Good Choices are Good. Sometimes.

We’ve all seen those lists that say what your food cravings really mean, be it in cute infographic or long-form article. For one of those, click here.

I have another, somewhat related and 100% completely non-scientific, theory.

Maybe, instead of thinking too deeply about macros, minerals, temperature, etc., to redirect tempation, think about flavor profiles.

We are very lucky to have a super cheap employee cafeteria where I work. Literally, anything they serve is $2. Not per item, for your entire meal.

And today was Italian sub day.

Now, my love of salty meats and cheese is well-documented. But I also know that Hampton is planning some sort of big fancy dinner tonight and I have cooking plans with lots of butter tomorrow and lots of carbs on Sunday.

So, as my leftovers from last weekend only prepped four lunches, what could I easily throw together after rehearsal last night for lunch today that would help me make a better choice?

Answer: two hard-boiled eggs, pickled beets, and Trader Joe’s raw sauerkraut with Persian Cucumbers.

It sounds a little sad, and, ok, maybe looks even a little sadder in person, but the flavor. THE FLAVOR.

Early in our relationship, I went to a German restaurant with Hampton, per his sister’s request. I was afraid I wouldn’t like anything and be that weird picky new girlfriend.

Seven-year-old Ann, heck, college Ann, was surprised to find her tastebuds had done a complete 180 on shredded, vinegar-soaked cabbage, and sauerkraut quickly became one of her favorite foods, especially when paired with earthy pickled beets.

We now always stock both in the Flat 493 refrigerator, and they often show up when I have to pack lots of meals during rehearsals – or when we want to recreate J. Betski’s at home.

With a sprinkle of pink Himalayan sea salt (from the grinder I keep in my desk drawer because good salt is So Important) on the eggs, it all combined to create a salty, crunchy, proteiny, and, most importantly, EASY lunch – and I didn’t even miss the heavy, extra carby sandwich.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not never having an Italian sub again. But, especially when my Morticia Addams costume is still TBD, I’m ok denying myself a few calories. Double especially when it was so yummy!

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from my Instagram Story

Had I packed a regular old garden salad with baked chicken, which I love at other times, I would have felt like I missed out on something. By matching the flavor profile, I was quite satisfied.

Don’t worry, I’m not trying to turn this into a diet blog – but how else can my flavor profile theory be put to use? I’m not a big sweets fan, but vanilla Greek yogurt has pinch hit for me in the past when they sounded appealing. I LOVE chips and salt and crunch, so raw veggies and a small amount of ranch has filled in for that need on more than one occasion.

How about you? Do you have any go-tos for when you’re craving something that you know you don’t NEED? How else do you practice balance in your life?

I mean, the primary reason I work out in the mornings is to justify another glass of wine in the evenings, not because I like it. And I know darn well that yogurt does not equal a cookie and I will have a cookie if I really want it, don’t worry.

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Possibly right after whatever gloriousness my husband cooks tonight.

***

Occasionally I say semi-profound things on Instagram upon which I want to expand. Or just keep more easily accessible for posterity. This is that place – click on the “repost” tag for more. 

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