How to fail at eating better

Not eating better: pizza

No matter how virtuous my intentions are where it comes to eating better, I always seem to end up at pizza.

Periodically I resolve to eat better. That means less pizza and more green leafy things. I also figure I should eat more than one meal a day. (These all sound like good things, right?)

It sounds so straightforward, but I have failed at eating better in numerous ways.

Method 1: The Healthy Supermarket Trip

I resolve to clean up my diet. No more pies for lunch, eating chips when I get home from work, or muffins when I can’t be bothered making lunch.

The cupboard is basically empty, so a supermarket trip is required.

The old folks behind me at the checkout must think I’m on a health bender: skinless chicken breast, celery, salad greens, onions… (What else do people who are trying to be healthy eat? Perhaps this is my problem.)

I feel so virtuous I’m practically glowing.

There’s no chocolate to tempt me when I get home from work and my willpower is low, no popcorn for those afternoons when lunch wasn’t enough.

I am a diet saint.

Then I get home from work in the afternoon, not having eaten most of the day, and I discover the problem: there’s no chocolate to cheer me up after a tough day, and no buttery popcorn goodness so I can pretend I’m at the movies and forget about the stressful things that followed me home.

Worse, there’s nothing to cook for dinner, unless you count spinach and skinless chicken breast, which I really don’t.

Luckily, modern society has evolved a solution to this most dire problem.

Delivery pizza.

Method 2: I will learn to cook

I’ll be the first to admit my cooking skills are limited (especially when I’m trying to convince you not to invite yourself over for dinner).

Now, I came at some point to the logical conclusion that it’s easier to eat good food if you can cook good food that doesn’t taste and feel like salted rubber.

Thus I decided to learn to cook.

Cooking. Yes, I’m sure I can learn to do this.

This involved recipe books. Sadly, I discovered there is no direct link between owning a book and being able to cook the recipes it talks about.

They say chemists make good cooks because they’re good at following recipes, and they may well be right. Unfortunately, I’m not a chemist.

The first thing I discover when I open a recipe book is how many ingredients most meals require. (A lot.)

The second thing I discover is that I don’t know what half the ingredients are. (And I seriously think they made some of them up.)

The third thing I discover, thanks to Google, is that the ingredients have different names in New Zealand to wherever the recipe book was written… and they’re out of season anyway. (We live in the modern world. Why can we only get foods in one season?)

The fourth thing I discover is that the items that aren’t out of season only come in 500g packets, while I need a tablespoon and will never use said ingredient again. (It’s a conspiracy.)

The fifth thing I discover (thank you to the wonderful people who know how badly I cook) is that there is such a thing as a book full of 4-ingredient recipes. (Sure, it’s skinny, but you can’t have everything.)

The sixth thing I discover is that nothing worth eating is made of four ingredients. (Bummer.)

Delivery pizza again.

Method 3: Stocking up the freezer

It seems delivery pizza is my standard downfall (and delivery Indian, and delivery fish and chips). If I want to succeed at eating better, I need a plan to combat this devilry.

It’s called eating home-cooked food.

Let’s not be prissy about this. I’m not talking seared salmon or chicken a la anything. Just food I cooked (at least heated up) at home.

The supermarket frozen food section must have seen me coming. I find frozen lasagne, pizzas, pies, sausage rolls, spring rolls, frozen vegetables, hash browns, crumbed fish, battered chicken…

Oven tray + heat. These are things I can cook.

A pie in the oven for 40 minutes is great. I can even have some spinach on the side.

Have your plans for eating better gone spectacularly wrong, or are you one of these people who has her whole life sorted and even wears sunblock?

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Author: A.S. Akkalon

By day, A.S. Akkalon works in an office where the computers outnumber the suits of armour more than two-to-one. By night, she puts dreams of medieval castles, swords, and dragons onto paper.

24 thoughts on “How to fail at eating better”

  1. Good luck, Alecia. I’m not a good cook, but we are lucky/unlucky that there’s no pizza delivery out here in the forest. We’ve started drinking veggie/fruit shakes a few evenings a week. Helthy and quick to make. The only trouble is the carb cravings that hit at about 8 pm.

  2. I only cook if I can manage it while reading a book. Thus the prevalence of frozen food.

    Okay, not strictly true. I cook full meals on occasion because I have to (kids are great for forcing you into better habits). But if left on my own, I’d eat nothing but cereal and pizza.

  3. Frozen food is great! I’m going to have frozen food for dinner tomorrow. ^_^ Today I went to sandwich shop across the street that I keep forgetting exists even though I literally see it almost every day.

    Once upon a time I cooked. A girl gets tired of cooking, you know. It starts stressing me out. The crockpot is my best friend when it comes to home cooked meals…when I remember I have one.

    1. Yes! I used to cook more than I do now, and I got really sick of it. I love the idea of a crockpot, but I can’t seem to use it to make anything edible, and I swear I’m following real recipes.

  4. Now that the SO is away, I’m forced to fend for myself, which tends to look like this:

    Morning: tea, fruit. Off to a good start.

    Mid-morning: hungry, too early for lunch. One biscuit (cookie) won’t hurt.

    Lunch: shouldn’t have eaten *all* the biscuits. Now I don’t want lunch.

    Mid-afternoon: hungry again. Crackers and cheese seems like a good idea.

    Early evening: I’ll make dinner in a minute, I’m on Twitter. Best have some crisps to keep me going.

    Late evening: Salad made from everything in the fridge in an effort to assuage my guilt at eating badly all day.

    Oh well. I had fruit.

  5. I can cook, basic stuff anyway (a roast dinner is about my limit) but I struggle for 2 main reasons
    1 – I don’t get on with healthy food, either the thought of it makes me sick, or it physically makes me sick, and
    2 – I comfort eat, so the worse my stress/depression/anxiety the more likely I am to eat chocolate or cake or anything else I shouldn’t.
    This is not a good combination, but I know that one day they will invent a pill that handles all my nutritional needs and the problem will be solved, I hope.

  6. This post is so me! I resolve to eat healthy almost every day every day (ahaha…), and I do eat fresh fruits and vegetables…but I also eat a lot of candy, and ice cream, and the pizza guy remembers our name and address because we call them so often. I’m a terrible cook, so the idea of cooking healthy at home is a bit beyond me. I’ve managed to develop maybe three dishes that I can cook without anything exploding in the kitchen. But it’s so tedious to cook the same things all the time. Thank goodness for frozen food! 😀

  7. If it helps, you can remember that baking is a science, and cooking is an art. You get to have a little more fun on the stovetop. When it’s in the oven, that’s when you become a chemist, and even the tiniest thing can ruin everything. When you’re cooking, though, you get to improvise.

  8. I absolutely love and can relate to this post! I am a chocolate lover, and so eating healthy rarely goes well for me no matter how hard I try!

    1. I think the problem is that healthy food doesn’t usually taste good, but unhealthy food does. I think somebody designed that backwards. 🙂

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