How to plan healthy meals and snacks for nights where I take classes?
May 10, 2011 9:34 PM   Subscribe

I am taking some classes and getting out of the house a few days a week. Yay for trying to fix my social life, but what am I going to do about dinner? Special diet and situational details inside.

I am finally making good on my goal to kickstart my social life a little and have signed up for two classes: a one-hour martial arts class and a 3-hour French literature class. I am excited about both of these classes, but each of them is presenting some challenges as far as my eating plans go, and I would like some suggestions on working out a good plan.

1) I am on both a diet (to lose about ten pounds) and a spending diet (to pay off my student loan, which is nearly paid off) so I would prefer not to be going to restaurants three days a week

2) I am a creature of habit and used to eating early. But I do not eat enough or the right things on class nights, I am worried I will succumb to snacking after the class is done.

3) I can't eat corn, flax, tree nuts, dairy or wheat due to allergies, so the 'get a Subway sandwich' thing won't work for me. Also, I prefer to eat vegetarian, although I am not super-strict. So, suggestions for the below scenarios that take these issues into account will be welcome.

Problem A: the martial arts class is from 6:30 to 7:30. If I eat a regular dinner first, I am worried that will be too much food before an intense workout. But I am used to eating early, so I think I cannot wait until 7:30 to eat dinner. I would be starving! So, do I have a smaller dinner (if so, what?) and then a snack afterward? Or do I have a snack first (if so, what?) and then have dinner after?

Problem B: The French class is from 6-9. Assuming I go there straight from work, I will not have time to go home and eat first, and if I do, I will be eating so early that I will find it hard to avoid snacking later (and thereby derail my weight loss efforts). However, I am also assuming that there will be a short break partway through the class since it is so long. So I need two suggestions here: first, something that I can bring with me to eat beforehand or buy for under $4-5 en route (perhaps sushi rolls from the health food store?) that is not a 'full dinner' necessarily but will tide me over until the snack break and second, a suitable snack for the snack break that will satisfy me given the light dinner-ish choice and will also not, when taken in combination with said light dinner, put me way over an acceptable (400-500) calorie limit for 'dinner.'

So...after that novel...suggestions from the hive mind? :)
posted by JoannaC to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
i like the glass bowls with plastic tops that you find in sets at WalMart. Usually Anchor or Pyrex. i make large dishes, separate the servings into these bowls, and put them in the fridge or freezer.

There are some great lentil soup recipes out there, many that can be made in a crockpot with minimal effort on your part.
posted by jander03 at 9:46 PM on May 10, 2011

If you have flexibility as to when you have lunch, you could address problem A by having a late lunch and your regular dinner after class. I realize you're a creature of habit -- so develop a habit of eating later.
posted by bac at 10:04 PM on May 10, 2011

I'd have a snack before exercising & dinner after otherwise you may not enjoy your martial arts class very much.

And I can't help you change your habits, but here are some ideas for snacks/light meals that won't blow your diet:

Chopped up carrots, broccoli, snow peas or whatever with home-made hummus or another dip of your choice
Boiled eggs
Fruit salad with soy yoghurt
Apple with one of the no-added-extras peanut butter
A rice salad with tofu or tempeh
Salad of any description, just take the dressing in a separate container (ie, rice stick noodle Asian style salad with loads of freshly chopped veggies, with a tahini & soy sauce dressing)
Home-made nori rolls
Veggie rice balls of some description, my local deli makes these & they can't be too hard to find a recipe for on the 'net
Filo pastries filled with something healthy ie curried sweet potato
Frittata - I love frittatas, there are so many options, and they're very healthy
Do you eat tuna? Tuna salad of some sort, say with a non-wheat pasta
Soup you can reheat or take in a thermos, depending on the facilities

Good luck!
posted by jasperella at 10:15 PM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Protein shake before martial arts class. Food after.
Protein before French. Shake during break. Something carby after so you can sleep.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:01 PM on May 10, 2011

Make up a variation on my chow recipe, using any combination of shredded/chopped/sliced veggies, beans and/or grains you like.

Ingredients and exact proportions are up to you, and make up some oil and acid (lemon/lime juice or nice vinegar) dressing. This can be made up in a large batch, can be dressed in advance and won't go soggy, keeps well in the fridge for several days, doesn't need to be refrigerated for several hours when you go out, and it's easy to eat with a small fork.
posted by maudlin at 11:36 PM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Consider having two snacks on those nights - one before you leave work and one when you get home. I'd certainly not want a full dinner if I got home at gone 9pm.

For example - have a protein shake before class and a bowl of soup when you get home.

You can cook a large pot of soup and freeze in portions for example. Cook a couple of different soups so you can have variety.
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:47 AM on May 11, 2011

This is my go-to vegetarian 15-minute recipe from another AskMe thread:
Garlic Cashew Broccoli

YMMV as I don't know if cashews are tree nuts (I guess so, since they grow on trees...), though they are definitely substitutable, and I know soy sauce causes some people problems. I've made substitutions with peanuts and with ginger, but I am reluctant to change something so good as already conceived.
posted by whatzit at 2:58 AM on May 11, 2011

As for the martial arts night, have a snack around 5pm...maybe an apple with peanut butter on toast? Drink a glass of water around 6pm to keep you feeling full and hydrated. Then have a light dinner when you get home from your workout.

As for the French lit class night, I would consider bringing a meal to work and having an early dinner there before you leave for class. (assuming you have some sort of lunchroom/tea room, etc... at your workplace). Then maybe have a yogurt or a piece of when you get home if you're hungry.
posted by emd3737 at 5:17 AM on May 11, 2011

Can't you just pack a little bento box with whatever food you like to eat in the evening?
posted by leigh1 at 6:09 AM on May 11, 2011

Snack before martial arts class, though your dietary restrictions make that tricky -- I was going to say "peanut butter crackers..."

A piece or two of sliced turkey on whatever bread/cracker substitute you use?
Soy yoghurt?
Kind nut bars, or Lara bars? Check the labels, but I think they fit your diet, if maybe not your budget.
instant oatmeal?

Nthing "bring dinner to work" on French lit days, as long as your office has a microwave etc.
posted by kestrel251 at 9:13 AM on May 11, 2011

I just got out of that kind of schedule. Nothing held me over like milk and cheese. Everything else left me starving, unfilled, and too tired to make real food once I got home.

Since you can't eat dairy,consider some other source of fat, as I think that's what help me over. Maybe things with nuts or avacados?
posted by WeekendJen at 12:47 PM on May 11, 2011

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