Food Apathy…..When Nothing Is Appealing

bored cat

I wrote a similar post about this subject back a little over two years ago. Food apathy seems to come and go. Sometimes it lasts a day or two and other times it drags on for weeks. During these times grazing seems to start back up again. I wish I could say I was grazing on things like vegetables and fruit but I find myself usually grabbing a handful of crackers or one of the kid’s cookies or whatever junk food is hanging around. I call it drive by snacking. All thoughts of eating a regular meal leaving me feeling blah. So I don’t eat. Then I walk through the kitchen and grab a few of this or that because I really haven’t eaten anything. For me food apathy leads to previous habits of snacking.

I try to break out of it by visiting blogs to look at recipes that might be nice to try. The recipes sound like they would be delicious but, once I start to think about it, nothing really seems like it would be good. I’ve got several food and nutrition related magazines, such as Today’s Dietitian and Food and Nutrition, sitting on my desk trying to entice me with wonderful foods to try. It seems my rearranged guts have been having a private conversation with my head.  The final outcome of this chat is, once I start to think about eating the food, nothing sounds that appealing and I don’t really care what I eat.

You may have never heard of the term before but you’ve probably experienced it at some point after having weight loss surgery.  It’s that feeling where food, including things we previously enjoyed, suddenly loses all of it’s charm. Nothing looks good and sometimes it doesn’t even taste good. You can’t think of anything you might like to eat. If you do start eating you may suddenly feel full after a few bites and give up eating.

For me there seems to be several triggers for food apathy:

– Being stressed out or having insomnia.

– Eating the same things over and over again.

– Having an episode of dumping or a low blood sugar reaction.

– Getting that “stuck” feeling after eating something.

One might think having food apathy would be a wonderful problem to have right? Just imagine the weight loss potential because you’re not eating! A few days of this might be fine but problems can start if it drags on for a longer period of time. I’ve noticed that as time goes on it becomes easier to pass on eating enough protein for the day. Not wanting to eat ends up affecting the types of food I eat and the meals I make. It’s easier to grab a premade, boxed, canned or frozen meal instead of making something. This often means that the meal will be high in carbs and low in both protein and vegetables which can then create problems with RH. Returning to old snacking habits also becomes a problem. I don’t know about anyone else but, even when nothing looks good, it’s always easy to eat a handful of crackers simply to say you ate something.

Here’s a few of the things I’ve been trying

– Deal with the sources of stress and insomnia…..easier said than done but that’s a work in progress

– Focus on getting in my protein and vegetables first. This might mean taking a few bites and then returning for more a short time later. While we are told that grazing is bad it’s not the same when I’m grazing on meat and veggies. Carbs are a whole different story and I could easily eat a few crackers every time I passed the box all day long if I didn’t pay attention. Can’t say the same thing for chicken, beef or salad greens.

– Mix up the food textures. While I love soup I find that eating food that has the same texture over and over again doesn’t help with the situation.

– Make something new even if it doesn’t seem appealing right now. My hope is that by adding in something new I will pull myself out of the food rut I’m in.

How about you? Ever have this happen to you? While I blog from the viewpoint of someone who has had weight loss surgery food apathy occurs to everyone at some point including those who have not been surgically altered. What did you do to get out of that blah feeling about food? Why not leave a comment below and share some of things that you did to help with your own food apathy.

Time Saving Tuesday (TST) – Make A Big Batch

Time Saving Tuesday

Join me for the (mostly) weekly Time Saving Tuesday tip.

As a single mother with three daughters, a house, cats and a job working close to 50 hours a week, the only way I can keep up my wonder woman persona is to find things that save me time. This can be a good thing when it comes to not slipping back into former habits that contributed to hurting my health. Over the years I’ve come up with lots of tricks that work for me and, thanks to Pinterest and the many websites out there, I see lots of others that I’d like to try one day. Each week I thought I would share either a tip that I use or something that I’ve seen on another site. Perhaps some of these will work for you to help save you time and make things a bit easier. If you’ve got a great time saving tip to share why not post it in the comment section below.

This week’s TST tip is to help save you time and money is to measure and package several batches of your favorite mix at one time. In yesterday’s post on Cranberry Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies I explained how I measure out multiple batches of dry ingredients needed to make my family’s favorite breakfast cookies. If you have to pull all the ingredients out to whip up a batch of cookies, pancakes, cake, brownies, homemade dressing, spice blends, meat marinades, etc then why not measure out several batches. This will cut down on prep time in the future since you won’t have to gather some of the ingredients and measure them. In the case of the breakfast cookies all that is needed is a couple of wet ingredients and I can get a batch of these into the oven in about 5 minutes.

Got kids? This is a great way to get them involved in cooking and cut down on future messes. Kids are usually happy to help measure and package the dry ingredients. On baking day there are fewer messy dishes, less mess from spills during measuring and more time enjoying the whole cooking experience.

The biggest tip I can offer here is to clearly mark and label your bags. I also include a date and sometimes will tuck a recipe into the main bag. I put all the smaller bags (usually quart size freezer bags) into a larger gallon sized freezer bag. I store packaged dry ingredients in the freezer to help them last longer if I have packaged up a bunch. I have prepared a variety of mixes, packaged and labeled them and have given them to my parents. They enjoy eating things I make but don’t often have ingredients around to make it themselves. They also won’t make something if it calls for an ingredient that they will probably only use to make this recipe. By giving them pre-measured mixes they will be able to make these for themselves by adding a few items that they already have on hand.

How about you? Got a favorite recipe that you ever pre-measured out multiple batches? Why not share a link to it below.

The Recipe ReDux – Cranberry Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Once again it’s time for the monthly Recipe ReDux challenge. This is the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians,The Recipe ReDux is focused on taking delicious dishes, keeping them delicious, but making them better for you. Each month there is a theme and this month’s theme is:

Break Out of Breakfast Boredom

Cooks aren’t always pressed for time in the mornings – they just need new ideas.  Talk about a perfect theme. I have been on the run this past month and haven’t had much time to post. Often times I am running out the door early to get some errands done and don’t make it back home again until later in the evening. I pack my lunch the night before but breakfast is often eaten on the run. These breakfast cookies make a perfect on the go meal. Made with oatmeal they include an extra boost of fiber from the added Fiber One cereal. Give them a try if you are looking to break out of your breakfast boredom.

When I prepared these breakfast cookies I will actually measure out the ingredients for several batches. This helps to cut down prep time in the future. If you look at the recipe below you will notice that it says Bag 1 and Bag 2. I will measure out all of the ingredients for bag 1 (sugars, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt) then seal those bags and set aside. I do the same thing with the ingredients for bag 2 (oats, cereal and cranberries). I place all of the bags into a larger freezer bag and include a paper with the name of the recipe (see the picture below).

oatmeal cookies

Since I make these a few times a month measuring out enough to make 4 or 5 recipes helps to cut down on time later on as I only have to measure out the wet ingredients. I simply add the contents of each bag, as indicated in the recipe, when it’s time to make it.

CRANBERRY OATMEAL BREAKFAST COOKIES

cranberry oatmeal breakfast cookies

The Recipe ReDux - Cranberry Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
You can substitute raisins in place of the dried cranberries if you'd like.
Ingredients
  • BAG 1
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar or brown sugar substitute
  • 3 tablespoons Splenda, granulated sugar or other sugar of choice
  • ⅔ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • BAG 2
  • 1 cup regular oats
  • ½ cup Fiber One cereal or other high fiber cereal
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • WET INGREDIENTS
  • 3 tablespoon butter or margarine at room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons no sugar added applesauce or pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F
  2. In a bowl combine the butter, applesauce, egg and vanilla extract.
  3. Add the contents of Bag 1. If only preparing a single recipe then mix in the brown sugar, Splenda, whole wheat flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Add the contents of Bag 2. If only preparing a single recipe then mix in the oats, Fiber one and cranberries.
  5. Spoon batter onto a cookie sheet in 10 evenly spaced mounds. Use a spoon to gently spread them into a circle about 2½ to 3 inches in diameter.
  6. Bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Remove and allow to cool.

 

cranberry oatmeal breakfast cookies 2

Why not stop by and see what else everyone is cooking up for this month’s challenge.

The Recipe ReDux – Mediterranean Yogurt Chicken

Once again it’s time for the monthly Recipe Redux challenge. This is the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians,The Recipe ReDux is focused on taking delicious dishes, keeping them delicious, but making them better for you. Each month there is a theme and this month’s theme is:

A New Ingredient for the New Year

We’ve been asked to pick a new ingredient that you’ve been wanting to try and cook or bake up a new recipe in the new year. I started thinking about ingredients that I might want to try but nothing came to mind. A few days later my middle daughter was in the kitchen asking why I had a jar of dried mint. I had purchased it for the recipe I made for last month’s challenge….Pomegranate Meatball Soup. It called for mint and so I bought a jar. But I don’t really use mint in any recipes, except for an occasional dessert, so it has been sitting there. Hmmmm mint, while a common ingredient, is something that I had not cooked with before except for that one recipe. I wondered what other main dishes might include mint and began searching. I found that it’s used in many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes. After gathering together a few recipes I put this yogurt based marinaded chicken together.

MEDITERRANEAN YOGURT CHICKEN

Yogurt chicken 2

 

The Recipe ReDux - Mediterranean Yogurt Chicken
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
 
You can use fresh mint in place of the dried mint. Use one spring of spearmint finely minced in place of the dried mint.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white, apple cider or rice vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons dried spearmint
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 to 1½ pounds of boneless chicken breast, chicken legs or thighs
Instructions
  1. In a bowl whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, oregano, cumin, spearmint, salt, paprika, pepper and onions.
  2. Add the chicken and toss to coat.
  3. Place into refrigerator and allow to marinate 4 to 6 hours or even overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  5. Shake excess marinade off from chicken and place on a prepared baking dish.
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the center of the chicken pieces are no longer pink or a thermometer reads at least 165 degrees.

 

yogurt chicken1

The chicken comes out nice and tender from marinating in the yogurt. The mint has a slight herb/green flavor but does not jump out at you and scream there’s mint in this dish. It was very tasty and I will try this again with fresh mint to see if there is a difference in the taste between using fresh and dried. I served it with this Greek Lemon Pasta Salad.

This marinade is great for those who have had WLS and find they have difficulties dealing with the texture of cooked meats such as chicken. I know many people have said that if the food they are eating is even just a bit dry it they have a hard time with it. This marinade kept the chicken very juicy and moist. You may also want to choose darker cuts of meat such as the legs and thighs. They are typically a little fattier then the breast and this also keeps to keep the meat from being dry. If you’ve had a problem with the texture of cooked chicken in the past I would certainly give this marinade a try.

Do you use mint in any main dishes? If so leave a comment below and leave a link to your favorite recipe. Then check out what some of the other dietitians are coming up for this month’s theme. Check out the links below.

Leslie’s Soon To Be Famous Chicken Soup

My co-worker Leslie sent around a copy of a chicken soup recipe that she often makes. It was titled Leslie’s Soon To Be Famous Chicken Soup. With its classic chicken soup taste and a touch of flavors from her current home state of Texas I think she just might be right. It is soon to be famous. It already is popular in my house and perhaps it will be in yours as well.

LESLIE’S SOON TO BE FAMOUS CHICKEN SOUP

soup11

Leslie's Soon To Be Famous Chicken Soup
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 servings
 
This makes a huge pot of soup. Be prepared for leftovers. You can substitute cooked chicken for the boneless chicken if desired. If you are using minute rice add it last. I've also added a half of a package of store bought shredded carrots in place of the diced/baby carrots.
Ingredients
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped or about 15 baby carrots cut in half
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 - 15 ounce can Rotel tomatoes or diced tomatoes
  • ¾ cup rice
  • 1 -2 jalapenos, finely minced
  • 2 to 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 - 32 ounce containers chicken broth
  • 16 ounces boneless, skinless chicken, diced
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • ¼ cup minced cilantro
  • juice of one lime
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large pot heat vegetable oil and add onion, celery, carrots and red pepper.
  2. Cook for approximately 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add chicken broth, diced chicken breast, potatoes, tomatoes, jalapenos, rice, pepper, cumin and cilantro.
  4. Cook until the potatoes and carrots are soft.
  5. Add in lime juice and salt to taste.

 

soup22

This is amazingly good soup. It has a nice amount of protein to help keep me feeling full. Want to make it vegetarian? Replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth and the diced chicken with black beans. It’s just as delicious.  Give this recipe a try and let me know if you like it. I’ll make sure to tell Leslie that her soup is a hit in other houses as well my own.

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