How Hungry Are You?

July 13, 2009

I’m just so happy that my hair didn’t fall out today after Ken informed me that the conditioner I used at his dad’s house this morning was over 30 years old. Gross!

Let’s move on…

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately on healthy eating, and one of the biggest things they have found is that people no longer know when they are hungry or not. We’re so used to bigger portions in restaurants and reaching for a snack whenever at home that we’ve completely lost touch with the physical signs of hunger: stomach growling, lightheadedness, etc. So I’ve been trying to be more conscious in my everyday life of when I’m hungry versus bored, habitually sitting down for a meal, or whatever trigger there may be. This afternoon I had a light lunch (salad and summer squash) in anticipation of our going out to dinner. I had an appointment uptown and when I came back, I went to get a snack. But when I opened the fridge and thought about it I realized I wasn’t hungry, I was just thirsty, and half a diet Coke did the trick.

This goes for when you’re eating a meal, particularly at a restaurant. The portions are really ridiculous. (And this is definitely an American thing. Ken was remarking the other day how everytime we go to Europe he loses weight, since the portions are so much more reasonable.) The experts suggest dividing the plate in half. Start with eating that. If you’re still hungry, divide what’s left in half again. You can finish the plate, and if your body is actually that hungry, at least you did it consciously. Or, you can ask them to wrap it up and you’ll have free lunch for tomorrow!

If you notice, most kids do this automatically — they haven’t yet been conditioned to eat everything that’s put in front of them. When they’re no longer hungry, they stop eating. We can learn from them!

Restaurant Wrap-Up

Speaking of big portions, we were up in the Mid-Hudson Valley this weekend hanging out with some friends, and we went to dinner Saturday night at Double O Grill. I thought it was a chain I hadn’t yet heard of, but there are only two of them: Wappingers Falls and Rhinebeck. I give it a thumbs up. It tries to be a little Cheesecake Factory-ish in that whatever you’re craving, chances are it’s on the menu. I had fish (grouper) and it was a generous-sized piece with tasty side dishes of risotto and green beans. Ken had seafood pasta and he said it was good with a lot of scallops and shrimp. There is a kids menu too. The fact that it’s locally owned makes me like it even more, so if you’re in the area give it a try. (Most entrees are in the $18 – $20 range. The portions are large so you probably don’t need an appetizer. The one we went to is on route 9 in Wappingers Falls.)

We also checked out the Sunday night clam bake at BLT Fish Shack on 17th Street. To me, nothing says summer like a clam bake, and this was very good. They’re not super generous with the clams and mussels, but they make the lobster easy to eat by pre-splitting it open. (One reason it may have seemed a little skimpy is that my kids are big seafood fans, so though it was for two, we had two more little ones reaching in for their share. So while Addison had lobster, Ken had fish sticks!) For dessert the kids got ice cream with sprinkles, and Ken got a chocolate mud pie. I had a bite and it lives up to its name. One other thing to note — the kids meals are quite generous. If your children aren’t big eaters (or they’re going to eat your dinner), they are more than happy to split a single kids meal in two. (Clam bake for two is $60 and is served on Sunday nights.)

You do get a great view at Water Taxi Beach!

You do get a great view at Water Taxi Beach!

Lastly, we took the kids to the Water Taxi Beach at South Street Seaport on Friday evening. For those of you who haven’t heard, they’ve trucked in tons of sand and made faux beaches at different points of the water in NYC. In addition to the sand, there are picnic tables (not easy to snag one), full bar, beach food like hot dogs and fish tacos, and games including miniature golf. (Most of the food runs under $10.) It was crowded, and at the risk of offending someone, the crowd felt a little B & T (that’s Bridge and Tunnel for all you non-Manhattanites…i.e. OUTER BOUROUGHS…) Not the end of the world, but they were looking for a bit of a different vibe than we were. But we had a perfectly pleasant picnic dinner and then Austin wanted to play skee-ball. Twenty seven balls later he was the proud owner of a shark bottle opener key ring. Fun was had by all! (One other piece of advice if your kids like to play in the sand — being a bucket and shovel.)

Wordplay

Two words that are entering the lexicon that I think are funny:

funemployed: people who were laid off and find they actually like not working.

social notworking: what it’s called when you visit Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. on company time.

Etc.

As mentioned, we were upstate. We spent all of Saturday in our friends’ backyard, just hanging out and having fun. Ken liked seeing his childhood friends and the kids all enjoyed hanging out together. Casual entertaining is the best.

Now the kids are in bed and I’ve got about an hour to chill. Heaven!!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

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