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Grocery tips and Food ideas

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Here's some random thoughts on shopping and food:

Fruits & Vegetables of course, don't get iceberg lettuce though when possible get fresh spinach (for salads) or other types of lettuce when possible (red leaf is good) as iceberg has no nutrients at all. Try new fruits you may not be familiar with. I recommend mangos, grapes and kiwis. Grapes are great when you freeze them and eat them as a cold snack.

*NOTE* For non-immediate consumption type fruits & vegetables always get frozen fruits & vegetables instead of canned if at all possible, the sodium is much less and the taste is far better. If you do get canned vegetables always rinse the vegetables before eating as it will help a lot with the sodium.

For snacks / misc:

Pumpkin seeds are a great snack my doctor recommended, theyíre high in fat but itís a good fat

Tortilla Chips w/Salsa instead of chips and sour cream dip are a much healthier snack

Planters lightly salted nuts (with sea salt)

Nature Valley granola bars (you can leave some of these in your car if you're out and about and get hungry to avoid fast food)

String cheese - light

1% cottage cheese (don't get nonfat as it doesn't taste too good)

Orville Redenbacher 100 calorie air-popped popcorn

Milk: Skim or 1% milk, never get Vitamin D, way too much fat

Canned meat: Canned tuna in water to mix with salads or make tuna fish

Canned chicken and salmon make good sandwiches as well mixed with a bit of miracle whip light and/or mustard & pickles


Miracle Whip light instead of mayo, although in general the less of any of this as a topping the better. If you are ok with mustard then mix in mustard so you can use less Miracle Whip Light.

Plochmans or a similar mustard, if you like mustard use it whenever possible as itís ideal calorie-wise.

Dijon mustard (watch the calories though, most have hardly any but some are real high if they are sugar based)

For butter always use unsalted butter. Do not ever use margarine. Ever.

For bread look for Aunt Millie's bread, you can get the bread or the salad pita type pockets. I alternate but the bread tastes a bit better. Look for the words WHOLE WHEAT. If you hate wheat bread you can get Whitewheat branded bread at some places (Walmart). Never eat white bread as itís processed and high in sugars.

For breakfast:

Weight Control Oatmeal - either get the variety pack or Maple Brown Sugar. Mix in frozen blueberries or strawberries on occasion to mix it up.

Honey Nut Crunch Cheerios w/frozen fruit (unsweetened, make sure there is no ADDED sugar) and if not sweet enough add 1 Splenda

Eggs Ė always buy brown and/or organic eggs when possible and buy egg whites to mix in with the regular eggs as well. 1 egg with some whites is better than 2 regular eggs. Egglands Best is what I buy if I can find them for cheap and/or on sale.

Turkey sausage links or low-sodium bacon is nice but it should be an occasional treat and not an everyday breakfast.

In general when I make eggs I make an omelet: mix 1 egg with egg whites, mushrooms, red or green onions, peppers and cook, then add 1 slice of lowfat cheese and flip the egg over top the cheese to complete. Add salsa Ė it works well on eggs, omelets (salsa is also great on baked potatoes instead of butter by the way!)

For lunch:

For any deli meats get as lowfat (96% of higher) and as little sodium as you can. In general the order of preference is: turkey is the best, then chicken breast, then roast beef and ham, then everything else, avoid all heavily salted meats like pastrami, pepperoni, salami, etc Ė See below for more ideas on sandwiches

Sandwiches: Using low calorie (light) wheat bread pile on the lowfat deli meat with lettuce, banana peppers, tomatoes, onions, whatever vegetables you can fit on there that you like (the more the better). Use mustard, Dijon mustard or if you want mayo then use the miracle whip light (sparingly though). If you like vinegar and oil it is the ideal sandwich topping and works well with the vegetables and especially on ham if you're not a fan of mustard. If you want a PB&J sandwich get sugar free fruit jams with real fruit and mix with Natural peanut butter on wheat bread for a great PB&J sandwich. Make sure to get the natural peanut butter and not some light branded peanut butter.

Gortons fish 2-per-pack are good to eat, they do not have any breading. They cook in the microwave so itís a good item to take to work.

Green giant individual servings of frozen vegetables are great for taking in your lunch as well.

Lean pockets are good but should be an occasional treat. They are heavily processed food (avoid heavily processed foods whenever possible)

For any cheese products just try to get 2% cheese. Avoid non-fat cheeses as they are not very good tasting or filling. Kraft 1% swiss slices are good too if you like swiss.

Campbells Healthy Request lower sodium soups are good. I know there are other brands that are a bit healthier but they just arenít as tasty of filling IMO.

For dinner:

Hot dogs: Hebrew National All-beef franks cooked in water on the stove (not in the microwave). Chop up pickles (rinse first) and mix with mustard and/or onions for the topping, serve on a whole wheat bun.

Pizza: mama mary's or boboli's 8" pizza crusts (mama mary's tastes better but has much more fat) w/whatever low cal sauce (should be able to find one in a small glass jar around 40 calories), 1% cheese, oregano, garlic powder, turkey pepperoni *or* ground sausage turkey plus whatever vegetables you like on your pizza (the more the better). Put sauce on, then garlic powder, oregano and dash of parmesan cheese, then turkey pepperonis and everything else. The secret to this is to put just a dash of cheese on the pizza, then cook it in the oven, then add a dash when it comes out, you can get away with much less cheese that way (and cheese is where most of the calories comes from on this).

Fried Chicken Strips: Get chicken breasts, cut into strips. Get some Kelloggs Corn Flakes, pour into a plate. Crush the corn flakes by rolling a can over them. Dip each chicken strip into lowfat milk & extra virgin olive oil mixture. Roll the chicken strip in the Kellogs crushed Corn Flakes mixture. Put strip on sprayed cookie sheet and cook in oven @ 425 for 20-25 minutes until chicken is cooked thoroughly. Tastes great, just like fried chicken! Dip in Dijon mustard or BBQ/hot sauce.

Chili: chili is great to make in a crock pot *or* on the stove, tomato juice, tomato paste, chili powder, diced or whole tomatoes, 3 kinds of beans you like (black beans recommended), green/yellow and red peppers, whole mushrooms, red onions and ground turkey if you want meat. I just cook the meat in a pan, throw it all into a pot and warm up, or leave it all in a crockpot while i'm at work.

Spaghetti: Spaghetti is good made much like the chili above but utilize the canned spaghetti sauce (not in a glass jar, the low cal canned sauce) with the above vegetable and meat ingredients. For the pasta always get Dreamfields low-carb pasta. Utilize excessive amounts of sauce and minimal pasta in each serving.

Salads & Salad Dressings: Throw in whatever vegetables you want, avoid bacon bits, avoid croutons. A boiled egg helps create taste. If you desire some sort of crunch instead of bacon bits or croutons get 2 crackers and crumble into the salad. For the dressing buy a bottle of extra virgin olive oil. Buy a bottle of red vinegar. Combine and use on salad with oregano seasoning to season. Or if you really want to use store bought dressing then get the low calorie vinaigrette or a light italian dressing. Any clear-based, lower fat dressings are the best. Avoid fat laden dressings such as 1000 islands, as they defeat the purpose of a low calorie, low-fat salad.

Drinks: Water - as much as possible, flavored water with Sucralose, Crystal light is ok but don't go crazy with it as it has aspartame, Ocean Spray Diet Cranberry Juice (15 calories per serving I believe), Aizona Diet Green Tea, if you want a cola drink then RC Diet Cola is the best as it doesn't use aspartame (it uses sucralose), homemade tea sweetened with a sucralose based sweetener (Splenda). Don't use Sweet & Low or Equal if possible (they have aspartame which you should always avoid).

For Desert: eat fruits whenever possible to satisfy a sweet tooth, yogurts (the low cal yogurts) are good for mixing with fruit, other ideas are low calorie popsicles (25 to 40 calories per serving), weight watchers ice cream (get individual serving sizes when possible as its good portion control). Another idea is to get the flavored light branded cool whips and freeze them, then eat them like ice cream (I believe they have a chocolate flavored cool whip as well). There are also Smuckers fudge topping which is sugar free to put over Cool Whip or weight watchers Ice cream that tastes good (it may have a very, very slight bitter aftertaste but it's subtle). If you get any chocolate get dark chocolate and avoid milk chocolate. Another idea is to get weight watchers ice cream, coat with sugar free topping, add bananas, chopped nuts and you have a great tasting, low calorie banana split.

Miscellanous info:

Donít add extra salt to your food when at all possible as most foods we buy now in stores are loaded with salt. Rinse foods whenever possible to rinse off sodium. Try using oregano and/or potassium based salts which have 60 to 90% less sodium. Also consider Mrs. Dash products.

Happy shopping & cooking all!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHELBYBEAR 6/3/2010 10:13PM

    Have you tried the Multigrain sandwich thins? 100 cal/serve, great for sandwiches!

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THOMS1 5/11/2010 2:28PM

    Thanks for sharing!

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LSCHULER72 5/11/2010 2:00PM

    Wow-lots of thought went into this. Thanks for the great ideas!

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SHAUNH20 5/11/2010 1:45PM

    Thanks for the kind words Logandrylsmom, glad I could be of some help!!

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LOGANDRYLSMOM 5/11/2010 1:14PM

    Great blog! I sure needed that... Thanks for sharing!

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How To: Get out of that Rut!!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I had a friend who recently emailed me that he was reading my emails about losing weight and getting fit each day and it was inspiring him to learn of my progress but depressing him that he was unable to get his program started and start making progress as well. He said that each day he would read my emails and vow to start getting fit that day but each night after work he'd stop and get a pizza or a burger and say "I'm going to start on that first thing tomorrow".

Then he would get home and begin watching tv and start getting depressed about yet another day had gone by and he was 387 pounds and still hadn't started. And in fact was getting fatter each day. Then the next day he'd get my email and think the same thinga and repeat the process. He said this had been going on for a couple of months and he wanted my advice on how to break out of the cycle.

So here is my email back to him:

1. Tell yourself if you want pizza then you can have it, BUT you have to make it yourself. This will require time and more effort but allow yourself the guilty pleasure if you do have to have it. The goal is to change some things at a small pace. If you want a cheeseburger, stop at the store, buy the ingredients and cook it. When you start cooking for yourself you will be able to eat MUCH healthier and still enjoy some of the foods which aren't as healthy for you (which maybe later on you'll eat more sparingly).

And although this may not sound like that big of a deal it can be huge. A burger from a fast food place can have 800 calories and 75 grams of fat whereas one you fix at home may have 250 calories and 20 grams of fat. HUGE difference. So try to promise yourself that you can still eat less than healthy for now so long as you cook it yourself. This is a big start toward eating healthier.

2. Instead of telling yourself you'll work out tomorrow, thinking in your mind you're going to start biking for 30 minutes or whatever tomorrow..just decide to do it today but in no big way. So for example when you get home you go out and take a 15 minute leisurely walk. The trick is to just get into the habit of doing something. It doesn't matter if you walk fast or not. The biggest hurdle is to not think of working out as doing this big, planned event. Just say, ok this week I will walk outside 3 times for 15 minutes. And when you've done it you will feel like you accomplished something. In other words, don't worry about the workout, worry about simply doing the habit of something physically healthy. And after you've done 3 walks @ 15 minutes each for a week or two maybe up it to 20 minutes. Or change it to 4 walks @ 15 minutes each. Just commit to a little more each week.

The bottom line for this exercise is twofold, to quit thinking about doing big things and just do something. Then make that something a habit. The end result of that will be you will lose the depression. You will quit dwelling on your failure and you will start getting a sense of accomplishment.

And lastly, and this may sound cliched, think about your life as being today. We don't know if tomorrow will exist for any of us. This is your life today, start living or get to dying. Find something to motivate you to just do these above two simple steps and you will begin to feel better about yourself and start seeing some progress.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CINCYGAL10 8/23/2010 5:54PM

    Came across this post...It gave me a well needed boost. Thanks!

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KAT_IN_MD 4/1/2010 6:44AM

    I did like this. It's those little things that really do add up and give us the boost we need.

I also love that you're off your hypertensive meds. It gives me hope.

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Finally off Blood Pressure Medication!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

UPDATE - Week 14 of the weight loss quest is in full swing and things are going great! I saw the doctor today and Iím off blood pressure medicine completelyÖ.finally!!!!! I ran out of meds 2 weeks ago so I bought a machine to take my BP to monitor it and wrote down each time I checked it (twice a day). He looked at the logs and coupled with my reading this morning said that I was doing fine without the meds and it was unneeded so long as I kept working out and watching the food.

My sugar was also good, itís supposed to be 100 or less after fasting and mine was 81!!!! Thatís the best itís been in all of the years Iíve been working out! Also, I weighed in 16 pounds lighter than I did 6 weeks ago. So yeah it was a great visit. Letís just hope the next one in 3 months is as good of a one! I still have to wait and get my cholesterol level in a few days but I imagine that should be fine considering Iíve been eating so healthy for the last few months now.

I am still logging all of my food and exercise on sparkpeople and attending weekly meetings with TOPS, a weight-watchers type club. This past week I was e biggest loser of the week with a 5.8 pound loss!! It was a great accomplishment, beating all those pudgy older ladies, heh heh.

This is my last day of the weight loss challenge @ the gym. If I beat the guy Iím up against I will win a free month of gym time. Iím on target to hit about a 10 pound weight loss in the past 4 weeks so Iím pretty confident I will win (but still concerned of course). We weigh in today at 12:30 so Iím about to head to the gym to get in one last big workout to try to get that last pound or so.

Iím 269 now with 49 pounds more to go to hit my goal weight!! #1 with a bullet straight to the top!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEWDAYNEWWAY75 6/16/2009 8:43PM

    Wow! Congratulations! You are making lots of strides on the path to good health and well being. :D

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Congratulations!!! emoticon

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New Picture Up!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hey all, check out my new picture on the front page, it's my picture from last week's Virginia Republican Convention. I'm still staying steady at 255 or so, haven't been losing anymore weight but i'm still exercising 5 times a week and sticking to the plan.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANTHONYF 6/7/2009 11:59AM

    NIce! Looking good. Glad to see some positive results happening for you

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SWEETNIS3 6/10/2008 8:32PM

    great job at sticking with it. it all pays off in the end. great pic. keep in touch! emoticon

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The cycle continues

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Every weekend I die and every following day I am reborn. It is only through this dark cycle I am able to maintain the illusion of all humanity within my affected realm. Through spending time in my dark crypt and feeling the need to relive the never-ending torment, it is only then that I am able to feel alive and connected. And each time I fall prey to my trap I feel both failure and sadness in knowing that it is the only way that I can feel renewed once I am brought back to the land of the living. In my eternal solitude high above, in a corrupted tower, I watch the afflicted mill about in their pathetic and ordinary little lives, as if they are adhering to some higher, grand purpose. Scurrying about like fleas, hopping here and there, enjoying themselves in their utter stupidity. It is only I that can see their folly and yet realize that in my knowledge I am no better, only wiser. With this knowledge I am privvy to some grand secret that is both at once fascinating and exhilirating but ultimately completely useless. Knowing this both excites and saddens me.

On the second day I arise, shake off all of the dust, pretend I don't know what I do and am resurrected to partake in this cycle once again. Yes, every weekend I die and each time I'm reborn. Though this cycle may seem like a miracle to some perhaps it is better viewed as some infernal curse? Because each time knowledge is gained and without any purpose why is there not eternal rest rather than the repeating cycle, the grind, the process of repetition?

Am I destined to be flying high above this land of black, the secret within, burned into my brain, and yet have no way of acting or moving forward to utilize and change this cycle of madness? Perhaps instead of ridiculing the hapless bugs flapping about below I should envy them in their stupidity and ignorance? Admire their useless bliss? Ultimately this is the question I ask. And there can be no answer, for no one else out there is of the right mind to answer.


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