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BADTASTEBETTY SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (1,403)
Posts: 27
4/4/13 1:12 A

I have recently learned the power of an oven at 350 degrees. It's seems to be the sweet spot that helps me avoid undercooked/burnt food. I just come home and throw heaps of veggies (with a bit of coconut oil) in the oven for 15-20 minutes, and eat it with quinoa, rice, prawns, salmon (which you can wrap in tin foil and cook with the veggies.

Also, think about prepackaging your own dinners once a week. Keep it simple.

Frozen dinners are junk. They may help with calorie control but their loaded with sodium, and low quality ingredients.

JADATRACK SparkPoints: (15,485)
Fitness Minutes: (22,698)
Posts: 763
4/4/13 12:17 A

Something that helps me a lot when I eat out is to think about the food in terms of money. If I share a meal with someone, I only have to pay half as much. If I order an appetizer or salad, it's usually less expensive and smaller in portion size. If I only eat half my meal and take the rest with me, I have food for another meal.

ONLYBABY90 SparkPoints: (5,968)
Fitness Minutes: (3,737)
Posts: 69
4/3/13 8:13 P

JCWIAKALA, You're right. I need to learn how to control my own portions because I really don't know how. I tried to lose weight at "eat normally" like going out with my friends eating fast food and restaurants(they never struggled with weight like me) and eating what I thought was small portions and continuing to exercise but I stopped losing weight now I'm back on the boxed stuff. I'm scared but it needs to be done. I can't live off of these my whole life.

JCWIAKALA Posts: 347
4/3/13 6:06 P

Just an added thought about boxed meals--they help you control your portion sizes early on which is very beneficial. No doubt they have done that for you as you have successfully lost a good amount of weight. Portion size was probably the main problem of 99% of us. However, at some point you'll have to learn how to control our portions yourself, so I think it's time you graduated to cooking.

Boxed meals are kind of like Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem...they don't teach you how to make smart decisions. That's okay for beginners, but we need to make our new diets turn into healthy eating habits.

NIRERIN Posts: 14,127
4/3/13 5:37 P

check out [and literally check your local library for them] the starving students line of cookbooks as a great place to start. they are written for someone who is essentially starting with no knowledge or proper kitchen. yes, some of the recipes aren't the healthiest things you'll ever find. but the basics are what you want to get from it. that's not to say you'll never burn rice again [it happens to everyone at one time or another] but that you'll regularly be able to make it without burning, which is step one. once you master those kinds of books, move up to actual cookbooks.

ONLYBABY90 SparkPoints: (5,968)
Fitness Minutes: (3,737)
Posts: 69
4/3/13 4:11 P

I'll look in to cooking classes and a cookbook. I'm getting tired of frozen meals honestly. Thank you all for your replies!

4/2/13 6:53 P

Those boxed meals aren't hurting your weight loss...but could be damaging your long term health. As was said before, they are often very high in sodium. They are also often low in REAL nutrition (lack of vitamins/minerals). If you're worried at all about GMOs and chemicals in your food...frozen meals are usually pretty dreadful in that regard.

There are plenty of websites out there that give simple recipes. If I were you, I'd invest in a crockpot and do some slow cooker meals. You can set them up and then ignore them until they're done.

Edited by: LILLIPUTIANNA at: 4/2/2013 (18:53)
BECKYBECKY1954 Posts: 66
4/2/13 6:33 P

You lost 47.5 pounds.

Apparently, eating the boxed dinners (frozen entrees) such as SmartOnes and Lean Cuisine is working great for you.

My vote is: you are successful, so continue what you're doing.

Edited by: BECKYBECKY1954 at: 4/2/2013 (18:33)
4/2/13 6:31 P

You can lose weight if you eat frozen dinners (provided they aren't the Hungry Man dinners all the time, and since you already mentioned which ones you do eat....). I did that for a while and I did great but after a while you will get tired of them (at least I did) and at one point I was eating two at a time because I couldn't get full.

Cooking does take practice but even if you do spend any extra time you can find, whether now or in the future, you will get it. I can cook a few dishes without a cookbook but I rely on recipes mostly. They don't always work, but at least I tried. Do you have any cookbooks that you can fool around with? There are some recipes out there that take no time at all.

I will say though that if you let pasta boil for 7-11 minutes (it should be soft) you should be good and for chicken breast, I've been taught to bake at 350 degrees, 30 minutes each side (if you like it baked).

I hope some of this helps!

Edited by: VELVETMERLIN at: 4/2/2013 (20:08)
JADATRACK SparkPoints: (15,485)
Fitness Minutes: (22,698)
Posts: 763
4/2/13 6:29 P

There are a lot of cookbooks out there for beginning cooks. Some chefs who come to mind are Mark Bittman, Deborah Madison, and Jaime Oliver. Other than checking out some books, I'd say just keep practicing cooking. I used to be really bad at cooking too, but after ruining a few meals, I learned tricks and recipes that work for me.

Also, does your school or any place nearby offer cooking classes? My boyfriend took me to a knife skills class after I sliced into my hand while cutting an avocado in half (true story). Though it focused mostly on chopping technique, the chef gave a lot of little hints that greatly improved my cooking (like, waiting to add garlic later in the cooking process so it doesn't burn). Or if you can't find classes (or can't afford them), watch some Food Network...Worst Cooks in America is a great show.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (60,906)
Fitness Minutes: (15,360)
Posts: 9,707
4/2/13 6:16 P

Boxed meals are a good way to easily track calories. The only real problem with them is that they're generally LOADED with sodium... which can be a problem if you're prone to water retention. Too much sodium isn't good for you!

It sounds like your problem seems to be time... do you try to do other things when you're cooking? I'm the world's worst about going to check facebook "just for a minute" when I'm cooking. ;) I'm a pretty decent cook, but I can get distracted easily.

There's no such thing as a fool-proof recipe, but simple is better. Make sure you set timers, and listen to them. ;) If you follow the directions exactly, it'll turn out great!

ONLYBABY90 SparkPoints: (5,968)
Fitness Minutes: (3,737)
Posts: 69
4/2/13 6:13 P

I love to cook but I have one problem. I'm terrible at it! I can't cook that well. Everytime I try to cook things go horribly wrong: overcooking pasta, burning chicken to a crisp, setting a frozen pizza on fire I've done it all. Add onto that I'm a college student, I rarely have time to practice cooking. I eat mainly boxed meals like SmartOnes or Lean Cuisines because they are low in calories, quick and usually tasty. My question is: Is eating all those boxed meals hurting my weight loss? Also does anybody have an fool proof healthy recipes for me to try and cook? Thanks!

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