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Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 2
4/30/13 8:22 P

The menu planner is great. I have the same issue with eating the same food day in and day out. It's been difficult for me to stick to my diet just due to boring daily repetition.. Another great place that has weekly updated recipes is . Check it out if you are paleo or looking for low-carb recipes updated on a regular basis.

MAZDAWD50 Posts: 237
11/20/12 1:19 P

I enjoy using the menu planner also because it introduces me to a variety of different menus that I probably wouldn't have tried. I tend to cook the same old, same old. It was interesting to see what the next days menus would be - like a surprise - and made grocery shopping a little more exciting. I didn't always follow the menus as I couldn't always get the stuff or needed to use up stuff I already had around, but it was easy to substitue and keep track of. It was amazing how the food seemed to be just enough and I never really felt hungry. Most meals were easy to prepare and I even found some new faves.

SENIORSWIMMER SparkPoints: (20,177)
Fitness Minutes: (10,157)
Posts: 333
11/13/12 7:05 A

Usnig the Spark Menu as a guide is working really well. It is such a good anchor. Whether I stayed with the original menu, or changed it, or went totally custom for a meal, it's so nice to have it written down and all the nutrition factors calculated for the day. If you don't eat something on the menu, uncheck it or remove it. If you eat something more, track it. Ah, the something more....Using the menu this way REALLY helps me see that if I want a food I haven't planned for, I have to trade it out for something I have planned for. This kind of thinking has been foreign to me most of my life.

I am enjoying learning these new skills. Today I'm going into the city to do some Christmas shopping and check out a couple of health food stores I have heard about. I'm throwing a cooler in the trunk of the car just in case....

Fitness Minutes: (8,676)
Posts: 72
11/10/12 1:59 P

Yes, if you need a guide I think it is the way to go. You can sub out stuff you don't like too. I think you've got a great game plan!! Keep up the good work!

SENIORSWIMMER SparkPoints: (20,177)
Fitness Minutes: (10,157)
Posts: 333
11/10/12 8:09 A

I have a game plan for the holidays. This next week I have looked at the meal plans. I'm keeping them showing. Some meals I've used them, some meals not. At the end of this week I'm turning them off and focusing on getting the refrigerator cleaned out for the turkey feast on the 22nd. Hopefully, I will have looked at the menu enough to clean out the fridge creatively and in a healthy way. The Saturday after Thanksgiving I plan to do Once a Month Cooking. I would like to see how difficult my freezer recipes are to integrate into the Spark Meal Plan. The SP Meal Planner will come back on because I will need ideas for healthy veggies, snacks, and side dishes. The freezer meals will only take care of the main courses. They are great for a hectic holiday season. Your meals are planned and in the freezer ready to go, clearing your mind to focus on getting cards sent, shopping, and decorating. They even make good gifts. Theoretically, that's how it's supposed to work.

Edited by: SENIORSWIMMER at: 11/10/2012 (08:13)
Fitness Minutes: (8,676)
Posts: 72
11/10/12 7:36 A

I've noticed a big difference in my grocery cart as well. There's a whole lot more fresh stuff than prepackaged, that's for sure. I think my kids must be in withdrawal too because there's not so much prepared foods around as before. We didn't have alot of junk food around, because I'm not a fan especially with kids.

SENIORSWIMMER SparkPoints: (20,177)
Fitness Minutes: (10,157)
Posts: 333
11/9/12 9:17 P

I played with the meal planner this week and made my grocery list from the planner. Today went well. Wow, did I ever buy different stuff at the store...a lot more fresh stuff.

Fitness Minutes: (8,676)
Posts: 72
11/9/12 9:07 P

I don't use the SP menu's. Most of the stuff isn't what I would enjoy for lunches/dinners.

Breakfast--oatmeal every day (half steel cut and half large flake)

Midmorning (weekends)--eggwhite omelet with vegetables.

Midmorning (weekdays)-- 1% cottage cheese

Lunch--meat/fish and a vegetable, usually something on the starchier side (either squash or sweet potatoes lately) or a vegetable and some whole grain rice.

Afternoon snack--yogurt (plain Greek) sometimes I add 1/2c frozen fruit to it.

Dinner--meat/fish, big salad and sometimes a steamed vegetable.

Bedtime snack is a protein bar.

I also have a protein shake with almond milk after some workouts.

My husband and I precook every 2-3 weeks all our meat, fish, rice and starchy veg. We freeze in ziplock bags, inside plastic labelled containers. When it is time to make a lunch we go down and grab whatever we're feeling for that day!

It is a bit of work, but when you cook mass quantities like that it's no different that cooking one meal worth. We do it together and it's actually kind of fun, when you get the hang of it.

DROPCONE Posts: 1,592
11/1/12 9:59 A

You can also replace individual foods, and sometimes doing that yields a collection of food that can be heated or re-heated in a tasty fashion.

3RDWIND SparkPoints: (1,837)
Fitness Minutes: (127)
Posts: 34
10/19/12 9:08 P

To hide the meal plans from your tracker (I never use them) do the following:

Go to the food tracker page "Track Your Food"
Click on the "Tracker Options" under the date.
Click on the "Don't Show Meal Plans".

If you decide to turn them on again for a while you can. emoticon

SKINNYJEANS180 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 55
10/17/12 3:52 P

I'm the same way, prefer something warm and hearty, not just soup on cold day, yet healthy. Would like to see more fall/winter reciepes and hot foods included in the plan. Its a hassle to add everything manually, save it, then change it on the plan. In place of using the planner, I look at what is on it, but log my meals in a notebook/journal. It works for me because I can read my journal, see what I ate that day or several days back, without getting online everyday.

Edited by: SKINNYJEANS180 at: 10/17/2012 (16:00)
AMALIA8 SparkPoints: (47,636)
Fitness Minutes: (12,434)
Posts: 6,959
10/14/12 10:42 P

LOTUS737 is correct in that the Meal Plans are just optional for you to use and you can delete and add the things you want from them. I would suggest looking at the meal plan for the day and if you don't like what's on it, just turn it off for the day and track what you want. I normally plan my meals 1 meal at a time (though I do plan dinners for the week with my boyfriend in advance) and then all I have to do it make sure that I have enough calories left over for the evening meal. I normally always do if I try to stick to Canada Food Guide limitations. So, there you go. You can turn Meal Plans off if you don't want them at all OR you can just turn it off for the day that you want to change it to something else OR you can just edit the meal that you want to edit for that day. Have fun!

LOTUS737 Posts: 4,380
10/14/12 11:08 A

As far as I understand, the spark meal plans are just supposed to simplify your shopping and planning for the week- I don't personally use them, but I don't see why you couldn't swap out a meal with a different one- as long as the calories are about the same! Spark recipes has TONS of healthy options for you to try out!

SENIORSWIMMER SparkPoints: (20,177)
Fitness Minutes: (10,157)
Posts: 333
10/12/12 12:26 P

I would like to use the SP meal plan more than I do, but I am very cold natured. With the onset of chilly weather I need a hot main dish more often than the meal planner suggests one. Being cold all the time is one thing (the only thing) that moderate weight loss has not helped. I know how to do the substitutions, and usually there is a hot recipe suggested on the list. Is that my only alternative?

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