Friday, May 16, 2008

Separate Meals

Announcing the launch of my new website: “Refuse to Regain: Providing a supportive and educational online community dedicated to helping you maintain your weight loss”. I’ve been working on this along with my website partner, Dr. Barbara Berkeley, for a few months now. The blog is in its infancy and will evolve over time, and one day become a “real” website and not just a blog. Check it out and give us your feedback. Join the discussion board! Ask questions! We’d love to hear from you.
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That announcement will begin all new blog entries for the next few weeks, so you’ll have to skip on down to the “meat” of the blog down here for awhile. I’m just so happy about our new site, and with new readers finding this blog every day, I want to make sure I have my bases covered and not miss anyone. It’s my party, right? LOL

OK, on to the question of the day from Debbie (and reiterated by Tawanda and anonymous): “While you were losing weight, did your family eat what you were eating? Did you cook separate meals for them or did they fend for themselves?”

When I started Weight Watchers in February 2005, my kids were already grown and living on their own. It was (and still is) just my husband and me, but my stepsons visit often.

Back then, I was still eating meat and had modified many of our favorite meals to make them more calorie friendly. Larry, my husband, wanted to lose 20 pounds so he ate what I ate and lost the pounds in a few months (and has maintained that loss for three years!). When I started changing to more vegetable- and bean-based meals, I would often add to Larry’s meal with a separate piece of meat like a chicken breast or lean hamburger, something simple.

Now that I’m a vegetarian, I often make two separate meals, like maybe three or four times a week. Sometimes the meal intersects. For instance, the other night I made a really tasty spinach and lentils recipe for both of us with a side of poached fish for Larry. Tonight we’ll eat the same thing when I make spinach manicotti with my homemade sauce made with roasted roma tomatoes. We’ll probably have broccoli and some kind of bread or toast with it.

I often make separate veggies. He’s a straight up steamed veggies kind of guy. I like roasted, or if I do steam them, I add parmesan cheese or Mrs. Dash to mine.

I use the crock pot a LOT when I cook for Larry. Last night I made him barbecue ribs using an old family recipe that translates well to slow cooking. I also made him “half baked potatoes,” too. (Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut russet potatoes in half lengthwise. Pam a cooking sheet and set the potatoes cut side down on the sheet. Top each with a teaspoon (or more if you want) of margarine or butter, then bake until the bottoms are brown and slightly crisp, about 60 minutes.) He wanted steamed cauliflower while I wanted roasted zucchini, onions, squash, carrots and red peppers.

I don’t spend much more time cooking separately for Larry because I plan in advance and try to utilize many of the same ingredients for his meal that I’d use for mine. And as I said before, he eats the same thing as me a few nights a week or often our “side dishes” will intersect.

I also like to cook ahead. I set aside time on most Sundays to cook soup or stews – some for Larry and some for me. I freeze them in single-serve containers so Larry has a healthy lunch to take to work with him.

Now that it’s grilling season, Larry does a lot of the cooking. We’ll experiment this year with vegetarian dishes on the grill along with his once-a-week beef fix.

When my stepsons visit, I cook what I know they’ll eat. I use low-fat meats and I make sure they eat veggies and fruits. I sometimes sneak some soy in and they have no idea. Heck, they’re 15 and 16. They shovel food and hardly taste it!

One of their favorite meals when they’re hear is pizza made with Flat Out wraps. We use low-fat cheese and turkey pepperoni and they love it. I make my own little pizza with the same sauce and cheese, so it’s no extra work at all for me.

One more example (OK, two). This week I made my favorite “comfort” veggie dish, Vegetable Paprikash. Larry likes chicken paprikash, so I made the entire meal, scooped out my portion, and added chicken to Larry’s portion. Simple. Same thing with the fried rice I made Tuesday. I made the entire thing vegetarian, took out my portion, and added pieces of chicken to Larry’s. Again, no real extra work. I just cooked a chicken breast in a little olive oil in a pan on the stove while the brown rice cooked.

One important note about holidays. I cook the traditional meats for our family holiday meals – turkey, ham, that sort of thing – and I make traditional side dishes using their original full-fat recipes. I add sides to our menu that I enjoy, too, and I might make myself something completely separate, but I love cooking, especially the big holiday dinners. I just make sure I send all the leftovers home with the kids! No sense in keeping temptation around. I’m a HUGE stuffing fan (as many of you have read here before).

I hope this answers your question adequately. Let me know if you want any more details.

Have a great day everyone! I’ll update again on Sunday, if not before.

2 comments:

  1. I think there is such a great need for a website like the one you've created with Dr. Berkeley. It's time that us maintainers were given the attention, advice and support we need. Only then can we really start to believe in ourselves that this weight is off FOREVER.

    As for separate cooking, fortunately Bob and I eat a lot of the same things for dinner; he just eats bigger portions. I've gotten him to eat way less fast food. Last night we had salmon and I cooked brown rice for myself and white rice for him. (The awesome boil-in-a-bag concept makes this simple enough.) So while I measure my cup of brown rice, he's heaping up the spoonfuls of white rice on his plate.

    Unfortunately there are times, though seldom, when I do cook a completely separate meal for him. On occation I'll crave a big salad, and I know having JUST that for dinner wouldn't fly with him (even though the salads I make are gigantic).

    He loves pasta, so while his noodles are boiling I'll be chopping up my lettuce and adding my tuna and hard boiled egg whites. Although I would LOVE to eat pasta with him, it's really a trigger food that I avoid as often as possible I cannot eat just 3/4 of a cup. Who DOES that?? LOL

    One thing I don't control is his snack choices. Yes, we'll both eat pretzels, and he's even started buying LIGHT popcorn, but he'll always want Doritos, Fritos and chocolate bars on hand. These are just temptations that I've learned to deal with, for the most part, pretty well.

    We gotta do what we gotta do to maintain, right?!

    Lesley

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  2. Thank you for answering our questions. Reading your blog really motivates me to get this weight off!!

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