Food Log Summer 2017 Week 1
Two summers ago, I was a meticulous meal planner. At any point, I could probably tell you what I'd be eating for the next three meals. I'd precisely measure out portions of overnight oats, monitor slow cooker meals, and chop tons of fresh vegetables. This summer, I'm trying something different. Instead of planning and cooking everything, I've been eating no-cook foods, spontaneous treats, and assorted free meals. Here are some highlights from my week 1 food log:
A week ago, I flew from Boston to San Francisco for my internship. One of the first things I looked up in the city was the nearest Trader Joe's. I had the following requirements for my grocery list:
- Convenient to eat. Unlike pineapple or cantaloupe, the plants I bought require little prep. Trader Joe's actually sells perfectly ripe avocados, so you don't have to impatiently wait for avocado rocks to turn edible.
- No cook. None of the food needs to be cooked on the stovetop. The only food that needs cooking is the instant oatmeal. I chose instant over traditional oats for the shorter cook time and reduced likelihood of exploding in the microwave. A word of caution: it's really easy to overcook Trader Joe's unsweetened instant oatmeal, and you should err towards shorter cook times.
- Portable. I always keep a stash of pre-packaged granola bars in my backpack. I tried Trader Joe's sweet and salty granola bars, which contain almond butter and yogurt topping. I liked the chewy texture and crunchy almonds, but the yogurt topping is a bit too sweet for my taste. My favorite granola bar is still the Trader Joe's simply nutty dark chocolate nut bar, which is chewy and less sweet.
- Easy to transport. I have no car, so I need to carry food home on the MUNI train. Grocery shopping guides often overlook the weight of groceries. My grocery haul weighed less than 20 pounds and all fit nicely into an empty Jansport backpack.
- For one. I'm only feeding myself, so I kept portions of perishable food small. The foods with larger portions (peanut butter and oatmeal) keep well.
- Cheap. It's easy to rack up a huge bill at Trader Joe's if you're buying lots of snacks and cheese. My favorite budget friendly Trader Joe's item is the natural peanut butter, which has one ingredient: peanuts. I prefer the crunchy unsalted variety for no cook purposes, but I prefer creamy for baking, such as in three ingredient peanut butter cookies. Also, not pictured is a less delicious bottle of moisturizer, which is $4 at Trader Joe's and maybe three times as expensive elsewhere. Receipt below for your information.
Pinterest is filled with gorgeous shots of smoothie bowls and overnight oats in Mason jars, and it makes you wonder if this is what people eat every morning. I used to compare my breakfast to these high standards and hyper-analyze the nutritional content every morning. Fortunately, I've stopped worrying so much about if my meal is "guaranteed to keep me full for hours". This week, I enjoyed the simple pleasure of fresh, fluffy white bread and hot coffee.
Another day, I had a bowl of hot instant oatmeal topped with bananas and pistachios. I actually ended up overcooking the oats, but the toppings were pretty good.
Two summers ago, I'd always cook dinner even if it was 10 pm and I just got home from working all day and lifting at the gym. This Wednesday, I got home late after work, climbing, and getting lost, and dinner was an apple, a bananas, and lots of peanut butter.
Relinquishing control over meals has made eating out with friends a lot more enjoyable. Instead of analyzing menu items for healthfulness, I've gotten better at picking something that sounds tasty. Pictured below is pho from Tin Vietnamese Cuisine. It's the vegetarian pho toppings in ginger chicken broth.
Last thing in my food log is a spontaneous trip to Smitten Ice Cream, which makes liquid nitrogen ice cream. My friend and I got the regular in a waffle bowl. The two flavors were cookie dough with pretzels and chocolate chips and brown sugar with cinnamon shortbread. Today, I might stop by Corgi Con to try some new flavors.
Want more food logs? Also, let me know if you're in San Francisco and want to hang out.