Sunday, February 26, 2012

Reader Questions & Answers #2

On Sundays, I will answer some readers' questions in a post. If you have a question that you would like me to answer here on the blog, just send me an e-mail with the subject "Q&A", and I may include them in a future Q&A post. They don't have to be about weight loss or running--anything is game!  (Remember, I'm not a doctor or dietician, or any sort of medical professional--I can only answer questions from my own experience).

Q: I have recently cut out soda (missing my Diet Coke sooo much).  I know you have mentioned giving up coffee but I'm not sure I can do that one!  I'm trying to find an alternative for things to drink other than water that #1 don't add calories and #2 tastes good.  What do you drink throughout the day besides water or iced tea?

A: Unfortunately, I don't have much to respond with to this question! I drink a LOT of water which means I am rarely thirsty. I drink hot tea (tons of different flavors) with a few drops of Stevia extract and about a teaspoon of heavy cream (the cream adds minimal calories, but it makes a world of difference in the taste of the tea). Something that I like to make in the summer is a big batch of Arnold Palmer--I make iced tea and then mix it with Crystal Light Lemonade (a 50/50 mix).  Less than five calories and it's a great summer drink! 

I know a lot of people suggest seltzer water with a splash of fruit juice or lemon--I'm not a big fan of seltzer water, but if you're giving up soda, this would probably help you stop craving the carbonation ;)



Q: I recently came across your blog while I was on Pinterest! Imagine that, right?? :-) While I was reading your "about me" on your blog I read that you started a wine club. I thought..... hmmmm ........ how fun!! So I am just wondering how it all works. I would love to start a wine club. What a great reason to get together once a month with the girls. So do you just take turns having it every month? How do you chose the wines and the food? How many different kinds of wine do you have? 

A: My wine club is something that I look forward to every month--so much fun! It all came about when my friend Renee and I were talking about how we'd like to learn more about wine, and she said she thought it would be fun to make some sort of "club" to get together, drink wine, and learn about it. I thought it was a great idea! 
Our very first Winers meeting, June 2009 (I'm in purple, obviously before I lost the weight)
It's evolved quite a bit since we started it in June of 2009, but here is the basic rundown: each month, someone volunteers to be the hostess. The hostess is in charge of choosing a theme (French wines? Wines made in Michigan? Cheap vs. pricey? Boxed wines? The themes are endless). Then she can choose the wines she'd like to have (usually we have 6-8 bottles per meeting, depending on the number of people there). And she can choose the food to go with it, sticking with the theme.

At the meeting (the house of who is hostessing), the hostess pours a small amount (about one ounce) of wine into each person's glass, and we taste it and talk about it. We have a "dump bowl" so we can pour it out if we don't like it. Once we've tasted all of the wines, everyone usually picks their favorite and pours a small glass of it to sip and chit chat for the rest of the meeting.

I remembered how to fold a note into a pinwheel-thingy ;)
Yesterday's meeting, for example, was hosted by Stephanie. She chose a "school" theme, which I thought was fun. She gave us school folders, with notebook paper (for passing notes, haha), a quiz about wine, our wine list for the meeting, and a packet of papers with lots of wine info (our "notes"). 

For food, she chose different cheeses and crackers (because that's what we ate for snack in school!), some fruit, veggies, and chips. And we tasted (and scored!) seven different wines:

Renee showing off her 90%-correct wine quiz (she beats us all)

The wines we tasted

Our group photo (we do this at EVERY meeting)
So anyways, there are about 40ish people in our club, but not everyone goes to every meeting--usually we have between 6 and 10 people show up for a meeting, but we've had as many as 25 before. We have a Facebook group so we can RSVP. 

If you're interested in starting your own group, you can invite a few friends, and then let them invite friends, and so on. Eventually, you'll grow to have a pretty big club. But I find that I enjoy the smaller meetings (like yesterday's) more than the big ones. It's nice to interact with everyone and have a group conversation rather than one-on-one, which usually happens in a large group of people.

Sometimes when I talk about the club, people have this image of all of us partying like we're in college. It's nothing like that! Everybody is actually very responsible and sticks with about two glasses of wine total. And we usually carpool, so if someone wants to have a third glass, she won't be driving :)

By the way, if you haven't already seen it, I wrote a post about the very basics of wine for people who know nothing about wine. So you don't have to know wine to start a wine club!


And now, a question for all of you...

Q: What is your go-to lunch? I have tons of favorite breakfasts and dinners, but lunch is a tough one for me, so I'm always looking for new ideas. Just curious what you all eat for lunch!

A: My go-to lunch is probably a tuna sandwich. I always have tuna in the pantry, so I add some mayo and relish and throw it on some bread. And I have a sliced apple or pear or bunch of grapes with it.

42 comments:

  1. My Lunch is almost the same everyday. It involves a protein (fish or chicken just depending on what's available) and a salad with cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, 1/2 cup cottage cheese and fat free french dressing. Sometimes I add other veggies but those are the basics that I like to have. It sounds bland but it keeps me on track.

    ReplyDelete
  2. If I'm not eating some type of leftover from dinner, it's usually a sandwich. I try and start with the double fiber whole wheat bread. I'll have tuna, pb&j, Boar's Head turkey or chicken, but I have a couple of favorites. One is making garlic bread (very little oil) with an open kaiser roll, then putting a slice of salami and provolone on each half and broiling it. If I don't make the garlic bread, to save calories, I'll put balsamic vinegar on the toasted halves. If I have them, I'll put a few pieces of marinated artichoke hearts on, then close up the sandwich. It's got a little too much sodium, but not horrific calorie-wise with the little bit of salami and cheese. Another favorite is just toasting my bread, slicing a tomato and broiling it, then drizzling with balsamic. Now that's a healthy sandwich!

    P.S. Who knew Paul Newman made wine?!!!?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The salami/provolone/artichoke sandwich reminds me of the muffaletta you get in New Orleans.

      Delete
  3. If I'm not taking leftovers from dinner or take out to work with me, my go to is a pocket pita bread with tuna. No mayo, nothing. Just tuna and a pita pocket. I'll usually have an apple and a mug of hot tea. I seldom deviate from this....

    ReplyDelete
  4. My lunch is almost always a sandwich (Aunt Millies Light - 35 cal/slice) with a little mayo, mustard, alfalfa sprouts, deli meat, provolone cheese) and some kind of fruit.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for answering my question about drinks. I've tried the seltzer water and it is a fair substitute for soda, and fortunately I do find over time the craving is getting less.

    Some of my go-to lunches are Ole Extreme Wellness High Fiber/Low Carb http://www.olemexicanfoods.com/high-fiberlow-carb-8-wraps/ and I have a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese with some Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh ham and usually add some turkey pepperoni. Or I also like the same brand of roast beef with some cream cheese. I always pile the wraps with lettuce too. I pair it with a piece of fruit and maybe some pretzels or Pop Chips. Yumm!

    I also like a to make an individual pizza with the Ole tortillas. Turkey pepperoni with some turkey sausage with a little mozzarella being my fave, but any kind is good.

    And then of course the regular ol' salad with some diced chicken or ham.

    I often make a pot of soup and my kids usually "don't like it" so I end up eating that for lunch for a few days afterwards. I grumble that they don't eat it but I guess that makes an easy lunch for me. Perhaps I should be grateful (?) ;)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have to mix it up for lunches, I am still on WW points program so I have to keep points in mind. I usually make some kind of crockpot chicken or baked chicken at the first of the week and use it in a variety of ways for lunch, in tacos, salads, sandwiches etc. I definitely have the go to of canned tuna or chicken though with some light miracle whip, mustard, tomato and lettuce mixed in with either some crackers or 45 cal bread. I love seeing what everyone else does! It helps me to come up with new ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  7. My go to is usually a sandwich of some kind. I love turkey and cheddar, sometimes I'll go for a panini version.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love reading all these ideas. I usually do breakfast for lunch. For breakfast I usually have oatmeal, raisins and protein shake. So for lunch I LOVE making an omelette with egg whites, mushrooms, green peppers, and .5oz cheese. For side I'll have a mini WW bagel, a fruit and steamed broccoli. YUM!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I marinate chicken breasts in italian dressing overnight in a gallon ziplock bag. Then dump the marinade and chicken in the crock pot and cook for about 3 hours (I think!). SO SO good!! You can then eat the chicken breast whole or you can shred it and put it on a salad or in a wrap. The chicken shreds very easily with a fork.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have recenlty discovered cooking chicken breasts in the crockpot and LOVE LOVE LOVE how they turn out. Easy to shred, and so tender and delicious. Why haven't I been doing this for my whole life?

      Delete
    2. Yes, I recently discovered it too....thanks to Pinterest!! And you are right, chicken breasts in the crock pot are the best! Another recipe I use is for chicken tacos.... 1 envelope Taco Seasoning
      6 pieces Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
      1 jar Salsa (16 oz)

      Mix salsa and season packet and then dump onto chicken breasts in crock pot. Give it a little stir to blend with the chicken. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. When done, the chicken should shred easily when stirred with a fork. This is good as a taco or on a salad.

      Delete
  10. Boca Burger "Chix" Patty(meatless)-160 calories cooked on the George Foreman grill! I eat it on a thomas bagel thin everything with a small amount of goat cheese melted on top-YUM!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love the wine club tips, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is so fun, I love reading Q&A's!

    ReplyDelete
  13. The wine club sounds like so much fun, unfortunately I am allergic. =( My go to lunch is natural pb & Wegmans triple fruit spread on whole wheat bread, glass of skim milk and an apple or banana. I love my pbj! No matter my age, it's still my favorite kind of sandwich.

    ReplyDelete
  14. We have a bookclub like your group, love my time with my book ladies, recently one of our friends expressed her gratitude by giving our group a photo shoot.... so fun we all got dressed up and got great self - group - and goofy Pics So much fun!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. My go to lunch is something easy for me to pack to work. I prefer leftovers. They are so much tastier than anything else! Otherwise I will take a sandwich or grab something healthier in the frozen foods section. I like the Stouffer's Farmer's Harvest stuff right now. I will also grab a piece of fruit and luna bar. LOVE my luna bars!

    The wine club sounds like a blast. It wouldn't be bad to do something like that here for me to get to know people here in town. I just wish I had a bigger apartment!

    And if you want to take a look at some point here is my blog. Keygeek.blogspot.com :)

    Thanks for sharing your story. You are such an inspiration and I love reading what you have to say!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Katie, this is COMPLETELY off topic, but today at Trader Joes was a big display of.....COOKIE BUTTER! Of course I had to buy a jar! The checkout clerk was asking me about whether I had ever tried it before,and how he uses it, and I told him how I found out about it, so now I would have to try it. Well, I did try it and OMG, I am going to have to restrain myself...YUM!!!

    Dede

    ReplyDelete
  17. My go to lunch, every day is a huge fruit smoothie.
    Quick, easy, healthy and I LOVE it!
    frozen strawberries; 1 banana; 1/2 apple; frozen pineapple; a few broccoli florets because they totally hide; 2 TBSP flax seeds, again, it toally hides; frozen blueberries; and my favorite frozen raspberries for great flavor and color. 1/2 C each Trop 50 OJ & pineapple juice.
    Berrylicious!

    ReplyDelete
  18. One of my favorite go to lunches is roast beef on a multi-grain flat-out wrap with shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix), red bell peppers, and thai peanut sauce. It is sweet and spicy and crunchy, and I LOVE it. Can be made with turkey too, or whatever leftover meat from the night before, and if you don't like it spicy try it with Asian dressing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds realy good--I might have to try that sandwich!

      Delete
  19. My favorite lunch when I'm home is: Nachos! I use baked taco chips or WW pita chips, shredded low-fat cheddar, salsa, low-fat sourcream, a single-serving guacamole if I have it and whatever good veggies I have - onion, lettuce, tomato, peppers, etc.
    One plate is about 300 calories. I LOVE nachos and this is my way of having my favorite food in a healthy, controlled portion!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I eat just about the same thing every day. A whole wheat english muffin, toasted, with natural peanut butter, 2 hard boiled eggs and then a big handful of baby carrots with some string cheese or laughing cow cheese.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Lunch is the hardest meal of the day for me too. I will usually have a salad or leftovers. I tried Panera for the first time today (quick trip to Plattsburgh, NY) and had the most delish fuji apple chicken salad.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I had to look closely at the picture of the wines. I was expecting Boones Farm and Arbor Mist type labels. At lease those bring me back to my school days!

    ReplyDelete
  23. My go to lunch is usually a melted wrap of some sort. I always have tortillas but never bread, i'm a bad bread waster. Leftover chicken, random lunch meat, onions, peppers, lettuce... anything is good with cheese and 15 seconds in the microwave. lol

    ReplyDelete
  24. My go to lunch is usually soup. I like to take a day in the kitchen and make up 3 different soups and but them in indiv bowls and freeze. Lately I have taken to adding 1/2c greek yogurt to some of the soups right before eating them! BTW love love the spicy carrot bisque so much that I made it twice in one week!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Lately, I am hooked on Progresso soups. My favorite right now is the Santa Fe Chicken. It is one of the light versions, but the flavor is anything but light. Sometimes I eat it with a few tortilla chips on the side. I also try to eat fruit at lunch as well. I only have a half hour for lunch (I teach), so I have to eat fast!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am a teacher too Heather and I love Progresso's tomato rotini soup. It is very filling and I like that it has a carb in it. I will have to try Santa Fe Chicken. :)

      Delete
  26. My go to lunch recently is a pb and j on daves bread with either cut up veg or fruit. If I have veg then I dip in hummus if I have fruit then I dip it in biscoff cookie butter (I'm sure you are familiar with that snack though)

    ReplyDelete
  27. completely off topic I'm afraid but just to let you know I've been looking out for the magazine you said you'd be appearing over here in the UK and so far I've not spotted the article. I'll keep looking, I hope I haven't missed it, just wanted to update you.

    ReplyDelete
  28. My go-to lunch lately has been a grain (whole wheat pasta, brown rice, barley, or quinoa), frozen veggies, and cottage cheese, with various spices. It is very good, and I can change it up a lot with different veggies and spices!!!
    I would love to do a wine club, but I am not sure how I could host with two small children!!!

    ~Laura

    ReplyDelete
  29. I was very interested to hear your suggestions for drinks as I drink lots of diet cola and know its not good - recently in the UK media there was an article about how drinkers of diet pop are 43% more likely to have a heart attack or stroke!! :0/

    I hate water, to the point where plain water actually makes me feel a bit sick, don't much like squash either unless it's high juice and therefore high calorie.

    We don't really drink iced tea here but I remember my dad making some when we were kids so maybe I should try that - how do you make it? Can you point me in the direction of a good recipe?

    ReplyDelete
  30. My go to lunch right this minute is a La Tortilla tortilla for 100cal, 1/2 tbsp hummus, spinach, turkey, one slice of microwavable bacon, and string cheese. It's quick and yummy!

    ReplyDelete
  31. I eat a salad for lunch 99% of the time. I top lettuce with onion, green peppers and chicken. Ranch dressing as it's fairly low carb. I miss the days I ate bread. I just seem to blow up when I do. :(

    ReplyDelete
  32. I LOVE this idea--answering questions one day a week. Now I have to think of a question to ask you!
    Still can't get over your last blog, about how you hated being overweight and breathless all the time. ME TOO! I used to get up out of the recliner I slept in most of the time, to pee in the middle of the night, and when I would get back in the chair, not only was I breathing hard, but my heart was just pounding! I hated that feeling! And the bathroom was about 10 steps from where I slept!

    I showed hubby your last blog--he could not believe the difference in you. Like your hubby--he often says--when seeing a "before" picture of me, "I don't remember you being that big." I guess love blinded them. That's what I like to think anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hubby works 10 minutes from home so he comes home for lunch every day (except Friday). We opt to have our "dinner" for lunch... it's actually better to eat bigger meals at breakfast and lunch while eating lighter in the evening. So, for "dinner" we usually do light lunch-type meals such as veggie burgers, tuna salad, soup (usually vegetarian), bean tacos (I make everything from scratch - so it's a lot of work, but super yummy), Indian spiced lentils and rice, hard-boiled eggs in a creamy tomato sauce, there's just so much to make. :D

    ReplyDelete
  34. PS. I used to detest drinking water. I would go DAYS without drinking any water - just soda or the generic Crystal Light stuff. If I drank plain water I would oftentimes feel nauseous.

    However, I decided that the synthetic (aka artificial) sweeteners are definitely not good for me (or anyone for that matter) and quit cold-turkey. I just had to suck-it-up and drink plain old boring water.... now I drink 8+ glasses a day (usually 1 1/2 - 2 cups with every meal and 1+ cups with every snack and 3+ cups during/after every workout). I've noticed a HUGE difference... I used to be able to eat and eat and eat without ever feeling full... but once I started drinking water - I feel full with a smaller than average sized meal!

    I also notice I'm not so sluggish... I was sleeping 10+ hours a day and still feeling exhausted - but now I get 7-8 hours and no longer take naps in the afternoon with the kids!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Always love hearing about Winers, even if I'm not a big wine fan! My go to lunch... that's tough because I normally snack throughout the day. I'll have a protein shake for breakfast, a few snacks, then dinner at night. During the day I"ll have an apple with peanut butter, toast w nutella, edamame, instant oatmeal. Unfortunately I'm not very creative, haha!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Like you, Katie, I get on a kick and eat the same thing over and over and over for a time, and then can't stand the sight of it for a few months. Right now (sure winter has something to do with it), I have soup every day for lunch--between Campbell's Chunky and Progresso, there are about 4 that I really like (homestyle chicken and noodle or beef and noodle, chicken herb dumpling, and campbells chicken and sausage gumbo). I throw about 6 saltines in and am usually satisfied until about 4:30 when I have a snack (I work out in early evenings and usually have late dinners-like 7:30). In the warmer weather, I tend to want salads (with a little fruit/nut trail mix, chicken breast, and walnut raspberry dressing) or turkey on a toasted arnold's sandwich thin with crunchy veggies (lettuce, cucumber, pickles) and laughing cow. Depending on the day, I might add a string cheese, banana, or granola bar to supplement the "main course" :).

    ReplyDelete
  37. Love the Q&A posts, and reading all the suggestions for lunch! I need to get into some sort of "routine", but have yet to do so.

    A note on the water...I love water and drink it almost exclusively (have yet to give up my one Diet Dew a day, though!), but I used to drink it with a slice of lime or lemon in it when I was sick of drinking plain ol' water. It's a silly little thing, and only adds just a hint of flavor, but something about it made it easier to bear. I also go through spells where I either get sugar free Kool Aid or Crystal Light and add those to a pitcher of water. It adds minimal calories, and it's still water, just with a wee bit of artificial stuff. :) I'm a big believer in taking the bad with the good (i.e. a bit of artificial flavoring if it gets me to drink my water, a tbsp of ranch dressing if it gets me to eat a huge salad with tons of veggies, etc).

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear from you! (Sorry about the word verification... the spam comments were just ridiculous!)