Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My ultimate comfort food

During my nutrition consultation yesterday, Kurt at Fitness Together Brookfield challenged me to create my master food list and a meal plan. I have been stuck in a rut when it comes to my meal planning, eating the same meals at the same times, day after day. Some of the monotony is due to convenience and ease in preparation (not to mention my pitiful culinary skills), but the lack of diversity in my meals is beginning to weigh heavily on me.

At Kurt's suggestion, I've tweaked my master food list (originally broken down by protein, complex starchy carbs, and fiberous carbs) and took it a step further by breaking down fiberous carbs into fruits and vegetables, and also including "cheat meals". The cheat meals scare me as I have a love/hate relationship with food. I love to eat it, but hate what it does to my waistline! I mentioned this previously in my video, but I am simply too strict with myself, and fear all I've done is set myself up for a big fall. With Kurt's help, I look forward to creating more balance in my nutrition, and a great deal more variety!

I'm also planning my first cheat meal - spaghetti, my ultimate comfort food. My love for spaghetti goes back to my childhood - my mom was born and raised in Taiwan and moved to the US after she married my dad (who was an officer in the Navy at the time). Mom's family still lives in Taiwan, and she would go back to visit them every year, for 2 - 3 months at a time. After we'd drop her off at the airport, I'd start bawling because I missed her, and my dad would take me to Zippy's, a restaurant similar to Kopp's or Heinemann's, where I'd order spaghetti, every single time. It came to be such a tradition, that the waitresses would automatically order spaghetti for me when they'd see my family enter the restaurant. In fact, it wasn't until my senior year in high school that I actually ordered something other than spaghetti at Zippy's - chili spaghetti! Wow, that was an awesome day! ;)

I'm planning my cheat meal to take place at dinner on Saturday and am uncomfortably excited at the thought of having spaghetti ... I've tried to break my habit of turning to food for comfort, and also try not to much too much importance on food as a reward. Finding the balance of allowing myself a cheat meal and allowing myself to feel some pleasure in the cheat meal is difficult, especially as I've always been an "all or nothing" kind of person. But I know I can't live the rest of my life with such strict boundaries, and am anxiously looking forward to taking this first step.

Any suggestions or recommendations on a healthy spaghetti recipe will be greatly appreciated!



  1. Ooo, you know what I do? I chop up a zillion veggies and add them to a large can of low sodium diced tomatoes. Throw in a sprinkle of garlic powder, oregano, maybe some basil. Simmer on low for an hour or so. Maybe some browned, drained & rinsed extra lean ground beef. Sooo good.

    If you make the sauce with a base of canned low sodium tomatoes instead of a canned pasta sauce, the taste is MUCH fresher, and you don't have processed ingredients, so incredibly healthier for you. Use whatever veggies you have in the fridge.

    For the pasta, I do one of two things. I use spaghetti squash (poke repeatedly then nuke for ten minutes, slice, scoop out yuckies, and shred with fork, then use in place of pasta) or I use a whole wheat spaghettini or linguine.

    Spaghetti does not have to be bad for you!

  2. I never used to be a big fan of spaghetti until the hubs started using his own recipe (fresh tomato basil), and then his grandmother's (which uses a simple mix of tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, romano cheese, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon each of fennel seeds and oregano and *yes* 1/8 tsp of cinnamon, cooked for 3 hours). OMG! He can't eat gluten so we use a brown rice pasta made by Tinkyada.

    Of course, the hardest part is using the right portion. Two ounces ain't that much! *sobs*

  3. Oh, forgot to add with grandma's sauce: one can of water from the empty tomato paste can, a little salt and maybe 1 TB olive oil (could use less). The cinnamon makes an unbelievable difference.

  4. Mental Note: add cinnamon to sauce!

  5. I used 3 fresh plum tomatoes and puree them. Just add a little red wine, fresh parsley, oregano, salt, pepper, minced garlic, portobello mushrooms and sauteed onions. If you want to add meat, use ground turkey. I brown the turkey in the pan that I sauteed the onions, garlic and mushrooms in for more flavor. Serve with whole wheat spaghetti noodles. My nephew will even eat this recipe and ask for seconds.


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