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ROCKS8ROX Posts: 1,093
10/7/17 12:06 P

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DANIELEANNC I really like that you remain realistic with how many times a week you want to eat the same thing. People do get bored with the same old thing, and I thing it is true that boredom causes binges. WTG! I'll have to check out UTube for some ideas. I'm glad to see that the meal planning and grocery shopping works really well for you! Thanks for sharing! Have a good weekend!

DANILEANNC's Photo DANILEANNC Posts: 59
10/7/17 11:50 A

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I do all my menu planning, food purchasing & meal prepping on the same day so that I know everything is good to go for the week. I buy enough groceries for 2 weeks and then make the meals on Sundays for the week to come. That way I'm not premaking food that will go back by the time I eat it the next week.

I typically go by what I'm in the mood for, I have some staples that I always seem to eat: chicken, eggs, turkey bacon, potatoes just to name a few so I buy enough of those to get me through the week. I try to vary what I'm eating so I don't get "food boredom" which I tend to get when going through a depressive episode, that way I'm not as likely to fall back onto fast food when nothing sounds good & I just don't know what to cook.

My meals are usually broken down throughout the day. In the morning I have a main protein, main carb, and a fruit. So for instance I'd have eggs, toast and strawberries. Or french toast, turkey bacon, blueberries. My fruits are typically saved for breakfast time because I just like fresh fruit in the morning! ^_^ Then for lunch & dinner it's a main protein, main carb, and a veggie; this could be something like tuna salad on a slice of toast with celery sticks or honey glazed chicken with rice and broccoli. I premake a variety of chicken on Sundays; honey glazed, italian, and plain (used for salads / wraps usually) & do the same with premaking the veggies I'll eat for the week & any other little snacks like hard boiled eggs or breakfast scrambles if I know I have a lot of early morning shifts.

One thing that really helped me when I first started out was being realistic about how much I'd wanna eat the same meal throughout the week. I typically make enough of one food to at least get me through 3 meals because I know that by that time I'll be beyond bored with honey glazed chicken and want to avert to McDonald's for something different! I also get an idea of what might be good by watching youtube "What I eat in a day" videos to gain inspiration for my meals. There's some really good ones that even incorporate meatless meals if that's your thing!

Another tip is making sure you get enough storage containers and also labeling them! It's very easy for your meals to get shoved to the back and then you discover it 5 weeks later and it's grown it's own colony, label them with the date and what they are so you can keep on top of cleaning it out and eating it! ^_^

~ Dani xoxo

~ I solemnly swear I am up to no good ~
IRISHEI's Photo IRISHEI Posts: 8,026
10/2/17 9:15 A

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I usually shop once a week and plan meals for that week. I have three variations for breakfast each day. Lunches, are normally salads with lots of veggies + a fruit and yogurt. Dinners I try to eat some chicken or fish, veggies and skim milk.
I do try recipes but get tired of making large amounts since I am alone.
I do freeze homemade soup, turkey chili and few other meals, but always looking for a easy meal for one or two people.
Any suggestions are always helpful.
I try to stick with 2 skim milk and a greek yogurt, daily. 2-fruits a day, 2-3 veggies day. two whole grain bread or quinoa and one bread.
Thanks for sharing.
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9/29/17 7:08 A

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As you move forward in the weekend, what's your meal plan look like for the coming week? How did you come up with the plan? Look at favorite recipes? Deals at the store?

THISISSOSTUPID SparkPoints: (1,744)
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9/29/17 7:07 A

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My son is celiac and has ulcerative colitis. My husband was also diagnosed as being gluten sensitive. Making meals can be a challenge, for sure. Especially when I should eat more fiber at my age and when son comes home from college I have to take care as to what vegetables he can eat while I eat the fiber. But I find that meal planning does help in those situations. The trick is having some sweets for him and me not eating them! Yikes.


ROCKS8ROX Posts: 1,093
9/27/17 3:59 A

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Oh my Janey, he is naughty! Is the soda by chance a diet soda? I'm guessing the popcorn is microwaved and loaded with that stuff they call butter? Maybe somehow your healthy cooking will even things out. Evening snacking is a hard habit to break. Keep me posted!
Have a great day!

JANEYBEE's Photo JANEYBEE Posts: 1,640
9/27/17 2:00 A

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I'm afraid its worse than that, soda with movie theater popcorn. Ugh! But he is an adult.

Janey

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ROCKS8ROX Posts: 1,093
9/23/17 10:10 A

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That's good to hear that both of you are doing well. That snacking is a real hard habit to break! I enjoy my popcorn too! I try hard not to eat in front of the T.V., but that's how I was raised. Saturday night came along and we had Kool-Aid and popcorn! I'm hoping he's not drinking Kool-Aid with his popcorn! LOL!

You have a great weekend! emoticon your doing emoticon !

JANEYBEE's Photo JANEYBEE Posts: 1,640
9/23/17 1:46 A

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He did very well initially, then he got hungry. His weight is still down, but he keeps eating things he shouldn't. I cook healthy then he goes to the movies and eats popcorn, sigh ..... Still better habits than before. Really for both of us.

Janey

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ROCKS8ROX Posts: 1,093
9/22/17 12:31 P

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I think I like that Air and Water Diet! LOL! I can imagine that you do have to get creative when you cook. Some days that's hard enough without any dietary restrictions let alone with diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol thrown in the mix. That's one of the reason's why I'm here on Spark, because I don't want to get diabetes, and my blood pressure has been teeter tottering around the playground! Thank you for sharing, and have a Fantastic Friday! Hope your sweetie survives his "air and Water" diet and sees some positive results soon!

JANEYBEE's Photo JANEYBEE Posts: 1,640
9/22/17 1:56 A

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Thank you. She noted some dietary limitations, so I thought it would be safer to mix things along the basic lines she was already doing. I've had to use a lot of creativity in meal planning to try to keep my sweetie on his special diet after a stroke. He was diagnosed all at once with diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I call it the air and water diet.

Janey

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ROCKS8ROX Posts: 1,093
9/21/17 7:19 A

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JANEYBEE, you have some very good suggestions to mix things up! You might be on to something when it comes to food and our bodies. These plateaus can happen with exercise also. Thanks for your ideas!

JANEYBEE's Photo JANEYBEE Posts: 1,640
9/21/17 2:15 A

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Joan, if you really eat pretty much the same thing every day your body may have totally adjusted to it and is telling you this is normal. Try changing things up, at least a little. Maybe two eggs and 1 carb at breakfast and put your 3rd egg hard boiled on your salad. Have your yogurt mid afternoon and add some veggies to dinner, maybe fish instead of chicken. Quinoa instead of rice. Surprise your body and you may kickstart the weight loss. Plus it will be more interesting for you.

Janey

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ANHELIC's Photo ANHELIC SparkPoints: (128,191)
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9/16/17 1:46 P

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Hi, I have hit a plateau. I have lost 47 lbs and for the past 3 weeks the scale hasn't moved. I know I can't do too much fitness because of the arthritis in my knees and shoulders. I do what I can in walking. However, I'm feeling a little stressed. I usually have 3 eggs in the morning because it gives me the protein to keep me going. At lunch I have about 3 cups of garden salad with a light dressing. Supper consists of rice and chicken breast chunks. I do have a yogurt, peach and plum in the evening. I don't seem to be hungry and don't eat junk foods because I have high potassium in my blood so have to be very careful about foods like no potatoes, tomatoes, melons, and others. It frustrates me that I lost the 47 lbs. and everything stopped. If anyone can help me, I would really appreciate it. I'm 74 and diabetic as well.
Thank you and may God Bless you for any help you can offer.
Joan emoticon emoticon

Go Dale Jr. 88 Go, We will both make it to the end of the race.


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CINDYTW963's Photo CINDYTW963 SparkPoints: (15,688)
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9/14/17 1:45 A

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Yes, and that is why people choose different items. It takes some thought.



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ROCKS8ROX Posts: 1,093
9/13/17 5:40 A

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Some recipes are good as leftovers, and some aren't as good.

CINDYTW963's Photo CINDYTW963 SparkPoints: (15,688)
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9/12/17 8:42 P

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I allow for leftovers. I make 4-6 portions of each item and we eat it through the week. It's just 2 of us.



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MALLCRUISER's Photo MALLCRUISER SparkPoints: (8,834)
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9/12/17 8:06 P

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I love the idea of planning for the week. but when it comes time to put together the meals, I'm not sure what recipes to make. do you take into account that you will be eating leftovers during the week?

Need help!


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ROCKS8ROX Posts: 1,093
9/12/17 4:30 P

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STR45811, that's a great idea, along with the express lane! Everything is so fresh! Sometimes, grocery shopping can feel like a marathon! emoticon

STR458II's Photo STR458II SparkPoints: (3,224)
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9/12/17 4:21 P

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I can plan 3 days of eats at a time- get through express lane- and feel good about my choices...

"Never discourage anyone who makes continual progress, no matter how slow"~Plato


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MSLOUIE3's Photo MSLOUIE3 SparkPoints: (48,521)
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9/10/17 10:44 A

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I just can't plan a week at a time. I shop fresh daily.

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CINDYTW963's Photo CINDYTW963 SparkPoints: (15,688)
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9/10/17 3:40 A

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I get that there are different tastes and circumstances. If I am cooking for one or 2, I make 2 dishes and see how it goes after that, with a plan for what to make if we eat it all. If we don't well we have freezer meals.




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ROCKS8ROX Posts: 1,093
9/8/17 4:03 P

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FREDDYTT, I think you have a great system that works for you. You have carefully considered the fact that you are single, don't care to reheat frozen meals, and get bored with the same foods. You know why, because you consciously or unconsciously took in consideration food waste! I have done this, made something, freeze it, forget it in the freezer, come upon it and no I don't think I'll eat it scenario that a lot of us have done. Good for you! Nice to hear how a single person cooks for oneself and not just eating fast food. Way to go!

FREDDYTT's Photo FREDDYTT Posts: 71
9/8/17 12:17 P

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I get bored easy, so I could never do a month, or even a week at one time of planned meals. I'm single, so unlike a family, I look at what I'm buying and know exactly how many times I can eat off what I buy. Nothing disappears because it was eaten by someone else. I actually have a problem with fresh fruit and veggies going bad before I can eat it all.

So I invested in those special containers that keep perishables fresh longer. That helps a lot. I tried making up a weeks worth of meals and freezing them, but it seemed like a lot of work and I hated reheated frozen food. Now, I make salads and stuff for lunch from the food I keep in zip locks and containers that keep. This way, I can have left over balsamic rosemary chicken breast and an avocado for a salad one day, and hard boiled eggs, diced ham and turkey, shredded carrots and cheese in a chef salad another day.

I buy individual 4 oz portions of frozen salmon pre seasoned and keep that on hand at all times incase I get tired of eating the lean burger patties or chicken I made up and want something else for dinner one night. Fresh meat, fruit and veggies I buy enough for 4 days. Then I can get something else as I rotate thru everything. This week it's plumbs, sweet potatoes and green beans. Last week it was peaches, strawberries, asparagus and avocados. I do cook the 4 days of meat all at once and just roast fresh veggies before each meal.

The same ham steak I cut 2oz from for my chef salad today, I cut 2oz for yesterday's omelette for breakfast. I do like to stick with certain foods I like and can mix and match easily.

CINDYTW963's Photo CINDYTW963 SparkPoints: (15,688)
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9/8/17 11:50 A

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I actually photo copy a 8 1/2 x11 calendar, or you could make one online there's websites for that. Then I write in all the meals for the month as I can. Sometimes I do a week at a time, sometimes I do the whole month. Then I put it in a binder with sheet protectors and print out the recipes for it and put them in there.



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ROCKS8ROX Posts: 1,093
9/8/17 10:10 A

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HAWKTHREE, isn't it amazing how kids remember those kind of things! If you have pizza three times in a row do they ask any questions? emoticon

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9/8/17 8:31 A

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Never had time to track it in writing, just mentally. Or when a kids says "we've had this 3 weeks in a row".

There is no such thing as the final success in life. What is really meaningful is the courage to face the next minute, hour, day.


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THISISSOSTUPID SparkPoints: (1,744)
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9/8/17 7:34 A

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How do you track it? Write down the foods you prepare and eat on a regular old calendar? Do you use some type of notebook system? I have read blog and pinterest posts that are VERY detailed with systems that include the recipe for the meals included in a binder system.
What's an easy way to plan and track?


CINDYTW963's Photo CINDYTW963 SparkPoints: (15,688)
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9/7/17 3:45 A

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I menu plan for my own household, a coworker, and a group home. I like to have a lot of recipes that people like on Pinterest or on paper. Then, I just pick from what we haven't had recently so things don't get boring. Yes, there are favorite meals but I try to change it up. So, even though Mexican and Pasta are very popular at the group home, I make different versions instead of the same old spaghetti and meatballs. I also like to make a dish that lends itself to leftovers for lunches...like doubling recipes and making like a big pot of taco meat to have for several dishes. Whatever you decide to make, do a larger batch and you have food to either freeze or have for lunches.



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ROCKS8ROX Posts: 1,093
9/4/17 8:56 A

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You are a very organized person now and when you were a single mom. I always feel like I've accomplished a lot when I've got dinner in my crock pot! Those meal plans from years past are like memoirs. emoticon

ANNIELAV's Photo ANNIELAV Posts: 2,016
9/4/17 8:01 A

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When my kids were young and still at home I used my crockpot almost daily. It was a life saver with all the after school actives and working 2 jobs as a single mom. I use to plan my meals monthly. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. My kids went to private school and had to take lunch. My pantry was organized so that when I made my menu I could go in and see what I have and check it off of my list to buy. I still have all my notebooks with my meals and menus. I love looking back at all that I would cook. Now it is just DH and I and we eat a lot simpler meals, but winter is coming and I will do some meals in the crockpot.

Good luck everyone with your crockpots

Annie - Cedar Hill, MO.


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ROCKS8ROX Posts: 1,093
8/31/17 1:43 P

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I too LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my crockpots. I love to get up and prepare and do the "set it and forget" it thing. I just purchased a small 2.5 quart size casserole crockpot. Perfect size for sides! I too have thought about an instant pot. I'd love to hear from anyone who has an Instant Pot and how they like it.

MARYCL2's Photo MARYCL2 Posts: 73
8/30/17 10:18 P

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I really enjoy using my Crock Pot. I like making the meal earlier in the day and it is ready by dinner. I am thinking about getting a Instant Pot?

TESENISIS1's Photo TESENISIS1 Posts: 3,862
8/30/17 4:43 P

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Hey I just saw this message board post and wanted to let you all know I finally came up with a system of menu planning that works for me. It might even work for the rest of you, go check out my blog for today and see what I have done.

Myself and my son both have a number of major allergies, so meal planning is hard when our choices are limited. We have been working around our food issues for 2 years now, so we have accumulated a number of recipes that work for everyone in the house and I managed to get most of them written down. Now I have a plan in place for menu planning, grocery shopping and life should get just a little bit easier.

Edited by: TESENISIS1 at: 8/30/2017 (22:04)
Brightest Blessings!
Tes

If you put off till tomorrow what you could do today, can you trust yourself to do tomorrow what you couldn't bring yourself to do today?

"There are no mistakes, cheat days, or bad days. Each day is a day in the laboratory of your life. You experiment and learn from what worked or didn't work and make better choices the next day based on what you learned."
- MariLou Henner -


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LOTUS737's Photo LOTUS737 Posts: 2,489
8/30/17 8:01 A

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we stick to similar breakfasts- usually eggs or oatmeal, maybe something different on a weekend.

lunches tend to be leftovers or sandwiches.

snacks are generally protein shakes, fruit, greek yogurt, nuts, and/or cheese.

dinners I try to plan out (but don't always)- we like variety so it might be something Mexican one night, Asian another, etc. I do look at store ads to see what's on sale and try to build it into dinners. another simple way is to pick your proteins and then just buy whatever produce looks good at the store for sides/snacks/etc.

if I'm particularly motivated, I will poach a large batch of chicken breast (we buy them at Costco), and then store. it's easy to shred it up to make pulled chicken sandwiches, dice for chicken salad (with greek yogurt), or slice for stir fry or shawarmas, etc. I also like to keep tofu on hand (in the freezer) and some vegetarian burgers for quick, easy meals.

and for something sweet, I am a huge fan of yasso- they make greek yogurt bars in several flavors and they have around 100 cals and 5 g protein! it's not too hard to save 100 cals for dessert, so I like to have some around if the mood strikes :)


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

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MARTHA324's Photo MARTHA324 SparkPoints: (166,804)
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8/30/17 7:36 A

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I wish I did have a plan. Over the years I just know that I have to a variety of fruit and veggies in the house along with whole wheat bread, cereal, English muffins, reduced fat cheese, yogurt, whole wheat pasta and canned tomatoes and beans. With these things I can always make a meal.
In the summer we get our veggies from a CSA and based on what I get I figure out what to make for dinner. My breakfasts and lunches are pretty easy and I always have things around for that.



Persistence is more important than perfection.

Don't assume your freedoms are assured.

If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.


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ROCKS8ROX Posts: 1,093
8/27/17 7:13 P

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Thanks for the web site info, I'm going to check it out!

THISISMYJOB's Photo THISISMYJOB Posts: 1,703
8/27/17 7:09 P

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I use an online meal planner ( www.forksmealplanner.com) whose recipes are all appropriate for my plan. That way, I never have to adjust the recipes.

Serene Vannoy
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8/27/17 4:42 P

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I do exactly what SUNKISSBLE1 does and she said it beautifully.

Robin
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SENKIMEKIA's Photo SENKIMEKIA SparkPoints: (3,124)
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8/23/17 7:08 A

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Pixiadust thank you! I knew there was a way to see shared frackers but I couldn't remember thanks!!!!!



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8/23/17 1:25 A

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In planning menu, I just make it sure that there will be no exact repetition of the same menu in a week. There should also be a balanced sources of nutrients. We are also open in trying new recipes especially healthy ones via drberg.com/blog/category/recipes.

We are also having one cheat meal for a job well done in keeping ourselves healthy the whole week.

Educate. Not medicate.


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LORAINESIMPSON's Photo LORAINESIMPSON SparkPoints: (772)
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8/20/17 11:19 P

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I am also learning a lot in this thread. I usually do not have any planning or special strategy on planning out my meals. There are times that I cook with whatever on left in the fridge, I am not a picky eater so my taste buds and digestive system is versatile.

I am inspired by the answer and I am also having a thought that I should also go working with the menu planning.

What could six months do for you?
ROCKS8ROX Posts: 1,093
8/20/17 2:16 P

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I hear that a lot of people do all the cooking for a month. I thought I would try it in the fall, when the weather cools a bit here. It would make for a small goal challenge also. I'm going to give it a try. Have a good day!

KPHEALTHY4LIFE's Photo KPHEALTHY4LIFE Posts: 667
8/20/17 1:19 P

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I cook for a whole month at once. Then individual containers (protein and veggies separate- so I can mix up as I go).

Eating Healthy and Moving More
Kelly
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ROCKS8ROX Posts: 1,093
8/19/17 5:35 P

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I am always looking at recipes! Learned the art from my mom! My daughter says that she's going to bury all my recipes with me when I go! I also watch the weather on the news, during the summer and spring in case I need to change grilling plans. What I have found is that I can make a lot of my recipes with just a few tweaks to make them healthy.

SUNKISSABLE1's Photo SUNKISSABLE1 Posts: 21
8/19/17 3:05 P

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I plan out meals a week at a time and make a list of what I need to make the recipes. When I plan, I look at the flyers and try to work with what is on sale or what I can buy in bulk and freeze. There are so many yummy recipes out there that are actually pretty healthy.



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ROCKS8ROX Posts: 1,093
8/16/17 5:13 A

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My grocery bill is going down. I haven't bought any chips, or other junk food for a month now. I avoid that aisle in the store completely. Funny thing, I don't even miss it!

PLANANAN's Photo PLANANAN SparkPoints: (22,939)
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8/16/17 5:04 A

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We plan the meals and shop. Fits things easier to your calorie range and keeps out some of the junk

Nan
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Target for Sept 2017 to Jan 2018 20lbs loss
Reasons.
Garage getting a bit tight!
For me

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Professor Crossman is doing everything he can for my issues. I owe it to him to get the weight down
Sept 13 65.8kg hospital scale




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ROCKS8ROX Posts: 1,093
8/15/17 4:41 P

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I would agree! Lots of great ideas and tips from great people! Happy cooking! emoticon

LIBRARYWENDY's Photo LIBRARYWENDY Posts: 55
8/15/17 2:53 P

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These are such great tips! Thanks everyone!

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. " - Plato


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ROCKS8ROX Posts: 1,093
8/13/17 9:48 P

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I do much of the same! I also plan a lot of different protein and then work around the protein. Thanks for your insight!

43GIRLS's Photo 43GIRLS SparkPoints: (304)
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8/13/17 7:08 P

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I plan my dinners before I shop. I usually ask my hubby and kids what they want to eat that week. If they don't help (which is often) I try to plan a variety of proteins. When I actually track my food, I do it after. Then I look at what I've done and see where I can improve.



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ROCKS8ROX Posts: 1,093
8/12/17 7:20 P

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Thank you, I'll check it out!

AMYLFA's Photo AMYLFA Posts: 179
8/12/17 3:30 P

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I really like the "Fit Food Challenge" here on SparkPeople, which includes weekly menus that feature very easy and quick recipes. Each time the week's menu comes up in the challenge, it motivates me to do at least some menu and grocery shopping planning for the coming week. I don't always stick with it, but it certainly helps!

"Never too old, never too sick, never too late to start from scratch once again." ~ Bikram Choudhury
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ROCKS8ROX Posts: 1,093
8/12/17 7:47 A

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These are very good ideas! I too follow the same breakfasts and just rotate them. The chicken enchiladas sound delicious! Have a great weekend!

PRYTANIAS's Photo PRYTANIAS SparkPoints: (11,728)
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8/12/17 2:57 A

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I typically have 3 or 4 meals that I make regularly. So, I might have my Skinny Chicken Enchiladas "suiza" that I make for Dinner on Sunday, then I pack it for lunch Monday, Dinner Tuesday & lunch Wednesday. Then I have a 2nd meal like stuffed peppers, or a veggie burger that I alternate b/w lunch & dinner for those three days. Last two days will be a sandwich & chicken salad and then Saturdays I try a new recipe to see if I want to throw it in the rotation. Sometimes I do and sometimes It's oh heck no. lol. The following week I'll do 2 main other recipes. I have about 3 breakfasts I typically eat and I just make them fresh on the spot..same time every morning & omellets on the weekends~

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
- Albert Einstein

Prytania
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10/07/17-xx/xx/17. Goal 11 pounds
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ROCKS8ROX Posts: 1,093
8/11/17 1:21 P

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That is real planning! I use my crock pot a lot. I've been eyeing that turkey breast in the crock pot for a while. I picked one up last week and I'm thinking that I will fire up that crock pot this weekend! Have a terrific day and weekend! emoticon

MISSRUTH's Photo MISSRUTH Posts: 4,173
8/11/17 12:30 P

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I just retired recently, but the last 2 years before I did, I worked a couple fairly physical jobs with odd shifts (12 hour day, or 10 hour day). Not a lot of time or energy to cook every.single.day. What helped me most, was to "cook ahead" on my days off. I'd make a big pot of soup, plus a casserole, and maybe bake a pile of chicken breasts as long as I was firing that oven up anyway. You can season a couple, to eat right away, and leave the others plain for dicing or shredding and using in other recipes. Whenever I buy ground beef, I get 4 or 5 pounds, cook it all up at the same time, and then freeze what I'm not going to use right away. Cut out that whole "brown the ground meat first" part of a recipe-- I've already got browned ground meat, in my freezer! If you can snag a turkey breast on sale, they cook up really well in the crockpot. (Put it in, upside down, with maybe a cup or two of broth or water, and whatever sounds like a good idea; chopped onions, sage, rosemary, thyme-- the meaty part stays in the juices so it's really moist.) Gives you plenty of leftovers for lunches or to use in recipes such as a turkey chili.

Most stuff freezes really well, and you can portion it out before you freeze it.

Ruth in Cookeville, TN Central Time Zone


Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think - Christopher Robin to Pooh


KENDILYNN's Photo KENDILYNN SparkPoints: (22,924)
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8/11/17 12:11 P

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A typical week for us looks like: 3 planned meals, 2 fall-back meals, 2 leftovers. Planned meals are what I really have to think about and shop for, including fresh fish or anything with tons of separate and/or fresh ingredients. Fall-back meals are basic and made from things I typically always have on hand, like bean and cheese burritos, curry, or grilled protein with frozen veggies. Leftovers night might have a previously frozen soup/sauce or something from the last two days. I typically shop twice a week, mostly to keep us in fresh produce.



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THISISSOSTUPID SparkPoints: (1,744)
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8/11/17 8:59 A

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Thanks for all the great ideas....and I hope more thoughts on what works for you keep coming to this topic! To go further into my life, I am working full time now, but am planning semi-retirement sometime next year. So it's a busy schedule with grands coming over often (we are blessed to have all our grands live in our town. A blessing for sure, but meals can be a challenge especially when trying to track meals and stay healthy) Because of my workday, somedays I am pooped and have little energy to actually prepare a meal. I will use these ideas for sure as I move forward with healthy eating and weight loss, but, again, I look forward also to the insight others may want to share!.....


ROCKS8ROX Posts: 1,093
8/10/17 3:24 P

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I have to admit that at first meal planning is a bit overwhelming. Once you get it down, it comes second hand! I also have a list of substitutes that I can use in case the weather is bad for grilling, or not feeling like doing that much excuses! It sounds like you have this down to a science! emoticon

TBRYAN-LU Posts: 2,196
8/10/17 3:12 P

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I do it day by day usually the night before!

DISNEYDAMSEL1's Photo DISNEYDAMSEL1 SparkPoints: (45,910)
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8/10/17 11:13 A

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It took me awhile, but I got in the habit of weekly meal planning. You can google menu planners and many options will pop up. I found one that works for me. First I go through and put on anything that will impact my typical daily schedule, doctor appointments, travel for work, plans I have to go out with a friend etc. Then I figure out breakfasts for the week. I have a handful of things I rotate around. Then I figure out dinners for the week. I typically make something different for dinner most nights. Then I plan the leftovers to be my lunches and my husband's lunches for work. I also figure out a morning and an afternoon snacks, which like my breakfast I have a handful of options I kind of rotate around. After I do my menu planning I make my grocery list. I try to remember to always look at what meat and produce is on sale ahead of time to keep it in mind while I'm planning to keep costs down. Now we just have two of us, so I plan almost every Friday night as "clean out the fridge" meaning eat whatever is still left to avoid food waste. If you have a family with more people you many not have as many leftovers to contend with.

It takes awhile at first. It gets easier. I'd say the first month took me awhile, now I can get them planned fairly quickly.

I will also add in. Once or twice a season, I do cooking days where I take a day or an afternoon and make freezer meals. Having meals on hand makes the planning easier because I grab freezer meals ready to thaw, cook and serve.

Edited by: DISNEYDAMSEL1 at: 8/10/2017 (11:19)

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PIXIEDUST22's Photo PIXIEDUST22 Posts: 1,116
8/10/17 10:01 A

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This depends on your tolerance for repetition. I don't mind frequently eating the same foods that I enjoy. So there are always the same staples on my grocery list and it makes my life a lot easier. For breakfast, I rotate three meals that I like (avocado toast, egg sandwich, or oatmeal and greek yogurt). You would have to find what works for you and is healthy. For lunch, I routinely eat either a turkey sandwich on low cal bread or dinner leftovers. Dinners vary more but I always make at least two dinners with chicken, one with beef, and one vegetarian. I rotate the vegetables and starches based on what's in season/on sale/looking good in the store. I don't really make very complicated meals, which also makes my life easier. Throwing meat on a George Foreman grill or under the broiler, after seasoning with your favorite spices, is a simple way to make flavorful food. I re-use the starch for a lot of meals during the week - for example, I buy a bag of potatoes and might make them baked, mashed, or as fries throughout the week. This helps to minimize food waste and also keep costs down.

Edited to add: you can also get ideas from looking at people's food trackers on here. Go to: Community > Sparkpages > shared trackers, and then just click around.

Edited by: PIXIEDUST22 at: 8/10/2017 (10:06)

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JOANNEJI's Photo JOANNEJI Posts: 1,182
8/10/17 9:09 A

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I am retired now, and mostly fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to meal planning, but back when I worked full time, I had a very specific method which I used for over 30 years!
Near the end of every month, I would sit down with the next month's calendar and plan out our meals for that whole month. (We were a family of four.) On Sunday, I might roast a chicken. So Monday would be leftovers, then chicken noodle soup would come on Wednesday. In between (Tuesday) I would often do pancakes or something, and on the same evening would get things started for the next day's soup (make broth, chop veggies). I always planned my meals in such a way that I would use up leftovers. If I thawed a package of hamburger, I would plan for two different meals that week using it. I usually had homemade soup once per week, and either some kind of sandwich-based meal, or a breakfast-for-supper kind of meal once a week. I also often left three or four days blank each month. That way, if we were invited out for a meal, or had a last minute change of plans, I would just slide the missed meal into the next blank spot. I often shuffled my meals within the week, especially as the girls got older, and our routine became less predictable.
It sounds like a lot of work, but once I got my system going, it became so easy to carry on each month. And I never had that, "What should I make for supper" dilemma when I got home from work.
I always kept my calendar from the year before, in case I needed reminding of seasonal meals we had enjoyed the year before.
I was very lucky! My family were all good eaters, and loved trying new things! If i wanted to try a new recipe, I would put it on the menu and give it a go!
I always shopped on the weekend, and by referring to the calendar, I could quickly compose a complete shopping list. That meant I rarely had to make last minute dashes to the grocery store.
Once the girls got older they began taking on supper one night a week. I would mark their name on the menu-planning calendar, then consult with them before shopping each week.
It worked wonders and saved me so much last-minute decision-making (which I am not good at!), and I am sure it saved us a lot of money, as I seldom wasted much food.

Location: Stettler, Alberta, Canada


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MSLUCAS1's Photo MSLUCAS1 SparkPoints: (1,756)
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8/10/17 9:08 A

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I get paid bi-weekly. So I have to plan for breakfast & Lunch 15 days out. I do all my shopping the day I get paid so a game plan is important.

I have a shopping list that is set up with the left side being mon-fri where I write in dinners and the right side is the ingredients I'm going to need to buy. (I also constantly take inventory of my cupboards)

I'll spend a lunch break looking up recipes for the next two weeks for dinners and then I usually go cheap and easy for breakfast and lunch. We have Aldis so I don't even look at sale ads anymore I buy what I can at Aldis, buy what I have to at Wegmans and we buy meat at save-a-lot. Since i don't eat a lot of box/pre-packaged foods that strategy saves more money with less effort.

hope that makes sense!



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HAWKTHREE's Photo HAWKTHREE SparkPoints: (45,466)
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8/10/17 7:37 A

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Back to the original question of how do I do it.

Practice makes perfect. Trite, but true. You might begin by just planning a day of menus and then buying for that day. Add another day when it's no longer impossible. Follow your favorite cook on youtube and see what s/he does.

At some point, you'll develop preferences and understand that when you see your favorite fruit on sale, you'll buy more and freeze it or use it in other recipes. You'll begin to keep stashes of staples on hand.

There is no such thing as the final success in life. What is really meaningful is the courage to face the next minute, hour, day.


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LIN1263's Photo LIN1263 Posts: 10,743
8/10/17 2:37 A

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I look at the sales on food that come out on Thursday & shop Friday or Saturday. I also have food given to me weekly so I only plan one day at a time & buy fresh fruits & vegetables 2 times per. week. I have to eat the exact same amount of vitamin k daily, which is not potassium, k 1 is potassium to make my Warfarin blood thinner work for my 3 clots in one lung. I get blood tested 2 times per. week. I track food on another more complete nutrition data site because I have too or will have a heart attack or stroke from clots even though my blood pressure is 80/50. I add salt daily to raise it to 100 so I can function. Spark people lists vitamin K and potassium as 1. Vitamin k1 is potassium and the other main source of vitamin k is called k2. Some foods have both, some only have 1 of these.

I have chronic kidney disease and low blood pressure & blood clots in both lungs for 3 years..I am 54 years old. I am starting the Fall Challenge ,Firecrackers Team,on P.S.T. My exercise plan is 2400 minutes a month.I do walking, ride the bike at the gym 65 minutes, 3 times a week & go ice skating for 90 minutes 2 times a week for people over 50. My name is Linda. WEight is not accurate, it was weught 2 weeks a go but went up & down. Will track on the weekend & majke the loss accurate.


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SENKIMEKIA's Photo SENKIMEKIA SparkPoints: (3,124)
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8/9/17 9:22 P

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I put food in my tracker a day ahead instead of logging after the fact. I find that actaully helps keep me on track when I have a plan for the day. I will base the days plan according to what food I have.



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NIRERIN Posts: 14,102
8/9/17 8:36 P

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Unless you are working with unlimited funds, you do a bit of both along with your time and skill constraints. You look at what is on sale and you match that with recipes that you like for that item. Do remember that most fruits are interchangeable and so are most vegetables and most proteins. So breakfast might be oatmeal with fruit. If apples are on sale, you have apples with your oatmeal. If berries are on sale you have berries with your oatmeal. Dinner could be stir fry. That could mean beef with peppers and snow peas over pasta or chicken with onion and bok choy over rice or tofu with cabbage and carrots over quinoa. If any one of those vegetables isn't going to work for whatever reason you could sub in broccoli or mushrooms. Over time you will build up some staples that are reasonably priced most of the time that are convenient and within your time limits and suit your tastebuds and you will have those meals more often.

If you like lists you could build up lists of recipes. If you like index cards, you can build up a collection of index cards. Bonus with the index cards is that you can reuse them and deal them out like cards in a grid pattern for the week. You could also put ingredient lists on one side and the recipe on the other and once you deal out your meals for the week the reverse side becomes your shopping list. If you like spreadsheets you could do spreadsheets. You might like making notations in your planner so that you can see where other events cut into your cooking time. So if you have something to do for an hour after work one day you make sure to not plan to make a two hour dinner that day.

-google first. ask questions later.

VERONICA678's Photo VERONICA678 Posts: 313
8/9/17 8:27 P

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I get the grocery ads a few days before the sales start. I check for good deals and plan some meals for the week around them. I keep a pretty well stocked pantry by stocking up when things are on sale, so I don't have to buy everything for the week each week

I really like to cook and try new recipes, and I plan my meals for the week in advance. I have a few work day breakfasts and lunches that I cycle through, making that planning pretty easy.

I have to plan and track my meals one day ahead of time to make sure I stay in my ranges

You can certainly start with a list of foods you like to eat and add to it to create a menu for the week. You can pre-track a weeks worth of meals just to try it out and adjust some meals if you need to.

I hope this helps





THISISSOSTUPID SparkPoints: (1,744)
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8/9/17 7:34 P

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I have heard how important menu planning is...but how do people do it? Do you make a list of foods you typically eat? Do you go by the grocery ads? Anyone have a special system?

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