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ELENGIL Posts: 957
8/5/14 3:47 P

Can't add much to the great stuff already given, but I'll add in 7 things to do with fish that, while they may still taste like fish, will still feel like you're eating different fish, at least.

Fish can be:
-added to chowder-style soups
-steamed with a bit of lemon
-baked with a dusting of curry powder
-dipped in 'faux' panko crumbs and baked like fish sticks
-prepared separately and added to home-made sushi rolls
-mixed into a [fish]-salad sandwich filling for sandwiches, crackers, or even wrapped in lettuce leaves
-added to stir fry

ALGEBRAGIRL Posts: 1,925
8/5/14 11:18 A

Soups and salads. Can be quick, can be nutritious, can be varied. The most popular soup of all, chili (a stew, really), can be reheated so you have two or more meals from that.

Edited by: ALGEBRAGIRL at: 8/6/2014 (12:18)
PIAQUA Posts: 753
8/5/14 9:13 A

In addition to Kastra's tips about sorting your list, you can check to see if your store has an app for you phone. Mine has one that keeps track of prices, aisle numbers, past purchases and what is on sale that week. It also lets you keep multiple lists going at the same time. You can set the store to whichever one you're near, and it will update accordingly. I love it. It's also nice to be able to update my list from my phone anywhere/any time when I think of something I want/need and forgot about when making the original list.

BHENDRICK2 Posts: 1,207
8/4/14 4:49 P

i use flax seeds they are a nice way to get in fiber

AZRIDERS Posts: 215
8/4/14 2:55 P

I'm not real fond of cooking either and I HATE to go to the grocery store. That said, I always have these items in my house and very little cooking required.

Pineapple cottage cheese
Greek yogurt
Flax seeds
High fiber wheat bread
1% milk and chocolate syrup (non-fat and sugar free)
Deli chicken or turkey
Canned tuna in water
All kinds of fruit and veges

Thank goodness my husband is a cook or else I would eat out of a can or bag every day. LOL!!!!

KASTRA Posts: 369
8/4/14 1:24 P

Welcome to the club! I cannot stand grocery shopping either, and dislike cooking quite a bit. Meal planning is also no my list of not-favorite duties. But, each one is a necessity, particularly if trying to eat healthier.

For meal others, over time, I've assembled a list of meals that we have repeatedly, mainly by struggling through assembly of a few weeks of lists. Each time I make a meal planning list, I email that list to myself named "Meal Plan." When it's time to do another meal planning list, I search up my Sent folder by the email title and glance through past lists. It doesn't help with the first or second list, but it does help grab some go-to meals when I draw a black (which happens every time I make the list). I try to add a new meal to each "Meal Plan" list, but most of the rest of the meals on my lists are repeats that we know and like.

From that meal plan comes the grocery list. I go through each of those meals and list the ingredients needed. Then, I drop in the non-meal items (cat food, shampoo, etc., snack things) that we're low on and need to refill.

Then, I sort the list by store section or aisle, because one of the annoying things about shopping, for me at least, is needing to double-back in the store to pick up something on the other side that I forgot. I sort the list by section, then sort those sections by the store layout so I can literally move item by item down the list and not have to backtrack. It makes the process so much faster.

Last is picking the time to go to the store. Weekend shopping annoys me and I avoid it at all costs. If I save it for a Saturday, I'll keep putting it off through the day in favor of more pleasant things (scrubbing toilets is preferable, in my mind). Instead, I do my grocery shopping Friday night on my way home from work. That way...I'm already out and about, it only adds 30-45 minutes because my list is prepared and set up the way it is, and when I come home and put groceries away, I'm DONE with that annoying errand.

Also, I grocery shop two weeks at a time for most groceries. On the in-between weeks, I hit the farmers market around the corner, instead of going to the big chain, for refills of fresh fruits and veggies. The farmers market is not nearly as annoying to deal with as the grocery store.

As far as cooking...well...that's just something we have to get past. I'm lucky to have a husband that enjoys cooking, so I do the planning and collecting of goods, and he's usually our chef. He's been sick lately, though, so it's been mine to manage. We've had a lot of sandwich days, big salads, baked potatoes (can microwave those) and so forth. It helps that it's summer and too hot to want many hot meals, but when I'm the cook, I go with incredibly easy meals that take minutes. If not that, I batch cook - big pot of chili that we can graze on and pack lunches from all week, big batch of meatballs and marinara so all I have to do is boil some pasta, etc.

Edited by: KASTRA at: 8/4/2014 (13:26)
JCOOPER47 SparkPoints: (4,487)
Fitness Minutes: (3,090)
Posts: 7
8/4/14 12:46 P

Thanks for the web site. I only eat chicken or turkey (ground) but my husband eats all meats. I don't know what to have with it. I can't eat raw veg and some fruit so I am at a loss. Also, we don't eat anything white so that is limiting.

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,100)
Fitness Minutes: (5,920)
Posts: 3,750
8/6/13 11:55 P

Have you considered joining a CSA? You can shop less and get fresh produce.

CMCOLE Posts: 2,667
8/6/13 6:17 A

just as a sample, I looked up "five ingredient recipes"

those shouldn't be TOO complicated, and may give you some ideas in addition to those you've already received

LOUNMOUN Posts: 1,334
8/5/13 7:00 P

I have some guidelines when I plan meals that help me fill in the list. I will have 3 to 4 meatless dinners each week. (bean, lentil, or pasta dishes usually) I will have soup once a week. We generally have Indian food one night per week.
I plan 28 meals and use that list in rotation for a couple of months before making a new list. I laminated it and cross meals off with a dry erase marker as we have them. I save the list for future.

I pretty much have the same thing for breakfast or lunch every day so I don't plan it out.
Leftovers are used for breakfast,lunches or put in the freezer for another time.

Maybe if you assign a theme to each night it will help inspire you to find meals that fit. Mexican food, pasta, meatless, slow cooker, soup, clean out the freezer night, salad, grill, breakfast-for-dinner, sandwiches, etc.

If you don't like to plan meals just make a list of 14 or more dinners and just rotate the list for a couple of months. You don't have to rack your brain every single week or eat things that are odd or complicated.

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,100)
Fitness Minutes: (5,920)
Posts: 3,750
8/5/13 2:15 P

Some no/little prep ideas; serve all with easy sides such as salad, steamed vegs, and/or broth:
deli made riceless sushi
turkey/cheese rollups
deli made shrimp kabobs
microwave omelet
frozen turkey burger patties

LGREGG07 SparkPoints: (44,505)
Fitness Minutes: (137,189)
Posts: 118
8/5/13 9:49 A

a website I use to help me plan dinners is She has a ton of recipes just about anything (pasta, vegan, side dishes, fish, etc.) I love to cook but with my job I find that I'm too tired/hungry to spend a lot of time in front of the stove. Also, it might be too hot for it right now, but slow cookers are a lifesaver when you don't feel like cooking.

and since you're not a big fan of ground beef, have you tried ground turkey? Its leaner than ground beef but have the same texture. I used it to make burgers, meat sauces, in tacos, you name it! Chicken sausages are also another protein than you might enjoy more than regular chicken. It has the flavors of sausages and tastes great with sauteed onion and peppers!

8/4/13 10:50 P

I will definitely check out those websites! Typically, I decide what to make, read 3-5 recipes and then make it with whatever I have in the cupboard. I have literally substituted every item in a recipe before. LOL

Thanks for your thoughts!

JAMIRBLAZE Posts: 1,768
8/4/13 10:32 P

I like Eatingwell's recipes, too. is another good resource. I buy meat in bulk (which I break down into 1lb packs and freeze), so I usually see what I have packaged in the freezer, pick a recipe and go from there. You can always explore meat-free options as well to give you more variety.

NIRERIN Posts: 14,234
8/4/13 10:16 P

what would go on the list if you weren't trying to make better choices? make that list, pick the three things you think shouldn't be on it, and figure out what to put on to take the place of those items. so if you were going to buy lunchmeat, you might want to grab a rotisserie chicken to chunk up to put on your sandwiches instead. if you were going to buy a bag of candy or chips, buy a bag of fruit instead. this way you aren't trying to reinvent the wheel in one week, you're weeding out the stuff you shouldn't be having while slowly introducing what you should be eating more of.
do the same with meals. you already have a list of fallbacks. so take a look at your staples and see what you can do to make each staple a better choice for you. so if you love boxed mac and cheese, that may be as simple as making sure you have some frozen broccoli [or whatever vegetable you might like to toss in mac. beans, squash, cauliflower, spinach and other dark green leafies, peppers, onion, mushrooms, it's really what you like] to toss in the pot while the macaroni finishes cooking.
and by the same token, if you're buying premade meals, read the labels. find something that's a little better than what you were buying before. keep some frozen veggies in the freezer to heat up as a side to the frozen dinner. if you have a microwave safe bowl you can heat a cup of most veggies in it in the microwave in under 2 minutes. you don't need to add water or do anything special, just dump them in and stir halfway through.

8/4/13 10:03 P

Thank you all for your thoughts! You each had some interesting things for me to keep in mind.

Let me clarify though, that I do know how to cook. I managed to raise 2 girls and taught them how to cook and bake. In High School I took 2 years of food classes and even won a Purple Rosette Ribbon in a 4-H Fair Competition for my dill dip and veggie platter, won the highest ribbon. Dang, I wish I had that recipe now!! LOL

So, in the end I looked on my bookshelf and found a Cooking Light cookbook I didn't even realize I had (probably belongs to one of my girls, hehe). I found 7 dinners and went grocery shopping. I will say that I was surprised that most of the items I needed WERE on the perimeter of the grocery store, and some spices I didn't have.

I am going to keep track of what does and doesn't work for me. I think I've realized that changing my eating is key to losing weight, but it starts with changing my cooking habits. least until I win the lottery and hire a full time chef. hehe

Thanks for your encouragement, I feel all grown up again (no more 3yo temper tantrum)

Edited by: AZURELISA at: 8/4/2013 (22:04)
ICEDEMETER Posts: 1,332
8/4/13 1:47 P

A few things you might want to think about:

1 - Plan the veggies for meals first, and then the protein. For instance, you might want to have roasted asparagus on Monday, mixed veggie skewers on Tuesday, broccoli salad on Wednesday, spaghetti squash on Thursday, caramelized brussels sprouts on Friday, quinoa with spinach and onions on Saturday, and a stir-fry with broccoli/cauliflower/snap peas/onions/mushrooms/bok choy on Sunday. This gives you the base for your shopping list. Once you've got that figured out, then think about which protein would go best with each one. For example, grilled trout with the asparagus, chunks of pork loin chops on the skewers, white fish with the broccoli salad, tomato sauce base with mixed beans and lentils over the spaghetti squash, eye of the round roast with the brussels sprouts, the quinoa already has protein, and so left-over roast in to the stir-fry.

2 - To keep things simple, think of your 3 favorite meals. Plan on having them in rotation during the week, just changing up the spicing and preparation method to keep them from being boring. Have fish 3 times: once grilled with garlic/dill/paprika, once poached with lemon/onion, and once fried in toasted sesame oil with almonds. Roast a pork tenderloin, and have it one night with cherry sauce, then next part of greek-spiced skewers, and throw the rest in to a stir-fry with a honey hoisin sauce.

3 - Challenge yourself to try one new recipe every week. You might want to start with something based on batch-cooking, so that you can freeze a bunch of servings for later. Maybe a chili, or a spaghetti sauce (which can be served over pasta, over zuchini, over cauliflower, or anything else!), or a casserole.

4 - Check out the fruit and veggie guide here on the site --- it's a great place to start with picking a new fruit or veggie each week, and has tips on ways to prepare them.

I just started learning to cook this past year, and know that a lot of the recipes seemed really intimidating with all those ingredients! I started with just basics (roasted meats, roasted veggies) and started learning to make really tasty, healthy sauces. The sauces and spices can totally change up the meal, so that even the "same thing" 3 days in a row all seem different.

What actually made it possible at all for me was a change in attitude --- instead of looking at cooking as a "chore", I started making it a "game". I have a lot of fun randomly pulling things out of the pantry and creating sauces and spice combinations. There have been a few quite spectacular failures, but those were good for the laughs... Most things have ended up being surprisingly good. I focus on the micronutrients that I need (iron, folate, calcium, sodium), and build meals that fill those needs.

Please try and have fun with it, and remember that *healthy* can taste fabulous!

NHELENE Posts: 1,505
8/4/13 1:39 P

For a beginner cook, I really recommend the "Cooking Light" series of cookbooks. Most of them have "5 ingredient, 15 minute" meals, which are simple to prepare. See if you can find them at the library and see if the recipes meet your tastes.

I flipped through this one at a friend's house:
and it has a set of weekly menus and shopping lists for those menus.

My one big dislike about the Cooking Light recipes is they tend to rely on pre-packaged ingredients such as salsas, dressings, etc., but I think they are still a good place to start.

GRAMCRACKER46 Posts: 1,764
8/4/13 1:29 P

I love to cook, but really hate meal planning. I go blank there. So I have accumulated many favorites and keep them in a binder. It's important to try new recipes often also; helps with weight loss.

For meal planning: There are lots of great web sites. I like Also Taste of Home has some good ones too. But really SP has a great recipe section.

For the grocery shopping: Shop the perimeter....produce, dairy, meats, etc. Buy as few of the packaged foods in the middle of the store as necessary. Also because it helps with weight loss and is healthier.

Remember the old adage: if you keep doing what your doing, the results will be the same. So time to make a few changes.

8/4/13 1:06 P

I am sitting here with a pad of paper in front of me knowing I need to write a shopping list and make a quick grocery shopping run. Coffee & Dog Food... that's all I have managed to write.

Besides hating doing grocery shopping, I have no idea what to buy! I thought writing a list of meals for the next week would be helpful but that sheet of paper is blank as well. I don't even know I could cook that's easy AND healthy for me.

I want to lose weight and I know that will only happen once I start cooking better and moving more.

I do not use the SP menu because it is too complicated and too many items. The food is just bizarre to me and not appealing, I've tried it.

I don't really like chicken, which seems to be everyone's staple of their "go to" dinner. I do like fish, but every time I cook fish it tastes exactly the same every time. Steak is too expensive for daily meals and I can only tolerate a little ground beef.

I feel like a whiny 3 yo, and I apologize for that. I just feel like I am at the end of (my very fat) rope.

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