Monday, September 9, 2013

First Day Jitters: 2013 Hunger Challenge

So here's the thing....

I have this new pug puppy who's a maniac and needs to be run like a thoroughbred pony for the majority of the day in order to get any peace and quiet around here at night.  It's also 100 degrees at our house, with no air conditioning.  Therefore, I spend the cool mornings running the dog ragged, sweat my way through the afternoons in front of a giant fan with all the windows closed, and then beg for wind in the evenings, which rarely arrives.

Today I got up pretty early, cleaned my house, took pug to the dog park (stood without shade for an hour), walked another half mile, brought him back home and then jumped in the car to go grab groceries.  I was hungry before I left for the store, but decided to stick it out in order to conserve.  By this time (around 11am) I am usually pretty voracious for something, anything, to eat.  Knowing that I had limited food amounts definitely made me think twice about *when* I was going to have lunch-- even after mid-range exertion.  I kept thinking to myself, "I'm not even really putting forth that much physical effort and I'm famished.  Argh!"

When I finally found the time to eat lunch, I was feeling lightheaded and very, very cranky because I'd waited too long to eat and my blood sugar level had plummeted.  I'm one of those people that are good one second, and totally not ok the next when it comes to personal fuel, so the lesson I will be taking away from today is that I should eat breakfast.  When meal planning and limiting intake of food becomes an issue, it's crucial to start out on the right foot.  Tomorrow I will be making myself a decent breakfast, because when my lunches are this small, every bite matters.

For lunch today I treated myself to a risky Monterey Jack quesadilla with sliced tomatoes.  I also made sure to savor one cup of whole milk, as an addition of nutrients and a tummy filler.  Yes, I was still hungry and could've eaten more, but that's not the point.  I did notice that it's much harder to NOT snack then I thought it would be.  Because guess what?  We don't have any snacks.  And I forgot to buy other produce.  It is what it is, but man, it's painful realizing that each slice of cheese costs thirty cents.  In order to stretch out the dairy luxury, I portioned myself 2.5 ounces on just one single tortilla. That tomato (both inside and as a side dish), by the way, is about the size of a golfball. Cheesy lunch goodness at 570 calories.

Dinner tonight is a throwback to the good ol' days and cozy, comfy favorite : Tuna Wiggle!  At least that's what we call it, but most people refer to it as Tuna Casserole.  Egg noodles, condensed cream of mushroom soup, albacore tuna and milk, all baked together to form a solid carb bomb.  I decided that if the hubbs was gonna take leftovers to work each day, this was a good place to start because it keeps for a while and still tastes pretty darn good.  It's also quite filling, and strangely satisfying at the same time.  At a whopping 600 calories per serving (1 3/4 cup), this should do the trick for a hearty, homestyle meal. Yum.

For me, this challenge isn't about buying a week's supply of ramen and calling it a day.  That's too easy.  I'm attempting to create thoughtful, decent meals with what little I could manage that possess at least a measurement of nutritional value- not just for myself, but for my husband as well.  I was able to find protein (like lean beef and chicken breasts) as well as canned tuna, pastas and broth at prices that fit in to the daily budget.  It's up to me now to turn the few items I have into dishes that make the most of my limited pantry within the next five days, as if it were my only choice.

Day one... done.



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