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EGRAMMY Posts: 13,491
7/27/13 9:42 A

Fun for me this summer is to fill an ice cream cone with fruit salad or any other salad.

_MOBII_ SparkPoints: (21,474)
Fitness Minutes: (7,063)
Posts: 1,198
7/26/13 3:35 P

Edited my post from "olive oil is good for you" to read "olive oil is a monounsaturated fat"....monounsaturated fats can help lower your cholesterol as well as helping to control insulin levels.

I was not suggesting drinking olive oil from the bottle.

CORTNEY-LEE SparkPoints: (67,852)
Fitness Minutes: (69,867)
Posts: 3,526
7/26/13 1:42 P

I bought a microwave steamer at Walmart for under $10 and it is one of the best investments that I have ever made.

Also, don't be afraid to think outside the box - have breakfast for dinner - eggs make a great meal. They are quick and cheap too!

_MOBII_ SparkPoints: (21,474)
Fitness Minutes: (7,063)
Posts: 1,198
7/26/13 12:21 P

I live with my sister and between myself, her, and her hubby, we split the cooking...since both her and her hubby work 12-14 hours a day, it doesn't leave much time.
We don't always have the healthiest dinners, but when its less than ideal, don't be afraid of portion control or tweaking what your plate looks like. (Think: hotdog and mac and cheese nights) beau and I ALWAYS use the smaller size makes your brain see more food than there is and you will eat less. When my nephew sets the table with the giant plates, I thank him and then switch out the plates for my beau and myself.
If there are veggies, I double my portion, or I try to make a quick salad to go along with it if we have the fixin's for one.

One of my favorite things is the way my sister makes chicken (with 6 people in the house, one being a teenage boy, we tend to make a lot of food at suppertime!)
She buys the family size packs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, coats them with olive oil and salt and pepper and sticks it in the oven for an hour. The olive oil is a monounsaturated fat, it tastes good, and it keeps the chicken moist. Pair it up with some brown rice and veggies...yum! The leftover chicken can be used for other things, stir fry, tacos, chili, sandwiches, soup, salads, etc...

I find that in cooking, its the protein that seems to be the bulk of the cooking time, so why not cook only cook it once or twice a week?

One of my own favorite recipes is to take a cup or two of dried beans (I like the speckled beans, but you can use whatever kind you like) toss them in a crock pot with some rough chopped celery, onions, carrots, salt, pepper, and garlic. Put a turkey leg on top and cover the whole thing with water. Let it cook on low-medium all day. When you get home, pull the skin and bones out and serve it over some brown rice with a bit of cheese on top. VERY filling and since you are not actively cooking (crock pots are great!), its also VERY easy!

You can move from canned veggies to frozen to fresh over time.

While minute rice is processed to make it cook fast, change the white rice to brown...which also comes in minute cook time, but the brown is a little better for you. Make it with low sodium beef or chicken or veggie stock instead of water to give it more flavor and if you REALLY want to boost the flavor, brown up some diced onion and bell pepper to mix in with your rice.

If you like fish, experiment a little bit with different types of fish. Fish doesn't take long at all to cook, one of my go-to quick recipes is to thaw out the frozen salmon portions, preheat the oven to 400, put the fish on to a sheet pan, season with salt, pepper, and dill. Put the fish in the oven and turn the oven off while I make up the rice and veggies or what ever I am planning to have on the side. By the time the side dish is made the fish is done perfectly. A healthy dinner in about 20-30 minutes including the time it took to preheat the oven.

Another idea is to get a rice cooker that has a timer on it, I have one that I can set the timer so it turns itself on up to 9 hours later, I put a mixture of steel cut oats, flax seed, barley, and whole wheat grains into it, enough water to cook it all according to the directions on the steel cut oat package and add an extra cup of water. It takes about an hour to cook, so I set the timer to turn itself on for 1.5 hours before I wake up in the morning and wake up to the smell of fresh cooked oatmeal in the house, quick fry an egg and in a few minutes, you have a great breakfast!

Just tweak your diet a tiny bit at a time and it will be easier time-wise, physically, and mentally.

Edited by: _MOBII_ at: 7/26/2013 (15:32)
BITTERQUILL Posts: 1,639
7/26/13 2:40 A

In general, steer away from "brands and products." You're much better off stocking your pantry with a wide variety of produce, proteins, a few starches and lots of herbs, spices, oils and vinegars. We think of this sort of food as being labor intensive, and sometimes that's true but often it's not.

My default meal is a small portion of starch (brown rice, quinoa, beans, lentils, sweet potatoes), some sort of steamed or sauteed veg (lettuce- or spinach-based salads are very fast, and green beans, zucchini and broccoli are my standards), and a piece of grilled meat (chicken breasts, lean pork chops, salmon, ground turkey etc). I usually toss a package of chicken into a homemade marinade every weekend, so it's ready throughout the week. Filling and turning on the steamer/rice cooker takes seconds, sauteeing veggies takes about 5 minutes, and grilling rarely takes more than 15 minutes depending on the size of the pieces. You can change the overall effect of the meal a great deal by switching up the meat/veg combinations and playing with different seasonings. And depending on what foods you choose, you can easily cook several days worth all at once.

Soups are usually very easy, and rarely do they take more time than chopping the ingredients and tossing them in a pot; the rest is just waiting for it to finish cooking, so they are good for busy days when you need to multitask. The same goes for crockpot meals. Many soups and crockpot meals also freeze and reheat very easily.

If you can set aside half an hour on the weekends to prep your veg and mix up marinades, you can save yourself time the rest of the week.

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,344)
Fitness Minutes: (5,920)
Posts: 3,814
7/26/13 2:23 A

quick tuna salad

4 c raw spinach
3 oz tuna (drained can or pouch)
2 T salsa
1 t parmesan cheese
1/2 T olive oil
salt, pepper, garlic powder (optional additions)

SLIMLILA SparkPoints: (100,502)
Fitness Minutes: (38,831)
Posts: 6,657
7/25/13 9:23 A

Wow, congrats so far and good luck as you continue on your journey to health.

I read the posts and see you've got some excellent suggestions... I know we used to always buy a BBQ chicken at the store. First day, we'd have a leg, and wing or a breast. Second day, I would make a chicken fried rice, and 3rd day I have a "cool Chick Salad" recipe from LoonieSpoons cookbook...
Parsley - chopped as the green
corn niblets, black beans, onions, tomatoes
Dressing: lime, cumin, sweetner...
And then finally for the carcass and leftover chicken I would make up a chicken noodle or vegetable soup... (can freeze for other meals...- same with the fried rice)

I also have a high fibre, low cal treat I use..... 1/3 cup bran buds, 35 cal yogurt, can mix with crushed pineapple and it's almost a desert.

With leftover pineapple, mix in some grated carrot and put SF lime jello in it for a jellied fruit salad.

And, yes, check out SP recipes, I used quite a few and found some wonderful ones.

A salad I learned from here recently is called Namasu..... thinly slice carrots, turnip and daikon radish - make dressing of lemon juice and a little sweetner.

Another little single sized desert thing I do, mix 1 fridge SF jello with a 35 cal yogurt...
Enjoy, hope these ideas were helpful.
emoticon emoticon

NANLEYKW SparkPoints: (76,244)
Fitness Minutes: (31,253)
Posts: 867
7/24/13 1:58 P

I agree with previous suggestions to look at what you eat when you're not trying to lose weight and see what you can tweak to make it healthier. Try tracking whatever you're eating now for a couple of weeks and then start making adjustments.

I'm also not much of a cook, but am lucky that my husband is. (Interestingly, though, I've found that after about a year of eating better and paying better attention to what I'm eating, I've become more interested in cooking myself...sometimes.

Anyway, I'm always on my own for breakfast and lunch, so I always make those super-easy. My breakfast is almost always a whole wheat bagel, toasted, with natural peanut butter on it. Couldn't be easier, and it's delicious and filling.

For lunch, I tend to go pretty light, because I like to have a relatively large dinner with my family. So I often have a cup of Greek yogurt. (I do the flavored ones--I know a lot of people prefer to get plain and add their own fruit or whatnot, but most of the time, it's easier for me just to bring a flavored one to work, even though it's more processed and sugary.) I supplement that with some sort of raw veggies--usually carrots or snap peas--and a Fiber Plus bar. (Again, I know that's processed, but it works for me.)

Dinners don't have to be overly complicated to be healthy. Get some chicken breast and marinate throw it in a Ziploc baggie with some Italian dressing overnight (or just a couple of hours), then saute it. Add a big helping of frozen veggies, which you can just nuke, and maybe a little rice or a sweet potato, and you're good to go. If you do several chicken breasts at once, you can just reheat them for other meals that week. If even that seems like too much (which I totally understand!), then it's okay to start out with frozen entrees and as you get more comfortable with the idea of prepping food, maybe do just one or two meals a week from scratch and work your way up.

And about those supplements? Don't worry about them. You don't need them. If you find out from your doctor that you're lacking in certain nutrients, then you can think about adding something, but otherwise? You're good.

Sounds like your plan is a good one so far, so do what you can in small steps, and you'll get there!

NHELENE Posts: 1,505
7/24/13 1:52 P

Although a lot of people avoid things like bread and cereal, they can easily fit into a healthy diet. If eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast and a sandwich for lunch will keep you satisfied for two meals, and fit into your carb requirements, they are perfectly healthy options.

You really should start trying to do a little bit of cooking. Cooking does not have to be difficult or time-consuming. The ultimate easy thing is a George-Foreman type grill, or a real grill if you have one, for a chicken breast or pork chop. Roasting is also super easy, it's just throwing things in a pan and sticking them in the oven, and you can find super easy recipes just by doing a search for "Baked Chicken Recipe" or "Roasted Vegetables Recipe", etc.

Trying out a slow cooker can be a good way to get some "Ready Meals" in your fridge or freezer that don't have the sodium and additives of your standard frozen meals. All of those cooking methods are ways that take very little preparation, and you can leave them alone for the entire cooking time other than an occasional stirring.

WADINGMOOSE Posts: 1,048
7/24/13 1:18 P

I honestly don't cook like I used to. A typical day for me is pretty simple

Breakfast: Smoothie made at home

snacks (morning + afternoon): fruit and cheese/cottage cheese, fruit + nuts, tuna + crackers or a protein bar

Lunch: Salad with meat, a sandwich + veggies, that kind of thing. Or leftovers.

Dinner: Stir fry and rice, grilled meat + salad, slow cooker meal, etc. Something easy as 3x a week I run right after work and get home pretty hungry and needing food.

7/24/13 9:48 A

I would look at what you are already eating and try to make it a little healthier. Do you have a turkey and cheese sandwich for lunch? Have a turkey sandwich on one piece of bread topped with tomato slices, lettuce, and bean sprouts. Even better, make it a salad and eat the turkey and cheese on top of spinach and lettuce with other veggies and dressing.

I also think the first place to start would be looking at your grocery shopping. Buying healthier items and having them on hand can help. Go to the store specifically looking for quick and healthy items.

I also decided to switch my thinking from "cooking is optional" to "cooking is not an option."

When I viewed cooking healthy food as something as necessary as brushing my teeth, showering, and washing my clothes, I found time for it. Hygiene things are things I do to take care of myself and cooking and eating healthy things is something I need to do to take care of myself. I've never said, "I just don't have time to shower." (okay, maybe once or twice but college doesn't count.) I will be a coupl mnutes late to work so I have time to brush my teeth. Now, I will be a coupl minutes late to cook myself a healthy breakfast. I hate washing my clothes, but I will take 2 hours on a Saturday to do it instead of doing something fun.

Start small. Accept that it might take a little extra time- but know that 10 minutes extra per day is worth it. You also might find it fun after a while.

If you have extra money, there are so many healthy options at the grocery store. Often times they have fresh prepared salads, precut and washed veggies, frozen stirfry mixes.

Congrats on your weightloss so far and good luck to you!

LGREGG07 SparkPoints: (44,926)
Fitness Minutes: (138,580)
Posts: 118
7/24/13 8:34 A

Personally, I like to cook, but I do find myself short on time after work during the week. What I do is either make extra servings over the weekend (I have the "cook yourself thin" cookbook which has delicious recipes, although it might be a tad more cooking than you'd like) and then I just re-heat during the week. Or I look up recipes on the internet. You can Google "healthy dinners under 10 minutes" or something and you should get a ton of results. Kraft also has a magazine that you can get that has a bunch of simple recipes (and they cater to the seasons, for example: they'll have a fall magazine or a summer magazine that feature recipes that work well with the seasons).

Stirfry's are another excellent idea, like the pp suggested. Just toss some cut of veggies and a lean protein (frozen shrimp, fish, chicken, ground turkey, etc) toss with some low sodium soy sauce (or olive oil or an Asian dressing) and you're good to go in a few minutes! I also like the idea of using a crock pot, Or marinating meat for the day and tossing it on the grill (or in a pan) to cook when you get home. For dinner last night I had made a homemade pesto and marinated chicken and grapes tomatoes in it all day and once I got home I threaded them onto skewers and grilled them on my little George Foreman grill. Add in a side of asparagus and that was my meal! yumm

POPSECRET SparkPoints: (84,619)
Fitness Minutes: (99,638)
Posts: 2,196
7/24/13 8:11 A

I'm sort of in the same boat as you as far as the cooking. I actually do love to cook, but I live alone and just don't feel like it's worth it most nights to cook a big elaborate meal. So, some of the simple meals I usually make:

omelettes or breakfast burritos
mini pizza (made on an english muffin or tortilla)
roasted veggies covered in marinara (asparagus and cauliflower are my favorite to have this way)
stir fry (you can buy the veggies frozen or in a package at most stores to avoid tons of chopping)
can of soup with a few extra frozen veggies added
turkey sandwich
frozen turkey burger or veggie burger
wheat pasta with sauce or a little butter and cheese
baked potato (usually stuffed with something to bulk it up)

Edited by: POPSECRET at: 7/24/2013 (08:17)
NIRERIN Posts: 14,329
7/24/13 7:51 A

what do you eat when you aren't watching what you eat? my suggestion would be to figure out what you were eating and find one way to make each meal a little better. so if you really weren't cooking at all and using prepared frozen dinners exclusively, then that would mean planning to spend an extra five minutes in the grocery store reading labels to find some other boxed meal that looks good and has a little bit better nutritional information on it. you don't have to do all of them at one, just set out five minutes to do some label reading and comparing. in addition to the frozen dinners, i'd also buy a bag or two of frozen veggies. they don't even have to be the steam in bag kind. you can toss plain frozen veggies in a microwave safe bowl, pop them in the microwave, stir once at about 40 seconds and a cup or so should be cooked in less than 2 minutes.a frozen dinner and serving of veggies is a decent dinner option.
if you were doing any cooking before [hamburger helper counts], find a way to make it a little better for you. if you were cooking from a recipe, see if you can reduce the fat and somehow add a serving of veggies to it. i love keeping those lipton sides on hand for when i don't really want to cook. but i don't cook them plain. during that 7 minute cook time i typically dump in a box of frozen chopped broccoli and a cup or two of beans [i cook mine from dried and freeze in one cup portions to make them as convenient as canned but with about 1/10 the sodium. you could use canned too] which effectively doubles the yield of the bagged mix while nearly halving the calories, fat and sodium and nearly doubling the protein and fiber. all for dumping in two extra ingredients. so if you were making hamburger helper, rinse the burger after you brown it. add some cooked lentils, mushrooms, onions and peppers to the ground to bulk up the meal and give it fiber. if you don't like chopping and prep i know that my local grocery store sells pre-chopped onions, pre-sliced mushrooms, and pre-chopped peppers among the other items that they sell at least partially prepped in the produce department. they are a little pricier than buying plain, but you have to decide what you want to spend a little more of. because if it were possible to put the exact same amount of effort and money into this and get the results you want, you would have likely already gotten the results you wanted. so you have to put a little more time and effort in. that doesn't mean you need to start cooking every meal from scratch, but if you were spending five minutes waiting for a frozen dinner to heat, perhaps you could try spending six minutes putting together a salad [use the bagged salad mixes. use a rotisserie chicken that you rip up a few pieces of to add in. use some pre washed, pre chopped veggies. if you find it obscene that chopped onions cost three times a s much as plain onions that you have to chop and wash yourself, buy the plain and wash and chop. but use other cheats where you can].
if you like oatmeal for breakfast, make it heartier. some people add in a raw egg to cook with the oats. others like adding nuts or nut butter into the oatmeal. still others like adding canned pumpkin and spices. i'll note that all of those options are basically add one more ingredient and stir one or two more times, nothing heavier in terms of cooking.

SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 66,001
7/24/13 7:22 A

I agree that turning on your meal plans is a good place to start. You can also find good recipes on SparkRecipes, and can search by prep time to find things that are quick and easy. We also have good articles on SparkPeople about quick and healthy meals. It might take a little bit of work in the beginning, but you don't have to spend hours in the kitchen in order to eat healthy.

As far as supplements go, most of the time our Registered Dietitian suggests just a daily multi-vitamin. Nothing fancy needed. The longer you track your food, the more you'll be able to see where you might be falling short on important nutrients and be able to make changes from there.

Hope that helps,

Coach Jen

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (256,922)
Fitness Minutes: (41,586)
Posts: 27,301
7/24/13 6:39 A

If you are stuck for ideas, you could always have your SP Menu Plan on, and then you will get the ideas of what to eat from that, and know that it is healthy. In time you may find that you will be able to think of plenty other things alone the same vein as the SP Plan.


MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,344)
Fitness Minutes: (5,920)
Posts: 3,814
7/24/13 6:24 A

I find salads and soups to be two of the easiest to prepare and most versatile. Do you have a crockpot?

KARLATIFFANY SparkPoints: (3)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 1
7/24/13 4:39 A

I am a female in my early 20s weighing 277 pounds at a height of 5’2”.

I have been on diets before where I’ve lost nearly fifty pounds but I’ve always gotten off of them and regained weight… I was at my heaviest for about two years now, weighing nearly 285, but a recent trip to California that involved a lot of walking resulted in me going down to 277. I would like to continue this weight loss, but I’m very stuck as to what I can do as far as foods go.

I do know the basics of nutrition as I have lost weight in the past, however, my former efforts relied mainly on calorie counting, which meant that I was fine with eating absolutely anything as long as it was within my calorie range. I definitely would not say that I was eating healthy at those times. However, right now, I actually want to lose weight while really focusing on putting healthy things into my body.

So far I have decided to reduce what I drink to water, tea (possibly with lemon and some honey, but mostly just the tea in the water), milk, and the occasional grapefruit/cranberry juice. I will no longer be drinking any sodas. I also plan on eating vegetables and fruits regularly. So I’m not really stuck on snacks since I can rely on veggies, fruits, yogurt, and nuts for those… But what about actual meals?

My primary issue is that I don’t really cook because I don’t “have time” for it… Really I’m just not big into cooking and I know if this requires more than a few minutes of effort, I probably won’t do it. :( I don’t even know what healthy meals there are that I could make quickly? I would really like to not have to rely on prepackaged foods since I feel that goes against my idea of healthy eating… But is that something that I should reconsider?

I just don’t know… For breakfast, I’m fine with oatmeal or cereal. But I feel like I will not last long in this healthy eating adventure if I feel like I’m not eating real food. This is especially difficult for me right now as I do not work during the summer, so I’m at home all day and all I think about is food.

What quick meals do you prepare that are healthy and easy to make? Are there any brands or products that you tend to gravitate towards?

Also, are there any supplemental vitamins that I should be taking? I went to Walmart today and was overwhelmed by all of the pills for sale… I don’t even know what most of them are for. Alfalfa vitamins? Garlic? What? And at the same time, I’ve heard that vitamins aren’t good to take since they often doesn’t dissolve in the body… Does this mean that I should crush them up instead?

EDIT: I should also add that I am not currently open to going to a dietitian or a nutritionist. This would be an expense that I currently cannot afford. However, I do plan on going once I get to around 220 pounds or so to help me fine tune my diet, but also to guarantee that I am not wasting money on a service I won't use.

Edited by: KARLATIFFANY at: 7/24/2013 (04:43)
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