made me think

Posted: July 13, 2010 at 5:38 pm

First off, I loved all of your “if only” comments! There were so many good ones that I can certainly relate to. To live a carefree life like that…sigh. Unfortunately, life isn’t always rainbows and sunshine but it still is good and the little things certainly count.

Like the little rounds of joy that adorned my dinner plate last night. We had feta meatballs with baked potato and green beans. Exactly the type of balanced meal I enjoy.

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Feta Meatballs (recipe originally from my friend Mandy)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb package of 96% lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/3 c bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 package crumbled feta cheese

Play by Play

1. Preheat oven to 350. Combine the meat, onion, breadcrumbs, and egg in a bowl.

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2. Get dirty like Christina Aguilera and mix everything with your hands.

3. Roll the meat into 8 (for larger) – 16 (for smaller) even sized meatballs and then flatten out the center. Place a sprinkling of feta into the center of each.

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4. Roll back into a meatball and bake in the 350 oven for 25 minutes until done. Easy peasy!

Some adjustments

  • Use another form of cheese instead of feta. I love these with blue cheese and was so sad we were out!
  • Add some extra diced veggies. My store greatly disappointed me this week by not having mushrooms. I was planning on using diced baby bellas in there. Grrr!
  • Sprinkle some of your favorite seasonings for extra flavor.

Nothing fancy, but they are a staple recipe in our house and typically make an appearance once a month.  If you’re a meat eater, give ‘em a try!

Warning! This recipe may cause the sudden onset of contemplation, pondering, and thoughts which are the last things you want to be worried about when attempting to get lost in the mind numbing world of Ali Fedotowsky and the hearts she is about to break. By the way…thank you Google search for enlightening me with the useless information of Ali’s last name.

Moving on. I suddenly started to consider how often we hear talk about calories. You know I’m not big on tallying up those pesky numbers, but there is still much to understand about the “C” word. Are all calories created equal?

Well, yes. A calorie IS a calorie. Whether it comes from spinach or a Luther Burger (GA’s fattiest food based on Health.com’s fatty foods of the states article) it’s all the same. For weight loss, maintenance, or gain it really does boil down to calories in versus calories out. Now before you get your panties in a bunch, do NOT think I’m saying that it doesn’t matter if we eat our daily calorie needs in the likes of fresh fruits or Runts fruits.

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Because it does. And that, my friends, is why calories mean crapola in my book. There are so many more important things to consider over calories. Any of you out there stuck in the calorie game, if you instead choose to focus on nutrition I promise good things to come. A few -

  • Feel more satisfied. Choose wholesome foods and you will reap the benefits of feeling fuller longer. Things like protein, fiber, healthy fats, and water volume all increase satiety and are common in foods like produce, dairy, nuts, whole grains, etc.
  • Have more energy. Drink a green monster instead of a diet coke and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
  • Don’t feel guilty for eating something higher calorie. When you don’t worry about the calories and choose to concentrate on a healthy balance, it is easier to recognize one piece of cake won’t deter your goals or ruin your health.
  • Be more in tune with your body. When your eating habits aren’t determined by what is listed on a label you can pay attention more closely to hunger cues and what sounds appealing.

So while all calories are equal, not all foods are equal. Big difference in my book.

Now you tell me…do you count calories? What are benefits of doing so or why do you choose not to?

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27 Comments to “made me think”
  1. I try not to count…it just makes me go a lil crazy 😉

    I sooo wish I could try those meatballs. I’m allergic to feta, sadly 🙁

  2. I do NOT count calories…anymore. I did for probably 7 years. At first it lead to an eating disorder and then went to just being obsessive. Now I don’t count them at all. It’s a good feeling, and it’s been about two years:)

  3. Morgan says:

    I used to, and it was a really hard habit to break, but now it’s second nature NOT to count!

  4. Feta makes everything betta! 😉 I don’t count calories. I think that if you’re eating whole, clean foods, then you are less likely to have to. Well, as long as you’re listening to your body in terms of fullness and not mindlessly eating and banking on the fact that it’s healthy food…

  5. Jes says:

    Amen sista!! I am SO with you on this! Calories in/out DO matter to a certain extend, but quality of food is most important. That’s not to say an m&m never enters my mouth because it SO does, but for the most part, if you’re eating healthfully and watching portions, you are doing pretty darn good. I used to count calories and it became obsessive and unhealthy. Now I go by whether or not I’m actually hungry, seems so logical, right?? 😉 PS. Still jealous that you and Em live so close to one another!

  6. I do not count calories, it was horrible for me and something that HAD to be stopped. That being said, when I’m super active, I have to pay a little more attention to them to make sure i’m eating ENOUGH. But like you said, a calories is not a calorie.. they are created differently. If you eat a diet rich in fruits, veggies, whole grains, etc. you don’t have to worry about it. Especially if you exercise.

  7. homecookedem says:

    Yum, those feta meatballs look delish! Thanks for the recipe!! 🙂

    I used to count calories religously. I did it for probably about 2 years straight and would overanalyze, plan, and freak out if I went over my goal. Ugh… I looked great on the outside during that time, but inside I was miserable and it drove everyone around me crazy. I am SO happy to finally be in the awesome, carefree place I am now… even if it means I’m a bit bigger than I’d like to be.

  8. Sarah says:

    I don’t count calories. I know that works for some people; it just makes me feel crazy! I just try to eat a lot of the things I know my body loves- beans, vegetables, some whole grains, some fruit…I try to pay a lot of attention to my body, so if I’m not feeling healthy, I know I most likely need to change something about what I’ve been eating.

  9. Mellissa says:

    I don’t count calories and truly believe in eating a balanced diet of lots of fruits, veggies, lean meat, dairy and some wine 🙂

  10. Ameena says:

    I used to count calories obsessively but I am happy to say that for the most part I don’t do that anymore. I must admit that I don’t eat much though – due to allergies, lack of time, etc. – so I know that I couldn’t possibly hit more than my recommended # of calories. Still, it is quite freeing not to worry if my pat of butter was a bit more than a pat!

  11. Run Sarah says:

    I used to count calories and do on occasion to make sure I am getting enough iron and protein!

  12. Yum-they look delicious! I don’t count calories, but I do follow Weight Watchers when I’m not preggers.

  13. What a great statement…all calories are equal but not all food are equal. GENUIS!

  14. Shannon says:

    Those meatballs look amazing. A great dinner all around!

    I have so many calorie counts ingrained in my head from years of counting. I try not to think about it as much anymore, but I don’t know how to forget all of these numbers that are stuck in my head!

  15. Hallie says:

    I’ve just started counting calories because I want to lose some weight that I’ve gained recently and, Dr. Phil style, what I was doing “wasn’t working for me” so I wanted to try something new. Is it a little obsessive? Probably, but the way I look at it, I’m obsessed with all things food anyway, and so far this is making me rethink some of my unhealthier choices and focus on better ones, portion sizes, etc.

    Side note. I used to LOVE Runts when I was little. Probably my favorite candy. The strawberry and the banana ones especially. Thanks for the trip down memory lane 🙂

  16. This is SUCH an important topic. I agree with everything that you said. It really matters so much more WHAT we eat instead of a caloric number. Food is fuel and we need to treat and fuel our bodies well. The hard part about it is that, if you want to change your weight, calories DO matter. When I am trying my best to “eat intuitively” I don´t count… well I never ACTUALLY count… but when I know I have been unhealthy and put on a little weight I am just a lot more AWARE of caloric intake. I think this is so dangerous because calorie counting or even “awareness” can so easily become an obsession and lead to guilt and unbalanced eating and relying on fake foods. It is hard to find the happy medium but I think the important thing is to educate ourselves about calories and what it is that we are eating but also about healthy choices and why those are ALWAYS more important even if they have a higher “caloric value.”

  17. Holly says:

    Mmmmm….runts! A blast from my past.

    I definitely agree that all calories are not created equal! I used to inhale probably 3 100-calorie packs of food because it felt “safe.” However, those 300 calories did NOTHING to fill me up. It’s as if I had eaten, I don’t know….air.

    I will admit, I still do count my calories daily. But I do NOT freak out over the amounts like I used to. I used to keep a “diary” and total my cals for the day, average them by the week, and then adjust if it was “too high” for the next week. Now I think I do it because it’s comfortable, and I’m honestly scared of letting that go. I do NOT want to do this for the rest of my life, though…I just hope one day I can find the courage to stop.

  18. Nichole says:

    Just last night my husband said to me as we were picking out Greek yogurt, look at the fat not the calories. You eat to feel satisfied! Your meatballs looks fabulous, great flavor combos.

  19. I try not to count but I also try to stay aware of the calories in certain items. Somethings are too high and not quite yummy enough to be worth a splurge.

  20. AMEN sister!! Could this talk of calories be related to your disdain for CalorieKing’s “star system?” 😉

    I think the trap that most people fall into is thinking, “well, if I’m allowed *this* many calories, I might as well eat junk!” But the problem is that not only is that unhealthy, but junk leaves you craving MORE junk, which makes you even more likely to overeat in the long run.

    Oh, and side note, those feta meatballs are SO right up my alley. Meat stuffed with cheese…? Don’t mind if I do 😛

  21. Rachel says:

    I’ve never counted calories and never plan to. I did count POINTS when I did Weight Watchers and lost 40 lbs doing so… So it is kind of similar and can really help give you a gauge of what you are consuming if you are at the very beginning of a healthy lifestyle and need a springboard or are working towards a very specific goal (like a fitness competition)

    Otherwise, count me out for counting calories (hehe). It drives me insane to have to track every single little thing.

  22. Lee says:

    I sometimes do a little count in my head if I want a second snack or something, but generally counting calories seems like too much of a bother.

  23. i think its so important to know your body WELL. always take mental cues and see how food effects you bceause every ones body is totally different. What may work sit well with me may not sit well with my co-worker. I am not a calorie counter, but I do like to knwo somwhat a ball park number of what I should be eating

    those feta meatballs look SO SO SO good!!!

  24. I’m no longer a calorie counter. I basically focus on eating balanced healthy meals and it tends to work out for me. I have learned to not overdo it… At least not too often 😉

  25. Me-Linh says:

    I agree, a calorie is a calorie no matter from what source. BUT the calories from whole/real foods are the best!

  26. Emily says:

    I love this post. I have went through a good year or so counting calories and writing down everything I was eating. It is good in order to get a sense of what you’re eating, when, and how much. I think it is a great strategy for those that truly need to lose weight. But…. when it comes to every day life…. it becomes too obsessive. You think more about the number than even how your food is tasting. It can come to the point where you don’t want to eat a treat or go out to eat because you don’t know what number to add to your list. It’s eating for numbers, not for nutrition or any enjoyment. So needless to say… I quit that!! and I’m thankful I did. I do however am now aware of how many calories are in foods, so I am at least mindful. Does that mean I have a list going in my head or on paper? No!!

    Thank you for this article. It truly is insightful!

  27. Ahh I love you 🙂
    <3

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