How to eat when you've got long days
January 18, 2007 11:45 AM   Subscribe

Please help me plan my daily meal times/menus given my long work hours.

I'm running one of my family's stores and work from about 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. , Monday through Friday. This means I often dont' get home until after 8 and I still have to have dinner. I've got a sensitive stomach and generally, eating this late results in me waking up the next morning with tummy ache.
Is there a way I might schedule my meals so that I don't wake with the sour stomach? Anyone have any suggestions on light, wholesome and easy to prepare meals that I can make when I get home? Also, I'm thinking that I might resort to frozen, organic meals for lunch during the week. Maybe something like Amy's Organic? I know they're packed with salt but honestly, I just don't have time to cook and I figure the frozen meal option, coupled with a green salad, is at least slightly healthier than eating out each day.
Cooking large meals on the weekends is out. I have to have a life some time.
posted by notjustfoxybrown to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I tend to just eat one of those little lean cuisine meals when I get home after having worked really really late. they're kind of high in sodium but you can find ones with something like 200 calories that are substancially more filling than a chocolate bar, yet not nearly as heavy as a regular meal would be.

I wouldn't recommend living on those things all the time but every now and then one of those isn't a bad idea, especially if your tummy doesn't like heavier stuff that late.
posted by krautland at 12:14 PM on January 18, 2007

I work the same hours that you do -- but it really isn't that painful to cook something large on the weekend. In my experience, it doesn't take that long, and spending a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon cooking lasagna or a big pot of chili feels relaxing and nourishing to me. Surprisingly, devoting a couple of hours on the weekend to cooking doesn't preclude my having a life. ;) I'm thinking the real barrier here is that you may not like to cook, or find it tiring rather than cheering, rather than not having any time at all to make something. Which is fine! You shouldn't add unneeded stress to your life, particularly if you're already feeling a bit worn out. It just makes navigating these situations & keeping a healthy diet a little bit more difficult.

One suggestion -- particularly given your sensitive stomach -- is that it might be easier not to focus on quick & easy meals for when you get home, but rather to consider pre-packing your lunches & dinners to take to work. I like the bento box photopools on Flickr for ideas on what to take -- Mr. Bento Porn might be particularly helpful, as they're working with a bigger container than usual (which, with a supplementary fruit or veggies, could definitely account for 2 meals).

If you do want to wait & make something easy at home, I've some basic ideas. It sounds boring, but a PB&J on whole wheat bread with some cut up fruit or raw vegetables is a VERY easy and nutritious meal that takes 5 minutes maximum to prepare. The fresh packed tortellini by Butoni & local pasta companies plus the same fruits/veg side is also an easy weekday dinner, and not too heavy. Boca burgers/whole wheat buns/vegs also easy & not heavy. You can even buy precut veggies & fruit if you really feel stuck for time.
posted by tigerbelly at 12:22 PM on January 18, 2007

pasta is quick and cheap, get a good aluminum pot so that the water will come to a boil faster: you can have white pasta with pepper and a good deal of pecorino cheese shavings (google "spaghetti cacio e pepe"), pasta aglio olio e peperoncino (garlic olive oil and chili peppers).

or, you can make a simple tomato gravy.
posted by matteo at 12:38 PM on January 18, 2007

Cooking on Sundays works wonders for me. I often get together with a good friend of mine and we cook away in the afternoon, chatting away or and sometimes sharing a bottle of wine.
Makes for a very relaxed afternoon, cuts down on cooking costs when we share the ingredients and allows for a nice social time with friends.
I just finished for lunch today what I cooked on Sunday afternoon. Brining your lunch to work and cooking with fresh ingredients will do wonders for that sore tummy. Forget the store bought frozen!
posted by jek at 12:58 PM on January 18, 2007

Two yummy dishes, made quick, easy on the stomach.

Rice, cheese, broccilli, sprinkled with roasted sunflower seeds.

Salad, dressing, cous-cous (use bullion), sliced tomatos, soy nuts.

I second the chili idea!
posted by emptyinside at 1:20 PM on January 18, 2007

salmon cooks very quickly and is light -- spritz some lemon juice on it for flavor. it's be good paired with a nice salad.

hummus wraps? spread hummus and veggies on a tortilla, roll it up. or pack it all into a pita.

sandwiches are my favorite -- just keep a loaf of bread around and some lean lunchmeat. (and pb&j!) make a sandwich, pair it with some pretzels or vegetables, and call it a day.
posted by kerning at 2:55 PM on January 18, 2007

How about using a slow cooker? I don't work all that late, but I do head to the gym after work a lot of times, and don't get home until 8 or so. If I've had something cooking all day in the slow cooker, it's ready to go - and I don't need to spend another hour preparing a meal.
posted by backwards guitar at 6:09 AM on January 19, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks all for the wonderful suggestions!
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 1:23 PM on January 19, 2007

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