Woman of Many Meals

Week 27.


Breakfast (Lunch and Dinner) Served All Day How many times am I going to get hungry today?

Let's see, it's almost 11. I woke up starving and had tea, oatmeal, and fruit salad with yogurt. Then Aaron packed a sandwich and went to work and I sat down at my desk for an hour. Next, I had another bowl of fruit salad and yogurt.

Now, to stave off the munchies, I'm fixing myself a big, milky decaf cappuccino with one of my mom's almond biscotti, which are so full of almonds I count them as real food.

We've been re-reading kid's books before bed, and I've realized that like Eric Carle's Very Hungry Caterpillar, I munch my way through each day. Two breakfasts have become the norm, often followed by a midmorning snack, two small lunches, a little bite in the afternoon, a balanced dinner, and perhaps a pre-bed snack.

I'm self-conscious about this, since the outside observer might conclude that I do nothing but eat all day. But my dear friend Stef reminds me that the Very Hungry Caterpillar didn't lament the likelihood of love handles. Nope, he relished everything from an apple to sausage and cherry pie, and emerged a beautiful butterfly. And then there's my mother's response (to most of my anxieties actually): why spoil this wonderful time for yourself by worrying?

Mini Meals In fact, "grazing" is said to be an ideal way to nourish mother and baby since it provides a level, constant supply of nutrients and energy. And hey, I get eight opportunities to eat well every day! Sure, it's not all whole wheat and bean sprouts.

This afternoon, my nephew's birthday party will add a slice of cake to the equation, and tacos out with the family afterwards. But when you eat so many meals in a day, you get another chance every few hours.

Recent experience has shown that planning is key. When I'm hungry, I don't think clearly—if at all—and it's all too easy to just snarf cold takeout at the counter for lunch, then eat a bowl of cereal at my desk for dessert, and, well, before you know it I've passed another day without protein or vegetables.

The trick is to start out on the right foot at the supermarket, stocking the house with ingredients that readily transform into simple meals at the first hunger pang. Below is a roundup of my current faves, all of which are ready to be consumed within 10 minutes. I hope some of these will appeal to you too, and I'd love to hear about your quick-fix mini-meals in the comments. I'm already looking ahead to the next few meals.

A Few of My Favorite Things:

  • Steamed spinach topped with an egg fried in sesame oil, drizzled with soy sauce and minced scallion (also great over reheated brown rice if you've got any).
  • Whole grain English muffin or puffed corn cakes topped with cottage cheese or Greek yogurt and sliced pear.
  • Gefilte fish and horseradish (traditional for Passover, but tasty, full of protein, and available in the Jewish section of most supermarkets).
  • Plain yogurt mixed with a dollop of mayo, Dijon mustard and minced chives, for dipping apple, fennel and celery.
  • Avocado, romaine and grated Cheddar salad dressed with lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Steamed frozen lima beans with a little butter, salt, and pepper.
  • Egg noodles and green peas tossed with cottage cheese (an heirloom Singer family recipe—add frozen peas a few minutes before the noodles are done).
  • Toasted whole-wheat mini pitas stuffed with hummus and sliced cucumber.