Author: Sorting Last Post on Top Message:
EREBECCA1 Posts: 95
7/22/14 6:18 A

I agree - I'm trying to cook from scratch more: I did boiled potatoes, salmon and peas/broccoli last night and I have a pasta bake planned for tomorrow night. :)

7/21/14 9:32 P

Best advice: learn how to cook from scratch (meaning - use ingredients in their natural state).

We've all been hoodwinked into believing that buying prepared or semi-prepared foods is easier, quicker and cheaper than buying ingredients and creating meals ourselves.

Not true!

Cooking from scratch is much healthier, allows you to control your calories more easily (through more nutritious sources), all the while generating far more delicious outcomes than anything a mass food producer can ever prepare in a factory line.

Cooking also brings a enormous sense of enjoyment and wellbeing for many people - recent research has even shown that home cooking relaxes people and reduces stress because it encourages creativity and mindfulness.

If you can't cook - or your skills are limited in the kitchen - all you need is practice.

Many people here seem new to exercise but are keen to learn and busy putting new tips and tricks into practice each week.

Think about cooking in the same way.

If you need some inspiration, take a look at the introduction to Nigella Lawson's famous book "How to Eat". Many of the recipes aren't recommended for people losing weight, but her philosophy - fantastic!

7/21/14 4:43 P

It sounds like you have a good plan..

VALERIEREA SparkPoints: (3,493)
Fitness Minutes: (94)
Posts: 19
7/19/14 9:07 P

Great advice. Thanks

STITCH4EVER SparkPoints: (37,673)
Fitness Minutes: (56,956)
Posts: 4,033
7/19/14 1:37 P


FIT_MOMMY_OF2 SparkPoints: (4,196)
Fitness Minutes: (1,012)
Posts: 138
7/18/14 2:01 A

I like the "eat like a farmer" suggestion! Very cool!

BARBANAL Posts: 4,557
7/17/14 2:14 P

FITKAT, good advice, like your doctor, mine said the same thing !

TEENIEME3 Posts: 692
7/17/14 7:24 A

Big 'thank you's' to everyone who posted info!!

FITKAT62 Posts: 7,959
7/16/14 7:10 P

My doctor suggested eating like a farmer. Limit yourself to one serving of starches per day.
Throw away your salt shaker. Stick to whole foods such as fresh veggies, lean meat, eggs and legumes for your main course. Eat fresh fruit and unsalted nuts or seeds for dessert or snacks. Drink green tea, water or fruit-infused water. Avoid diet drinks as there is no nutritional value in them. Avoid packaged processed foods. Do not eat crackers, cookies, chips or cereal bars.

This has worked for me.

TNFLGAL Posts: 13
7/14/14 10:01 A

Eat what you enjoy and don't feel deprived, just limit your potions, and don't use food as a treat!

BARBANAL Posts: 4,557
7/13/14 6:58 P

thanks, will join the group

GYPSYGOTH SparkPoints: (94,944)
Fitness Minutes: (72,557)
Posts: 45,743
7/13/14 11:44 A

BARBANAL Posts: 4,557
7/12/14 7:17 P

Is there a mantanence site for those you have reached goal ?????/

ALGEBRAGIRL Posts: 1,925
7/12/14 2:54 P

There are so many books on amazon and blogs about low-calorie recipes! Some recipes are just not going to 'work' because they don't match your tastes, but there are plenty that will.

KAROL01 SparkPoints: (647)
Fitness Minutes: (7)
Posts: 1
7/12/14 2:41 P

I'm new here today. Would appreciate any diet tips you have to share.
Thanks to all for sharing your posts!

KOALA_BEAR SparkPoints: (18,475)
Fitness Minutes: (1,207)
Posts: 1,172
7/11/14 1:45 A

Try lots of new foods. Aim for a high protein diet to control hunger including tofu, soy, quinoa; raw unprocessed foods that are nutrient dense like salads (at least 2 cups per day) with fruits and dense veggies such as beets and sprinkle on some nuts or seeds; healthy fats like olive oil mixed with lemon juice either to baste fish, chicken or used (sparingly) as a salad dressing. You want some small amounts of good fat - it helps satiate the appetite.

Here's a recipe for salad dressing -
1/2 c apple cider or juice
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
package firm tofu
I bag frozen mixed berries
Put all together in a blender and blend for 1-2 minutes until smooth.
Store in a Mason jar in the refrigerator.
Healthy and good - no processed chemicals, preservatives, artificial colors. The vinegar will keep it in the fridge for a long time - you'll love it and can use a fair amount without many calories.

Drink lots of water, and limit your caffeine to one or two cups or glasses a day. Stay away from sweet drinks - juice because it is lacking the fiber to fill you up, and soda because it is either high in sugar or full of chemical like artificial sweeteners which can be worse for you than regular soda - it can cause cravings by wreaking havoc with the blood sugar.

Plan at least 3 meals and 1-2 snacks per day - like a hard cooked egg, hummus with veggies stix; 1 Tbls peanut butter w/ a sliced green apple.

Plan ahead, eat right, stay or get active. Follow all this and you will lose weight.

Good luck.

DRGONABFIT Posts: 3,753
7/10/14 1:34 A

Sooooo many great tips! This thread shows why I love Spark people!!

BARBANAL Posts: 4,557
7/8/14 7:57 P

thanks for the info, congratilations on your weight loss

BENE38464 SparkPoints: (11,303)
Fitness Minutes: (9,092)
Posts: 2,547
7/8/14 3:30 P

I have lost 27 lbs. and have been eating a 1500 calorie per day plan. This is easy to do if you eat:
7 oz. of lean protein (or 1 egg and 6 oz.; or 1 slice of cheese and 6 oz.; or a combination)
5 serving of whole grains (includes bread, pasta, etc. and 1 small potato can count as one of these)
5 (1/2 c. servings) of veggies (no fat)
2-3 servings fruit
2 servings of low-fat (not more than 1% milk fat) dairy

For more about this, you can read Better Homes & Garden's book "Eat & Grow Slim." I believe that's the correct title. You can find out how to adjust for 1200 calories and how to adjust for 1500 calories! This is the simplest thing to do! The book also includes recipes!

KEEPITUP4LIFE SparkPoints: (191,290)
Fitness Minutes: (72,321)
Posts: 9,186
7/5/14 10:41 A

The first thing NOT to do is cut out all the foods you like.
Eat them in modest portions once in a while.

Next, incorporate lots of fresh vegetables into your diet and summer is so good for doing this because lots of them are locally grown and cost effective.
Eating lean meat with fat trimmed off, chicken with the skin removed and fish are healthy proteins to consume.

If you like pasta, try using whole wheat because it is more filling and healthier for you. Same goes for bread (go whole wheat for healthier ) Using tomatoes and veggies that are steamed makes for a great past topper and low calorie as well as healthier than the thick heavy sauces that are store bought
The Nutrition area at Spark will help you immensely so don't be afraid to explore and find some great new easy to make recipes for the gal on the go.

Using one day a week to cook up lots of meals and freeze them will also help during the week when you are busy and on the go. Just take a meal out of the freezer and pop it in the oven or microwave and it's ready in a flash.

7/2/14 6:27 P

Go to YouTube and check out weightwatchergirl1 she has great low call recipes that you and the kids will love

MIAMOJO Posts: 72
7/1/14 6:41 P

Your plate is full (no pun intended) with a full-time job, 4 children, volunteer work, plus the thousand other things I know you do. That is amazing!

If you're always hungry, I suspect sugar and carbs may be the culprits. They cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash, leaving you with low blood sugar and a big appetite. It's a cycle that repeats over and over through the course of each day. The best advice I can give you is to banish the soda, first and foremost, along with processed foods and refined carbs. But you have to find a way to do this that's realistic, given your lifestyle. There are only so many hours in the day. You don't have time to make one meal for the family and another for yourself, and you shouldn't. Everyone can benefit from your healthier lifestyle!

There are some great suggestions in this thread. One that stands out is cooking in bulk on Sunday or whatever day works best for you. But you have to decide what to make, of course! Do some research and choose recipes for the week. There are plenty of web sites filled with recipes that are healthy, easy and that the whole family will enjoy. Find ten recipes that are hits, and make them over and over again.

Take advantage of pre-cut veggies and other fast but healthy foods -- this saves a load of time and effort. Use pre-cooked brown rice, found in the frozen food section. Canned beans are easy, healthy and versatile (chili, burritos, etc). Lean ground turkey can be cooked in advance and goes into many recipes.

This looks like a great article filled with easy, healthy ideas: The Working Mom Diet: Easy Ways to Stay Healthy

Remember that you're modeling good food choices for the family. Teach them that eating healthy is a lifestyle choice for the long haul, not just to drop weight.

Good luck! emoticon

7/1/14 5:12 P

One thing I forgot to add was this link:

Now that I've gone through a little bit less than a year of figuring out my nutrition, I eat mostly what's on that list. Today I'll have eaten at least 14 of them alone! Looking at that list now and seeing what I'm eating makes me wish I had had it back then!

7/1/14 5:05 P

I definitely think that the where do I start question is one of the hardest things to figure out when you first start fixing up your eating habits.

I would definitely second the idea to make large meals that you can eat from for days. For me these are mostly Shepard's pie, chili, and soups. I would also second the slow cooker as an option. I've been wanting one for a while and I was just able to get a MASSIVE one for $10 from a local second hand store! So far I'm absolutely thrilled with it and I've only used it twice; once to cook dry beans (without having to soak them overnight or heat up the house) and once to make some fajita-style shredded chicken which I bulked out with a bunch of black beans and veggies,

One thing that I recommend is focusing on how much nutrients you're eating rather than the calories. For me when I started my goal was to up my protein which was always under as well as my fibre and then my magnesium once I realized I had a magnesium deficiency. Once I began paying attention I began noticing how terribly I was actually eating. Not because anything I ate was particularly terrible, but because a lot of it was empty and just not doing me a lot of good. Once I began to track these nutrients specifically it became easier for me to judge foods against each other and make decisions about whether certain foods were really worth it.

I remember when I first started. I didn't see how it was possible to eat all the fibre I should be eating. One day I had oatmeal for breakfast, tuna on whole wheat for lunch and whole wheat pasta for supper and I assumed surely I had eaten TONS of fibre right? WRONG! I'd eaten maybe a third of what I should have. Eventually, I've learned to move away from a reliance on grains to get my fibre (although I haven't cut them out at all) and more towards nuts, seeds, and greens.

What I've found is that you want to limit the amount of pre-prepared food you eat and focus on whole foods. Not only are these way healthier in terms of calories and salt, sugar, preservatives, etc, they also taste WAY better! Another thing that took me awhile, but once I finally clicked into it, it changed things for the better was making good foods like beans for example (full of fibre etc) the main part of my meal not the things I was trying to add in. So instead of eating a sandwich and adding a bunch of greens into it, instead I'll eat a salad and add things to that. A lot of it is just rethinking how you put together your meals.

Some meal ideas I really enjoy are:

Homemade veggie soup: I start with a base of sauteed onion, garlic and mushrooms (for this I add celeri as well) which gives the soup a great flavour, add all your veggies like carrots, green beans, potatoes, turnip, broccoli, kale, cabbage, etc, add in some protein like chickpeas/blackbeans/etc, maybe some brown rice, or leftover chicken. I always go overboard with this and end up having to use an extra pot when I fill it too much!

Roasted chicken: I roast chicken often with root vegetables in the pan (super excited to try this with my new slow cooker!) and then have that as one meal, and then have chicken on salad or in a sandwich or in quinoa/rice/couscous with a bunch of veggies. Then thee leftover bits i put in soup. I haven't tried making bone broth yet, but I'm going to soon!

Egg scramble: This is a recipe that invented and make A LOT! I start by sauteeing onion (red are best!), garlic, and mushrooms and then red peppers and zucchini and then add kale or spinach and black beans (I use the clean water my beans are stored in in the fridge to soften the kale) and some paprika, cayenne pepper, and chipotle powder. Once all my veggies are soft and the water has evaporated I add some chopped feta cheese and an egg and mix it all up until the egg has finished cooking. After that I put in a pita with hot salsa/sour cream/avocado/etc. As time goes on, my love for all the veggies in this has over weighed the limits of what a pita can hold, so I've begun to omit the pita and just eat it in a bowl.

Green smoothie: I LOVE smoothies! But my love really exploded in the last 2 months when I tried green smoothies. The recipe I use now is 2 cups spinach and/or kale blended first and then I add a banana, 1/2 a cup of fruit (I've been loving pineapple recently, but berries are also delicious), 1/3 a cup of fat free yogurt (the brand I use is Arabic, but whatever works for you and has only yogurt in it and no gross additives like sugar, pectin etc), 1/4 cup milk, and then 2TB wheat germ, 1TB ground flax seed, 1TB chia seeds, and 1TB cocoa powder, and then sometimes I'll ad some minced ginger for a zing. I eat this pretty much every single morning and it gives me 20g of protein and a massive amount of fibre and magnesium to start of my day right.

Salad! One of my favourite things is to have a massive bowl and fill it with a bunch of greens and veggies and then I add black beans or chickpeas, a chopped boiled egg, and some whole wheat bowtie pasta.

7/1/14 12:02 P

I'm new here too. I have 4 kids and I homeschool. I have also found knowing where to start a challenge. Here is what I have done for the last 3 weeks and it seems to be working.
1) drink my coffee
2) do the three steps on the start page and figure out the trackers and how to make substitutes and how to add recipes (this WILL take a time investment)
3) drink my water
4) learn at least 1 new recipe per week and test it on your family. I have looked for lighter versions of food that my family already loves on Sparkrecipes such as pizza and beef and broccoli stir fry. Then I asked my kids to rate it. I will keep the ones they like and add to my own collection.
5) invest some time learning how to use the site and get plugged in, maybe on your days off. At first I was very frustrated because everything took so long and I felt like I was spending way too much time on SparkPeople while kids are calling me and chores were being neglected, but after spending that time, I can get around the website more easily, and now I'm trying to be more selective about when I log on and it is consuming less time....there are still things I'm trying to figure out. Don't expect to figure it all out in one sitting.
6) I committed myself to 10 minutes a day of exercise and allow myself to go longer if I feel like it. Usually I feel like it, but there have been a few times where I could barely fit the ten minutes in.
7) set positive, achievable goals on my start page and look at them every day. This has helped me to stay positive and motivated.
8) think of a few easy breakfasts, snack and lunch foods that are easy for you to make and that will work on a reduced calorie diet, such as berries, yogurt and cereal, or toast and peanut butter for breakfast, celery and low fat cream cheese or fruit for snacks, and turkey wrap or vegetable soup for lunch. Even frozen dinner such as the WW variety could be an option with a salad for supper. Have them in your house at all times so that when you are stuck for time or ideas you have a ready made solution planned out.
I hope this helps. I've lost at least 7 lbs already and I've only got 3 more pounds to lose before the "reunion" in Aug. after that I aim to lose 35 more!

Edited by: BYYOURGRACE at: 7/1/2014 (12:11)
COLLEENBOB SparkPoints: (25,119)
Fitness Minutes: (9,859)
Posts: 71
7/1/14 8:46 A

The first new food(s) I added to my diet were greek yogurt with fresh berries and a sprinkle of sliced almonds...with berries in season it is delicious, your kids will love it...and it works for a quick breakfast, snack or dessert. We are also buying and eating a lot of fruit, even my son who would rather starve than eat something "healthy" has started eating 3 or more fruits a day, simply because it is here, it is quick (I'm keeping cubed watermelon, pineapple and apples in the fridge at all times now) and it's refreshing in the heat and it's just down right yummy. At first I experienced sticker shock, but buying good quality fruit has been cheaper in the long run than buying the processed snacks we were eating before.

Good luck to you!

SIMONEKP Posts: 2,764
6/30/14 11:22 A

There are a number of meal plan options offered by Spark that you can follow until you get your feet under you.

HADLEY123 SparkPoints: (22,511)
Fitness Minutes: (3,954)
Posts: 91
6/30/14 7:45 A

Definitely don't want to be cooking two sets of meals. I only have one child to please but like her mama she has some strong opinions. I sit down with her once a week and we agree on 6 dinners. We do a home made pizza one night (but not as awesome as Kris' - just a regular home made pizza). We do burritos or tacos one night using my home made fat free refried beans. Then we usually do a home made soup, a rice, a casserole and a pasta. Sort of a formula we worked out over time to speed up our "family meetings." The other thing we do is set the table and sit down together at dinner time with cloth napkins and the whole nine yards. We play dinner games and make an event out of dinner. No one feels deprived, especially not me, and it's a system I can stick with.

I would definitely aim for the mid to upper end of that calorie range because 1200 calories is not very many. I generally aim for 1600 with 400 at three meals and another 400 spread out in snacks. You could shift that to all 300s but it would hurt a little, especially at first.

I think it's so important to celebrate the moment and enjoy what you're doing. Positive outcomes in the future are born from joyful celebration in the present moment. Poor outcomes are the result of energy spent focusing on the unpleasant side of things. However you decide to tackle this, try and spend 5 minutes a day really focusing on joy and happiness. It sounds stupid, even to me as I type it, but I promise you'll love the results.

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
6/29/14 10:03 A

I agree with what Kris said - especially the part on dropping slowly, using the whole range (not every day @ 1200) and tracking what you are eating now.

Yes, obvious red flags are stuff like sodas and fast food - but you also need to make it work with having 3 kids, and being busy.

See, you don't want to get to where you are trying to make 2 meals, one for the kids, and one for you.

By tracking now, you can look at tweaking your current eating to make this work.

What does that mean?

Well, let's say (by say I mean pretend!) you are currently eating 2,000 a day - and you want to hit about 1400.

So over 3 days, you see that instead of potato chips as a snack for your self, you instead have popcorn, saving 150 cals - the glass of juice with lunch for 100 cals gets swapped for a glass of water - there is another 100. The mac and cheese you had with the chicken dinner, cause your kids love mac and cheese? You have frozen carrots that you steam for yourself, saving 200 cals. The bowl of ice cream for dessert, you swap for an orange, saving 250 cals.

Does that make sense?

Anyway - start looking here at the recipes for stuff your whole family will enjoy (above, Articles and Videos button). Another great recourse is .

One final thing to consider is a slow cooker. Throw it together in the morning, it's done 8 hours later - and slow cookers are great in the summer as they don't put off heat. There are slow cooker recipes here, or here
. In addition, you can batch cook something on the weekend - portion it up and put in freezer to pop in microwave on days you are short of time (instead of fast food).

ETA: here is great list of snacks to buy for yourself
- your kids can still have their little stash of what they enjoy, and now you can have yours!

Edited by: EELPIE at: 6/29/2014 (15:03)
SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (250,566)
Fitness Minutes: (41,449)
Posts: 26,982
6/29/14 6:27 A

" ....hit the 200 lb mark. Not cool.... I know what I need to do but I can't seem to get started and stick with it. I know what the results will be... "

Going in with those thoughts, I suspect I know what the results would be, too! You need to be POSITIVE all the way emoticon

First, start this journey by using baby steps. Change only one or two things first. It might be as simple as less soda/juice and more water; or, less cake/ice-cream but more fruit/vege. It might ALSO be mobilizing more in your day. If you aren't used to any formal exercise, just making excuses to walk around more at work (perhaps extra loo visits, or more visits to the water cooler), and/or going for a 10 minute walk at lunch time. When your mind/body has gotten used to the changes, add something more to the mix.

Don't drop your calories suddenly. Gradually work down, because otherwise you could end up suffering as I did with light-headedness, nausea, and bad hunger PAIN. I was even woken in the middle of the night with the nausea of pain. I had to go back up and work down in small increments of 50 cal's. I only had about 200-250 cal's to drop, too!

Your range may be 1200-1550, but that doesn't mean that you have to aim for 1200. The 1200 calories is recommended for a sedentary woman of average weight. When you factor in your weight, and exercise, then you need to eat more to the upper range - at least initially.

I strongly suggest that you weigh all of your food for increased accuracy, and enter it into the Nutrition Tracker. That will be a right eye-opener. You will be able to see where your calories are coming from, and how you need to tweak to meet your goals, of not only your calories, but your fats/carbs/protein, as well. The protein is particularly important. It keeps us fuller for longer, and helps with building muscle.

As you are a very busy person, I strongly suggest that you take good advantage of the specials for lean meats and veges, and then bulk cook, containerize in single serve containers and freeze. I have done this for many years, including when I was working 50-60hr weeks and in my 'off time' I was also a volunteer First Responder! Using this method saves loads of time and still have something very healthy and balanced to eat when you don't have the energy to cook. It really DOES help reduce the visits for fast food! I have loads of a variety of soups and casseroles in my freezer. I put lots of a variety of fruit and/or veges into my soups and casseroles. I also use lots of Red Lentils and dried Split Peas, as well as Kidney and Cannellini Beans to eak the meat out, (much cheaper) and increase the fibre. They are also a good source of protein.

When you buy your veges, remember, fresh isn't ALWAYS best. I always have a couple different bags of frozen veges (mainly peas, and beans) in the freezer, and they do me for greens when my fresh stuff runs out. Frozen has the added benefit of often being quite a bit cheaper, and also just as healthy and sometimes MORE healthy than fresh, because fresh starts losing it's nutritional benefits within hours of being picked. Unfortunately, they often aren't in the shops until 2-3 days AFTER having been picked.

You have 3 kids. Kids generally like pizza. I make a really huge pizza on an oven tray. Usually make 2 at one time. I make my own base and have loads of bran to increase the fibre. I make the 'sauce' by cooking a lot of veges. There is usually Swiss Chard, carrots, can of tomato, celery, Red Lentils, Onion, Bell Peppers in it and not a lot of water. When it is cooked, I wizz it up with my Wizz Stick, and put a heap of tomato paste, dried basil and some raw garlic in with it. If it needs thickening further, I use Oat Bran, again good fibre. I put this very thick paste about an inch thick onto the base, then add the veges/cheese. I use tons of veges again, and mix some low fat grated tasty cheese in with it because it acts as a binder that way, and then bake it. It doesn't look like any pizza you would buy, but it sure tastes like it :-) My 19 year old g/son loves it, and even HE can't tell the difference in taste, but he comments that it is a lot more filling. It is tons lighter with the calories and fat, too! Each one I get 16 serves from it, and when it is cold I cut it and up and freeze it.

I hope that gives you some food for thought!

CHERBEAR4405 SparkPoints: (1,454)
Fitness Minutes: (59)
Posts: 5
6/29/14 5:55 A

I like food and am always hungry... but i have to get this weight off me and i don't know where to start with creating a plan that i won't starve off of. I want to make it a life style change so I know cutting out fast food and eating out and no more sodas.... but i need something to build off of when I go grocery shopping.

my calorie goal for sp is 1200-1500... can anyone point me in the right direction with real food and easy to make... i have 3 kids, i work full time and im also a volunteer EMT... Thanks for your help in advance......

Page: 1 of (1)  

Other Diet and Nutrition Topics:

Topics: Last Post:
Need Tips For Healthy Extra Meal 6/30/2016 8:48:21 AM
Biggest Loser team 8/29/2016 11:15:48 AM
Food allergies and getting nutrients?? 1/6/2017 2:29:43 PM
What are some easy to eat/make protein snacks? 2/27/2017 10:06:44 PM
Diabetes Nutrition 10/17/2016 5:29:24 PM