potatos and.....?
March 5, 2007 1:12 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a simple menu of foods that fill nutritional requirements, are easy to make, and that won't bother my fussy unhappy gut while I'm on a crazy schedule for the next while.

Lately I've been bloated and gassy and kind of miserable ALL the time. I know I have to go see a doctor, but right now I do not have the time. In fact, I don't really have the time for anything--I'm at school from 10 to 10 most days, with an hour or two for lunch and dinner.

So, what I'm looking for are foods that traditionally don't bother the gut, but that will fill my nutritional needs (espcially fiber and protein) while I'm on this madcap schedule.

Ideally, this diet would be really basic and easy to obtain/make (i'm not averse to eating the same thing every day) and after this hecticness is over, I could start adding other things to figure out what's causing this gastrointestinal distress.

So, hivemind--what should I eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day? I'm avoiding dairy and wheat in the hopes that that will solve my ills, but it's not really helping so far. Next I think I'll cut out fruit juices and apples--but I think I'm going about this the wrong way. I'd rather start with a basic menu and add things rather than cut things from my diet.
posted by stray to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
As your page title implies, for ease of preparation, low cost, transportability, and other factors, it is hard to beat the humble baked potato. If you have a microwave available at your school, taking along a potato or two is easy. Poke it a few times with a fork, to prevent explosions, microwave on high for 5 to 7 minutes, and top with a pat of butter, or maybe sour cream, for a nutritious, easily digested 150 calorie snack, or add additional condiments like cheese, bacon or ham, to add calories and taste to serve as lunch. You can buy sour cream and butter/margarine in serving sized packages, if you don't have access to a refrigerator to keep bulk packages.

If you have refrigerator access at school, you could consider taking such things as simple salads, and simply prepared meats such as cubed/sliced ham, cooked hambuger patties, or canned chicken, tuna, ham, or roast beef. If you don't have refrigerator priveleges, canned sausages and convenience products like corned beef hash, roast beef hash, beef stew, and Progresso Soups take nothing more than a few minutes of microwave time to be tasty. Hard boiled eggs add protein to your diet for little cost.
posted by paulsc at 2:06 AM on March 5, 2007

Knocking out wheat and dairy:

Rice salad: basically 20 minutes prep max, with a 3 day fridge life. Boil the rice, add some nuts, sultanas, vegetables, whatever. Grilled chicken if you want, but you might want to keep it less in the fridge. (I'm going to link to this recipe again because it is delicious). Brown rice is not just for hippies, and for salads, is actually nicer.

Quinoa: If you get bored of rice this grain tastes nuttier and has a lot more protein, but you can just think of it as rice. The wikipedia page makes a lot of the "bitter tasting coating", but all the stuff I've ever bought in a shop is fine (UK though, so it might be different where you are). I seriously can't recommend quinoa enough for lunches, it is tasty and nutritious. Quinoa for breakfast is common, quinoa salad for lunches is ace, quinoa and apricot pilaff with pork chop for dinner.

For lunches, Potato salad is a goer - potatoes, boiled eggs, spring onions, mayo. Or potatoes, sweetcorn, green peppers, kidney beans, olive oil, soya sauce, tabasco for a mexican type taste if your gut is up to that. Irish stew is easy, tasty, and heats up well - making a batch of that could do you several days and there is absolutely nothing in it that is conceivably hard to digest: recipe from wikibooks, although I'd up the potato content.
posted by handee at 2:26 AM on March 5, 2007

Check out Dani Spies.

Her food is quick and healthy.

I eat her Minty Pea Pasta, Salmon Veggie Pockets and Pasta Salad all the time.
posted by BillyRayMae at 3:23 AM on March 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

An average day's eating for me is as follows:

Bowl of muesli (ideally organic and with lots of nice fruits and nuts) with some skimmed milk (soya even) or natural yogurt.

A piece of fruit or small bag of nuts (cashew, pistachio etc)

Bowl of soup and thick slice of wholegrain bread / healthy sandwich (chicken salad / homous salad etc) / bowl tuna sald

Piece of fruit

Grilled chicken (eg boned thigh with lemon and garlic n olive oil) n steamed veg / grilled fish (eg salmon fillet with salt n pepper) n steamed veg

glass of red wine + 1.5l bottle fo water drank throughout day.

To avoid the bloat I ditch any white bread or processed food, no fizzy drinks, limit the dairy, and rather that stuff myself once or twice a day, eat smaller portions more regularly throughout the day.
posted by brautigan at 3:29 AM on March 5, 2007

I've been trying to eat lighter lately and have found my stomach (and I) feel better if I eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, and plenty of protein - but avoid too much high fat food and avoid eating a lot at one meal. You don't need to worry so much about balancing nutrition at every single meal, as long as you're eating plenty of good things overall.

If you have to carry foods in a backpack, I used to put foods in a plastic container, then wrap masking tape tightly all the way around it to keep it from popping open in the backpack. I wouldn't take a chance with soups, but this is safe with other things.

Steam enough fresh green beans, sugar snap peas, broccoli, carrots, or other vegetable for a couple of days, then refrigerate. For a light meal, heat 2 cups with a dab of butter, then add some meat or other source of protein on the side. You'll be hungry sooner, but your stomach will feel better.

Boiled eggs are easy to fix ahead. Chop, heat, add a dab of butter, salt & pepper.

Spread a small amount of peanut butter on each bite of banana. This is so good, it's almost like dessert. (Also great on apple slices, but you're avoiding them.) I keep peanut butter in a half-pint jar to make it easily portable (smaller container).

Eat plenty of fruit for snacks and with meals. Clementines should be available for a few more weeks, and they're easy to peel, sweet & juicy little oranges.

Make a frozen fruit slush in the blender before you leave by blendng frozen fruit, maybe half a banana, a bit of juice concentrate and water, and a little bit of honey if you want it sweeter. Take it with you in a disposable cup.

Lundberg's Caramel Corn Rice Cakes are plain but quite good, and easy on the gut, as well as having some fiber. They can add fiber to a meal (and a full feeling in your stomach).

Buy a rotisserie chicken and ready-made salad with green lettuces (not iceberg - no nutrition). Tear up the chicken into bite-sized pieces when you get home and keep in the frig to put on the salad with your favorite dressing.

Carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, or slices of green pepper dipped in a little bit of ranch dressing (or other favorite). You can put some dressing in a ziploc sandwich bag, then put this in a plastic container with the veggies, then throw away the bag when you're done.

Marinara sauce over cooked, gluten-free noodles.

Celery with cream cheese might be okay - cheeses don't bother some people who can't tolerate milk or ice cream. Or peanut butter with celery.

If a small amount of dairy is okay, try buying a bag of frozen mixed berries, let them thaw most or all the way, then spraying some whipped cream on top. Or use a non-dairy whipped topping. This is a delicious, easy snack when you get home.

If you have about an hour on the weekend, you can make enough pasta salad to last for several days. Cook gluten-free pasta, and add cooked meat of any kind with several kinds of chopped, sauteed veggies, and either Italian salad dressing, Creamy Italian, or salsa. This is good cold or warm.

Guacamole with tortilla chips - just don't eat too much. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the guacamole and it will be fine later on. It takes about 5 minutes to make guacamole.

If there's a toaster, avocado slices on toasted (gluten free) bread spread with mayonnaise, and sprinkle lightly with salt & pepper.

Bake a few sweet potatoes, then heat, add a dab of butter, salt, & pepper and a serving of meat on the side.

Thinly sliced deli meats can give some quick protein that's easy on the stomach.

Lettuce wraps - Romaine or leaf lettuce leaves with sandwich ingredients wrapped up inside.

Cooking a chuck roast in a crock pot or baking in an oven bag (400 degrees for 15 minutes, then 300 degrees until done - internal temp of 160) doesn't require much effort and will give you meat to eat by itself, with potatoes, or wrapped up in a fresh, soft corn tortilla with some salsa and avocado. (To get soft corn tortillas, buy white corn ones from a tortilla factory or Mexican restaurant. Keep corn tortillas in freezer - they dry out quickly otherwise.)

If you're going to buy some gluten-free bread, peanut butter on toast is great.

Cook a pound of ground beef, drain, add taco seasoning and some salsa and a little bit of Catalina salad dressing. Keep it in the frig, along with chopped tomatoes, chopped lettuce, and a can of your favorite type of beans. Mix enough together for taco salad & add a few crushed tortilla chips. This will be enough to last at least a couple of days. It's also good to add some cooked rice, chopped cilantro, etc.

This recipe isn't too time-consuming and makes enough beans to last for days. Soak a pound of navy or pinto beans overnight in water. Drain water, add fresh water several inches above beans, add a can or two of chopped green chilies, a clove or two of minced garlic, 1/2 cup of chopped onion, & some taco seasoning. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, cover and lower to a simmer for an hour or so, until beans are soft. Add a cup of cooked rice, and a couple of cans of chicken or some rotisserie chicken torn into bite-sized pieces.
posted by onemorething at 4:10 AM on March 5, 2007 [4 favorites]

I like vegetable soup with rice in. Cheap and filling. You can either make the soup yourself or buy tinned, but perhaps try to get organic or all-natural if you do that. Also, falafel is just about my favourite thing at the moment. Baked and dipped in hummous, or with salad in a pitta bread, although that doesn't fit your no-wheat rule.

Peppermint tea really helps me with digestive problems. I heartily recommend it.
posted by corvine at 5:27 AM on March 5, 2007

(Bloated and gassy might mean you are eating too MUCH fiber. Or too much fatty food.)
posted by konolia at 5:58 AM on March 5, 2007

Taking a one-a-day multi-vitamin is a good way to make sure you're getting all you need.
posted by smackfu at 6:04 AM on March 5, 2007

I think you have lots of great suggestions already. FWIW: I noticed a lot of bloating and gas lately as well. I eat lentils or chickpeas every day and suspected that that was the culprit, but it turned out that for me dried fruit was much worse. I think you may not be on the wrong path cutting out concentrated fruit products like juice.
posted by davar at 6:13 AM on March 5, 2007

Chia seeds, sprinkle them in whatever food you eat (or get the powder and make the gel, it is tasteless and can go into any food really). Your local health food stores may carry it.

And yes, it's the stuff on Chia pets.

This may sound hard to believe, but 3 1/2 ounces of the commercial stuff (called Salba) "contain the same amount of omega-3 as 28 ounces of Atlantic salmon, as much calcium as 3 cups of milk, as much fiber as 1 1/4 cups of All-Bran cereal, as much iron as 5 cups of raw spinach, as much vegetable protein as 1 1/2 cups of kidney beans, as much potassium as 1 1/2 bananas, and as much vitamin C as seven oranges!"

No wonder the Aztecs loved it.
posted by Menomena at 7:01 AM on March 5, 2007

Also, if by any chance you end up being diagnosed with IBS, chia seeds are a good source of IBS-friendly soluble fibre.
posted by Menomena at 7:02 AM on March 5, 2007

If you're only going from 10 to 10, that leaves 7~10 open as a free time -- I don't think you have an excuse to not see a doctor during that time. Campus doctors are relatively fast and cheap (Assuming it's subsidized), and most likely they'll have some sort of opening where you can get to them.

Disregard this message if you're only doing this for a few weeks.
posted by Muu at 11:13 AM on March 5, 2007

For a completely different tack on this, I might suggest that you go far more conservative. Eliminate gluten (not just wheat, but also barley, oats, rye), all dairy, and likely allergens (e.g. eggs, nuts, citrus, soy).

Brown rice has already been suggested. Rice, chicken and Veggies with some toasted sesame oil is good. Black beans, rice, corn and salsa.

My mom has just come through a period where she started from rice only for a week and then is adding one food every 3 days starting with low-risk foods.

You might be interested in whole approach.com or the specific carbohydrate diet for gastric nasties, one site is pecanbread.com
posted by kch at 8:31 PM on March 5, 2007

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