Are your one-time toddlers, headed out the door, leaving the swaddling of the home cocoon? If this is your current situation, both you and your young adult may be facing the “freshmen 15.” Though the pounds may sneak up on both of you, generally speaking they’ll weigh you down for different reasons.
The Parent Trap Pounds
- You are still shopping and cooking for the number of teens in the family without adjusting shopping habits and meal prep for a smaller household. To avoid wasting food you just eat it, similar to the responses you developed when they were young kids.
- You’re eating emotionally as you miss your young adult. Mindless eating to make you feel better.
- You have more time. You’re less active and not running the here, there, everywhere shuttle to activities for the kids.
Of course you’ll miss them, but be optimistic—your goal was to raise the kid to be well-balanced with the life skills to leave home and the safety net. Now let’s focus on tips to help you avoid the “freshmen 15.”
1. Adjust your shopping habits to take advantage of the variety and abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables at farmer’s markets. Fruits and vegetables will fill you up, with less worry about filling you out.
2. Take advantage of using your now available time to cut back on convenience products. By opting for less convenience you can cutback grocery expenses. For example buy a couple of different types of lettuce at the produce stand or grocery, rinse them well and blot them dry. Tear them into bite-size pieces and keep them in an airtight container or zip-top bag. Keep this custom salad ready in the refrigerator. It is all about your fav salad greens and it costs less than bagged salad.
3. Commit to exercising more. Now that you’re no longer the chief cook and activity coordinator, fill some of that time with exercise. Whether it is something you used to do or something you’ve always wanted to do, make exercising a priority.
4. Indulge in some foods that never made the cut when the kids were home—they didn’t like it, you were hesitant to try it or it was too expensive. Treat the household of adults to a sit-down, leisurely meal. The meal doesn’t have to be time-consuming to prepare, just plan ahead to include a nice table setting, flowers and even wine for a weeknight dinner.
5. Be spontaneous—you’re free to do that now that your kids are out on their own.
Basmati Rice with Fresh Dill
1 cup Basmati rice
1-1/4 cups water
2 Tablespoons butter
1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
Prepare rice according to package directions. Combine rice and water in 4- saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer 15-20 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat; fluff cooked rice with fork. Stir butter and fresh dill into rice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with grilled fish. YIELD 4 to 6 servings