the leftover cashews can be roasted for additional snacks.


So that's my food emotional failsafe.

Do you have a food routine? Could you have a food routine?



2 comments:

  1. Love the tips in the post! I'm a secret 'hangy' person too... and it's always frustrating when everyone else notices the signs before I do!

    Great tips! Ps - lovely blog :-)

    Lloyd (& Yaya) xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you so much! And yes, so frustrating!

    ReplyDelete