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SONICB's Photo SONICB Posts: 4,225
9/24/13 10:49 A

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I am a huge fan of breakfast foods for dinner when I'm feeling lazy.



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DONNAKOVAC's Photo DONNAKOVAC SparkPoints: (31,353)
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9/20/13 7:57 P

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Worked a very labour-intensive day today so came home and dear hubby and the boys had already had their supper, so I asked if he'd make me a burger while I had my shower. :-) It was good. I'm sure I didn't eat enough Calories today for what I burned, and I have NO idea of what happened to the cup of OJ I had this morning - I did check my lunch bag to make sure it wasn't just laying on it's side, forgotten. It's been a long day and I ought to sleep really well tonight! :-D



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EJB2801's Photo EJB2801 SparkPoints: (25,536)
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8/13/13 9:37 A

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Yes, rounding out the meals with "universal" side dishes is a good idea. Or maybe several side dishes in smaller amounts so as to have something for everyone. I do have a few individual portions in the freezer, but I think I will be more intentional about this. It'll be a matter of routinizing it, I think. It has helped me to approach meal planning (and all the suggestions from SparkPeople) as if it were a college course. I think that one of the early SparkCoach videos mentioned that. Yes, we can do it!!

Edna, western PA

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TONIB48 SparkPoints: (490)
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8/12/13 10:51 P

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I understand the dilemma of trying to work around food issues. My husband is diabetic, has high blood pressure which is under great control due to dietary restrictions and exercise and he is now on Coumadin so the vegetable routine needs to be carefully controlled. I am a part-time vegetarian....I still eat chicken and fish just to keep peace in the family. I also try to totally avoid nitrites and nitrates as well as sodium as much as possible. It gets challenging! I would eat vegetarian but it is nearly impossible to feed my husband a vegetarian diet. If I had children with allergies, I would probably cook in batches and freeze each person's appropriate meal in portions. Sort of like a self-styled meal delivery service....pick an entrée with your name on it. Then, I would round things out with some side dishes that everyone enjoyed! It is hard to eat healthy, low fat, low sodium, low carb, low sugar, and low Vitamin K. I sort of understand the problems and frustration! emoticon

EJB2801's Photo EJB2801 SparkPoints: (25,536)
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8/12/13 9:17 P

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I have this problem to some degree. We used to be vegan, and I really enjoyed trying all sorts of new things. However my children have oodles of food allergies, as well as some very strong food aversions - like bell peppers, which my husband and I enjoy. Then, too, we have had a number of years of eldercare. I am just now re-establishing a less hectic approach to cooking. Even though people say cook the same things for your entire family as for the food allergies, that doesn't work with the scope of our allergies. And some of those foods are very expensive as well, so they go only to the one who needs them. I do a lot of multiple menus. So the freezer has greatly helped us with things like pre-cooking meats (yes, we now eat meat) and having quick meals for the non-allergics. Canned beans have been a great convenience food! I do get overwhelmed and just plain tired of planning since there are so many things to work around.

Edna, western PA

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LAURA7051's Photo LAURA7051 SparkPoints: (8,276)
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8/12/13 2:01 P

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I finally got on the bandwagon nearly a year ago with brown-bagging my work lunches and work snacks, however, I've never been good with meal planning and neither has my boyfriend. We're constantly asking each other "What do you want for dinner?", and often we end up going out to eat or getting take-out. Other times we just have frozen entrees.

I'm definitely going to read through this thread to get some tips, ideas & motivation!



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TONIB48 SparkPoints: (490)
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8/11/13 12:16 P

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I try to make a game of meal planning and do it first thing with my morning coffee. I work from home so it is easy to take the time. My husband has multiple health issues and our diet is strictly controlled by what he can and cannot eat. Since it is just the two of us, I don't have any children to accommodate. I prowl the Internet, having several favorite web sites like SparkPeople to give me inspiration. At first, I was completely discouraged since we just cannot eat in restaurants and I do enjoy eating out in a nice restaurant once in a while but that isn't possible any longer except for once or twice a year. My resolve is what keeps us both healthy and it has just become a habit now. We rely on a lot of fresh vegetables and I shop more than once a week so that fresh items don't go to waste. Tonight, oven roasted Brussel Sprouts is my taste treat doused with an excellent balsamic vinegar. My opinion is that it is all about attitude towards the challenges that life throws in our path! I also DVR my favorite programs from the t.v. and watch those while I while I am chopping and prepping dinner. it makes the time fly! good luck to all of you!

LKENNICOTT's Photo LKENNICOTT SparkPoints: (7,351)
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8/10/13 1:36 P

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My DIL cooks on the weekends (we live together) so I get a break and Friday is our "pizza and movie night". I am very careful to track my calories and fat and carbs. When I cook I plan meals for 2 weeks (or more) and plan out what ingredients I need and make a list of the meals so I can just look at list and pick something out and know I have everything I need. I love cookbooks that have one main ingredient, now it is Hamburg. Lots of good ideas and not too hard to make 'food tracking friendly'.
I stay at home so I have lots of time to explore cooking...I love crock pot dinners, everything comes out so tender.
Thanks for the wonderful ideas. I'm sure I will incorporate some of them....

Heaviest weight 312 - Starting weight with SP 234
Beginning 2014 - 203 Goal - 165 lkennicott@yahoo.com


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SENIORSWIMMER's Photo SENIORSWIMMER SparkPoints: (15,982)
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8/10/13 9:05 A

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I have done the make double freeze one meal prep too. It's the easiest with meat loaf. We use two meat loaf recipes. "Everyday Meat Loaf" and "Florentine Meat Loaf" Both freeze really well. Thaw, mix up the topping, bake, eat.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.


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COO_KIE's Photo COO_KIE SparkPoints: (42,767)
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8/9/13 5:31 P

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When my husband retired, we mutually decided that we would each 'do' our own breakfast, and he would plan one meal, I would plan the other. I am good with cooking all the meals, just not planning.... 90% of the time he 'plans' sandwiches or salad....occasionally leftovers. As a stay at home wife for 45 years, I was used to planning 1 meal a day..........but 2 meals sent horror through my mind. This has worked well for 5 years.

If this was your last day, how would you spend it?


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MAMA_CD's Photo MAMA_CD Posts: 1,497
8/8/13 8:29 P

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Wow, you are prepared. Great suggestion. I tend to cook a couple of meals at a time and freeze one for a quick fix when needed.

MAMA_CD...count your blessings!
"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”
www.mamaCD.org


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AUREOLA-'s Photo AUREOLA- Posts: 75
8/8/13 3:10 P

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Glad I decided to read through some of the posts before posting. This is exactly what I do. I'm truly surprised so very few people seem to be doing the same. I have a meal roster (pasted on the side of my fridge) with two options each for lunch and dinner and breakfast.

I cook in large batches 1ce a month, divide into single serving freezer bags and freeze. Lunch or dinner is always ready in less than 10mins at my house and I NEVER wonder what I'm going to eat or how much to eat; it's there on the meal roster, calculated down to the last calorie (snacks included) so that I'm always within my calorie range.

If I try to live any other way with all that I have to do in a day, I will absolutely lose it (I think) emoticon

By my God I can crush a troop, by Him I can scale a wall.

I can do ALL things through Christ who infuses me with the inner strength to do so.


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LJOYCE55 SparkPoints: (112,631)
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8/8/13 11:49 A

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We also use Subway as an easy place to stop and get food done the way we wish. If I am home, then we root through the fridge for salad/sandwich food.


MMCDAN03's Photo MMCDAN03 Posts: 305
8/8/13 11:27 A

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When I'm too tired too cook or forgot to pull something out of the freezer we make a Subway run. I order a double chicken chopped salad minus the cheese and use my own dressing in order to keep this huge salad under 350 calories. And then my family can get a relatively healthy meal compaired to other fast food places.



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MOJOSOUND's Photo MOJOSOUND SparkPoints: (27,111)
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8/8/13 7:04 A

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If work goes over or I have cleaned the dishes from yesterday and I need the pots or pans to cook what I planned we will often go out. The Chinese Buffet has an excellent hibatchi where I can pile my plate high on vegetables and some chicken. I also found Texas Roadhouse has a good roasted chicken, sweet potato, vegetable meal that work well for me.



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MAYJUNE2012 SparkPoints: (30)
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8/7/13 1:43 P

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When I don't want to plan we'll usually grab a deli pre-made salad. That or when we are tired of it, we'll sit down with our vegan cookbook and find something fun to make.



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LULUCALLY's Photo LULUCALLY SparkPoints: (16,734)
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8/7/13 12:35 P

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I hate to cook too. If it was just me, I would live on smoothies and sandwiches.

You're never too old to do goofy stuff.
-Ward Cleaver ("Leave It to Beaver")


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CDCSMITH2013's Photo CDCSMITH2013 Posts: 543
8/7/13 12:31 P

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I hate to cook. I do bake like crazy during the holidays and I have fun with that, but to me, cooking is something I do because I have to. Depending on the time of year and work schedules, generally there are 3-5 people in the house, Sundays that number increases by 2 (my parents). When I started here in January, I printed out recipes and if they made the cut (easy to make, quick, healthy, and minimal complaining) they went into a slim binder. That is my go-to meal planner. However, if I just don't even feel like that, it's usually Lean Cusine meals for my husband and I, frozen pizza for the kid(s). That is rare though.

~ Cheryl

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DUFFERS12 SparkPoints: (2,001)
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8/6/13 3:26 P

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Just me and the dogs. I always have Jimmy Dean De-lights in freezer. Same goes for Johnsonville Turkey Sausage, and Jennie-O stuff. And of course fish. (Sorry, really don't like chicken no matter what you do to it.) Fruit is seasonal. I buy Bagel thins instead of bread. Fiber One Bars for night time treat. Always a salad. Oatmeal! Don't make meals.



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SUGARSMOM2 SparkPoints: (145,572)
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8/6/13 11:26 A

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I get bored easily . and food is not something to be tired of . you need variety and lots of it . keep them guessing . can be my motto . but I only fix one meal for dinner not two . we both eat what I cook . so I guess I am in control of the food shopping and the food eaten so its my problem . oh well .

sugarsmom2 donna wva


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BABYGOTABIGBUTT's Photo BABYGOTABIGBUTT Posts: 21
8/6/13 10:35 A

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Breakfasts and lunch isn't much of a problem, we both work so we eat what we want but, suppers are murder. I liked the idea of fixing him whatever and eat what I want but, just seems like more work in the kitchen.

Practice patience


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BABYGOTABIGBUTT's Photo BABYGOTABIGBUTT Posts: 21
8/6/13 10:30 A

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I too am in the same boat. My husband is a meat and potato guy and he can eat the same things day in and day out, me, no where like that. I like trying variety but, it is really hard to buy veggies for one and try using them up in a couple of days. We have a lot of spoilage too, I can fix chili and say "we can eat this for our lunches or a couple of suppers but, it just goes to waste and he doesn't like freeze and reheat supper. I have gotten to the point that I hate to cook the evening meals. The veggies I can get him to eat is: potato's, corn , maybe a green bean every blue moon. Not alot to work with there.
I would love to hear any suggestions. emoticon

Practice patience


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SENIORSWIMMER's Photo SENIORSWIMMER SparkPoints: (15,982)
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8/6/13 8:55 A

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At this point I have come full circle with this. I used to have a HUGE cooking day about 4 times a year. I would make all our main dishes and freeze them ahead. It worked great. It was a social event. I let all our friends know when my cooking day was. If they showed up, they could have whatever was coming out of the oven/stove/crockpot/grill. There was always plenty for everybody. So much fun.

Then I started Sparking. Fresh was better. I cleaned out the freezer, and started cooking fresh. LOTS of spoilage. I'm just not a good judge of how much we will eat over 3-4 days. I always cook too much.

I tried the Spark Menu. That REALLY doesn't work for us. LOTS of spoilage. Worse than when I was cooking fresh.

Now I'm back to considering a cooking day. A couple of months of healthy main dishes in the freezer isn't a bad option.

The food saga continues.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.


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82719541's Photo 82719541 SparkPoints: (43,470)
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8/5/13 7:27 P

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I'm also in the same boat. I have a freezer full of beef and pork plus chicken. A large garden of every vegetable you can think of and I still have trouble thinking about what to make for dinners. I love soup and I have that for every lunch I make in batches and freeze in 1 cup servings. But when it comes to dinners its always the same meat, potato and a vegetable (my husband was raised on a farm so that's what he likes). I do try different things but fall back on the same things. We do not eat out so that's not an option, were lucky if we eat out 4 times a year. I am always open to suggestions.



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SHYFEMMEKAT's Photo SHYFEMMEKAT Posts: 1,771
8/5/13 2:15 P

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Honestly? Pretty much all the time. emoticon

I try to get my fruits,vegetables, whole grains and water in. The rest might be seitan, soy, eggs, cheese, or beans. It all comes together.






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MOMMAKATMACK's Photo MOMMAKATMACK Posts: 29
8/5/13 12:37 P

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I haven't been able to read the whole thread so sorry if this is a repeat suggestion. Have you tried emeals.com? I LOVE their program. $21 for three months, every week I get a menu and shopping list. They have many different kinds of meal plans (lowfat, low-carb, portion control, slow cooker, etc) and even have store specific plans that take advantage of sales.

I know I sound like an infomercial here, but my family's used emeals off and on for several years now.



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BIGISLANDWOW's Photo BIGISLANDWOW Posts: 647
8/4/13 10:30 A

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It helps me a great deal on those days when I am tired and uninspired to have a freezer stocked with several 'safe' options. I also plan the week in advance, do the grocery store shopping once, do most of the prep work twice: on Saturday and Wednesday when the Farmer's Market is open, so I keep fresh whole foods available, and veggies all cut up for the thrown-together salad, omelette, sandwich etc. Having a plan and process for preventing failure helps tons.

My strength is in the LORD, Maker of Heaven and Earth.

bigislandwow.com


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SNOWBECH's Photo SNOWBECH SparkPoints: (23,278)
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8/4/13 6:43 A

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Make it a hoagie day. Everyone makes their own.


I hope the kids learn as much from me as I do them.


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ATZIONCH's Photo ATZIONCH Posts: 1,344
8/3/13 12:59 P

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Frozen choices,healthy or lean, and sometimes I just eat a lot of raw veggies with measured amounts of light ranch or dill dip :-)



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CSKIES1's Photo CSKIES1 SparkPoints: (62,418)
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8/3/13 10:45 A

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no not really...I enjoy trying new things and making a lot of my old favorites!

The change begins with me and it begins now!
TRAXINA's Photo TRAXINA Posts: 77
8/3/13 10:28 A

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I keep some Lean Cuisine or other frozen options on hand for me, and crappy stuff like Hamburger Helper for the rest of the family. I hate to see them eat it, but it makes them happy (my husband came like this -- blame his mom!). As long as I'm not doing it all the time, it's a good fix -- I get a balanced meal and they don't get mad.

In the long run, I have started using my grocery store's online app to see what's on sale and load coupons onto the store card. I see what's on sale and build our week's meals from that. I saved over 20% on my groceries this week. (Even the cashier remarked, "Whoa!") I always leave a moveable "Wild Card" day, though, because inevitably there ends up being a dinner on the fly.



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LEANJEAN6's Photo LEANJEAN6 Posts: 8,761
8/3/13 7:14 A

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homemade soup made early in the day tastes pretty good by evening-



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JB2000's Photo JB2000 SparkPoints: (2,372)
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8/3/13 3:27 A

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Many times I do my meat with onions and seasonings in the crockpot, because we like the flavor but do my veggies in the microwave, on the grill or in the oven ~ depending on whatever I'm serving. I'm very open to some new ideas and have found some here. Thanks girls for the inspiration!
Jean

emoticon



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CAMEOSUN SparkPoints: (75,068)
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8/2/13 2:46 P

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This is a great post. We tend to get stuck in a rut of tacos, chicken, burgers, pizza...I'm going to try the notebook idea mentioned on here. Separate some favorite recipes and then put on a calendar and buy what's needed.


~ Do what good you can, and go in peace ~



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STAGPIPE's Photo STAGPIPE SparkPoints: (6,356)
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8/1/13 1:06 P

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Thank you for sharing! Those are great ideas. Keep up the good work!

Jessica Stephanie

"I want something good to die for, to make it beautiful to live."

"I'm not expecting to grow flowers in the desert, but I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime."


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DYNAMICDEB53's Photo DYNAMICDEB53 SparkPoints: (147,938)
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7/31/13 6:09 P

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I plan and track my meal each week. I do get tired of doing this at times. For me it is remembering how well I do when I keep planning. I make sure to make some changes each week so that I don't get bored or tired of certain foods.

Deb

"Learn as if you will live forever. Live as though you will die tomorrow" unknown....my favorite quote always reminded me of the need to learn.
"If you love someone don't waste a moment tell them. Life is unexpected.
Most barriers to your success are man-made. Andmost often, you're the man who made them.-Frank Tyger


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SHELAGHB's Photo SHELAGHB Posts: 13
7/31/13 4:59 P

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Each week I make and freeze ground meats, sauces and healthy baked goods. For example this week I prepped turkey taco meat, turkey Italian sausage, veggie marinara and chicken breast. If I don't feel like planning I can grab a lean serving of lean protein, some veggies and a healthy carb and dinner is served. I just made flat bread pizza with flat out spicy Italian flat bread, the sauce, the sausage, a heaping helping of veggies from the garden and a sprinkling of cheese. For lunch I often build a salad and for snacks a piece of oatmeal banana bread and a protein shake. This is my go to meal planning. A few times a week when I'm feeling inspired I cook something more adventurous.



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YOURS_MAANS's Photo YOURS_MAANS Posts: 73
7/31/13 12:58 P

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just go out and order a healthy entrees



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MICHELLEBRO3 SparkPoints: (563)
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7/31/13 12:33 P

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I really like all of the ideas listed. I always plan meals out and sometimes get stuck in a rut of fixing the same thing. Because, I already have the nutrition figured out for them. I'm in the process of converting recipes that my family are used to eating into healthier recipes. I'm saving all of the recipes on spark recipes. Not had too much complaints from the kids yet. I've began to replace some of the recipes that call for ground beef with soy crumbles. I also keep a monthly calendar of meals. This really helps with planning and grocery shopping trips.



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LOTUS737's Photo LOTUS737 Posts: 2,028
7/31/13 11:21 A

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It's on me to figure everything out and to tell hubby the caloric info (convenient for him! lol. he's registered here but doesn't log in- i get to be his food tracker). I usually sit down Sunday mornings and start figuring out what we're eating. We have vegetarian meals at least 2-3 times a week. I look over recipes I've entered to see if I 'feel' like anything in particular. I look at my local store's weekly ads online to see what's on sale. Then I ask hubby if he feels like anything in particular. We do keep veggie burgers in the freezer for an easy meal.

Like most everyone I have my set go-to meals- couscous or quinoa with veggies and beans/chicken for protein = easy lunches, I split 1 LB of ground meat to do burgers and meatballs or kabobs or sloppy joes or pasta sauce/etc, we only eat chicken so I have a myriad of chicken breast recipes- tandoori chicken, brown sugar pineapple, etc. I do like to marinate chicken ahead of time- makes cooking dinner so much faster that night!

Current goal:
-8 pounds (32 total) by October

Healthy choices and actions have positive impacts, even if the scale doesn't move!


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JPELCHAT's Photo JPELCHAT Posts: 5
7/31/13 11:07 A

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You could be talking about my family. Everyday is a new "what do we want for dinner" day. It is hard to pre-plan based on what everyone is in the mood for. IF you find the secret to making it work, please tell me.

I make what is good for the majority and tell the others if you don't like it fend for yourself, there is always cereal in the cupboards.



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KIMBAJL's Photo KIMBAJL Posts: 1,511
7/31/13 10:47 A

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I try to plan my meals for the day...that way I know what I can and can't have throughout the day/week. Once you get into it you get used to it. ;)

MOONSHINE52 SparkPoints: (806)
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7/31/13 10:44 A

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I really just give thought to my meal. Such as for example, I eat basic good nutrition.
Peanut butter with muffin and teaspoon of. flax seed and teaspoon of honey.
Stry fry or low calorie sandwich. A smoothie or cheese and pretzels or a cereal or piece of chicken with salad.

Hang in it all works for our benefit as taught.

God Bless

LISAMOMOFFIVE Posts: 2
7/31/13 9:37 A

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So excited to see your progress and endurance. I am starting over again. I am a mom of five and have allowed myself to get heaver that I ever have. I started 3 weeks ago with 100 pounds to lose. I am down 14 and don't want to lose heart. You are an inspiration.

LISAMOMOFFIVE Posts: 2
7/31/13 9:31 A

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So exciting. I am a mom of 5 (3 of them are teens) unlike the school system my husband is in construction and I at home. I have tried meal planning before but was inconsistent. What app are you using and hoping it will be life changing for me. Right now I am "winging" it and almost broke from fast food and overweight! Looking forward to hearing from you


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7/30/13 10:29 P

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We have cluster of small local restaurants. In the last year I've found at least two low calorie and low fat dishes at each one of them. We support the local economy and I get a break from cooking while living and eating in the "real world."



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FITFOODIE88 SparkPoints: (2,019)
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7/30/13 12:20 P

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Pinterest. There is never a shortage of inspiration on pinterest. Or I look in the fridge, see what needs to be cooked and do a google search with the name of the food, "healthy," and "recipe ideas" ...that usually gets the job done.

Regaining my pre-wedding body! Running, lifting, clean eating, lots of water and patience. Those are the tools that I will use to get there.


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GWENHAVEN's Photo GWENHAVEN SparkPoints: (10,525)
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7/29/13 3:29 P

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I love MISSCUS's idea of creating a recipe book and a menu/shopping notebook too! Im going to try this.
I have a little more challenge. I cannot eat gluten, and my husband and son really don't like vegetables, while I've been heading toward almost being a vegetarian, my appetite for meat has dwindled greatly and the thought of veggies makes my mouth water!
I usually plan a meal I can eat along with them, like grilled chicken and long grain/wild rice, and whatever veggie I want on the side. If I want the guys to eat veggies, it has to be corn or peas or green beans, or even broccoli. Boring stuff. So yeah, I hate planning meals for them. But I get excited about planning meals for myself, because I love trying new recipes! I have a tuna salad recipe I'm dying to make! My problem is forgetting my list that has the ingredients for new recipes I'd like to try, so I go by memory, and of course always miss something. So I'm really looking forward to trying the notebook idea! I've quoted it below, so you dont' have to scroll down and find her post.


MISSCUS said: "I've been collecting recipes. I now have 25. Each week I spend time on either TotalRecipeSearch or www.whfoods.com looking for recipes I feel I will like. I sometimes make changes to the recipes. I keep these in a purple notebook for my collection. A few days before grocery shopping, I spend maybe 5 minutes, and pull out 10 or so recipes (I put them in the pink notebook for use without having to sort through the collection notebook) and make my list, along with the usual list items lunch food, snack food, and staples. This has been working and is a lot less thought for me since I know I have everything already to make these 10 dinner meals for two weeks. Off days we eat out, or leftovers. Sometimes the 10 meals stretch for 15 or 16 meals if we have leftovers. I am liking my plan for not having to really think hard to plan meals. It's just a few minutes looking and picking from my collection notebook. I want to end up having about 60 recipes, maybe even 70.
I HAVE BEEN COOKING ETHNIC RECIPES, INDIAN, ASIAN, AND of course Mexican!! Mexican is my favorite foods homecooked. Yum!!"



If you focus on results, you will never change.
If you focus on change, you will get results.
~Jack Dixon



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LIMITEDGRACE's Photo LIMITEDGRACE Posts: 64
7/29/13 11:59 A

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I get that feeling probably once a week!! My husband & the kids LOVE my cooking, but sometimes I either get tired of eating the same things or I get weary of figuring out what to have. This is the "danger zone" because usually there are more things going on (working late, the latest life crisis, etc) and we both become tempted to eat out. I've learned to turn that around and use that as inspiration to what to have at home! If ordering pizza sounds good, I make my own at home and load on the veggies and make salads. If Thai takeout is what we're craving, I've learned how to incorporate those flavors in a homemade chicken dish. Mexican? I can make some awesome oven baked chimichangas & lite margaritas for a fraction of the cost. I search the SparkPeople recipes as well as receive the SparkPeople recipes email and save any that look good to me in a folder. I also search the healthy recipes on Pinterest (or modify the not-so-healthy ones.)

I've also found that it's good to stock the cupboard with new/unusual items, just to break up the monotony. We have some "quick meals" in the freezer (Stouffer's Sautes for 2, PF Changs Home Dinners, etc) and I also like to venture out to Trader Joes or Whole Foods to get specialty items to have on hand. Then it becomes a fun challenge of how to incorporate those ingredients into dinner.

And if ALL else fails, I break out the waffle iron and have breakfast for dinner!! =)

Edited by: LIMITEDGRACE at: 7/29/2013 (17:12)
God made me and He doesn't make junk.


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KB42ANDFIT SparkPoints: (5,004)
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7/29/13 10:23 A

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I like to do one weekly grocery shopping, too. It's less time and less money in the long run. I like to ask each member of my family (3 - 4 of us, depending on who's home) for one dinner idea, so that I don't have to plan 5 days by myself. It also makes at least one person happy each night. We all like to take left-overs for lunch, and usually I'll make Sunday dinner big enough for one other full meal.



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JWASHINGT1 SparkPoints: (9,130)
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7/29/13 10:07 A

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I like to take the recipes that are loaded with calories, fat, salt, etc. and revamp them. One of my favorites is substituting spaghetti squash in pasta dishes and making my own pasta sauces. It's fun to see how they turn out. My family calls all of my"experiments" with recipes mystery food. emoticon

"One Step A Time"


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CARJAK's Photo CARJAK SparkPoints: (1,869)
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7/28/13 10:44 P

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I meal plan based on what is on sale at my local HyVee grocery store. They put out a new weekly ad on Wednesdays so I check it out and see if they have any good deals and then I go from there. I use allrecipes.com frequently to find dishes I think my family might enjoy.



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KATHYSCOOKIES's Photo KATHYSCOOKIES SparkPoints: (1,473)
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7/28/13 9:32 P

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You guys are great!

STARMONICA's Photo STARMONICA SparkPoints: (82,345)
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7/28/13 11:38 A

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bread, milk and egg

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7/28/13 10:24 A

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So many great ideas here! I'm overwhelmed! I live with one teenage picky-eater-boy and I mean PICKY!! And, he has the worst taste buds ever. He only likes sweet and salty. Veggies never touch his lips. Oh, where did I go wrong? My other teenager is a vegetarian! Are you kidding me? And, my hubby, well...sometimes he's hungry, sometimes he's not, sometimes he wants meat, sometimes he doesn't... I can't win and I find the whole meal planning activity stressful and strenuous. Oh, well, there's always Cheerios:)

"Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion." Thich Nhat Hanh


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ELLEBEEKAY's Photo ELLEBEEKAY Posts: 1
7/27/13 2:42 P

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I find what helps me is to have a master list of meals with categories such as chicken, beef, vegetarian etc then when i'm stumped or don't feel like thinking I can look on it and pick out whatever.

Laura


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TEALLEN04's Photo TEALLEN04 SparkPoints: (11,557)
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7/26/13 12:38 P

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that's amazing! i am definitely going to investigate how to download the recipes directly into my plan.

Gambatte ne!


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TEALLEN04's Photo TEALLEN04 SparkPoints: (11,557)
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7/26/13 12:38 P

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that's amazing! i am definitely going to investigate how to download the recipes directly into my plan.

Gambatte ne!


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LIVING4TODAY's Photo LIVING4TODAY Posts: 197
7/25/13 10:13 P

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Last year I started using the Menu Planner App for ipad and iphone. It was a life saver. I did a month worth of dinners at a time and it gave me a weekly grocery list. It had miraculous results.

I work for the schools, so one of my summer projects is to download more recipes into it (you can do it from a couple of places on the web including Food.com, Food Network and Spark Recipes!). It automatically downloads them with the touch of a button, complete with pictures. Right now I am working on 9 months menu plan. I can change it when I need to, as I go. But the app has made our busy family life 100 percent easier. We do a lot of cooking from scratch and before we just kind of winged it. That was really hard.

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.-Dalai Lama


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TEALLEN04's Photo TEALLEN04 SparkPoints: (11,557)
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7/25/13 7:58 P

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what about the Sparkpeople "meal plan"? have you tried it, and if so, what did you think of it? emoticon

Gambatte ne!


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HKBATEMAN228's Photo HKBATEMAN228 Posts: 87
7/25/13 2:12 P

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I collect recipes on Pinterest under a "recipe" board. Once every two weeks, I'll pick out dishes that I'll want to make for the next two weeks, and edit the pins to go under a "dinner this week" pin. Then I'll write the ingredients needed on a note taking app in my phone, and I'm ready to go. It's condensed my meal planning and a lot of the headache surrounding that since I've been doing it for the last several months. emoticon



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BRIDGEOFHOPE27's Photo BRIDGEOFHOPE27 SparkPoints: (1,231)
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7/25/13 7:33 A

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This is a really good one, and I can actually offer some help after years of dealing with diets, you get tired of them.


So when you decide to get healthy, instead of necessarily planning meals, learn nutrition and plan to stick to a basic guideline....

and it doesn't have to be that difficult..

I like to learn about natural nutrition and how to work the food to best benefit our bodies, specifically how mine works, and what different foods benefit us in different ways... the difference between fat types. etc....

I find it freeing to learn about the benefits of of each type of food that God has naturally provided for us is good for.

There is a lot of negative stuff out there about different foods, and the best way to learn nutrition is to look up the natural health benefits and info for yourself...

It really makes you feel better about your food... so rather that just thinking for instand of a carrot or red beet as a starch... getting to know the food will really help to enjoy it, and to actually not keep it in such a negative connotation.

I have found that this kind of dieting works best for me. It's about a lifestyle, which really changes with just a few small changes....


personally I have insulin resistance and being overweight makes it even more difficult...

I have to eat a lot of lean meats, good fats, and I have found that a diet called the metabolism miracle works best for me, when I follow it more exactly.

It is a good one.. no specific plans, but you learn what you can and can't eat and just follow a general rule of not more than 5 net carbs for 5 hours at a time for the first 6-8 weeks, then allowed some more carbs, etc....


it is good for insulin resistant people....


I was advised by a dietition once 5 small meals, and it really is better, as your body will not store as much in the cells for later use, when you are feeding it and it knows it will be fed.

Also use a smaller plate, especially with things like Pasta. You will get less, and even if you get a second plate... you still eat less than with a larger plate..

Keep a jar of small candy bars or hershey kisses around the house always... after dinner, or a little later, just have one or at the most two... keep a lid on the jar or dish... it will work.. just make sure the candy is also something that is wrapped. Also if you are really health conscious, dark chocolate is good for you.

Use butter or olive or grapeseed oil or safflower oil, not margarine... for frying, etc...
Margarine is 1 step away from plastic, your body really can't assimilate it.

Also with sugar substitutes, use a natural one like monkfruit, xylitol, or stevia in the raw.
God wired our bodies to understand food. And all of these are made without too much modification, by extracting from plants... the blue and pink and yellow packet stuff.... man made, and not good for you... your brain cannot read the chemical make up of the stuff, and neither can your body.... so it just kinda gets jammed up in there, and can even cause things like cancer with long term use, and other than less sugar being used... they really don't help you lose that much weight because then there's just that foreign substance in your body.








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LEANJEAN6's Photo LEANJEAN6 Posts: 8,761
7/25/13 7:25 A

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Himself will cook! emoticon



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KSGAMMA's Photo KSGAMMA Posts: 2,313
7/24/13 7:13 P

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Subway - oh I envy you! Too much sodium for me to eat there and get away scot-free.

Lin from Peterborough, ON., Canada

10 STEPS TO SELF-CARE - If it feels wrong, don't do it; Say "exactly" what you mean; Don't be a people pleaser; Trust your instincts; Never speak bad about yourself; Never give up on your dreams; Don't be afraid to say "No"; Don't be afraid to say "Yes"; Be kind to yourself; Let go of what you can't control; Stay away from drama and negativity as much as possible. (unknown)

Lost 48 lbs. in 2012 & 13 but gained 20 back!


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LADYCROFT7's Photo LADYCROFT7 SparkPoints: (13,885)
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7/24/13 4:37 P

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In a word: Subway

The minefields of life never go away, we just get better at navigating them.

The only place success comes before work is the dictionary.

For I know the plans that I have for you says the Lord, plans for good not disaster that shall give you hope.
Jeremiah 29:11


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WORKNHRD's Photo WORKNHRD Posts: 554
7/24/13 10:45 A

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The more I think about food the more I eat. I'm taking a break from planning. I'm using packaged foods this week. Cereal,fr, milk; Subway; frozen dinners; fruit as snack. Simple and no worry.




What if I woke up with only what I thanked God for yesterday?
Gratitude and exercise are the best medicines.


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JIBBIE49's Photo JIBBIE49 Posts: 56,152
7/24/13 1:30 A

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No a problem for me.



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OKLAMEG1 SparkPoints: (22,457)
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7/23/13 11:40 P

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Wow, MISSCUS, I love your idea of the two notebooks. It's a very organized way of planning your menus and shopping. I plan out my meals on a weekly basis, and I have to admit that I hate shopping and there's been many a time that when I get home and start cooking, I realize that I am missing an ingredient. So it's back to the store and then I usually end up getting more than what I went for. What a waste of time - can't stick to a budget very well that way either. I know I have a good solid 30 or so recipes that my family likes, so I'm going to spend some time in the next couple of days creating my notebooks. I plan to set up my notebook with dividers so I can look for beef meals or chicken meals or pasta meals, then list the needed ingredients. I think this will help me to check for any staples I already have on hand or purchase only those I will need for the 10 days. The notebook will come in handy also for checking the weekly sales ads. I can't believe I haven't been more organized about the menu planning and shopping before now. Thanks so much for sharing.



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KSGAMMA's Photo KSGAMMA Posts: 2,313
7/23/13 7:34 P

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I started my day at 4 am - for the second day in a row - couldn't sleep. I went to the YMCA and did 80 mins of Aquafit exercises.

When I got home I did a bit of weeding, turned my ankle and fll through the sloped rock garden. Somehow I managed to twist myself clear of the ceramic bird bath stand and throw myself away from landing face first in a rose bush!
emoticon
Fortunately I already had a chiropractor's appt booked for this morning. Unfortunately I totally forgot about it until I stiffened up from the fall. He took me anyways at 11:30. He sent me home saying to put ice on my shoulder and upper back, hip and lower back, and right knee every hour (I detest ice on my body parts so I did it once and will probably do it once more before bed) and no gardening for a week (ya right!)
emoticon
When my DH left to go meet his friend for tea and a walk thru the mall, I snuck out into the garden. I'm convinced that is working out the stiffness from the fall far more than the ice. Of course, he came home earlier than I expected and I got a brief lecture and then he shook his head and pitched in, lol.
emoticon
I had been to a nursery Sun. and picked up a bunch of plants so I had to move some stuff and newly plant some and some I divided and potted up for a spring plant sale. Love getting dirty in the garden!

I didn't feel like cooking supper, especially the same old same old we've been eating for weeks as we lost weight so my husband treated me to dinner out. I brought most of it home and didn't go over my cal. or sodium limits for the day, phew! Hopefully the 3186 cals I burned today with a calorie differential of -2591 will offset the dinner out!


Lin from Peterborough, ON., Canada

10 STEPS TO SELF-CARE - If it feels wrong, don't do it; Say "exactly" what you mean; Don't be a people pleaser; Trust your instincts; Never speak bad about yourself; Never give up on your dreams; Don't be afraid to say "No"; Don't be afraid to say "Yes"; Be kind to yourself; Let go of what you can't control; Stay away from drama and negativity as much as possible. (unknown)

Lost 48 lbs. in 2012 & 13 but gained 20 back!


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FLCUPCAKE Posts: 1
7/23/13 2:54 P

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I try to look through the grocery store's flyer to see what items are on sale, I will pick a protein and veggies, sometimes a starch as well for each dinner. Since there are only 2 of us I love to make extra for another dinner or lunch., Also anytime I make somethign that takes more time (like brown rice) I make extra. If we don't use it in a few days I freeze it. I also like to have some frozen or boxed healthy items to go to when time is short. Reading labels is the key! Thankfully my spouse is not a picky eater. I try to remember that when I get tired of always being in charge of the menu.

CHUBSTER12 Posts: 1
7/23/13 9:46 A

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BROADBRUSH, what you are saying is EXACTLY where I am right now too!! I am the only female in my house and they always want heavy meat dinners and I'm trying to eat healthy. No-one has any suggestions for dinner or helps. When I tell my husband that he can be in charge of dinner on a weekend, he gets junk food - hamburgers or whatever.

I am sooo sick of cooking or trying to think of something to cook.
I just told my girlfriend the other day that I'd like to quit this job!! eek.

I've looked for recipes and ended up wasting hours on the internet. Every week I say that I'm going to get organized and have a week's worth of menus that include some new ones, but that seems to be a lot of work and shopping, so I never quite get around to it! Oh well, spaghetti again. hee hee.

FITNESSGONNABE SparkPoints: (10,580)
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7/23/13 9:27 A

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This takes some work up front, but it makes life more easy from then on. I polled my family and asked them what their favorite meals are. I set up a rotation of 2 weeks of meals, and made a calendar of them. Now I know exactly what and how much to buy at the store, so we spend less. Everyone knows what is on the menu for the day, so whoever has time that day starts dinner. It takes all the pressure off me and makes planning a breeze. If we ever get tired of something we sub it out for something else, and I reserve 1 day during the month to try a new recipe.

BANDOMOM1 SparkPoints: (3,251)
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7/23/13 8:51 A

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Have you ever looked into Freezer Workshop meals? A friend of mine sells wildtree products, she has a workshop where you make 10 meals! I heard they are great and take wonderful, I've been a busy body so hopefully I can go to one soon!. I also use my crockpot, I hook it up to a timer as I leave to work, come home, food done!:]

CIRANDELLA's Photo CIRANDELLA SparkPoints: (59,534)
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7/23/13 8:46 A

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Aw, I just give up eating altogether - it's easier!

(And if you believe that, I've got this cool Florida swamp land for sale... :) No, I pretty much have a basic pattern of eating - proteins, vegetables, fruit, etc. - and don't concern myself with the details. Each day's eating, at this point (I've been at this since 2010) pretty much follows the same structure, and then I track everything to stay within a caloric range for maintenance. A couple days a month, I eat whatever I want - and there's absolutely no planning then! emoticon But I have a personal rule of never exceeding those two days... and during the holiday season, I use them for holiday eating.

"If you're going through hell, keep going."

- Winston Churchill



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COLLING6 Posts: 124
7/22/13 9:20 P

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I eat around 400 calorie meals and 200 calorie snacks. I often cook in the crock pot and freeze single servings. Then I just get something out of the freezer every day or two. Once every week or two I cook a big crock pot meal. If I'm not planning to work out after work, I will cook something. I've rented books from the library and wrote out the recipes I thought I would like onto cards. I have a few favorites I cook all the time, but I try to throw in seasonal recipes so I don't get bored.



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KSGAMMA's Photo KSGAMMA Posts: 2,313
7/22/13 7:35 P

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good ideas! I need to clean out my freezer - it's so packed I don't know everything in it!


Lin from Peterborough, ON., Canada

10 STEPS TO SELF-CARE - If it feels wrong, don't do it; Say "exactly" what you mean; Don't be a people pleaser; Trust your instincts; Never speak bad about yourself; Never give up on your dreams; Don't be afraid to say "No"; Don't be afraid to say "Yes"; Be kind to yourself; Let go of what you can't control; Stay away from drama and negativity as much as possible. (unknown)

Lost 48 lbs. in 2012 & 13 but gained 20 back!


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BEBOP4ME's Photo BEBOP4ME SparkPoints: (17,958)
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7/22/13 6:31 P

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Lots of great ideas here. When I had my knee surgery last year, i found several large batch freezer type meals on sparkrecipe. I bought all the ingredients to make about six of them and cooked them over 2 days. One recipe allowed me to make 36 beef and bean burritos to freeze. I listed everything I froze on a sheet of paper and as I recovered, I had things to pick from on days my knee was to sore to stand and make dinner. All I had to do was thaw, heat, garnish and serve. I plan to do this again this Fall. Right now I am taking advantage of all the low cost or home grown fresh fruit available and freezing it for smoothies and other recipes. So far I have frozen rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.



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FLUFFYBUNNY81's Photo FLUFFYBUNNY81 SparkPoints: (3,652)
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7/22/13 2:11 P

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Every week we write out dinners on a white board in our kitchen. Once a week we get groceries. I keep on hand an extra splurge meal (usually pasta) for when we feel lazy and want to indulge.

One day, one meal, one workout at a time.....


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SUPERPOWERED's Photo SUPERPOWERED SparkPoints: (454)
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7/22/13 12:34 P

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down 3.2 lbs since my first weigh in



LEANJEAN6's Photo LEANJEAN6 Posts: 8,761
7/22/13 8:02 A

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emoticon hard!



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CRUISEPUPPY's Photo CRUISEPUPPY Posts: 4,247
7/22/13 6:23 A

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Phyllis - I love your idea! I have often thought that if I just had 30 great meals I love figured out complete with calories, I could then just repeat them each month. I hadn't thought of using two notebooks...one for the 'collection' and one for the upcoming meals. Your post has inspired me to begin working on my 'collection' again, thank you!

CruisePuppy

"Success is the progressive realization of a worthwhile dream."

"Success is the result of small efforts -repeated day in and day out! "

If you have enough strong days in a row, that makes a strong week. If you do it again, you’ll have two strong weeks. Do it some more, and you’ll have built a strong month. Keep it up, and you will have a strong year—one strong day at a time.


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