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How to start meal planning for a beginner?

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1/30/12 11:31 A

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I have to say this is really disappointing. I thought this site would help me with a meal plan. Why would I need a meal tracker if I don't have a meal to track? I have to choose them myself? When I signed up for this they said they would give me a plan. They don't.

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1/30/12 9:30 A

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I agree with this. The only amendment that I will make is that I will often make substitutions that I CAN live with. I don't need half a dozen cookies at a time. But a 100 calorie pack will suffice. I don't need a pan of brownies for dessert but a small piece of brownie will suffice. I don't use real butter on my veggies anymore. 100 calories for a tbsp is steep so I use the spray butter instead. I'm making better choices for for my snacks. I'll cook up some veggies instead of reaching for sweets. It IS a slow process but we can do it.

I'm on my way.

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1/29/12 10:17 P

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47Grandma - When you are adding food to the nutrition tracker, below the "Add Food" button, there is a small button that says "Nutritional Info". That will let you see the info without adding (and having to then delete) the foods.

For making meals and tracking easier in the beginning I have three suggestions: add foods to your favorites list, use to find healthy ways of making your favorite foods, and come up with a few options for most meals. By adding foods to your favorites list, it makes it much faster to put in your foods on a daily basis if you can go down your list and click on multiple foods and add them all at once. The second part of this is use to find healthy ways of making your faborite things that you don't want to give up. The third part of this is to have some basic options for each meal that you like. My default dinner is chicken or fish, a veggie, and brown rice/black beans. This generally gives me a dinner that is under 400 calories, yet is very filling. These dinners also take around 30 minutes from frozen chicken/veggies to dinner being served.

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1/29/12 9:07 P

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I think the greatest advice we can give our children and our childrens children is not to force them to eat. Let's stop the cycle of filling up their plates and demanding they eat it ALL. Young children will eat when they are hungry because their body tells them to, they not emotionally attached to food yet. Unfortunately I think we do that as parents. I finally smartened up and reduced the portions I served my children and if they wanted more I gave them more, but I wasn't going to sit there and demand they finish their food like my parents did.

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SEAJESS's Photo SparkPoints: (37,059)
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1/29/12 7:06 P

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Grandma, that is a very wise approach you are taking! I'm with the SparkPeople Cookbook motto about love your food, lose the weight. No deprivation for me.

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1/29/12 6:15 P

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I have tried hundreds of diets over the years. I have decided that eating "diet food" is not something I can live with forever. So I am tracking what I eat, the food I normally prepare. This is letting me know what is wrong with my nutrition. Then I am amending some of the meals so that they will be better nutritionally for me. This is a slow process and I am only starting but I know this time it has to be a way of life I can finish my life with. I didn't gain this overnight and I won't lose it overnight. The tracking has been very helpful--I just wish I could see some of the nutritional values before putting it in the meals section. (I find myself putting something there, realizing it's not going to work for that day, taking it out, trying something different, etc.)

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1/29/12 6:00 P

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I'm sure people have already said this, but a fool-proof way to eat healthy is the smiley face plate, which consists of:
1) a Smile - veggies (and/or fruits) that take up half your plate
2) An Eye - whole grain carbs that fill 1/4 or your plate (think about a half cup for most grains)
3) Another Eye - fill 1/4 of your plate with lean proteins such as fish, eggs, chicken, tofu, beans, etc. (add a meatless day each week to play with different types of healthy proteins!)

They actually make plates with designs specifically to portion out your food correctly. Some of them are actually really cute, and you'd never realize the designs on them were actually portion guidelines! Or, if you don't feel like purchasing a whole new dish set, you could always try using those disposable plastic three-sectioned picnic plates as a guideline as well... Just make sure to reuse them and then wash and recycle them once you've got your portioning figured out!

Edited by: MUCKLESHOOT at: 1/29/2012 (18:01)

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1/29/12 4:49 P

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Thanks for the topic. This is a HUGE challenge for me. I need to start with baby steps, otherwise it's too overwhelming. My first thing was to find a breakfast I love (and I wasn't a breakfast eater) and have that pretty much every morning.

The rest of my meal planning is chaos. I spent too much time at the grocery thinking "Hmmm.... what do I want to make for dinner?"

Thinking of trying to eat the same thing for dinner for a week. If I do stir fry there could still be quite a bit of variation.

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1/29/12 3:55 P

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May I suggest It's a paid site, but they have menus and shopping lists, and the food is both nutritious and satisfying. I've been a customer for years.

There comes a time when a wave rises up inside us and impels us into action. One of the tricks of life is to build up enough momentum on the wave to keep us moving until the next one comes along.

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BAMEIBOO's Photo Posts: 658
1/29/12 1:23 P

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I'm gluten free too due to celiac. I haven't figured out the nutrition tracker. No matter what I enter it can't find it. Do you use this feature? Also we juice fruits and veggies for our breakfast daily and I wonder how to add that. I'd appreciate any help you can offer!

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1/29/12 12:41 P

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Don't buy diet foods that your not going to eat.But buy the foods you can afford and like to eat.Vegetables and Fruit are parishable. Just buy enough food for a couple of days.Always do the math before you eat,Buy measuring cups and spoons.Good luck on your meal planning.

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GIRLQUILTER1's Photo SparkPoints: (37,410)
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1/28/12 11:35 P

I can't use the meal planner since I am gluten free, so no bread etc. That planner needs help, if you ask me. I really couldn't eat the meals it suggests anyway, but since it isn't gluten free as an option, I ignore it.

I started meal planning cuz I was on a budget, but then I just didn't have time when I was working full time, so I cooked ahead for the week. I can't eat frozen meals since the g-f ones are so expensive, not very good and have too much salt and sugar. So I make my own meals and freeze part. Then I have meals made ahead and then I make a salad or whatever it needs. We also get a CSA box of veggies every week, so I use that as a guide for meals. This time of year January, we get salad stuff (in Calif) so we eat salads. They gave a bunch of broccolli and some butternut squash so that is this weeks creation. Also, whatever I make gets extra veggies in it to sneak in veggies. Like carrots grated into chili looks like more meat, etc. All this cooking and planning takes 1/2 a day. Then I make a list and shop from the list. But we eat well and I don't spend money on extra crap that we shouldn't eat and we always have good meals. We are not dessert people so that helps. We don't eat out much, it is too hard when you are g-f. Also, we only eat organic, so that limits our choices too. But in California, organic is easy to find---farmers markets when I can get to them--it is just that when you are trying to limit food intake, staying in the kitchen and thinking about food is counter prodcutive. I try to do it all one half day and then just heat up things after that. If I get into baking mode or something I am going to be gaining not losing weight, so all this is vital to the struggle. How to keep it all off is the miracle part. Jut figure that we are going to have to stick to this for life. That is a bit depresing, but figure how good you will look and feel. Losing the weight and keeping it off is so nice. I just miss eating all I want. But then that is the price to look good. Also, all the weight related illnesses I am avoiding.

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1/28/12 10:16 P

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Thanks for all the awesome tips! This is something that I have got to start doing! :)

~" For I know the plans I have for You" says the Lord, " Plans to prosper You and not to harm You, Plans to give You a hope and a future."
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MZ.THICKUMS's Photo Posts: 2,556
1/28/12 9:30 P

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These are very helpful tips. Thank you everyone for sharing! emoticon

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COLETTEISGREAT's Photo Posts: 1,090
1/28/12 4:42 P

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I can't wait to read this thread in its entirety... It looks great!

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1/28/12 2:19 P

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As a beginner to this site, folks' responses produce a long read. In my profession, I did not read any of it. I would have suggested a few points, but maybe they have already been given. Good Luck.

Just think about eating half of the food you like, if you are trying to shed some lbs.



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1/28/12 2:06 P

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Some great advice! Thanks!

Nothing changes if nothing changes!

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SARAHSTANLEY's Photo SparkPoints: (7,403)
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1/28/12 7:13 A

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The way I do it is to follow a 'guidelines':
1. Variety - lots otherwise I get bored and drift off plan.
2. Keep in mind that veg should fill half the plate, the protein should be lean and approximately the size of the palm of my hand and the carb should be about the size of my clenched fist.
3. Aim for all different colours of fruit and veg as the different colours all have different nutritional properties. I grow a lot of our fruit and veg but when buying it I always try to choose whatever's in season, from local producers or on special. Do check out the frozen foods section for fruit and veg.

Breakfasts: I don't have much time in the mornings so each week I'll chose a healthy breakfast cereal and have it with skim milk or yoghurt and a portion of fruit Monday to Saturday then have something like an oatmeal and cottage cheese pancake with fruit or an eggwhite omlette with peppers and salsa wrapped in a tortilla - something that takes a little longer to prepare on Sunday as a treat. To avoid getting bored I don't have the same breakfasts every week. I've now found four healthy breakfast cereals which I rotate on a 4 week basis.

Mid morning: Fruit snack - 2 portions of low GI fruit

Lunch (weekdays): It has to be easy and portable. Its usually a sandwich - ham, tuna, chicken - usually with a bag of prepared salad (bought in a bag already prepared). On the weekends I'll have something like avocado mashed with lime juice and a little hot pepper sauce on crispbreads or a couple of English muffins split and toasted then filled with laughing cow triangle and vff ham.

Mid afternoon: Nut snack - a 100 cal (couple of tablespoons) portion of almonds / brazil nuts / walnuts

Dinners: The first rule my house is that if its complicated then I make lots of it and it gets portioned out then frozen or refridgerated for another day. Normally, though, its 2 vegetables, 1 portion of carb and 1 portion of low fat protein. When shopping I try for variety - chicken, fish, turkey, easy vegetarian dishes - things that are easy to cook. I found fast healthy cooking was much easier after I invested in a George Foreman grill. Once I know what entree I'm cooking I then chose the veg and carbs to go with them.

Mid evening: A portion of fruit and a crispbread spread with a laughing cow light triangle

So last week we had.
Monday: grilled chicken + microwaved sweet potato + spinach salad + tomato
Tuesday: grilled salmon + new potatoes + asparagus + broccoli
Wednesday: vegetarian bean chili (already in freezer from week before) + brown rice + large salad
Thursday: spicey grilled turkey (marinated in yoghurt & spices then grilled) + butternut squash + grilled peppers + wilted spinach
Friday: grilled aubergine slices topped with hot salsa and l/f mozzarella (to make sort of pizza slices) with a large salad and grilled mushrooms, peppers and asparagus

Sorry to waffle on

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1/28/12 12:22 A

Hi everyone, I try to do my planning and shopping for a week as to not have anything spoiling. But this week I've noticed that i eat a lot of bread,pasta,rice and potatoes my . I do my shopping on Sundays so tomorrow i will have to sit down and do some serious research. Keeping track of what i'm eating on the nutritional tracker is extremely helpful. Though I have only went over my daily allowance once I'm still felling like I'm not eating properly. Increasing my fiber,fruit and veggies this week.

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1/27/12 9:37 P

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Oooh I really like that chart idea from Luvpoetess! Once I have different meal ideas on it, it will make it easy to go back and plan future meals. I have to watch my cholesterol too, so your ideas on the mix of whole grain, meats, etc., are very helpful.

Edited by: RLIZME at: 1/27/2012 (21:39)
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1/27/12 4:37 P

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Freeze part of it. Then you won't have to work so hard fixing something later. I, too, find it difficult to cook things for 1-2 people but I would rather fix more of it and freeze to have later. Also you can cut down the recipe for 1 or 2 servings. If it is a serving for 4 cut it in half. If a serving for 8, cut the recipe into cut it into 4ths or even 8th's if you can. If you need help contact me and I would be glad to help you. I cut my recipes down all the time!

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1/27/12 3:59 P

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I've found that it's hard for me to plan a week ahead, so I do it a day ahead. Whatever I cook the night before for dinner, I put aside a serving to take for lunch the following day. Also as I cook dinner the night before I put together what I want for breakfast the following morning. This way I'm only cooking and cleaning once and I just have to grab it from the fridge before leaving in the morning.

Some easy breakfast ideas are breakfast burritos, pancakes with peanutbutter, pancake wrapped sausage, breakfast sandwiches or flavored pancakes.

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1/27/12 1:31 P

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I have never used the meal planner, but I have for the most part, logged my food for the last 3 years. When I first started on Sparks, I was cooking for a family. Now it is just me and I find it much harder. Most recipes make 8 or more servings. I usually get tired of it before I get through it all and it ends up in the trash.
I found I was spending way too much time and money preparing meals when I tried to follow a meal plan. My local store has a meat mix and match "Buy 5 for 19.99" and every 5 weeks they will add a sixth package for free. I usually stock up then. The packages are around a lb. each, which is enough to do me two or three days. They even have small roasts in the selection. I also keep some frozen shrimp and canned tuna or salmon on hand too.
Then I buy bags of frozen veggies that I like. I have found that after I microwave them, if I put them in a skillet and saute them, they are much tastier. There is a good selection now of frozen potatoes also.
I buy Romaine lettuce that comes in a pack of three and the baby spinach that comes in the plastic container (not in a bag). These last really well in the fridge. Then I buy my fresh veggies as I go along to add for a salad.
I keep some good spices and rubs for the meat (my favorite for chicken is McCormick's Rotisserie Chicken and for beef Mrs. Dash Steak Seasoning) and some good lowfat salad dressings. Then I just mix and match the meat and veggies, and add a salad. I keep eggs on hand for when I don't feel like cooking. I make an omelet or I boil a couple and make a quick egg salad.
I find the less complicated I make my meals, the greater the chance I will stick to my diet.
I love my sweets, so I try and keep something like frozen yogurt or some little cookies on hand as a treat. That keeps me from feeling so deprived.
I know I need to focus on my meals, but I find if I think too much about them, then I think about food too much. I like knowing I have something simple and fast on hand that doesn't keep me in the kitchen too long.
I have checked out the menus for the different fast food places also (you can usually find them online). I know what is the best selections at each one. That way if I am too tired to cook, I know in advance what I can and can't have and the calorie count. Some of these foods are in the food selection already. If not, I add them to my favorites.

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1/27/12 12:43 P

I love meal planning, its something I started doing just recently.

The way I started was by choosing the days and meals I was planning for, Monday through Saturday but only for snacks and dinner. After that I took stock of what I already had at home and went in search of recipes that would eat up those items. In this case it was holiday ham that got me started. There was just so much of it left after the holidays passed. I chose a variety of recipes that used different main ingredients and had different cook or prep times. This gave me some flexibility when deciding which recipe to cook on any given day as some were fast for busy days and others slow for the days everyone was home.

Once the recipes were put together in grocery list format I just crossed off everything that I already had on hand. After that it was just a matter of buying what I didn't already have in stock. Every once in awhile however I have to make a trip to the store just for those items I could and did buy in bulk. Such as rice, pasta, or spices as they lasted awhile even with being used all the time. And others such as eggs (if you buy the large packs from a warehouse store like costco or sams club), or butter as they get a lot of use but last for some time because of the size or amount of them.

Snacks were planned for somewhat the same. Just determine how many snacks a day each person will have. Choose a variety of snacks, buy in bulk if feasable and its eaten constantly. Then you just have to keep an eye on them and stock up again before the last one is eaten.

Edited by: LWLLMS007 at: 1/27/2012 (13:07)

SYDMUS's Photo Posts: 53
1/26/12 11:12 P

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Great! This was exactly what I was looking for! Is there an article by Spark People about daily nutritional requirements?

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1/26/12 7:32 P

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Looks like you have this down to a science. I am going to try this out. I wonder if deer meat would be better for you. I love deer meat. emoticonemoticon

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1/26/12 2:32 P

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I wish I checked the meal plan before grocery shopping two days ago. Now I have a bunch of food NOT on the planned meal list and adding each one is a pain. I am sooooo gonna print that shopping list next time :(

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1/26/12 9:37 A

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Plan your Meals (at the very least Dinners) for the week, this will save you tons of time, stress, and money too!

And always, always, ALWAYS make sure you have at least one serving of Veggies with each meal!

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LUVPOETESS's Photo Posts: 250
1/26/12 4:53 A

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A good place to start is here

SP has provided 100 foods in the various categories.

For breakfasts, I like Cheerios or Corn Chex or Oatmeal or Bread. I generally eat the Cheerios and Chex dry, especially if I choose a yogurt or something in the blender with almond milk (or plain fat free milk). That's 4 of 7 starches for a week. I can have egg whites with any of these meals and perhaps a piece of Jimmy Dean turkey sausage (60 calories). I pick a fruit. Grapes (18) and strawberries (12) last a little while according to SP's servings. I'll wedge an apple to make it last longer.

Lunch and dinner choices are generally based on the protein first. I choose from chicken, turkey, walnuts, almonds, salmon, tilapia, or pork. Because of high cholesterol, I avoid beef. After writing these down, it's a matter of filling in the blanks with the veggies or grains. With another fruit and a yogurt for lunch, or a fruit and some kind of "ice cream" (Skinny Cow, frozen yogurt, Arctic Ice, or Brryer's fat-free ice cream), I'm set.

SP's meal plans are my guide. I work from there and make choices accordingly. I used to find this extremely difficult, but not anymore. Making a chart or copying one from the web or a Microsoft Word template helps.


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EVELIAMARIA's Photo Posts: 76
1/26/12 3:46 A

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Thanks for all the great advice!

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1/26/12 12:17 A

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I'm using the SparkPeople meal plans, once I get the hang of planning healthy, filling meals (sometimes hard to do when you're a vegetarian), I'll start planning my own. I just plan meals, but not on certain days. That way, I can make sure I have all the ingredients, but I can eat according to what I am craving.

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1/25/12 11:35 P

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Have you tried Google Chrome? I prefer it over Internet Explorer and it is free. IE used to freeze up on me all the time but with Chrome I don't have that problem.

Losing it in the Bluegrass state!

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1/25/12 10:52 P

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I have a list of possible meals. It seams when it's time to cook, I can only think of a few ideas. So I write them down on a list and keep it on the fridge. Then when I do my meal planning, I look at my list and my calendar.

On nights with basketball games, we choose something quick and easy. On nights when everyone will be home, we go for more prep time meals. It helps us stay on track to consult the calendar when making our plans.

And if we end up switching days around, that's fine...I know I have all the ingredients. And I always have a fall-back meal in the freezer in case the plans go haywire.

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1/25/12 10:04 P

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Our household is just my son and I - so I plan about 4 or 5 meals for the week. Then we just choose each day. I agree - plans can change so for us it is best to be more flexible!

Had an errand this evening just about the time I would have begun cooking dinner - so when I got home we just decided to have our spaghetti - so quick and easy to fix.

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1/25/12 8:17 P

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This method also works very well for me!

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1/25/12 3:21 P

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I realize this isn't the answer you are looking for, but I will throw in my two cents anyway. I don't believe in planning meals, at least not in an exact way. First of all, you lose a big chunk of time making yoru plan. Second, things can change. A relative, friend or boss might want to meet for lunch and it throws off all your calories for that meal, so you need to change breakfast and dinner to make them fewer calories. Maybe you burned extra calories on an unexpected long walk, or didn't make it to the gym like you planned, and you need to adjust your daily calorie intake accordingly. Some days you may need a snack more than other days, and then you will need fewer calories for dinner. You shouldn't have to schedule your life around your meal plan, that is no way to live. I think the best thing to do is have breakfast and lunch roughly planned out (i.e. make sure you have enough breakfasts / lunches for the week), and play dinner and snacks by ear. Keep a week's worth of lean protein and veggies handy, and make sure your kitchen is fully stocked with all the cooking staples like spices, flour, stock, bread crumbs, fat free cheese, canola oil, milk, eggs, etc etc. And when dinner rolls around, however many calories you have left for the day, throw together something that fits within your calorie budget. Then, if the beginning of your day didn't go quite as planned, you aren't all stressed out trying to change your "plan." Again, this is just what works for me. It might not be the best course of action for everyone.

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1/25/12 1:32 P

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One thing I found helpful when I started was keeping a notebook in the kitchen. Whenever I made a meal that was easy, nutritious and filling I jotted down the recipe / ingredients in my notebook. Later, when I needed to make something in a hurry and wanted to stay on track I could just glance through my notebook and make something based on what I had on hand.

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Eat healthy.. Exercise daily.. repeat! and Consistency.. that is the secret!

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1/25/12 11:37 A

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I didn't read all the replies but here is how meal planning works best in our house.

1. Plan meals, not days. It's easier if you just pick from what you have planned based on taste and time that night, rather than a set Monday = chicken, Tuesday = salad, etc.

2. Prep when you get home from the grocers. Wash & cut the veggies that will take it. Clean your fruit so it's grab & go. Portion out snacks. The less work you have to do after a busy day, the more likely you are to actually stick to your meal plan.

3. Plan leftovers. Roast a chicken for day 1 and then use the leftovers for chicken enchiladas on day 3. Roast and boil the carcass to make your own stock - freeze it or make soup for lunches. If you make a pork loin for dinner on one day, leftover loin can be flash grilled and served over a salad of mixed greens, berries, and a bit of fabulous cheese.

4. Use your freezer. On some dishes, cook double and freeze the second portion. Sometimes we need to take a break from cooking. Build it into your plan to use up those freezer portions.

5. Map your grocery list to your store. I have printed out forms so that I keep my pantry stocked with often needed items. The items are grouped by what isle they are in...and there is a "write in" section for the dairy, meat, and produce isles.

6. Go ethnic and stretch those boundaries a few times a month. Cost effective AND high in veggies in general, these are a treat to keep your taste buds from being bored. Try a curry, or a lentil dish, or some wonderful Asian flavors. Variety IS the spice of life.

7. Keep at least ingredients for 2 meals in your pantry for days when you just don't feel like cooking something new. These should be tried & true comfort foods.

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1/25/12 9:42 A

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Thanks for all the great fav for plnning is have a simple basic Sunday chicken, Monday pasta, etc and then fill in the rest..also I love batch cooking and freezing portions for busy times..

On pinterest found neat ideas for preparing crock pot meals ahead and freezing ingredients in a ziplock bag and then thawing overnight in fridge and pop in crockpot inn the morning...

KISS ..keep it simple stupid!!

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LILORITA's Photo SparkPoints: (55,633)
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1/25/12 7:45 A

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Thanks for the great advice and ideas. emoticon

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should! - Desiderata

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HANNAHV's Photo SparkPoints: (52,593)
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1/25/12 5:50 A

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Start by clearing the pantry of all "junk" and replacing it with healthy alternatives. Make sure you get rid or give away all those nasty sauces, try making everything from scratch yourself. Next clear out the fridge and freezer of anything high in fat and or sugar and fill up on fresh fruit, vegetables and meat. The meal planning will fall in place now, trust me if there are no temptations left in your house you will be forced to plan ahead!

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when all the animals have been hunted,
when all the waters are polluted,
when all the air is unsafe to breathe,
only then will you discover you cannot eat money.

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PENNYJON18's Photo SparkPoints: (302)
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1/24/12 9:44 P

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Thanks for the great advice and ideas. I've just started trying to lose weight and am already motivated by your post as well as all the others. I'm excited to have some fellow support.emoticon

I know it will take a few weeks to get into the groove of exercise and healthy eating, and I am determined not to be extremely hard on myself at first. My main goal in the next couple of weeks is to break the sweets (donuts, ice cream, cakes, candy, etc.). Sugar simply makes me too hungry and have cravings constantly. I have already trained myself to drink black coffee, and lemon water. I think I'm off to a good start.


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WINGS2SOAR's Photo SparkPoints: (1,841)
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1/24/12 5:35 P

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Great ideas! I spend an hour or so on planning meals for the week. I check the deep freeze, pantry, and fridge for what I have on hand, then I browse through the SP meal planner, Spark Recipes, and my binder of favorites that I have printed. I also have my calendar handy to plan for those nights that I have too much going on. Then, I plan my meals based on all of that. I have a family of 5 though. If you're cooking for 1, try cooking a couple of things on a day that you have more time and freezing it in 1 serving portions. Good luck!


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1/24/12 2:55 P

NIKKY88, thanks for the reco! Have you tried any other EAS products?

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REDPEPPERS's Photo Posts: 18,862
1/24/12 11:00 A

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Another suggestion: Mark Bittman's book "The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living" has a 1 - 2 page table of vegetable substitutions. It lists what vegetables can be substituted for others without significantly altering the taste of a dish, so if you are out of, or dislike, one type of vegetable, you can see if there is another veg you like better.

He has other tables and lists in this book that I've found helpful. Before you buy a copy, though, try checking it out of your public library first to see if it's right for you.

If your time is very tight some days and you will not have time to prepare anything when you get home, create a list of "personal fast foods" that you like and will eat. Try having a list of vegetables you will eat raw (carrots, celery, spinach, lettuces, cabbage, mushrooms, bok choy etc.,) and protein sources (hummus, peanut butter, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, etc.,) and keeping at least one vegetable/protein choice available on those busy days. This can help prevent grabbing something unhealthy just because it's fast.

All of this will take time to plan, but as you go and as you decide what works for you, it will take less and less time. If there's a day of the week where you have a little more time, perhaps spend 15 - 20 minutes choosing what you want to eat for the next week from your lists.

Edited by: REDPEPPERS at: 1/24/2012 (11:01)

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1/24/12 9:53 A

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This is great advice, Thank you ^_^

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1/24/12 8:42 A

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Track meals for a few days to see what is the current situation. Sparkpeople site is great or use paper and pencil

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SOBOYLE3's Photo Posts: 111
1/24/12 7:14 A

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A very basic starting point might be to gradually swap out some of the processed foods you are eating for whole foods. Instead of tater tots or french fries with your dinner, you could steam some broccoli or saute some spinach (I was skeptical of sauteed spinach, but it is actually good!) Instead of processed snack bars for snacks, you could have some yogurt with walnuts and berries in it. It has also helped me to put fruit on my plate at meal times, rather than using fruit only as a snack. It helps me eat less of the main dish stuff that is higher in calories.

First goal - From 158 to 140. Achieved on 1/4/12
Second goal - From 140 to 135. Achieved on 1/24/12
Third goal - From 135 to 130. Achieved on 2/20/12
Fourth goal - From 130 to 125. Achieved on 5/3/12

 current weight: 123.5 

AHEARTFORCHRIST's Photo Posts: 317
1/24/12 2:19 A

Great suggestions.

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1/23/12 10:59 P

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This is what got me on the right track and I give to clients and friends as a baseline on what you should consume each day. Checklist is easier to me than meals...etc.

Each day eat:
2-3 servings of fruit
2-3 liters of water
5+ servings of NON-STARCHY veggies
1-2 servings of dairy (yoghurt/milk)
And at each meal/snack eat: 1 serving lean protein (size of a deck of cards), 1 complex carb (size of your fist - this is where your starchy veggies go as well) and a healthy fat (size of the tip of your thumb or a dice)
a high quality multi-vitamin

It's general but you know balance and serving size and then can tweek it based on your calorie budget.

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