Let’s play make believe for a moment, shall we?
First scene: You are playing the carpool game, finally made the last pickup and are heading home. The kids are clamoring from the back seat asking for food, and your own stomach is grumbling, too. You think about the contents of your fridge and realize that the only meat you have is still frozen, and the only meals you have ingredients for will take hours to cook. You pass a fast food drive through and one of the kids says its name, “Can we please stop there, mom? Please?” Well, they do have a salad on the menu. You could do that, just this one time. Of course, by the time you actually get to the window you have gotten a big whiff of the fries, and you find yourself ordering some, with a burger on the side for good measure. You get one for your husband as well, and kid’s meals for each of the monkeys in the back. Everyone (except the hubby, who should be getting home not long after you do) dives in to their food. You take bites as you drive, not even looking at the burger in your hand. You pull into the driveway as you reach in for one last fry, only to realize that they are all gone. You didn’t remember eating all that food, and you sure didn’t enjoy it. You wouldn’t even say you feel satisfied. Maybe a little bloated with the beginnings of some heartburn, but no, not satisfied.
Second scene: You are playing the carpool game, finally made the last pickup and are heading home. The kids are clamoring from the back seat asking for food, and your own stomach is grumbling, too. Thankfully you had your week all planned out, and you knew that today was going to be crazy, so you threw a chicken and some carrots and potatoes in the crock pot before you left home. You drive home, arriving to the delicious smell of dinner. You tell the kids to set the table as you pull the chicken out to rest, then quickly dish up the meal and have it on the table. While you are at it, you turn on a little bit of music, and then you sit with your family at the table. You take a moment to close your eyes and give thanks for the food you are about to eat. The meal is simple, yet delicious, and one that everyone enjoys. While eating you talk over your days, discuss the agenda for tomorrow, and talk about the food that you are eating. Because you aren’t driving or doing other tasks, you really can take the time to slow down and savor what you are eating. And by the end of the meal, you feel nourished and very satisfied, not just with the meal, but with the entire experience. Life is good!
In her book French Women Don’t Get Fat, Mireille Guiliano talks about how we each have two sides of ourselves, we have the side that wants to be thin and healthy, and we have the side that wants to eat and be satisfied. Most of us believe those two sides to be at odds with each other, only one side can win.
Instead, Mireille points out that if we can make those two sides be friends, give them both what they want, getting and maintaining a healthy, fit body is relatively simple. Set the scene for your meals as in the second example above, and make sure that the food you are eating is of the highest quality and is very delicious. Set the table, turn on some music, light a candle, use your favorite plates, and maybe even put some flowers on the table. Just make sure to focus on taking the time to enjoy the meal.
When you do those things, consciously and with purpose, you bring more satisfaction into the experience. Enjoying food this way makes you slow down, and you need less in order to feel full.
And if that meal happens to also be healthy, a meal full of nutrients and free of processed ingredients, then you have just made friends with both sides of yourself. Voila!
Now, I don’t personally have a lot of time or money to be putting into fancy meals every night of the week. Thankfully, it is possible to set the scene and enjoy your yummy, home-cooked food every night, even the busy ones, if you have a plan in place. That’s what I love about Real Plans. They really make it easy to get a wholesome meal on the table every night, one that leaves me feeling completely satisfied. And it’s super simple to customize your meal plans for the different needs and wants of your family. I encourage you to give it a try!
How do you set the stage for a satisfying, delicious dinner?
(FYI: This is the slow cooker that I have at home, and I love it. This bad boy gets used at least 5 days a week!)