The Checklist Approach

I’ve written a little about food and guilt, which is useless and basically self-defeating. This post prescribes a remedy to food related guilt.

Most everybody knows, but for those of you who don’t, my husband and I are expecting our first baby the first week of February! We are so excited. 🙂



My approach to nutrition during this pregnancy, or lack thereof, has largely been affected by the drastic changes in our lives over the past several months–pretty much since we found out I was expecting. That being said, we moved cross-country twice in 4 months, and we were camping for several months after that with no furniture/cookware (besides folding chairs, a folding table, a futon mattress, and my Blendtec). I won’t bore you with the details, so long story short, my husband and I are back in Utah and we are settled into an adorable little apartment south of Salt Lake.

Fortunately, I was able to manage drinking a green smoothie pretty much every day of this pregnancy, and I ate as many fruits and vegetables as I possibly could. I also ate some junk. Traveling, moving, and lots of eating out for lack of cookware really got the best of me! I survived, and since things have become more settled, I have taken some time to decide on the best nutrition method for our family.

Life is unpredictable, and curve balls often times tend to lurk around every corner. The Checklist Approach works great in almost any scenario. There is something about limiting yourself from indulging in cravings, particularly when eating healthfully is woefully inconvenient, that really does make a rebel out of some of us, doesn’t it?

On any given day, my list will be slightly different. Today my list looks like this:


When I first got started, my list included one or two things. As I got better, I added things to the list. The idea is to crowd out the bad stuff with the good stuff (when you’re ready.) Try to push yourself, but don’t overdo it. Only put things on there that you know you will eat. I try to plan my meals to include my list throughout the day, and hopefully I won’t be hungry anymore by the time I’ve eaten what I told myself I would.

Produce rarely goes bad in my refrigerator, and my plates are more colorful with nutritious foods. If I want to eat a leftover cupcake from a birthday party, and I have eaten what I planned on already, I might eat it, and I definitely won’t beat myself up over it. Most of the time I’m not hungry by the time I finish my meal and my craving almost always disappears anyway.

I am careful not to put too much food on my list to stay flexible for varying levels of hunger…particularly through pregnancy. 🙂 I’ll often include other healthy foods not on my list as part of my meal to accompany the items on the checklist. This was my hummus plate today:



This method would be great for anyone trying to overcome food related cravings, or anyone who just might want to feel better physically. It provides a safe, gradual kick-start into nutritarian eating without all the pressure.

What are some foods that you try to eat every day?

Pinto Beans!!

I’m so excited about this simple and easy vegan dish. It’s sooooo yummy too! We made it the other day when we went to Houston for a temple trip and it was just perfect when we came home all hungry.

So last night I measured out one pound of dry pinto beans. You should sort through them quickly for rocks. Then put them in a bigger container and fill full with water. The water should be a good 3 inches above the beans (or more). They will swell as they absorb the water.

Then last night I chopped up 1 onion, three carrots, 3 celery stalks and 3 garlic cloves and put them in a ziploc bag in the fridge.

I even had some left over to put into snack sized ziploc baggies for lunches.

Then I went to bed! In the wee hours of the morning (around 5:00AM) I rinsed off the beans, put them in the crockpot along with the veggies I prepared, 2 quarts (8 cups) of water, 2 cans of Rotel tomatoes and 2 Tablespoons of salt. I put the setting on low and set it for 14 hours. It won’t need that much time, but that might be how long I am gone from home.

It smells so good already!! I can’t wait. I am going to make some brown rice when I get home and have a nice salad. Dinner will be all ready!
I am going to buy you a thermos right now. Something like this (or taco soup) could be heated up in the morning and put in the thermos and you would have it for lunch for a few days.





Samuel’s Salmon Dinner

I bought salmon on Saturday thinking we would have it for Sunday dinner by that didn’t happen. We ended up going to an organ concert and just eating leftovers. So I decided to make salmon tonight (Monday). First I made a rice pilaf from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.
3/4 cups long grain rice toasted in 1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped celery
Sautéed in 1 Tablespoon butter
Add the toasted rice along with:
1 1/2 teaspoon bouillon granules
Dash of pepper
1 1/2 cups water
Bring to a boil and then lower the temperature to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Crumble up 2 pieces of well cooked bacon and stir into the rice.

Then I made some salmon using Amber friend Holland’s recipe.
Salmon with Garlic, Lemon, and Dill
Serves 4
1 lb. salmon filet
2 T. olive oil
Garlic, minced, to taste
Sea salt and freshly-cracked pepper, to taste
Fresh dill, chopped, to taste
Lemon slices
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil then coat it with cooking spray.
Combine the olive oil and garlic and spread evenly over the top of the fish. Season with sea salt, pepper
and dill. Layer with lemon slices. Place skin side down on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork. Remove from the oven and serve with
additional lemon slices if desired. Serve immediately.
Recipe from For the Love of Cooking.
Holland’s notes
The original recipe calls for 2 t. butter and 1 t. olive oil instead of 2 T. olive oil. Using all olive oil instead
worked just great. I used 2 T. because 3 t. wasn’t enough.
The original recipe calls for 1 t. garlic, minced, but I definitely used way more than that. I’d say at least 4 t.
We used packaged salmon filets from Costco. They were great!

And then I steam some broccoli. Here are the pictures!