I said last week that I’d post a food diary for this week, so here it is. The idea behind it was a sort of “practise what you preach” attempt at demonstrating that I’m not secretly eating fish and steamed vegetables every day, and now that I look back at it there are a couple of points which I think bear some discussion. I also kind of wish I’d done it during a week where I’d cooked more and eaten out less. But that would be missing the point. Let’s start at the beginning:
Saturday 9th April
Breakfast: Two Weetabix with milk and sugar
Lunch: Lentil soup with bread, cheese and assorted salads; mango and banana cake
This was at the home of friends, which is why it’s such a nice-sounding meal.
Dinner: Fettuccine with salmon and cream
At a pretty crappy restaurant off Charlotte Street. If I could remember the name, I’d advise you to avoid it.
Sunday 10th April
Breakfast: Buttered toast
Lunch: Artichoke, olive and pepper pizza
In the Half Moon in Herne Hill, which does the best pub pizza I know.
Dinner: Pasta with grated cheese
Pasta with grated cheese is my go-to dish when I’m too tired or lazy or it’s too late to make anything else. This was an eleven-o-clock supper, which is probably why I had no appetite the next morning.
Monday 11th April
I never don’t have breakfast, but for some reason I skipped it last Monday. Actually, I’m convinced – contra received wisdom – that I eat less through the day if I skip breakfast and thus skipping it would be conducive to weight loss, but screw that. Breakfast, done right, is the best meal of the day. I wait and have it at my desk, which means I always have something to look forward to on my commute, even on the meetingiest of days.
Lunch: Jacket potato with cheese and salad
Dinner: Chicken kiev with oven chips and steamed broccoli
Tuesday 12th April
Breakfast: A plain croissant and a banana
Lunch: Tuna and cucumber baguette
Dinner: Chicken and bacon pie with mashed potatoes
Snacks: A gingerbread man
Wednesday 13th April
Breakfast: An egg roll
Top tip re. egg rolls: they need salt and pepper. An unseasoned egg roll is a horrible thing.
Lunch: Chicken curry with rice and naan
Left over and reheated from a takeaway the previous Friday night. I wasn’t sure it was a good idea, but I seem to still be here.
Dinner: Pitta bread pizzas
Whenever the beloved is away, which he was on Wednesday night, I have pitta bread pizzas or jacket potato, because those are the two things which I love and he doesn’t.
Snacks: A bag of Minstrels, two plain pitta breads
However, I ruined my appetite for the pitta bread pizza by eating two plain pitta breads while I was waiting for them to cook. I am all for snacking between meals, but not at the expense of enjoying the meals themselves. Lesson: don’t cook something time-consuming straight after a swim (when it’s already late and you’re already starving) – or, if you must cook something time-consuming, make the effort to resist snacking while it cooks.
Thursday 14th April
Breakfast: Egg and cheese muffin with hash browns
In Burger King. I love Burger King breakfasts.
Lunch: Cheese and tomato panini
In English, the singular of panini is panini.
Dinner: Spaghetti with meatballs
Snacks: Half a chocolate muffin, some free cheese cracker things
The latter on a plane, where I think it’s obligatory to eat any free food that comes your way.
Friday 15th April
Breakfast: A banana
Brunch: Scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on a bagel
Dinner: Noodles with grated cheese
Snacks: A square of very dark chocolate
There goes the pasta-with-cheese again. Twice in a week is unusual even for me, but the latter part of the week was spent in Dublin and eating habits invariably get disturbed with travel.
Unsurprisingly, the best food of the week was Saturday’s lunch, prepared with care and shared with friends, and the worst food of the week was the stuff I didn’t really want but ate because it was there – to wit, the two emergency pittas and the chocolate muffin. In Fat Is A Feminist Issue Susie Orbach talks to women who say they don’t know what need they’re trying to fulfil when they open the fridge late at night, but they know it’s not hunger. In my case, it’s quite often boredom. As I said last week, I didn’t keep this food diary in order to change my eating habits, but on reflection I think “not eating things you don’t want to eat” is a pretty good habit to get into.