January Goals: Simplicity

One thing that I have set out to do this month, and hopefully carry throughout the year, is make things simpler. I have a way of over complicating things. The place where I do this the most is in the kitchen. 

When Jason and I got married, I wanted to impress him with my awesome cooking skills. I wanted to be that wife who had dinner on the table the minute he walked in the door, and I always wanted the meal to be impressive. 

Now, we've been married for about 16 months, and I've come to find a few problems with this somewhat idealistic situation.

  1. I have a full time job too. My job is closer to home than Jason's, but I only walk in the door about 10 minutes before he does.
  2. Eating impressive meals is expensive.
  3. We always have too much leftover.
  4. Most extravagant meals aren't necessarily healthy.
  5. We both need to watch what we're eating - me for cholesterol and sugars (diabetes runs in my family and I just found out that heart disease does too) and Jason because he has a milk allergy (and diabetes does run in his family too, so it wouldn't hurt to watch those sugars).
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On December 31st, I listed out my January 2014 Goals on our family chalkboard. One of them was just "Cook Simpler". I wasn't sure what all that meant or entailed, because sometimes I truly do enjoy cooking a nice meal that takes some thought and creativity, but I also know that it's not feasible to do that often.

Monday was the beginning of the first week that I was aiming to cook healthy, but simple. As some of you know, I've been going to Weight Watchers (WW) meetings for a few months, and I'd missed a few meetings because of travel during the holidays. Monday, our meeting was centered around the new WW jump start plan called "Simple Start". I'd received an email about the program on New Years Day, but I like tracking WW PointsPlus (pp), so I just deleted the email and moved on. 

After hearing more about the Simple Start plan, I decided to give it a try. Basically what you do is eat only WW power foods (there's a list of them here), and you don't have to track, PLUS you get 7pp of "indulgences" (aka things that aren't power foods). If you're a WW member already, you can switch your eTools over to "Simply Filling" from the normal pp tracker. I'm someone who needs to write down (or key it in) what I've eaten, just to keep up with it. The wonderful thing about Simple Start and Simply Filling is that you can eat as much or as little of the power foods as you want because they're not bad for you. Our meeting leader said that one lady told her that she had eaten so much popcorn she felt like she was going to pop right out of her chair. Maybe that's a little over the top, but the point is, you're not going to go hungry and you can still eat healthy.

Simple Start is only a 2 week program to get a jump start on weight loss in 2014. But, if you like it, you can switch from pp tracking to Simply  Filling and just follow that plan from now on.

I'm about four days into Simply Filling, and I feel great. It's taken me a few days to get the hang of it because you're only allowed 7pp per day on top of the power foods. Most of the dairy that I had in my kitchen was reduced fat and not fat free, so I've had to use some of my "indulgences" on things that, if they were they fat-free, would be power foods. So that kind of stinks, but I feel like that's a small detail in the big scheme of things.

Simple Start has also REALLY helped me get started cooking simpler. The Simple Start booklet has recipes in it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and indulgences. If you download the app, it has all the same recipes in it as well. The Simple Start booklet also has a shopping list which I am looking forward to using this weekend!

Since I didn't get this list until after I'd done my grocery shopping for the week, I've had to improvise with a few things, but so far I've been pretty happy with how flavorful and filling these power foods are when you combine them! 

I've made my own version of a cheese danish with an light English muffin, fat-free ricotta cheese, and slices of a clementine (you're supposed to use blueberries but I didn't have any).

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I've also made my own version of cinnamon apple oatmeal. It was better than anything I've ever had out of a package!

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If you're like me and you want to begin cooking and eating simpler, here's an example of what my "new and improved" grocery list contains:

  • Box of frozen WW chicken tenders ($6 for 15 chicken tenders lasts us about 8 meals)
  • 1 more meat such as ground turkey/beef or pork tenderloin
  • 3 fruits
  • 3 veggies
  • Bread for sandwiches
  • 2 starches (usually brown rice and sweet potato) 
  • Deli turkey for lunches
  • Cheese sticks 
  • Sliced cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Light English muffins
  • Cream cheese
  • Lettuce
  • Milk
  • Cereal
  • A few staples (sour cream, ricotta cheese, mustard, mayo, peanut butter)

I hope that this helps some of you get into a habit of simplifying your diet and kitchen! Happy Friday everyone!

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If you've been following my blog for any period of time, you'll probably noticed that I haven't really blogged about WW before. Well, that was intentional. I wanted to make everyone aware of this great resource if you're looking to eat healthier in 2014, but my journey with WW is really something I'm doing for me and my health, so I don't really want to begin blogging about it on a regular basis. I may post more things like this in the future - just to make all of you aware of the amazing resources that come via WW, but I don't want it to become a common topic. One more thing I will say about it in this post though - If you've ever considered joining WW before, whether you want to lose 10 lbs. or 100 lbs., just join! Go to a meeting. You can go to your own meeting, or send me an email and I'll tell you when and where the meeting I go to is. It's wonderful for resources and accountability, and it's affordable! 

Posted on January 10, 2014 .