I DO use the tracker to make my menus for the day.I print them off so I can monitor my calories and make sure im getting the right amounts of fats and stuff...I need the calorie count, or I go too high....
I have been here for almost a month (Feb.4) and I have been using the SparkPeople menu/meal planner feature since day one. I agree that they are not practical or tasty meals. I use them as a template just to set up well-balanced and healthy meals. I substitute 85% of the food and have added plenty of my own items or use items entered by other users. I also repeat my meals a lot so I can use up the groceries I buy. So far I am fine with doing it this way, but I can see me not using it at all in the future when I am more accustomed to planning a healthy meal on my own.
Fitness Minutes: (4,820)
1/31/12 1:07 P
I don't use them, but have found some food items that they suggest that I try and actually like. I never tried hummus until I saw it mentioned on my menu plan. I gave it a try and really like it! I use it as a dip with pita chips or baby carrots. I really like the "Athenos" brand.
I like to look at them to get ideas if I'm low on something (hmm, I'm low on fat today, what does the menu have in there to add up their fat? OH! Peanut-butter. I can do that!) or when I want to try something new, but I just use my own foods for most of the time.
Fitness Minutes: (49,122)
1/31/12 12:14 P
I dont use them...
Fitness Minutes: (14,994)
1,562 1/31/12 12:08 P
No, I don't use them. Their vegetarian menu REALLY needs to be revamped--who needs to eat yoghurt, sour cream and cheese with every meal? Also, we could use a VEGAN option.
Fitness Minutes: (83,003)
1/31/12 11:53 A
I prefer to choose the foods I like and the foods that I can get on sale. I never use the Spark menus.
1/31/12 11:48 A
I agree with OBIESMOM2. The meal plans have too many things I don't eat. Besides, some items can't be found in my local stores. I don't drive and I have limited supermarket choices that I can walk to. I make up my own meals using the tracker. It works for me.
Fitness Minutes: (94,996)
1/31/12 11:30 A
the meal plans frustrated me when I first joined. Too many things on there I'd NEVER eat (mayo would be at the top of the list, no canned tuna or salmon). I tried to swap for foods I do eat, but it was just confusing. I just went back to the Points system, writing everything down on a note pad.
when I started back this year, I took a few minutes to watch some of the videos on how to use the site.
It's so easy if I just take a few minutes!
the meal plan would be a help to all those newbies who have no idea what is healthy and what is not.
Anarie is right about the hummus...YUM! I have some in the fridge right now with a nice red pepper for dipping.
I think a good use of the meal plans is to look at them, pick out the ones that do look good, and copy those. That lets you use up the items you buy that are more than one serving, among other things. You can also use them as a template-- if it says "half a whole wheat bagel" on Tuesday and "whole wheat English muffin" on Thursday, what it really means is "about 100 calories of something resembling bread." You can use the English muffin both days, or just have toast all week.
By the way, I'm pretty sure there's a "no tofu" option with the meal plans. But you should try the hummus! Hummus is good stuff!
That's another advantage of looking at the meal plans now and then, even if you don't really use them. They do give you new ideas of foods to try that you might not try otherwise.
Fitness Minutes: (120)
1/31/12 10:01 A
I've never used the spark meal plan. I designed my own plan that works for me.
Okay, that makes me feel better. I DO track my calories and my plan, compared nutritionally to theirs. I try to make sure I do the fruit and veges thing and keep the fat and calories down...Im often very close to what they recommend, but I need real food...
Fitness Minutes: (2,031)
1,730 1/31/12 9:49 A
I never have...maybe I should.
1/31/12 9:48 A
I make my own meal plans. I tried the SP meal plans but wasn't a fan.
The meal plans suck right now. I think the last time I used it, I was trying to sub one whole egg for two eggwhites and it wouldn't do it. Then I tried to replace the fruit with broccoli or spinach or sweet potato or tomato and it wouldn't give me any of those options.
I never got beyond breakfast.
Okay, now I've tried messing with dinner and all of their suggestions sound gross. After a whole bunch of futzing around, I began to come up with something palatable that does not resemble the original, but I can't do apples with pork every night, especially since apples are out-of-season and getting pricier. I will happily eat over a cup of half-steamed broccoli, more if it involves cheese sauce, but I really hate most fruit in any form but juiced, and even that I prefer watered-down.
Fitness Minutes: (35,465)
2,323 1/31/12 8:59 A
I have a family so....I make my own meals and them watch my portions and such. I agree with the previous post that a lot of meal plans, not just Spark, don't make followup meals with the ingredients.
Fitness Minutes: (62,943)
7,089 1/31/12 8:56 A
I have never used the Sparkplans. I track all my food manually.
1/31/12 8:47 A
I make my own food choices. I find if you follow theirs then you throw out a lot of food because they don't do follow up meals using the same food items.
How many of you actually use the meal plans spark people gives you? Do any of you change the menus to your own type of food? I do not eat the types of food they offer...HUmus...tofo.. that sort of thing...I am a generally old fashioned eater....
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