Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Poolside Gourmet

My mom and I have decided to get together once a week and have dinner together. The caveat is that the meals must include new, healthy recipes. My dad is resistant to trying new things (especially "diet" food) and I enjoy cooking with someone else rather for everyone else once in a while, so we chose Thursdays as Dad has a standing social engagement and my family is relatively low need that evening as well.

Last week was the first time we managed to actually get together and it was quite fun. We selected a menu that required grilling so there were a couple of additional challenges. Nobody singed any eyebrows and the food was reasonably tasty, so the evening was considered a success

Portabella Mushroom Burgers: I love Portabella mushrooms and have had some fantastic ones at restaurants. Our version needs work. The garlic was WAY to strong. These will need to revisited with an adjusted recipe.

Creole Zucchini: Mom found this recipe in a bank newsletter. It originally called for 14 points worth of oil!! We eliminated the oil all together and it was fantastic--and only about 2 points per serving!! I ate the leftovers the next day for lunch. Next time, I would add a bit of olive oil though, just because I seldom get my healthy oils in. I would be willing to add point for that.

Grilled Peaches: Yummy, with a lot of potential. My dissatisfaction was more a result of my lack of experience grilling. I now know what I need to do differently. Our recipe called for a bit of honey and almonds which made it a very nice dessert.

The entire menu would have been 8 points.  Nice!  Not sure what this weeks menu includes yet--as hot as it is, it needs to be something very cooling!

If only....

At my WW meeting a couple of weeks ago, the  topic was "if only"   You know you could lose weight "if only...."  My group turned out to be  a decidedly practical group so the conversation was very useful and productive.  One conversation has stuck with me though.

I could lose weight "if only" I didn't have to cook for my family.  Seriously, trying to feed a family of five given budget, time and preference constraints is challenging enough.  Toss in nutrition and points and the task sometimes seems overwhelming.

Another member commented that I was wrong.  I should just cook for myself and tell my family to fix their own darn meals if they didn't like it.  Wow.  Talk about an attitude that did not resonate.  I truly believe that I need to get my entire family on board for so many reasons.

First, I need this to be a normal way of life.  I refuse to go on another diet, which is why I chose Weight Watchers program this time around.  It is the best program I have found that is nutritionally sound and designed to function int he real world.  Seriously, I can handle just about any situation with a little planning, creativity and self control.  I have not felt deprived since I started December 1.  Not to say I have been "perfect" every day, but  I am making conscious choices and am eating  nutritionally soundly for the first time ever!  Making separate meals would make this a diet.  I'm simply not going there.

Secondly, my husband needs to lose weight.  This is becoming a serious issue.  I am truly afraid he will drop dead someday sooner rather than later and I will be up a creek.  To add insult to injury, he is very high risk insurance wise so when he does keel over I will be in deep financially as well.  I love this man terrifically yet find myself distancing from him because I am afraid.  All this to say that he will benefit from healthier meals as well.

And of course my children--their gene pool does not include a high metabolism.  They  need to learn NOW how to eat properly and make appropriate food choices.  Cooking only for me, telling them to fix their own meals not only fails to  nurture and teach  on a practical level but  undermines the entire essence of family for me  

So, how to please everybody?  I don't.
  • I  ask for meal suggestions from the family and include them in the planning.  IF someone suggest spaghetti and garlic bread, we talk about how that is  a difficult choice for me and brainstorm ways to meet their desire and my needs (have it on a night I am out, include a large salad, have someone dish my plate for me).
  • We find solutions that fit everybody.  If they want to go out for ice cream and I want to come along, we might go for a walk first, then stop at the shore that sells frozen bananas in addition to ice cream.
  • We look up new recipes to try and take field trips to a local market and try new fruits and vegetable
  • We label foods--green foods on those that are "mine"; and I write the points value on most bags and boxes that enter the house.
  • I talk about my successes (they love to see my bravo stickers and other awards) and my frustrations. 
Apparently this conversation stuck with my fellow member also.  She has brought it up each time I have seen her.  I try to respond in a friendly, non-confrontational manner.  I figure even if she never hears me, someone sitting next to us might be able to use something I say.


One little thing I do.....is check the Weight Watchers recipe of the day and bookmark the ones that sound interesting.  I try to make at least one new recipe a week.