Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Food and Nutrition, 2016 style

Ok,  yes, ... this makes me laugh.   Laugh at myself.  Because it's so, ... ludicrous.  Not ludicrous in general, for everyone.  But ludicrous for me.  Considering my whole homemade foods/slow foods/kind-of-sort-of-natural foods preferences.

I work at a place called Kay's Naturals.  They produce and market processed snack foods.  High protein, low glycemic, gluten free snack foods.  But still grab and go processed snack foods.  This kind of food is not generally in my scheme of cooking and providing food for my family.  And it's definitely not in my budget for providing food for my family. And I find word "natural" kind of ironic.

But I do realize that there is a market for such foods.  And if people want them, if they provide a marketable consumer good, hey, go for it.  And do it well.  Which I think Kay's does.

In that spirit, I tell people about our products.  I take samples home to share with those who might be interested.  (It's part of the marketing at Kay's to allow their employees to do this.  I'm not stealing.  Just saying.)  And I sample them myself, so I can make suggestions to those who ask.  I've been working there about six weeks and I've not yet sample all 19 of their products, so it's not like I'm pigging out on them or anything.

Besides making high protein, low glycemic snack foods, Kay's also makes and markets 3- and 7- day meal plans.  These meal plans include individual sized servings of Kay's snacks throughout the day plus suggested foods to complete the meal while keeping the lowcarb, high protein aspect.  I think they are also low fat.  My understanding is that since most people eat much junk food and high-carb, highly processed foods anyway, this plan gives a framework someone could use as a foundation to start to eat healthier, and maybe lose some weight.  These meal plans can also be a useful tool for those with blood sugar issues, since they have a low glycemic index, and snacks are included throughout the day.

A few people at work had been talking about (procrastinating over) doing a 7-day plan.  I decided to do it, too, and we decided that this is the week.  If it goes well, the sales staff can use our experience with it in their promotions.

This is Day 2.  I'm eating my Cinnamon Almond Cookie Bites as I type.

Getting back to my original sentence about this whole business making me kind of laugh to myself, here's the deal.

While on the seven day meal plan, we can eat as much fresh vegetables as we choose.  There are a variety of acceptable fruits that can be eaten at certain times of day.  The rest of the plan is as follows.

For breakfast each day we have a Kay's cereal and some lowfat yogurt.

1) Yes, I'm in a breakfast cereal rut.  And yes, an argument could be made that the high protein cereals from Kay's are better than the pencil shaving stuff we have been eating until theMom gets her act together (store brand Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, Corn Chex, and an occasional bag of Golden Puffs).  Ideally, when I'm in the groove, I prepare a hot cereal, eggs, potatoes and meat, or a homemade low sugar baked good.  I would not consider cold cereal for a "jump start your healthy eating" plan.

2) Nonfat vs regular yogurt?  I'd much prefer to have those 8 grams of good dairy fat than the pectin to hold the yogurt together.  And their suggestion of low sugar?  When I'm in the groove I make my own plain old white unflavored yogurt.  But these days I've been splurging and buying the quarts of plain yogurt.  I am so used to it, forget that some people use the word yogurt to mean something flavored and sweetened.   When the kids have friends over and I serve yogurt, they sometimes wonder what it is.

Midmorning snack.  A Kay's individually packaged processed snack.  I rarely eat a midmorning snack.  So here I am on a "diet" (oh, I mean meal-plan), and I'm eating a midmorning snack.

The noon meals consist of some sort of processed convenience food plus the Kay's product, a high protein chip or puff or snack of some sort.  The suggested pre-packaged entrees are a variety of Progresso soups, a Weight Watchers or Amy's frozen selection.

I confess, I did buy a handful of store bought soups during the the first month or two after our recent move.  But besides that, I can't tell you when the last time was I bought canned soup.  And frozen entrees?  I do buy an occasional pack of frozen burritos when I know Joe's going to be gone.  Frozen pizzas during the first months following our move.  And for my first week of work.  Before our gluten-free days (when I only had five or six kids to cook for) I'd allow myself the indulgence or luxury of one meal of fish sticks, one meal of corn dogs, one meal of frozen ravioli, and one meal of frozen pizza each month.  That was our big "naughty" eating.

And here I have a healthy eating meal plan that wants me to use these foods.  I looked at the frozen foods section at Wal-mart, but I just couldn't get myself to spend our family's money on any of the suggested items.  I'll fill in with other high protein, low carb home cooked items.  But I can't promise they'll be lowfat.

Mid-afternoon snack.  A Kay's individually packaged Cookie Bites.  Oh I'm loving this diet!  Cookies every afternoon!

And for supper I'm supposed to eat a big salad with lemon juice for dressing, topped with the Kay's recommended chip for the meal.  I confess I'm still using my olive oil.  Another healthy fat. (There's a note in the pamphlet that warns, "1 tbs of olive oil is 120 calories."  Oops.)  I almost always use plain olive oil for salad dressing.  I'm so used to it I think nothing of it.  When my big kids come back home or especially when they bring friends, they have to dig around to see if there's any dressing around.  Sometimes we do have it, if some church member has given us some or if there is some left from a church function that they want to get out of the church fridge.  I'm going to make a mental note to make some more exciting homemade dressing when they come next.

100 calorie treat in the form of a healthy snack.

Oh yes, I almost forgot, we're encouraged to drink as much calorie free beverage as we want: diet soda, sparkling water, or bottled water.  I'd love to be able to justify drinking a few cans of sparkling water now and then.  Again, another one of those things that makes me think, "Wow, I get to have a LaCroix?"  But for the budget, I think I'll stick to plain old tap water with a few cups of plain black coffee thrown in.  I hope that's OK.

So that's the meal plan.  I don't doubt I'll lose weight.  But not because of eating healthier.  Rather it will be because I'm paying attention to portion size and carbs.

If I have time, I'll do a little write-up for each day, what I've done and what I've changed.  And I'll be sure to report any weight lost during the week.

And a final note because I've become so insecure these days about how I write things, I mean no disrespect toward those who eat and cook differently than I do.  I realize I have notions regarding food and health that might be strange or extreme to many.  I realize that cooking and budgeting for all of us mandates us to live more simply and to limit our discretionary food and beverage purchases.  And I also realize that even with my high standards for what and how I cook, I certainly do not do it perfectly.  I just lately feel like I'm kind of sort of getting back my brain and organization enough to cook well after all the chaos of our last year.

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