Friday, July 06, 2007

Making the Best of It

One of the biggest challenges of healthy living is the dreaded “change of plans.” If we had time to plan every single meal and activity, we’d always make good choices. But sometimes things don’t go quite the way we anticipate and we can be tempted to chuck our diet or exercise plan for the day, which can lead to a binge or a long period of inactivity, derailing our carefully thought-out routine.

But it doesn’t have to be that way if you prepare. I want to share with you something that happened today. In 48 hours, we are leaving for vacation. As usual, I have a million things to do, three writing assignments to finish, and my husband is working every night (and therefore sleeping every day) until we leave.

Earlier today, while waiting for my car to be serviced, I took the opportunity to take a walk and get some exercise instead of sitting in the waiting room and watching TV and gorging on the free popcorn they offer their customers. (Besides, the combined smell of tires and hot popcorn is a bit nauseating!) The temperature was over 100, but I went slow and just concentrated on moving since I knew that my massive chore list would prevent me from getting in my regular workout.

Tonight’s dinner was supposed to be sandwiches, and for tomorrow night I planned to order pizza. (It’s a “sometimes” food, but I’ve learned that the trick is to order a smaller pizza so I’m not tempted to eat so much or have leftovers for lunch the next day.)

Unfortunately, because of the heat, the last few slices of bread I had carefully saved for tonight’s dinner had gone bad. Now what? My default response was to hit our local drive-thru, but I had planned pizza for tomorrow and didn’t want “sometimes” food two nights in a row. Well, I managed to convince my daughter she could have her sandwich on a leftover hamburger bun from our barbecue a few days ago. And I did find two pieces of bread in another bag, so my son got those for his sandwich.

Wonderful, now what about Mom? I poked through my nearly empty fridge and pulled together: one chicken Italian sausage, a handful of shredded mozzarella, and handful of shredded parmesan, some liquid egg whites, and some chopped tomatoes. The packages for these items were already opened, and nearly empty, and I probably would’ve wound up throwing them out before we left. But I scrambled it all up instead. The end result was delicious, filling and surprisingly healthy. Less than 300 calories, and to tell you the truth, it tasted even better than the sandwich I’d planned to make. What a victory.

Experiences like this teach us that it is possible to take a negative and turn it into a positive. All it takes is a little planning and creativity and you will be set up for success. By keeping those items in my fridge, I was able to make a good choice instead of caving in to the convenience and temptation of fast food. And it took me less time to make that healthy dinner than it would’ve taken to go through the drive-thru and come back.