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CBLENS SparkPoints: (47,498)
Fitness Minutes: (16,557)
Posts: 1,220
2/23/13 11:48 A

I do have some processed food, I keep protein bars in the car, so when I am out I won't be tempted to go to fast foods, but in the house, I make my own. love the spark cookbook.

APDANIEL SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (45)
Posts: 39
2/20/13 8:17 P

hi all!

I just wanted to introduce you guys to the blog I started recently! I don't use processed foods because I think they are just nasty. It's terrible to put chemicals into your body that we weren't meant to eat. So my blog is full of delicious and healthy recipes that are easy to make and great options for even picky eaters. let me know what you think! =]

RAWCOOKIE Posts: 13,274
2/16/13 8:31 A

I was resistant to using the meal plans for the reasons some of you have said - but I have recently added it to my food tracker (which I don't use every day) and have found the meal plan useful as a starting point for my own planning - it gives me ideas that maybe I wouldn't have thought of - and it has definitely changed how I eat - so that my reports now show that I'm getting a healthier balance. There are loads and loads of recipe ideas on here - dig deep - and you will find gold!

LESLIE2561 SparkPoints: (84,964)
Fitness Minutes: (47,326)
Posts: 1,739
2/12/13 2:30 P

I agree that they use too many processed foods, but they are trying to appeal to a large range of people. I think they probably get support from the makers of these products which enables them to provide this website for free. If I find a recipe that sounds good, but has processed food in it, I just substitute fresh ingredients as best I can. I looked at the meal plans a couple of times, but since I am gluten free, it is just easier to follow my own plan.

DIDS70 Posts: 5,368
2/11/13 10:09 A

When i first started in 2007, i had no idea what healthy eating was. I had a very small list of ingredients that i would eat in the first place. I was not adventurous in the least. I started to look at the menu plans, but again they were filled with things I didn't like at the time.
I decided to pull out of the plans the things I did like and then substitute the rest. That took about three months.
Up until 2010, I ate tons of processed foods. I was a pasta maniac, i loved baked potatoes and rice dishes. I would eat tons of pork, chicken and salmon. However, I found that wasn't doing my body good. I cut out the pork because frankly it is not a clean meat and I started to feel better. I cut out the dairy after starting with my chiro and found that my sinus miraculously cleared up. Now all i eat are veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds. I have never been healthier. I add recipes all the times, but don't necessarily save them to the data base. many of them are ones I get from books and they are copyrighted.

MELROSE13 SparkPoints: (35,992)
Fitness Minutes: (50,641)
Posts: 1,019
2/10/13 3:42 P

I don't use the meal plans but I have used several of the recipes on here and as others have commented on, use fresh instead of the processed, or a less sodium, no sugar etc ingredient. I use the recipes more as a guideline to a new idea I haven't tried yet...also as many pointed out it is a free sight and some of the recipes are promoting the sponsors products and can easily be substituted.
Good Luck to the original poster of this thread, I think it would still be a good idea to follow the meal plan if you need something to follow, just sit down at the beginning of the week, make your substitutions of healthier ingredients or products and you still have a plan to follow.

2/7/13 7:30 P

I don't use their meal plans. I like to make what I can from scratch and will only use certain processed foods in a pinch. You can usually modify almost any recipe to what fresh ingredients you have on hand.

JASHER30 SparkPoints: (4,037)
Fitness Minutes: (2,808)
Posts: 10
2/7/13 5:58 P

Not all frozen waffles are bad, you have to do some work by reading labels. Sure that eggo buttermilk waffle isn't as healthy as a whole grain or gluten free you find in the vegetarian section of the freezer. As for the recipes other members are submitting them I have found only the ones from chef Meg are from people employed by the site. Like someone else said it's free, it is up to you to police your choices , there is no easy button . Even the prepacked systems have preservatives and who count points don't keep off the weight. It is about natural, portion controlled meals and exercise in my opinion.

LOVE_THIRTY_ONE SparkPoints: (2,770)
Fitness Minutes: (235)
Posts: 21
2/5/13 9:20 P

i just joined sp and as ive been cruising through the site i have found that for me and my fiance a lot of the ingredients are things we dont eat. i love to have the guidelines and modify it to put in things we do enjoy in there. i do agree with the person before me who posted that it would be a good idea to put an option for non-processed foods. i try not to use when i can but some things i will turn to in a pinch if i cant use fresh or from scratch. i have been browsing the recipes and have found several that didn't have anything being dinner tonight (garlic brown sugar chicken) it was fabulous, didnt take long to make, and got rave reviews from the fiance. that ones a keeper. cant wait to keep looking for more guidelines in hopes to get to use more and more non-processed foods in the future.

LAURAAT Posts: 1,506
1/23/13 1:38 P

If you'd rather, you could add a bunch of SP recipes you find to your meal plan. I'm not sure if it will let you do solely out of the recipes or not, but it's definitely a nice thing to have. Plus, free meal plans are great to have, just in general. Gives you a good idea of what you need to be eating, and how much. Another idea is to take the processed foods you don't want to eat and sub them for a homemade equal. I saw someone used waffles as an example - so, if you don't want to eat frozen waffles and that's on the menu, eat waffles but make them homemade with similar nutrition.

CLARK971 SparkPoints: (29,686)
Fitness Minutes: (23,835)
Posts: 827
1/23/13 7:15 A

When I first started sparkpeople, I used the meal plans as a guidline-to see what a typical lunch or dinner should look like and I modified my meal according to what I liked.

Now I just enter my own meals.

I agree with YOJULEZ. It is a free site. It is hard to make it perfect for everyone.

I eat frozen waffles on occassion. They were part of my lifestyle before sparkpoints. My problem wasn't the processed foods, it was consuming too many calories. When I started tracking, what I actually needed and what I was consuming (when I thought I was eating healthy) was a shock.

Edited by: CLARK971 at: 2/6/2013 (18:47)
YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,981)
Fitness Minutes: (120)
Posts: 2,171
1/22/13 12:37 P

Or people could just figure out how to find other meals that don't use processed foods. Seriously, this is a free site, if you don't like the meal plans and recipes they're offering, go find another site that has what you want. I managed to do just fine by doing that, and still enjoy using this site for the other features it has. I just don't get why people complain so much about a site and service that is FREE.

And trust me, before I knew how to cook, the idea of making something completely from scratch without using any pre-prepared food was completely daunting, and would have scared me off.

Edited by: YOJULEZ at: 1/22/2013 (12:38)
1/22/13 12:30 P

I agree why does it seem that way. I am a nutritionist and my family has learned to stay away from all processed foods. There is a misconception that if you can't cook you have to have processed foods. There are lots of easy alternatives that are quick and simple to do. Perhaps one of the catagories that could be added is non-processed foods only list.

Edited by: HEALTHSMART4 at: 1/24/2013 (13:19)
MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,329)
Fitness Minutes: (5,920)
Posts: 3,809
1/21/13 9:52 A

While I appreciate the website for it's support, I too would like to see them provide healthier suggestions/recommendations to those seeking guidance.

BRYNDECLAN SparkPoints: (1,600)
Fitness Minutes: (171)
Posts: 21
1/18/13 8:57 A

I also try to not use processed foods but still find plenty of helpful and creative recipes here. keep looking! :)

STILLHERE1111 SparkPoints: (5,744)
Fitness Minutes: (5,444)
Posts: 208
1/16/13 9:58 P

Recipes are like guidelines, I love to alter them to suit my preferences--I only look for recipes that have the basic ingredients I'm using anyway and then alter from there.

It isn't always possible to have fresh on hand-- I enjoy reading the recipes and finding what I can use for my family.

I just made the pulled chicken (taco Chicken) in the crock pot recipe--everyone liked it...easy, tasty and healthy!

SH9719 SparkPoints: (40,217)
Fitness Minutes: (39,783)
Posts: 1,304
1/16/13 3:14 P

I have not looked at the plans. I have either adopted spark recipes I have seen or learned to cook things I already like healthier. But, I think using frozen foods, especially vegetables should not be looked on as bad. Obviously when available fresh is better, but off season frozen is just as healthy as fresh and can make meal preparation easier.

If I am going to cook I try to stay away from processed food options, but I do not have a family to try to keep up with and I am comfortable cooking. If you have time constraints or have limited cooking skills using processed food can be a good trade-off for eating out or other less healthy options. If you have the time and are an experienced cook then create you own plans or adjust the recipes and save them. These plans are clearly targeted for people learning how to cook healthy and in some cases cook well at all.

RIET69 SparkPoints: (47,087)
Fitness Minutes: (11,285)
Posts: 3,116
1/16/13 11:50 A

I too plan my own meals. I want to know what I am eating.

YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,981)
Fitness Minutes: (120)
Posts: 2,171
1/14/13 11:34 A

That's one of the reasons I'm not that into the meal plans or the recipes. I think they use processed foods in order to cater to folks who don't like to cook or don't know how.

I just plan everything on my own. I'm used to it now so it rarely takes more than an hour a week to plan, build the recipes in the builder, and add everything to my tracker (I do it a week at a time and just adjust as the week goes on). But I like to cook and knew how to eat healthy to begin with (I just wasn't doing it, that's how I got fat LOL)... I could see it all being pretty overwhelming for someone who doesn't cook or doesn't know how to eat healthy, and they need the guidance of the meal plans to help them. If they gave a meal plan full of from scratch foods, it would probably scare a lot of people off!

1/14/13 10:12 A

I'm a single mom leading a busy life. I thought maybe I could just let SparkPeople plan my meals for me, one less thing to do! I was so wrong...I have to spend more time adjusting the meal plans then I did planning my meals to begin with! They are full of fake, processed and frozen foods :( I try to eat almost no processed foods. My breakfast for tomorrow is supposed to be a frozen waffle! EW!

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