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Old 08-21-2010, 04:48 PM   #1
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Default Would this be a stupid menu and method for starting out?

I'm trying to make this as easy as possible as I start out, not because I'm lazy, but because the less I think about food, trying to figure out/count calories, etc., the better.

What if I eat something like oatmeal for breakfast, a peanut butter sandwich or Lean Cuisine for lunch--then all I'll have to figure out is supper (and snacks, which are easy anyway).

My idea of supper is to throw a stick of butter in a pan with garlic and onions, fill the pan with various veggies and some meat, then add a few generous shakes of hot sauce, so you can see it might be a challenge to figure out lighter suppers.

I'm trying to make things as simple as possible. Does this sound stupid, or like it might work?
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Old 08-21-2010, 05:05 PM   #2
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Careful with the PB, 2TBSP of PB is approx 200 cals depending on the brand. Your dinner doesn't sound bad, just ditch the butter and watch the meat portion.

Starting out eating the same meals each day til you get the hang of things isn't a bad idea at all. Good luck!
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Old 08-21-2010, 05:08 PM   #3
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Well, let's look at your goals. You want to make it easy, and you don't want to count calories, etc.

I assume that you would like to eat a balanced diet with a healthy amount of nutrients.

So, think in these terms: Fruits, vegetables (at least 5 servings--can be two servings of a single vegetable), some limited whole grains, and protein (eggs, meat, fish, yogurt, cottage cheese).

For breakfast--yes, oatmeal is good. Don't use the kind with sugar in it already. In fact, stay away from any cereal with sugar added. But, add some fresh blueberries--or even canned, in light syrup (drain the syrup), or a sliced peach, and a splash of 1% milk.

Snack--a half a banana. Pretty easy.

Lunch--Lean Cuisine is fine, and PB on whole grain bread is fine, but get yourself some salad fixings or even bag salad so you can have that with. Add veggies to the salad--cucumber, tomatoes, red and green peppers. Use a light dressing, such as Newman's Light Balsamic Viniagrette.

A snack--an apple (fruit!) and some cottage cheese (protein!) or a hard boiled egg (protein!).

Supper--you can still have that stir fry, but not the stick of butter, obviously. This is the one place where measuring can save you a LOT of calorie problems. Use 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and 1/2 Tablespoon of butter. Garlic, onions, yeah! more veggies! and the meat you like--cut up chicken, lean ground beef (85% lean), other lean beef... If the hot sauce is oil-based, find another brand that isn't. Tabasco should do well...

And, how about half a cup of cooked brown rice to go with that? You can cook up rice in a batch ahead of time and reheat it in the microwave really easily for a meal.

For dessert, try some Greek yogurt or lowfat yogurt, with berries of some kind.

Once you get a shopping list together, you'll have the foods you need available so you can mix and match and get what you need for any meal.

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Old 08-21-2010, 05:29 PM   #4
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I say start however you can. Just start. Lean Cuisine's was how I started a few years ago. It got me used to calorie counting, and I ended up losing 30 pounds eating one for dinner and lunch plus a bowl of veggies with it.
I suggest you PLAN. That is the number one thing that ALWAYS messes me up for the day. Is if I don't know for sure what I am eating for a certain meal, it leaves the room open to grab something I know I shouldn't be eating. Get in the habit of making out a weekly meal plan include breakfast, lunch, dinner and one or two snacks. That way you are prepared to tell yourself this is what I am having for this meal or snack.
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Old 08-21-2010, 06:11 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Truffle View Post
My idea of supper is to throw a stick of butter in a pan with garlic and onions, fill the pan with various veggies and some meat, then add a few generous shakes of hot sauce, so you can see it might be a challenge to figure out lighter suppers.
Not so difficult at all. Even if you just cut the butter in half, and made no other changes, you'ld save 400 calories per recipe (divided by the servings).

If you only changed dinner and chose leaner meats, used less cooking fat, and increased the vegetables - just those changes alone could mean a weight loss of up to a pound a week.

My stand-by dinner is something very similar, and I've done the math - the difference just in that one dinner can be up to 1000 calories (which means a TWO pound loss per week).

I still use cooking fat, but I use 2 to 3 tablespoons at most, and can often use much less without sacrificing flavor (or by boosting the flavor with other ingredients). I also use chicken broth instead of fat to "sautee" vegetables. You don't get as much caramelization (which I love) so sometimes I start sauteeing just a small amount of veggies (like onions) in a small amount of fat and then once some carmilization develops I'll add chicken broth and the rest of the veggies. I really like this with onions - some onions sauteed and carmelized and some onions sweet and soft from the steaming.

I'll double the veggies and either cut back on the meat or use slightly less fatty cuts. One exception, I usually use boneless, skinless chicken thighs rather than chicken breast. It has more flavor, and is much moister, so the little bit of extra fat is worth it.

I swear by Knorr flavor cubes (garlic, chipotle, and cilantro are my favorites). I also buy seasoning packets from the ethnic food aisle, and ranch dressing powder. A great substitute for fried potatoes (or any fried veggie) is to roast them with a very little bit of oil and dry seasonings or seasoning packet. Ranch dressing powder works nicely. I add just enough oil to dampen the veggie so that the seasoning sticks - I use a ziploc bag or a tupperware style container to shake the oil and veggies and then I add and then skae again with the dry seasonings or seasoning packet). Then bake uncovered at about 400 to 450 degrees until the veggies are as tender and as browned as I like them. Potatoes and other root veggies will take more heat without burning. But almost any veggie is great roasted (I even roasted romaine lettuce once - surprisingly good).
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Last edited by kaplods; 08-21-2010 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 08-21-2010, 06:15 PM   #6
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Something that has worked for me in the past is to make a list of 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 10 dinners. You could do fewer if you want (3 B and L, 5 D) and just pick off the list every day. Then you only have to figure up your calories and nutrition once and know that every breakfast is 300 cals and every dinner is 500, etc.
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Old 08-21-2010, 07:24 PM   #7
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definitely cut back on the butter but don't get rid of it completely. If you like garlic, basil, oregano, onions etc. you need the oil to get the flavor out of them. (take it from a chemist like-dissolves-like and seasonings need a little bit of oil to extract the flavor properly)

If you're a fan of peanutbutter-here's a little trick I learned from my nutritionist when I was pregnant: add your peanutbutter TO your oatmeal! That way you don't need a sweetener in the oatmeal. Just watch the amount...I uh...tend to want to overdo it....so yeah. measure out the 1 TBSP CAREFULLY!

oatmeal is like the healthiest grain in existence, so you also cut out the need to add bread with the peanutbutter later. (bread is a bad thing for me personally as I'm a diabetic-ish person, so finding a healthier way to get in my PB was wonderful to me!)

OH something else I was taught to do, was just use the small plates not the big plates! Like use saucer-size plates not normal size plates! Its helped me tremendously and its a saver for dishwashing ^_^

Last edited by boots; 08-21-2010 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 08-21-2010, 07:56 PM   #8
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Hey, welcome to the site. As other contributors said, butter and PB are VERY caloric. I would watch bread consumption, too -- for the same calories you can dine on lots and lots of veggies and lean meat too. Watch even fruit -- though it's healthy, several pieces can add up to a lot of calories.

I'm on a very boring eating plan right now, but it worked for me before so I'm doing it again. It's the invention of my personal trainer. In general, I can have all the veggies and skinless chicken breast (other cuts are higher in calories) and egg whites I want. For breakfast I usually have a piece of fruit and scrambed egg whites with onions, peppers and garlic. I avoid rice, bread (mostly -- an occasional toast for bfast), and potatoes. There are plenty of carbs in many vegetables, so I am getting sufficient nutrition.

In terms of cooking, I never use oil or butter -- although you can, within reason. Remember that a Tablespoon of butter = 100 calories. A stick of butter adds up to nearly what your daily intake of calories on many diets would be if you're planning 1,200-1,600 cals daily. Instead I steam things or use cooking spray. For chicken (or fish -- but look up the calories in various kinds, as swordfish and salmon are higher in fat and cals) I sometimes season it, wrap in foil and throw on the outdoor grill for 15-20 min. My typical dinner is a huge salad with lots of veggies and diced chicken. I also have a Jack LaLanne electric juicer so can easily have a nice snack of carrot juice or something similar for 30 cals.

She also allows balsamic vinegar and really low-calorie pasta sauce (red pepper sauce from Whole Foods is only 30 cal per cup) and several other tomato-based soups that you can slice veggies into. It's important to be VERY aware of the calorie content of what you're eating. I also use my home-office postal scale to measure amounts. If you want to go visually, a 4-oz. serving of meat/fish is about the size of a pack of cards.

As for veggies, some of the least caloric are salad greens, spinach, and broccoli. Higher calorie ones to use sparingly, if at all, are avocado, potatoes, and anything else starchy. I make a nice salad dressing with salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and fancy mustard. You could add a SMALL amount of olive oil and sesame oil if that's unpalatable. Just as an experiment, why don't you look up a calorie counter and see what a particular meal you're thinking of making would add up to? I think when you see a PB sandwich can quickly add up to nearly half your daily calories, you may want to spend them elsewhere! I would personally not have PB in the house, as somehow it always seems like a great idea at 4 am to dig into it with a spoon! But that's just me...

Lean Cuisine is a good idea, although I never quite find them satisfying and get hungry fast. One thing you could do is accompany one of them with a large green salad with lemon or that no-oil dressing I mentioned to feel fuller. If you're in a rush at the office, you could pick up some pre-packaged salad greens (10 cal/cup) at the store. I've even been known to eat them right out of the package as finger food with no dressing. Just watch the oil and butter! Good luck and welcome!! This is a great place for info and support.
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Last edited by crimsons; 08-21-2010 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 08-21-2010, 08:06 PM   #9
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Nothing stupid about it. I eat the same breakfast everyday and have the same lunch 4 days a week. I want to echo some of what you have heard here. Figure out how many calories you will have with the oatmeal and whatever you put on it. I ate Lean Cuisines a lot when I started and moved away from them as I learned what I was doing.

I had similar thoughts to the other posters when I read about your dinner - just reduce the butter.

Sounds like you are developing your plan. This is a great way to start!!!

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Old 08-21-2010, 08:15 PM   #10
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Yeah I have like 2 breakfasts (One is oatmeal and the other is 1 egg scrambled in Pam with fat-free cheese, berries and a Pepperidge Farm Deli Flat) and 2 lunches (low fat turkey sliced on a Pepperidge Farm Deli Flat, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, a piece of fruit and a fat free total yogurt) and my husband makes something like fish, vegetables and brown rice for dinner every night.

I like just eating the same thing that I know is helping me lose and not thinking about it.

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Old 08-21-2010, 08:26 PM   #11
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I went to a nutritionist awhile ago, and she set up a meal plan for me that had nothing to do with counting calories. All I had to do was count food group servings basically. This is off the top of my head but I'm pretty sure it's right.

Breakfast was 1 grain, 2-3oz. protein, 1 fruit
Snack 1 was a fruit
Lunch was 2 grain, 2-3oz. protein, 1 veggie, 1 dairy
Snack 2 was a dairy
Dinner was 2 grain, 2-3 oz. protein, 1 veggie
Snack 3 grain and dairy

So, a sample menu would be:

Breakfast: 1/2 english muffin, orange juice, scrambled eggs
Snack 1: apple
Lunch: Veggie burger (protein) on a bun with cheese and a small salad
Snack 2: string cheese
Dinner: chicken with rice and mixed veggies
Snack 3: graham crackers with strawberry yogurt

It was really easy to follow, I just had to be careful of serving size and choosing lean meats, whole grains, and low fat products. I was instructed to eat about every three hours, and honestly, I never felt hungry. In fact, sometimes eating times would come around and I still felt full from the last time I ate.

Goal 1: out of 200s!
Mini Goal 1.1: 191 (10%)
Mini Goal 1.2: 180 (my highest weight last time around)

Goal 2: 169 (officially "overweight" BMI)
Mini Goal 2.1: 157 (one lb lower than lowest weight ever)
Mini Goal 2.2: 149 (I've never seen the a 4 after that 1!)

Final Goal: 135 (official "normal" BMI)
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Old 08-21-2010, 09:00 PM   #12
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Thank you for all the replies--I found several GREAT tips in here that I'll use as I continue along.
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Old 08-21-2010, 09:00 PM   #13
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I tend to eat the same couple things for breakfast and lunch and snacks. Definitely the easy way to go, a lot of your calorie counting is done already! Plus I love them! I make something different for dinner each night, and I have to tell you, I am having the BEST time tweaking things I used to enjoy and trying new ideas. It's become really fun for me, but I do like to cook. Start off as simply as you need to, and then you might want to branch out so you don't get bored and go crazy. It's fun!
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Old 08-22-2010, 01:05 AM   #14
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It is great that you have a plan!
I think you got tons of good advice already and there is not much I can add. I will say though watch out for the sodium in the lean cuisines and make sure you drink a lot of water! I eat every 3 hours and I am never hugry. I have learned cooking is better and to always go to work prepared with snacks and a healthy lunch!
when i began i used to eat the same things daily and then go sick of it and started experimenting lol I know you will do the same. have fun!
Good luck

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Old 08-22-2010, 07:31 AM   #15
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*To me* this menu doesn't sound all that easy. But of course we each have our own ideas of what constitutes easy.

*For me* this would not be easy to stick with, and that would be my main objective. If we don't stick with it, of course it's not going to accomplish anything. I would be STARVING, probably a bit bored and unsatisfied. I need/require/like much more volume. I do that with tons of veggies. I also really, really, REALLY need to enjoy the foods that I'm eating. As long as my on-plan food is satisfying and yummy, there is no need for me to venture off plan. I can easily pass up on the pasta, cake and pizza as long as I've got something else DELICIOUS (yet healthy) to eat. No deprivation whatsoever.

You speak of thinking less about food as being the easy part. Well something this spectacular IS going to take some thought, planning and preparation. But that's okay. It's worthy of it!

And once you get this down pat, once it becomes automated to you, the more intense thinking becomes less and less. But you've got to get to that point. The point where you've developed your plan. Where you've found/developed a healthy repertoire of meals to rely on. Where you've found great foods to enjoy. You're going to have to do a bit of experimenting and be somewhat creative. Think of it as an adventure!

Eventually, you will know what *does it for you*. What works and what doesn't.

I think it may behoove you to take the time now and do a little more intense meal planning. But you plan now, ahead of time and the work and the thought of it will have been pre-done. So when it comes time to eat you will know EXACTLY what you're eating. It DOES make it easier. Mapping out your food schedule in advance is essential for me to stay on plan. Much easier to stay on plan, when you've got one.

I'd love you to incorporate more veggies - think HUGE salads with protein for lunch - romaine hearts, baby spinach, red onions, grape tomatoes, cukes, peppers, hearts of palm, etc - with turkey breast or tuna. Or even supplemtent those Lean Cuisines with some salad or roasted veggies.

Don't forget soup. Thick, rich, hearty veggie soups of all kinds are GREAT. AS a portion of a meal or even as a snack. You can make a large pot and have it for days and days.

That breakfast - I'd add some cinnamon and berries to the oatmeal and an egg white omlette. The protein in the eggs will help stave off the affects of the carbs in the oatmeal. It will keep you full much longer.

Dinner? You can saute a TON of veggies and chicken in 1 tbsp of olive oil. You mentioned you like hot sauce - don't forget chilis. I make a GREAT vegetarian chili and a great chicken chili.

Snacks? You mentioned they're easy - but you DO need to know what they will be ahead of time. No fat yogurt, soup, veggie platter with salsa, popcorn, salads...

Spend some worthwhile time developing your food/plan, tweaking it as you go along. You'll be amazed how your food will evolve as you progress.
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