How To Show Restraint At The Inclusive Hotel Buffet Breakfast

fried-1789962_1920I’d never noticed before that skinny women only eat fruit at the hotel buffet breakfast, but since NC kindly (?) gave me my FitBit for Mothers Day, I’ve become much more conscious of the number of calories going into my body versus calories being burned.

 

Due to medical reasons pertaining to my mental health, I have to allocate a large percentage of my daily intake of calories to wine each day, so I need to watch carefully how much and what type of food I put into my mouth – especially with the added complications of middle-aged hormone fuckery. And possessing that level of control is not always easy on holiday where the ‘fuck it’ attitude kicks in the minute you step off the plane and all traces of accountability disappear.

 

The old man and I haven’t stayed in a hotel with inclusive breakfast for years (because…children), so this holiday has provided me with the biggest test on the food frontline since my last working lunch, when our boss used to provide enormous catered trays of sandwiches and cakes and I had to physically pinch the skin on my thighs to stop eating.

 

Since the early days of our marriage, the old man and I have maintained the same strategy when it comes to the hotel buffet breakfast – which is to eat as much as we can so we don’t have to pay for lunch. In hindsight, a strategy that rarely actually works.

 

It took me the first three days of this holiday to work out my buffet breakfast plan for the rest of the week, after a few false starts where all my self-coaching on the plane fell apart as soon as I approached the breakfast area and my natural mindset of Labrador set in. Most women will recognize that it is almost impossible to resist a line of FREE food that you haven’t had to either plan, cook or shop for – particularly one which offers a smorgasbord of food you normally deny yourself, the morning after that first night of holiday drinking – another of those traps you swear you won’t fall into until Happy Hour swings around at 4pm and the lure of half-price cocktails proves impossible to ignore.

 

I’m being hard on myself. I did show some self-control in my choice of fruit as my starter, (rather than the huge bowl of Coco Pops I would normally berate Kurt for), before I headed for the full, cholesterol breakfast, finished off by toast, no Nutella, and washed down with three cups of Earl Grey.

 

Only four mini chocolate croissants made their way back to our room.

 

I’m not sure why we live this lie each hotel holiday that the buffet breakfast will suffice until dinner, because inevitably the ‘FEED ME!’ belly grumbles always kick in around 1pm as those first wafts of lunch make their way around the pool.

 

But today I demonstrated REAL restraint. I accepted that after three hours of hard work lying on a sunbed, I have a right to feel a little peckish around lunchtime, and I refuse to beat myself up about it. I am aware that lifestyle changes – particularly in regard to diets – need to be permanent, rather than half-hearted efforts here and there. And so I became a responsible eater this morning – mature enough to look beyond the sausages and potato croquettes, to think about the bigger picture of my health and weight beyond this week of testing temptation. And frankly, the bacon and eggs were enough.

 

 

The Idiot’s Guide To Homemade Muesli

Who’d have thought that one day I would be smug enough to make my own Muesli? And brave enough to brag about it? But in these days of health madness, it’s not just Pete Evans who can be radical in the kitchen; you can be too. You might even get a modicum of respect for your domestic prowess when you pour this amount of wholesomeness into the kids bowls each morning. 

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Process the nuts unless you know someone who can do the Heimlich Manoeuvre

Not if your kids are anything like mine, admittedly. There was a united ‘eugghhh’, followed by a collective sigh as they watched me throw my Muesli all together and then begged the old man to buy the boxed Sanitarium version from Aldi instead.

 

But at least you’ll know you tried.

 

I find breakfast very uninspiring typically, mainly because I’m not a morning person and frankly the last thing I want to do (other than sex) is eat at 7am, unless it’s a hot “all you can eat” English breakfast buffet in Scotland; secondly, I can’t actually coordinate my limbs before my coffee, which makes breakfast complicated.

 

I’ve stuck faithfully to porridge with some sliced banana since winter set in here in Sydney a month or so ago, for comfort really, but it’s getting a bit monotonous now and I can’t seem to prevent those fears creeping in about what we don’t know about microwaves….

 

Then, when we were on our mini break recently in the Hunter, what should I find in the kitchen cupboard but Alpen sachets; the type that we used to get in English B and Bs, and I got all excited and melancholy.

 

Because Muesli always did have a certain class about it, didn’t it? It recaptures Switzerland perfectly and all the really good stuff about it like its freshness and chocolate and Roger Federer and snow-capped mountains, and chocolate, and Heidi… and definitely not skiing, because we all secretly hate skiing.IMG_2626

 

Just me?

 

Anyway, according to www.mindbodygreen.com, the benefits of Muesli are:

 

  • Muesli typically has less sugar and calories than most breakfast cereals on supermarket shelves.
  • It is high in fiber and whole grains, which regulate the digestive system, are filling and can aid in weight control.
  • Muesli is a potent source of antioxidants.
  • The addition of nuts provides a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids (especially walnuts).
  • Milk or dairy alternatives that usually accompany muesli is a source of dairy and protein.

 

And if that isn’t enough, it probably helps you poo daily which can be a concern at our age, because all that healthy stuff does that. The moment I tore open my first sachet it reminded me how partial I am to the odd bowl of Muesli, especially when I’m in a healthy phase because I need to get back in my swimming costume soon.

 

The only problem with Muesli is that it can be a bit harsh on the budget, having to be carried down mountains by goats herded by Heidi and Peter, and the old man does have a newly revised and very tight food shopping budget.

 

So I did some research and realised quickly that a) muesli does not require a degree in cooking or really any cooking techniques whatsoever, and b) it uses up all those dredges of nuts, raisons and seeds that have floated around in your kitchen cupboards for decades sending out mating calls to moths since that time you made protein balls in 1902.

 

So here’s my recipe… stolen from generations of online Swiss Museli-Makers and then adapted to suit what I had in the cupboard:

 

Ingredients:

 

1 cup Almonds or walnuts

4 cups of rolled oats

1 cup coconut flakes

3 tbsp of Chia

1 tsp of cinnamon

2 cups of dried fruit (I used dried cranberries and dates)

1 cup of bran

1 cup of sunflower seeds

1 cup of pumpkin seeds

½ tsp salt

 

NB. Process the nuts unless you know someone who can do the Heimlich Manoeuvre, then mix it all together and feel the smugness wash over you. Add milk, or yoghurt if you’re a little bit fancy.