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Would you consider making a small effort to achieve any one of these
Forget about hiatal hernia heartburn.
Get up and face the morning more eagerly.
Have more energy all day.
Slay the post-lunch Sleep Monster.
Gain more evening time for work or play.
Lose a little weight.
Save cooking time, especially on hectic weekdays.
Add extra flavor to your foods.
Eat more family meals together.
Then how about achieving all of them ... with one effortless
change in your routine?!
This change does not alter your diet or exercise. It's exceptionally
well-suited to singles and couples, and will work for many families. Health
experts and many family cooks endorse it. It's the proverbial free lunch!
You'll wonder why you hadn't thought of it sooner, and you'll marvel at its
First, a preparatory step that cuts weekly cooking time dramatically: cook
extra quantities and use the refrigerator, freezer, microwave, and/or oven in
the proper sequence for subsequent meals. Refrigerate or freeze the extra
meals in individual meal portions -- the multiple-dish meals in divided
TV-dinner-style plates and the casseroles/ enchiladas/ spaghetti/ etc. in
plastic bags or freezer-to-microwave containers. Admit it: you already have a
stack of TV dinner plates in the cupboard.
What was once called "leftovers" has become "superior planning". Charla and
Kurt presented many tips for freezing meals in their March article, "Cooking
Ahead: Freezing Meals".
Home-made TV dinners sound banal, but think about it: home cooking, with all
your favorite foods and flavors, freshly nuked, with no further assembly
required. Just grab one out of the fridge or freezer, nuke it, go do three
other things until you hear the beeps, and eat. It worked for Pavlov's dogs,
This obviously saves cooking time, and often enhances a meal's flavor.
Haven't you noticed that many homemade dishes like stews, sauces, casseroles,
and lasagna taste better the next day, after their complex flavors have had
time to blend?
But how do we achieve the rest of the benefits? Simple: Just switch breakfast
Stunned? Think about it. Supper in the morning (wasn't there a song about
that in the 60s?) provides energy and promotes alertness well past lunch
time. Do you think your morning toast and coffee do that? Nope; it's just the
coffee -- you're running on drugs 'til lunch!
The benefits of supper in the morning come from much more than just eating
more food. The protein and fats inherent in most suppers slow down digestion
so our meal provides energy over a longer period, generate brain chemicals
that help us stay alert, and can cause heartburn if we lie down too soon. And
do you know how sumo wrestlers get so huge? By eating and going to bed often.
It's very effective, because fat cells hoard calories we aren't using and
begrudge their release. If we eat supper in the morning, we burn it off
banging our head against the wall at work rather than storing it in fat cells
as we sleep or channel surf.
Does supper still sound like a good evening meal?
Breakfast in the evening has its own merits, too. Most breakfasts are
primarily carbohydrates, which aid sleep via brain chemistry -- the last
thing we need at the office, but great at night. And the minimal fat and
protein in an evening breakfast allow quicker digestion so we don't awaken at
3:AM feeling like we just won a pepperoni pizza eating contest.
If your present breakfast is fatty -- bacon, sausage, slabs of butter or
margarine -- double shame on you. It's harmful no matter when you eat it, and
will diminish the benefits of switching supper and breakfast. An evening meal
of some combination of hot or cold cereal, fruit, toast'n'jam, occasional
eggs, corn bread, grits (put green chiles in 'em!), low-fat muffins,
pancakes, French toast, milk, juice -- all the great stuff you don't take
time for in the mornings -- will help you sleep. My favorite evening meal is
half a box of some quality cereal, buried in fruit, with Grape Nuts for extra
crunch, and 1% milk [the skim stuff is for purists, the gravely ill, and
masochists. 8<)]. Taste, crunch, and fiber are prerequisites for my cereal,
and most of them taste fine ... with enough sugar. But then I burn calories
off like a blast furnace; your mileage may vary.
How are we doing on the remaining benefits?
Hiatal hernia patients sleep better because the heartburn is history.
We all wake up rested and hungry because that carbo supper is long gone and
we slept better without a stomach full of fat and protein.
Families can eat more "suppers" as a family rather than as dive bombers
strafing the kitchen, because they don't have 16 activities competing with
it. And it's that or starve 'til noon, so they're motivated.
We're more alert at the office because that big morning meal provides a
timed release of energy for many hours. (I went from getting sleepy after
lunch every day to never again, with no change in my lunch, on
the first day I ate supper for breakfast.)
Some people may lose some excess weight, because we're burning that main
meal off slaying dragons rather than force feeding our fat cells just before
hitting the sack or the couch.
Your evenings reap a huge benefit. Kids have a game and a recital and a scout
meeting that evening? Or want to play golf, catch a movie, or go shopping
while the rest of the world is cooking and eating supper? Easy -- eat a quick
and easy breakfast at 5:30 PM and you're outta there before the crowd. Or get
an even earlier jump on your newly free evenings by letting "supper" wait
until after those nine holes, that latest box-office hit (for $4.00 -- with
no crowds), or your shopping, because eating a late carbo meal won't keep you
This almost converts your evenings into mini-weekends, especially for the
cook! Yet no one has to miss an evening meal because of diverse schedules.
You might even destroy a pile of pancakes together in some 20-minute segment.
And no one has to spend the whole day wondering if they're going to be facing
a broccoli casserole that night.