The decision that consumes me for the better part of the morning is what I’m going to have for lunch. You see, right now, while I’m on maternity leave, I have a bit of a guilt complex about spending extra money on meals out. I sincerely hope that guilty feeling carries over into when I go back to work seeing as our childcare bill will only be slightly less than my take home pay. Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE to be going out to lunch…agonizing over the decision between Thai or a great salad or that amazing sandwich I can only get from the bakery near my office. But I know how quickly a daily meal out can add up. I also know how much more my son seems to be eating lately (and he’s only 4). Hello grocery bill $$. I need lunch options of the economical variety.
Making my lunch daily here at home has been an exercise in self control. Portion control. Calorie control. Craving control. Making sure I achieve the perfect balance and end up with a meal that is actually going to leave me satisfied enough to make it through the afternoon, aka my serious snack attack time. It helps that I got back on the Weight Watchers wagon once I hit six weeks postpartum. Counting points has made me much more conscious of what I eat. Sure a heaping plate of nachos with pepperjack, salsa, and black beans would soothe the cravings beast inside me, but a nice pastrami on rye with some minestrone will keep me feeling full longer and help me achieve my current weight loss goals. You see, I’d really like to go back to work in two weeks wearing a certain pair of pants. I’ve been waiting the better part of a year to have unfettered access to my wardrobe, especially the portion of it that involves dress pants without a stretchy tummy panel.
Dinner and breakfast present much less of a conundrum. The first meal of the day is the easiest for me to control and I tend to oscillate between doctored up oatmeal and something involving egg whites and a bunch of vegetables. The nightly repast is planned a week in advance. I personally get a little stressed out just thinking about having to figure out what’s for dinner after coming home from work. With two working adults and two children (one of whom actually eats what we eat), having four to five nights of meals planned makes the hours between commuting and sleeping a lot easier. Not to mention it makes grocery shopping a more economical venture when you’re only buying what you need for the week or buying what’s on sale and creating your menu around it.
I suppose what I need to start doing, and soon, before I return to work, is to treat lunch like I do dinner. Sprinkle in some variety so it’s not the same boring sandwich every day, and try to keep the items flexible for those days when I simply must give into the cravings monster.