Well, I mean I do eat. Lots. I’ve always been on the “see food, must eat it” diet my entire life. Which worked when I was younger, made me chubby when I was older, and something I can “get away” with now since I’m on a bike a lot. But as for having a good, nutritionally balanced diet? That’s been a struggle… and something I feel I need to work on since I’m putting in hours training.
My biggest roadblocks to eating better are:
- Laziness: It’s just so easy to eat out, or microwave something weird and sketchy out of the freezer isle.
- Lack of desire to cook: My mom is an AMAZING cook and LOVES cooking. She often laments about how I didn’t pick up on this trait from her. It’s not that I’m a bad cook that burns houses down or ruins food, it’s just that I lack a desire to cook anything. My cooking range is making spaghetti, a few crock pot soups, and a veggie/angel hair salad. Oh, and mac n’ cheese and potatoes. And instant rice. yeah…
- Work: This is probably just a bad excuse, and really just falls into the laziness category. I work night shift, and between 11pm-12am I wander down to the cafeteria, order me up a buffalo crispy chicken wrap, and then proceed to grab whatever else I can find while that’s cooking. And then I seem to just eat to pass the slower morning hours.
- Impulse eater: See work cafeteria! Ooo cake, oooo soup, oooo parfait, oooo candy, oooo everything in sight, must eat!
- “Good” food goes bad: Veggies and fruit start to rot if you don’t eat them. A box of Cheese-Its does not. Not that that is a problem, I’ll eat a box in two sittings…
I decided to order me up some cookbooks for endurance athletes, and to try my luck. I was looking for easy recipes, and stuff that I can cook and then refrigerate/freeze for meals for work (or just when I’m home) so I can avoid the cafeteria. The cookbooks both talk about nutrition strategies and also ways to make cooking easier, such as cooking some foods ahead and freezing so they’re on hand.
I browsed the books and made a shopping list for some of the stuff I wanted to try right away. It was the most stressful shopping trip I’ve made, LOL!
Once I hauled my bounty into the house I took to cooking 10 boneless chicken breasts for freezing. I hit a good sale for $1.99/pound, which made them a whole lot cheaper than the pre-cooked/pre-frozen varieties you can buy. I’m not the biggest fan of chicken; honestly, it grosses me out, especially uncooked. Quick phone call to consult with my mom (help, I don’t know what I’m doing with my chicken!), and tips from Facebook friends (yay social media in times of crisis), I successfully ended up with 10 cooked chicken breasts flavored with various combos of spices (4 with Italian seasoning, 1 with Italian and red peppers, 1 with chili powder and then sliced, and 4 with salt/pepper).
Process: put on a baking sheet with foil. Seasoned how preferred. Filled baking sheet with about a 1/4″ of water. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.
I bought the ingredients to make some sweet potato & egg burritos that I plan on freezing for work and home, but then I fell asleep. These past few days I’ve been exhausted, and sleeping only a few hours at a time (thank goodness it’s a recovery week on my training plan, so I haven’t been having to force myself onto the bike or skip any workouts), so the fact that I fell asleep at 3pm until 11pm wasn’t too strange. So I took to cooking my planned dinner at 11:30pm since I figured I’d be up (I work the next 3 nights, so I need to sleep all day tomorrow anyway!).
I didn’t choose a recipe from the cookbooks, though it is similar to one found in Feed Zone Cookbook.
Italian Orzo and Beef Stuffed Peppers (from delish.com)
Total Time 35 minutes
4 large bell peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded (I used yellow ones as I’m not a fan of green)
Non stick spray
1/2 cup orzo pasta
8 ounces lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons each fennel seeds and oregano
1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes with garlic
1/2 cup diced mozzarella (I subbed in grated cheddar and mozzarella)
Garnish with chopped basil
1. Heat broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil. Put peppers cut side down in pan; coat peppers with nonstick spray.
2. Broil 12 minutes, turning once, until lightly charred and tender. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees.
3. Meanwhile bring a medium pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook as package directs; drain.
4. While pasta cooks, coat a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray; heat over medium heat. Add beef, onion, fennel seeds and oregano. Cook 6 minutes, breaking up meat, until beef is browned and onions are tender. Remove from heat.
5. Add orzo, tomatoes with their juices, and mozzarella to skillet; toss to mix, then fill peppers. Bake 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Sprinkle with basil.
My thoughts? Yummy! I’ve only had my mom’s Mexican-style variant of stuffed peppers, so this was a nice change. And since I used yellow peppers, I actually ate the pepper, too! One thing I would change for the next time I made them is using only 2 peppers since I am just cooking for myself. Then I’ll have extra stuffing to go on the side. I ate two halves, and then packaged up the rest in the fridge for my meals at work this weekend!
What I am struggling with right now is the portion size. My brain feels like I didn’t eat nearly enough food, yet my stomach is satisfied. At this moment I want to raid the brownies in the kitchen and scour the fridge. So I do have baby carrots and snap peas on hand for moments like this, but I think it’ll be a process of mentally untraining myself from just eating tons and tons.
So we’ll see…