Hold the chicken sandwiches

Yesterday I texted my wife and asked her to bring me a banana and an apple to work so I could make it through a pair of basketball games. Later that night I realized how amazing it was that fruit was the only thing I thought of asking for to supplement my lunch.

My eating habits have changed a lot in a year. It’s more than just a change in my weight or body size. It’s a change in the way I think about food (and now, it seems, I don’t even think twice about it).

Last year it wasn’t uncommon for me to ask my wife to bring me two chicken sandwiches from Wendy’s or McDonald’s as she came up to watch our team play. The $1 menu was my friend for such occasions and was also frequented by me on the way home after late nights working games.

The produce got me through the two games yesterday but I knew I would be hungry before bed. I thought about stopping at Chipotle, about the only fast food place I allow myself because I can get a veggie bowl with brown rice. I thought instead about saving my family a few bucks and when I got home around 10, leftover Thanksgiving peach pie awaited me. Two slices!

I still eat plenty even though I’ve completely changed my eating habits. Fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains fill your stomach a lot more than other foods. Three hundred calories of whole fruit takes up a lot more room in your stomach than 300 calories of oil or cheeseburgers and it makes you feel full longer. And of course, there’s all the health benefits you get from eating a whole piece of fruit as opposed to a processed chicken patty on a bun made from white flour and topped with mayo. And how many of you remove the lettuce and tomato before consuming?

I know to make it through the basketball doubleheaders and road trips that fill the winter months, I will need plenty of fresh fruit and probably a bucket of trail mix. Raw, unsalted cashews, almonds and walnuts are my favorite nuts to add. Raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds also add flavor and a ton of micro-nutrients you may otherwise be missing out on. I also add raisins and dried apricots and sometimes, a bag of non-dairy dark chocolate chips to sweeten up the mix. I know I’ll be bringing a container of this with me as I travel with my school’s volleyball team to the NCAA tournament next week.

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