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Feeding the Beast

December 1, 2011

I realize that the title, Feeding the Beast is a little bizarre, but I think it best describes the process of always making sure there is enough time to prepare and make healthy food. I was going to include this in Keeping the Sanity, but it would have been even longer than it already was.

Most people who know me are aware that I eat a lot. I was blessed with a fast metabolism, but also lead a very active lifestyle. Now that I am working as a nurse I need to eat even more to stay energetic and make it through the day. When I moved here I joined the local Co-op. The Co-op is a little more expensive than stores like Shaws and Price Chopper. Though when you’re eating healthy, local, organic foods, I find the prices in the Co-op are very comparable to big grocery stores’ organic/healthy sections. I will spend more on healthy foods because it is a health investment. I don’t skimp on food, and when I spend more on food at the Co-op, I subsequently spend less on take-out or at restaurants, feel healthier, have more energy, and am supporting a local business, which to me is priceless.

On the day before my marathon of shifts, I made a trip to the Co-op and bought enough healthy, organic foods that could double as easy-to-cook (without a microwave) dinners, and as packable lunches. For my four 12s, I knew that I would need at least three nights of dinners and four days of lunches. See below for a sample of what I purchased before the long work-week (varies week to week):

Amy’s frozen macaroni and cheese

Amy’s margeurita pizza

1 dozen Nellie’s eggs

1 block of Cabot Cheddar cheese (to my boyfriend, the cheese monger’s dismay—he prefers I buy ripe cheese, but that’s a story for another time)

4- Stonyfield yogurts in assorted flavors

The biggest bag of Organic, locally grown Spinach possible

1 bag of Organic Peas

1 Cucumber

1-bunch of Organic, locally grown Garlic

2-Small Organic, locally grown yellow onions

1 large bunch of semi-ripe (so they last the week) Organic Bananas

1 bag of Garden of Eatin’ Chili Lime tortilla chips

A bunch of fruit leathers in assorted flavors

1 bag of Organic, whole-wheat linguini

Basmati Rice

2-lbs of Organic, Misty Knowles Chicken breast

1-lb of Grass-Fed ground beef

1 Jar of Organic Newman’s Own Tomato Sauce

1 Can of Garbanzo beans.

1 Jar of  Organic Unsweetened Applesauce

Assorted Indian spices found in the “do-it-yourself” bulk section at the Co-op

1-Pound of Organic, Local Coffee beans

Now, some of you may be thinking, “what is she, the carbohydrate queen?” I’d like to answer, YES! I love carbohydrates. They make me so happy, but it’s all about balance. Also, I don’t really eat 2-lbs of chicken in four days, but I buy a lot of it and freeze individual chicken breasts for use on a later day, same with the ground beef. For breakfast I usually have fruit and cereal with skim milk.

Cooking and preparing the dinners listed below takes some degree of multi-tasking. I don’t get home from work until 8pm and need to be in bed no later than 10pm if I’m working the next morning as well. In two hours I have to shower, cook dinner, pack lunch, pack my bag, have some down time and get ready for bed. The dinners below are thought-up to be made while multitasking.

Examples of dinners/lunches for four days of working 12s are as follows:

Lunch Day One: Leftover linguini with meat sauce from night before, yogurt, fruit leather, banana, tortilla chips.

Dinner Night One: ¼-1/2 of Amy’s Frozen Pizza, side of Spinach and peas, small cup of applesauce, side of Garbanzo beans. Note: I always cook a dinner than allows me to bring leftovers as my lunch for the next day!  Total Cook/prep time: 35 minutes. (While pizza cooks in oven, shower and prep sides, pack lunch).

Lunch Day Two: Remainder of Amy’s Pizza, baggie of tortilla chips, a fruit leather, banana, yogurt.

Dinner Night Two: Scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese, spinach, peas, cut-up cold cucumber, and whole-wheat toast with soy butter. Total cook/prep time: 20 minutes.

Lunch Day Three: Bring Frozen Amy’s Macaroni and cheese for lunch, yogurt, cut-up cucumber leftovers, fruit leather, tortilla chips, and a banana.

Dinner Night Three: Exhaustion has set in, but need to cook. Made Indian food-Basmati rice with a chicken curry sauce, and side of spinach. Total cook/prep time: 30 minutes (most of which is the rice cooking…shower while food cooking, pack bag for the next day)

Lunch Day Four: Leftover Indian food, yogurt, banana, fruit leather, tortilla chips.

I’m not sure how many calories I’m eating, I don’t count calories, I don’t add points, I don’t own a scale. I realize this may not work for many people, but for me this method of eating and cooking paired with weekly exercise works for me. The one thing I do is look at on my food labels and consider the following things:

Where my food comes from. Is it local? Always a preference, but sometimes to buy bananas in the middle of winter, you gotta make an exception!

Is it Organic? Will buy non-organic foods if they meet the below categories:

How much Sugar, Sodium, Cholesterol is in the product? I aim for as low as possible.

How many processed ingredients are in the product? I aim for as little as possible.

Is there High Fructose Corn Syrup in it? If yes, put it back on the shelf.

Stay tuned for more entries from Tales of an RN coming soon!


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Leanne permalink
    December 1, 2011 10:06 pm

    I can’t wait till I can come visit and we can make dinner together!

  2. Elyn permalink
    December 1, 2011 10:14 pm

    I love this! You are a hungry beast, but really know how to eat healthy. You are an awesome example to follow.

  3. Jan permalink
    December 4, 2011 10:50 pm

    Your efforts sure pay off honey, you look terrific!

  4. Leanne permalink
    December 13, 2011 3:20 pm

    also, Misty Knolls Chicken is awesome, I had some this past weekend at Top of the Hub, I wish they sold free range chicken where I am.

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