Food and Weight: An Ongoing Journey

More Thoughts on Power Foods

Posted on: January 30, 2013


This month, I’ve been thinking more about power foods. I’ve also been looking at my tracker, and discovering that, despite my efforts to date, I’m not eating as many power foods as I would like to be eating.

I’m also trying to figure out why, since most of the foods I love actually do fall within the power food category.  So far, the answer boils down to laziness on my part, I think. I love fresh vegetables and fruits. I love protein. My cravings are more often for really filling foods rather than empty calories.

I can’t blame the roommate’s shopping habit, either; she will get me power foods if I ask for them. And the SNAP program encourages me to buy healthy foods.

Power foods are foods that fill you up, stick with you, and take longer to digest, with the body working harder to digest them. In short, they use up a fair amount of energy when you eat them.

I recently discovered that grits are a power food, as are the majority of whole grains. This has made me very happy, because they are extremely versatile. A quarter of a cup of grits or other whole grains cooks into a huge bowl of hot grains that can be eaten alone, with milk, or with cheese (or another protein) and veggies stirred in. You really get great “bang” for your nutritional buck by eating them — especially in winter, when your body craves warm, comforting foods.

Soups can be another great source of power foods.  My ex makes soup by using stock, a protein (or two or three), a ton of veggies (he prefers frozen, I prefer fresh root veggies and greens), some whole grains, and spices. Both of us enjoy turning out huge pots of soup, a large portion of which we freeze (he uses quart jars, I use 1 cup containers), and all of which end up being 5 Points Plus or less per serving (unless we use beans, which raises the Points Plus value a bit).

Sigh. In other news, I was not kind to myself today. After almost no sleep, I headed to the dental surgeon, to have a bit of stray bone removed from where the dental surgery had been done.  Then the roomie and I went to the Post Office to mail out a sweater I sold, and some books for folks on Bookmooch. After that, we headed by bus to downtown Brooklyn to her bank, then stopped at the Brooklyn branch of Shake Shack (which I have wanted to try for a while). I made some less than optimal choices, although I have to admit that the vanilla shake (I got a small) felt really good against my sore gum (the novocaine decided to wear off while we were eating). I took two ketoprofen, then we headed to my bank, to get the rent money in so I could write the February check. By the time that was done, my energy had totally crashed, so we each chipped in half for a car service back home, where I got into bed (around 2:30 p.m.) and stayed there until shortly before 9 p.m. I am sure, in retrospect, that being exhausted fed into the decisions I made about what to eat today. On the other tentacle, it was just one day out of a lifelong journey, and I am back on track now.

Does feeling less than optimal affect the food decisions you make on a given day? What can you do to better prepare to deal with  this phenomenon? If you do make poor decisions on a given day, can you pick yourself up and get back on track with your next meal, or do you beat yourself up over it?

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