A big problem I find with couples is that one person prefers x-food and the other person prefers y-food for dinner. Rather than preparing x or y, one person compromises and generally, it is the person who is trying to lose weight. I think a common problem for men and women (generally women) in relationships is that the person trying to lose weight is so focused on clearing the house of the "bad" foods and tries very hard to prepare and eat the "right" foods but the other person is not supportive or does not need to change his/her diet and the house becomes uncomfortable when it comes to meal time. The same thing often occurs in the work environment where co-workers do not support your "healthy" lifestyle nor your choice for healthy eating.
My first question for the x-eater (unhealthy eater) is whether or not it is important to reduce risk for disease, improve quality of life, see your kids'd kids grow up and improve body composition? If you answered yes to one of those questions, then it is time to start cleaning up the diet. As for the person who tries to eat healthy, I do not want you to eliminate foods in the diet. For every high sugar, high fat or high calorie food that you tend to "binge" on (overeat), eat uncontrollably or go-to when you have a craving, replace that food rather than eliminate it. No matter how healthy we eat, we all (including me) have a food which we generally go-to when we should be eating something a bit more healthy such as fruits or veggies.
Now, just because you eliminate a food, you are not guaranteeing yourself that all cravings will be removed without that food in the house. You may find yourself overeating another food (one that you once were able to control when eating it) or you may find yourself eating more calories than necessary at your meals because you just want to feel full to avoid feeling hungry without your go-to unhealthy food in the house. Secondly, as you are preparing healthy meals, it is important that you do not feel like you are alone when trying to prepare these healthy meals or that you have to eat alone when choosing to eat those healthy meals.
There are many times when Karel and I eat completely separate meals but most times I prepare foods for both of us but in different portions. No matter what I have in our house, our food choices are healthy for both of us and can be eaten at anytime. If you are providing your family foods which you are avoiding (ex. kid snacks, donuts, frozen dinners) then re-evaluate those food choices. Remember, you and your family should eat similar foods but different portions depending on your training/exercise volume and dietary requirements.
I prepared a meal that can be eaten in many different ways for any person looking to lose weight, maintain weight or just eat healthier.
Here are my suggestions for the following meal (and examples):
*of course, it is important to eat 2 additional balanced meals of 400-500 calories during the day and 3-5 healthy snacks at 125-225 calories before and after meals.
1) Stuffed pepper and sweet potato - person who had a 60-90 minute workout that day.
2) Lettuce wrap w/ veggie stuffings + piece of bread- person who wants a light, late night dinner and/or worked out less than 60 minutes
3) Stuffed pepper + piece of bread or sweet potato + lettuce wrap - person who had a 90+ min. workout or gearing up for a high volume workout tomorrow
4) Stuffed green pepper + Lettuce wrap w/ veggie stuffings - Non workout day, ending the day with a quality meal.
5) Lettuce wrap w/ veggie stuffing + sweet potato - Non workout day, ending the day with a quality meal
*Stuffings for stuffed pepper and lettuce wrap: cook 1 veggie burger, 1/3 container firm tofu (cubes), black beans, 1 large (or 2 small) vine tomatoes (cut in chunks), 1/3 cup corn and 1/4 cup sliced onions on skillet in 1/2 tbsp olive oil on medium heat until golden brown
*To assemble pepper, scoop out inside after cutting off top of pepper. If the pepper breaks, no worries just make 2 open face stuffed peppers. Place 1 spoonful salsa or marinara sauce in bottom of pepper and scoop in a few spoonfuls of stuffing in pepper. Use extra veggies on your choice of a very leafy dark green.
*You can substitute your choice of lean meat or fish for the insides of the stuffed pepper in exchange for the veggie burger if you want a non-vegetarian meal.
*On my sweet potato, I like cinnamon, raisins and a drizzle of honey.