Cleaning up my diet

By | June 27, 2018

Running wasn’t/isn’t about weight loss, but I’d still like to end the year down a few (more) pounds.

I’ve come to realize that what I eat definitely drives how I feel on a run. I’ve been aware of this since last summer in the short term and know, for example, I can’t have salad for lunch if I’m going to run after work. More recently I realized that what I ate for dinner impacted morning runs. Just this weekend I realized that was used to be my standard is now too much food. Recent example, even with only having had a post-race smoothie, I couldn’t finish two slices of buffalo chicken pizza. I also know that despite how much I think I want a caffeine sugar bomb, I’m usually much worse for the wear after. There really are lots of lessons to be learned from listening to your body. Still battling the PCOS, of course, but feel like it’s more under control.

I’m also trying to save money, so three months in this has been a fun endeavor.

MealPal Monday: spicy tuna from MakiMaki

and again on Wednesday!

On the lunch front, I finally joined MealPal (referral link) at the end of March and so far have had 28 meals. I went with the twelve meal plan with the exception of May when travel made the six meal plan more prudent.

A look at my history tells me: lots of poke and sushi. Makes sense on two fronts: I’m part fish and would happily eat it at every meal if I could afford it and because sushi and poke tend to be more expensive, they’re an insane value for MealPal’s ~$6.90 / lunch. The carb/protein mix is good for getting me through the 3-4P snackies that inevitably follow a $10.83 salad for lunch. I’d love to say I’m going to make my own lunch, but it isn’t going to happen in summer with any regularity. While I generally prefer temperate weather (I don’t care for either winter or summer’s extremes), I can’t wait for crockpot season because that’s when I’m very good at “cooking”. That said, a recent Peapod order involved stocking up on Uncrustables so those will happen on my MealPal off days. Yes, there have been a few days where neither MealPal nor my lunch from home appealed, and I fell into a $10 salad, but on the whole I think I’ve made better choices. More on that below.


’tis the season for green drinks again


Dinner is the real opportunity to tackle. Salt-laden take out made for thirsty nights and swollen hands, and I was just wasting too much money. Plus it was harder to find “healthy” dinner choices than lunch where there are endless salad bars near the office. Evenings were way too much pizza or 16 Handles. Smoothies have always had a part in my weight loss windows since they satisfy the sweet tooth and give me a relatively healthy option. After being back on the smoothie kick for a few weeks, I decided it was time for an early #GoTheDist mid-year reward¬†since my NutriBullet had seen better days. I love my Ninja so far.¬† It gets smoothies to a consistency that the NutriBullet no longer could, it’s easier to clean and I love the smoothie pre-set so I can hit the button and go do something else. I’m also enjoying experimenting with different protein powders. Any favorites? Finding frozen strawberries a little too sweet, so it’s always fun to find the perfect balance. Can’t go wrong with peanut butter banana. Any favorite recipes?

So, how is this doing with saving money?

Jan 1-March 31

  • Weekday Lunch: $149.96
  • Weekday Dinner: $123.42
  • Weekend Lunch: $396.46
  • Groceries: $146.23
  • Dessert: $126.79

April 1 – June 30

  • Weekday Lunch: $351.06 (includes April MealPal billed in March)
  • Weekday Dinner: $136.67
  • Weekend Lunch: $252.33
  • Groceries: $392.66
  • Dessert: $41.42

Whelp! But this has happened before, although I can’t find the blog post about it. Fresh fruit & veggies are expensive, but I’m feeling better. I think I’m closer to busting the plateau-ish I’ve been on since February and ready to make the second half of the year mine, food wise.


13 thoughts on “Cleaning up my diet

  1. Coco

    I usually have leftovers for lunch, but with my son and his GF here for the summer leftovers are hard to come by. That’s also impacted my grocery bill. We have a cafeteria at work that has a build-your-own salad for $6.95 (huge bowl of greens + 5 toppings, including protein like edamame and beans) so I usually get that.

    1. cari Post author

      Wow, that’s a great price. Here the build your own is 9.99 with unlimited toppings. There’s a cheaper one, but it’s not as fresh. I think for $7 I’d be much happier. Good luck balancing the grocery bill!

  2. Chocolaterunsjudy

    Freggie are expensive but they are totally worth it. I used to say I’d rather eat my food, but I got on a real smoothie kick this year — for much the same reason — satisfies my sweet tooth and *can* be healthy. Chocolate cherry banana is one of my favs, although I’ve found it’s pretty good even without the banana.

    I don’t find strawberries too sweet, though! And they’re so good for you.

    Loooooove sushi & poke. I actually plan to make some poke this weekend when it’s going to be so hot — it’s really pretty easy to make, you just have to be sure you have a reliable source for your fish.

    I’m up a few pounds & would love to lose them, too, but at peak training it’s unlikely (all the carbs!).

    1. cari Post author

      Oh cherry chocolate sounds delicious. I might have to look into that. Thanks I love strawberries as a snack — something about them in a smoothie (or even strawberry milk) doesn’t always work for me. Not sure if it’s concentration on taste buds.

      I used to live in Japan and got so spoiled making homemade sushi. I don’t have a great supplier here, but I do have an amazing hole in the wall sushi joint where the chef is amazing. That’s always my long run treat to myself.

      I find it challenging in summer too besides training due to summer heat. I find I retain more water than typical.

  3. Marcia

    PB Banana is one of my favorite smoothies. I like to make ice cubes out of coffee and throw a few in here. Maybe even a bit of cocoa powder for fun. Good food helps me feel so much better!

    1. cari Post author

      Oh love the idea of coffee ice cubes. Perfect way to balance the caffeine without adding too much more liquid. I made mint mocha milk the other day because it was just too much – not that it was bad in any way.

  4. Liz Dexter

    This is all really interesting. Because I’ve managed never to be on a diet (although I am on a bit of a system for my cholesterol it’s purely for that and not weight loss) I try to just listen to what my body wants, and after a decade and a half of running, if I know I’m running long in the morning I kind of automatically go for brown carbs and beans for dinner without even thinking about it, and I have whatever I fancy afterwards, as that tends towards the kind of balance we’re told to get in us for recovery anyway. if I crave banana milk, which I can’t normally bear, I have it, as I must need something in it (fake banana! or maybe the protein). I do try to get more protein and agree that sushi is an amazing choice (the best choice?!) for that.

    I haven’t gone for smoothies I make myself as all the faffing puts me off. Our local coffee shop does an a MAZ ing beetroot one, however, that I treat myself to if I’m doing heavy running volumes.

    1. cari Post author

      Funny, smoothies are the one thing I don’t care to buy because they’re so expensive vs. cost to make. And unlike sandwiches or salad, I usually have the ingredients on hand. Avocado toast is the only thing I can eat on the eve of a long run I really need to get a toaster so I can quit buying it at least when home.
      I may or may not have eaten my weight in sushi this weekend o:)

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