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Paying the price for healthy foods now or paying the price for healthcare later

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My daughter's One Act Play made it to state so my husband and I made a short-planned dash to the cities to watch their final performance. Our goal was to leave Wednesday afternoon. While I was still tying up loose ends at work, Dan was packing fresh fruits, almonds, ready to eat fresh vegetables, cheese sticks, PopCorners chips, water and Sobe 0 beverages to keep us from veering off our healthy lifestyle journey while on the road.

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Wednesday night we found our hotel and ventured out for dinner. Whenever we leave home I always want to go out to eat at a place we don't have back home. We drove around and were tempted by a gazillion potential calories chanting "eat me." We chose Applebee's, both ordering our own side salad and the 550 calorie steak and shrimp entrée. It was a small portion on a large plate. It was flavorful and delicious. We left satisfied not stuffed and miserable like the old days. I felt good that we could enjoy a "diet plate" and not feel deprived.

Thursday we watched eight high school plays, the first being WDC's "Relativity." The students' hard work paid off, they did an awesome job. I am so glad I was able to see them perform at the impressive O'Shannessy Theater, St. Catherine's University in St. Paul.

For lunch Dan and I went to the cafeteria area but choose to eat at the Pulse which featured healthy choices. I had a turkey avocado club, side salad and fresh fruit. Good but spendy.

For dinner we made arrangements to meet my husband's sister. She asked where we wanted to go and I told her we wanted an adventure. We met her at the Barbary Fig, it was a big old house converted into a Mediterranean cuisine restaurant. Dan and I shared an appetizer called Puree of Artichoke and Goat Cheese Salad served over mixed greens with grilled eggplant, tomatoes, black olives and walnuts. We didn't find any grilled eggplant but it was topped with a foreign julienned fresh vegetable that was wonderful. For my entrée I had chicken meat wrapped in a paper thin pastry topped with fresh steamed vegetables and fruit chutney. The flavor was intense and I savored each bite, chewing each bite as long as possible to savor the flavors. We ended our meals sharing a plate of figs beautifully arranged in a starburst pattern with walnuts in the center, lightly dusted with powder sugar. A simple but satisfying dessert.

This is not the dining out we are accustomed to. In the past it was quantity for a low price now we eating quality which doesn't come cheap. Dan and I discussed this and both agreed we would rather get healthy for a price rather than pay a high price for health later. I jokingly said I would rather eat small expensive, quality meals because I am sure the Lipitor pills lack flavor and aren't cheap.

Friday I went back to the O'Shannessy to watch the larger schools perform. Eight plays on Thursday were enough for my husband, watching eight more was too much so he ventured out alone. For lunch I went back to the Pulse and had a tuna, grape, walnut sandwich with cantaloupe and a cheese stick alone. I have to admit I was tempted by the deep fat fried mozzarella sticks. I could have eaten them and no one but me and my guilty conscience would have known but I choose not to.

Friday afternoon, as soon as the awards program was over, Dan picked me up and we high-tailed it out of the Twin Cities.

The long days away from home and the stress of the 5 o'clock stop and go traffic was getting to me. I was hungry, tired and stressed. I wanted to devour an entire medium Domino's thick crust pepperoni pizza by myself. Yes, sitting in the car, eating right out of the box, piece after piece, satisfying the starving beast called hunger.

But Dan suggested we go to the Mongo Grill, a Mongolian barbecue in St. Cloud. I thanked him for saving me from myself. At Mongo's customers fill their bowls with raw vegetables, frozen meats and seafood, noodles topped with seasoned oils. After overly heaping a bowl, chefs at a huge 650 degree circular grill stir fry the food with flair. Eggs, white, fried or brown rice or tortilla can be chosen and literally go flying around the grill. Mongo's has an unlimited flavor combination for a fun, tasty, healthy dining experience. I ate with chopsticks to slow down and enjoy each bite. It was good and filling.

We made it home, proud of our daughter and are happy with our choices.

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