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JERSEYFLOWER's Photo JERSEYFLOWER SparkPoints: (26,335)
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1/11/13 11:12 A

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I don't follow the Spark meal plans, either. I tried three in a row and hated all three, so I'm not trying any more. lol.

Mini goal: the march back my happy, healthy weight where I was before and after pregnancy.


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AWOLF24's Photo AWOLF24 Posts: 6,215
1/7/13 1:46 P

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I don't use the meal plans either. I love batch cooking...after a few meals you can get tired of eating the same thing, but it helps on those low cash meals to make a big pot of healthy stew/soup/chili and stick to that! I supplement with snacks like fruit and veggies/Greek yogurt dip. And lots and lots of water - free!!

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SPECIALKTINERS's Photo SPECIALKTINERS SparkPoints: (4,694)
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1/7/13 12:55 A

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I agree with space1. I plan out a week at a time, but I go through and will pick two veggies, and two fruits for the week, some times the meats as well, then I click on the meal plan, and swap out for what I have chosen for the week (choose by your ads and what is on sale). This helps keep cost down, and keeps me from having to toss out a bunch of food that I couldn't finnish. Also, if money is tight and I have to use what I have at home I just click on the item and swap it out for what I have at home. For example if I have chicken in the freezer, but the meal plan calls for fish, and it calls for grapefruit , but I only have canned peaches than I will swap those items out and make it work. It has helped me a ton, because when you swap items out it still tells you how much you should eat as a portion. Another idea is when you are making your dinner make enough for lunch the next day too. Good luck! :)

"Motivation is what gets you started, Habit is what keeps you going."
-Jim Ryun


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SPACE1's Photo SPACE1 Posts: 4
12/9/12 9:45 A

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If the meal planner is suggesting something I don't have in the house, and I am not able to grocery shop, I click to change the meal with something I do have, or feel like eating.

It is really easy to switch the whole meal or even just portions of it- the Spark planner gives you suggestions for the substitution, and I can usually find something on there that I do have in the house. It seems to be pretty balanced.

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CHAQUITA73's Photo CHAQUITA73 SparkPoints: (47,733)
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12/8/12 9:03 P

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I glance at the meal plans for suggested meals/snacks to get ideas but most of them contain foods I don't enjoy or are too expensive when out of season.

I typically have the same breakfast most days of the week mostly because I know it fits in my calorie & carb/pro/fat targets. But, I sit down one day a week and plan all meals & snacks just so I can make my shopping list. I hate shopping and having a concise list gets me in and out quickly (using the SP suggested grocery shopping list so foods are grouped by similar type makes it easier than a standard list).

I may be doing this backwards, but I don't primarily plan meals out for calories. I plan for variety & what I know my husband/kids will eat for dinner. Before eating each meal, I jump on SP to figure out how much volume of food I can eat to get me to about 500 calories for a meal and 200-300 for an afternoon snack.

I use food groups & create recipes in the SP recipe book so I can easily record meals. I haven't figured out yet which is easier...food groups vs recipes but that's a whole other topic.

Because my kids are picky eaters some nights, we have a house rule that everybody eats the same food at dinner. This makes it hard for me on pasta or pizza night so I eat a huge salad and just a little pizza or pasta but it helps me teach my girls to eat balanced meals that contain protein, veggies & carbs. Any of our other dinners are easy for me-fill up half of my plate with veggies then enough protein & carbs to get me to 500 calories for that meal.

Good luck with whatever you do! Bottom line is finding what works for you because you'll stick to it!!

"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing- that's why we recommend it daily."-Zig Ziglar


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EMMELINEE3's Photo EMMELINEE3 SparkPoints: (4,828)
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12/3/12 3:05 P

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I hope when you thaw your fish you do just a few minutes before cooking while leaving the package in ice cold water it will still thaw the meat but the coldness will keep the filet firm and cook well. If you do not already do that I think you might be well pleased with the flavor difference. P.S. I always cook fish with lemon pepper.

To answer the original question the best way to get by on a pinch is to not worry about tomorrow just make yourself survive today. This does not mean feast today and famine tomorrow it just means your needs will be met don't sweat. When you fast or when you feast be reasonable and for myself I ask is this for my tongue or my stomach. I have cancer I can no longer afford to eat for my tongue because my body cannot fight the junk food any longer. My body needs every bit of nutrient to fight my disease. My hang up is Snickers and Mountain Dew; I joke diet, If I eat that I will die - di eat. Be strong with your decisions let your yes be yes and no be no with anything in life. emoticon

F.R.O.G. Faithfully Rely On God!!!


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LITTLE_MCTURTLE's Photo LITTLE_MCTURTLE Posts: 83
12/3/12 2:40 P

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The most important strategy for me is to plan ahead. I need to write out a menu for at least the next day. Normally I have 2 or 3 days planned in advance. I plug my menu into the tracker and make sure my plan fits my goals.

To save money I buy my meat from Costco. It's less than 1/3 the price of the local Safeway per lb. It does mean we have a pretty large bill every 2 months or so. The vacuum sealer is my best friend. Salmon and other fish can be stored in the freezer for at least 3 months and there's no freezer burn. There's no way I'd be able to buy in bulk without it. To defrost my meat for dinner I can just put the vacuum sealed bag in my fridge in the morning, or warm water for 30 minutes (much less for fish).

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BOJODO's Photo BOJODO Posts: 2
12/3/12 11:56 A

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What I am doing now is just using the meal plans as a guide for serving sizes and number of servings of proteins/grains/dairy/veggies/fruits. I shop at Aldi and get as close as I can to what's suggested in terms of types of foods and serving sizes. Other than that I picked the vegetarian meal plan so that's cheaper too.

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NEENASONS SparkPoints: (1,261)
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12/3/12 7:58 A

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Exercise is a must for me and I am much more aware of the kinds of food I put in my mouth. I tend to overeat in the evenings, so now I snack healthy and try to reserve most of my calories for later in the day. Works mosts of the time. and No eating after 8.

"We are what we do repeatedly. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." ~ Aristotle


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GRNBFY's Photo GRNBFY Posts: 287
11/21/12 10:18 A

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I plan my meals the week before, or at least get an idea. I always have the same breakfast and usually have leftovers or a salad for lunch. I know that I always have around 600 calories remaining for dinner and I can plan my meals according to that. I use SParkrecipes.com and find recipes that my husband and I will like and then vary them according to our tastes and what I have in the home (May sub cream of chicken for cream of mushroom, leave out celery since DH HATES it, etc). Then I can do a makeover on that meal to make sure I am accurately recording the calories.

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KCMAGPIE's Photo KCMAGPIE SparkPoints: (46,501)
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11/20/12 5:34 A

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I think taking time to plan is key, especially for those weeks when rushing out to grab something might not be financially possible. I would suggest looking back over your tracker for days when you did great and try to pick a few 'go-to' meals that satisfy you and repeat those more frequently. Maybe a favorite soup you can freeze several servings ahead of time or another recipe you can double or triple without having to purchase extra ingredients. I even find cooking several servings of whole wheat pasta at once helpful then you have a base for several meals - warm and cold pasta dishes come together quickly, toss with ham, olive oil, and veggies or with leftover chicken and pasta sauce or with a canned pesto and olives - add whatever herbs you have handy and don't be afraid to try different combinations.

KC

~Be what you wish to seem. -Socrates~

~Somewhere on your list of priorities should be YOU.~


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GLITTERFAIRY77 Posts: 8,023
11/18/12 7:17 P

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You don't expect a car to run on an empty tank! I used to do the same thing. (Well, look at my sparkpage to see how NOT to lose 113 pounds in a little more than a year-to see what I did.) I'm glad you've started to change your habits. I have, too. We'll do this!

MamiSheli53 is my MOM!!!

Abi~Rochester, NY

Aim for progress...NOT perfection.

Starting weight July 2012: 310
(dates of accomplishment for the following to come)
GW1: 280 passed 2/8/13-278!
GW2: 250
GW3: 220
GW4: 200
GW5: 175

I can do ALLLLLL things through Christ who strengthens me.


"It's a long, hard climb-but I'm gonna get there."

"If you stay focused on the past, you will never be able to see what lies ahead."


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KGOLM3 SparkPoints: (18,410)
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11/18/12 6:49 P

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honestly i dont trust myself if i dont have a plan its to easy to fall back into that same ol bad habits and honestly I really never ate healthy I thought i did but I have learned in the last few months I know nothing when it comes to food my idea of healthy was skipping breakfast and having little to no lunch and then eating a snack when i got home and supper and then a nother snack before bed lol sounds funny now that i think about itlol

Luke 1:37 For nothing is impossible with God


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GLITTERFAIRY77 Posts: 8,023
11/18/12 6:46 P

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I just track after I eat, usually. If I'm CLOSE to my minimum, I might allow myself a healthy snack "if there's room."
The last couple days I was WAY under, and today, I was only 10 over my max. Not bad all in all.

Do what works for YOU, though. You don't have to do it the way that we do. You can go in and plan your meals ahead of time, DAYS ahead of time, if you want. You don't have to use THE meal planner.

MamiSheli53 is my MOM!!!

Abi~Rochester, NY

Aim for progress...NOT perfection.

Starting weight July 2012: 310
(dates of accomplishment for the following to come)
GW1: 280 passed 2/8/13-278!
GW2: 250
GW3: 220
GW4: 200
GW5: 175

I can do ALLLLLL things through Christ who strengthens me.


"It's a long, hard climb-but I'm gonna get there."

"If you stay focused on the past, you will never be able to see what lies ahead."


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MEDEAREBORN Posts: 279
11/18/12 5:21 P

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Or just stop and think about affordable things that you know you like and that are healthy, and make those your meal plan instead? I mean, mine includes a lot of dairy & frozen vegetables, cause those are cheaper; I eat a lot of canned tuna, salmon, and bean dishes. Remember, you're rebuilding habits, and those take a while.

Posting out of Victoria, BC on Pacific Time


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MEDEAREBORN Posts: 279
11/18/12 5:18 P

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The way I used to eat was healthy enough, but overly strict - I was practically starving myself. So for me, I just have to make sure I get *enough* calories - I'll have an extra glass or so of milk, or a glass of juice in the evening, and those usually help me through. Plus, I've got a lot of 'meal groupings' and 'favourites' saved now that I can choose from, so I can think "Well, that's a filling dinner and it's only 400 calories" when that's what I need. A couple of them are even sparkpeople recipes I've made a few times and saved. I don't know if the first part is helpful, but maybe the second part could be? Save those meal plan groups that you like or that are easy to make with the things you'd usually buy - then after a month or so you may be able to step outside the plan.

Posting out of Victoria, BC on Pacific Time


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KGOLM3 SparkPoints: (18,410)
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Posts: 215
11/18/12 3:40 P

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since most of you dont use the meal plan how do you make sure you are staying with in your calories i like having a plan so there is no guess work involved I do agree it has been pricey but if I dont have a plan to follow I go back to eating the way I used to and find I myself gaining again so I need some kind of plan to stay on how do you plan your food if you are not using this meal plan

Luke 1:37 For nothing is impossible with God


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KNYAGENYA's Photo KNYAGENYA Posts: 6,740
11/18/12 1:21 P

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I do not use the meal plans. I make my own menu for the week. This is easier for me because I always know what is for dinner and it really helps me stay on track for the budget.

" The road to success is always under construction."- Lily Tomlin


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GLITTERFAIRY77 Posts: 8,023
11/18/12 12:16 P

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I don't use the spark meal plans. I just track EVERYTHING I eat and do my best to stay close to the minimum calories. I had a hard time with that the first week I was back, often going a bit over, but now that I'm back in the habit of tracking, I have a hard time reaching my minimum calorie goal! I find myself more full faster and with less food and I don't want to force myself to eat when I'm full!

MamiSheli53 is my MOM!!!

Abi~Rochester, NY

Aim for progress...NOT perfection.

Starting weight July 2012: 310
(dates of accomplishment for the following to come)
GW1: 280 passed 2/8/13-278!
GW2: 250
GW3: 220
GW4: 200
GW5: 175

I can do ALLLLLL things through Christ who strengthens me.


"It's a long, hard climb-but I'm gonna get there."

"If you stay focused on the past, you will never be able to see what lies ahead."


 Pounds lost: 26.0 
 
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MEDEAREBORN Posts: 279
11/18/12 8:47 A

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If I've no idea what to make, I'll turn on meal plans and skim along until I find something that appeals and sounds balanced, but usually I just keep an eye on the carbs/fat/protein and choose something that will fit those from my regular selection of recipes. I tried to keep to their meal plans but it only lasted a day or two - too many specific recipes that didn't suit my tastes and too much cost trying to keep to theirs.

Posting out of Victoria, BC on Pacific Time


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AMCMASTER's Photo AMCMASTER SparkPoints: (16,156)
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11/17/12 10:21 P

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I don't use the SP meal plans either. It's so much easier to be flexible and still be accountable if you do your own thing. I've added a number of vegetarian meals to my diet, which can be cheaper, as well as healthier. Frozen veggies are always a good thing to stock up on when they're on sale. If you prefer fresh foods, go with what's in season, since it's likely to be on sale. Even better, check out any farmers markets in your area for cheap, fresh, and local produce.

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GRNBFY's Photo GRNBFY Posts: 287
11/17/12 9:45 A

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I do not use the meal plans on Spark. I just keep a collection of recipes from sparkrecipes and personal ones that I like and know are healthy. This keeps me from having to worry about having the ingredients spark reccomends. I can choose my meal based on what I have and want. I also keep frozen chicken and veggies onhand to always have extra in case money runs tight one week.

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KGOLM3 SparkPoints: (18,410)
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Posts: 215
11/17/12 8:40 A

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I lost 1 pound this week I am actually very surprised that I lost any this week been a weird week didnt have the food that I am supposed to have for the spark plan so I was just trying to get the closest thing I had to what they wanted I have to wing it this week to so we will see how next week goes.I also got my exercise minutes in but it was sporadic 5 minutes here 10 there but it still all paid off cant wait till pay day so I can actually buy groceries and get back on track what do you all do when you have little cash to buy what you need just wondering got another week to get through any ideas


Luke 1:37 For nothing is impossible with God


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