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Anyone else eat out a lot?

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Old 06-10-2004, 07:58 AM   #1
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Default Anyone else eat out a lot?

I hate cooking, I've decided.

I live alone and I just hate it. Even those microwave dinner ("puncture top with fork and microwave for 3 minutes, stir, microwave 2 more minutes") are pushing the edge on my cooking tolerance. Part of it is that I have no patience for it. Part of it is that I get sick of endless leftovers and feel this bizarre obligations to eat them before they spoil which, with one person, can be bad. But really, I just don't like cooking.

So I'm trying to come up with alternatives. Mostly I eat out a lot, which is working out okay except I'm sure the sodium can't be good for me. Ditto on fast food. I tend to eat breakfast at home (I can stand cooking, say, eggs) and then between lunch and dinner it's a microwave or store-bought meal and a 'eating out' meal.

Since I'm new into this it works. I can eat a fair amount of calories and lose since I'm still in the 270s. I've found some reasonable-calorie fast food places to eat -- subs and soups and salads from a variety of places -- so that's good. I do cook on rare occasion, made fish the other night for example, but usually I don't.

So I'm just looking for suggestions, ideas, etc., etc. When I talked about this with my dad (who is also struggling at his all-time highest weight but in a different city) he suggested looking into home-catering options. He had a lady make meals and bring them in, like microwave meals but home-cooked. He could find out exactly what went in them. So I might like into that.

But anyone else like me? Anyone hate to cook and either eat out, or find some other alternatives around it?
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Old 06-10-2004, 08:44 AM   #2
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Hi Scuttle

Hmmm, I also live alone, so entirely understand your cook or not to cook dilemmas. Actually I happily admit that I only started to cook in the last year or so......(and I'm 37!). I have probably taken the opposite route to you - I do eat out quite a lot, but I don't eat processed food, so refuse to buy ready/microwave meals. However, I also hardly ever cook anything which takes longer than 30 mins to make, and its usually less than 15! So I stir fry, grill, make pasta, and eat a lot of salads! Personally, I think you have to watch it with the processed stuff - even where its low fat, there is a whole lot of 'junk' that you end up putting into your body......most of my motivation for losing weight is about being and feeling healthy....so I like to know what I am putting in my body. Mind you, I also think that the most important think in this journey is to be good to yourself - so when I don't feel like cooking, I don't - I do the eat out and eat something healthy option, or throw a couple of cans together. I guess that's my alternative - there's a lot of stuff I eat which literally takes 5 to 10 mins - so its home-cooked but no hassle.

As to left-overs - I pretty much avoid that issue. The eating plan I follow has a lot of what are called 'free foods', ie eat as much as you want.....so if I'm cooking I cook mainly 'free food' stuff, and just measure out the stuff that is restricted as enough for one portion.

On reflection, I do think that cooking healthy food has been quite an important part of changing my relationship with food - basically I've found that always having good-tasting, healthy food around is a pretty good antidote to overeating.......
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Old 06-10-2004, 09:56 AM   #3
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We tend to eat dinner out at least once or tiwce a week. But my big problem is lunches. If I am on the ball and I make my lunch that's great, but more often, I find myself without a lunch (barely time to grab a few healthy snacks before work). Then I must decide on which fast food restaurant it will be. I am not a huge salad person, so if I am following my plan, it's usually a grillen chicken and small fry from Wendy's, ham & turkey from Subway, or chicken tacos from taco bell. I think fast food will always be a part of my life, and that's Ok, as long as I make the best choices from them.
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Old 06-10-2004, 10:48 AM   #4
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psssstttt... here's a secret... i also am of the '15 minutes or less' school of cooking. or the 'shove it in the oven and walk away' group. either way, it takes no more time to cook two chicken cutlets than to cook one, and you have the second one for lunch the next day. buy a salad or cut up a pile of raw veggies and you're done. store bought dressing of your choice.

cook a small steak, eat half of it at night and make steak salad the next day [some capers, red onions, balsamic vinegar, a few drops of extra virgin olive oil.]

buy an already cooked chicken. or cook your own over the weekend and eat it during the week. salads, hot dishes, added to chicken broth with some veggies and whatever else for soup.

or make a small-ish stew or pot of chili on the weekends, and freeze it in single serving portions.
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Old 06-10-2004, 11:23 AM   #5
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My new cooking pots I got for Christmas came with a Wok. Just recently I pulled it out and started using it. Preparing meat in a Wok has to be the fastest and easiest way to make meat quickly. I have cut down on the time it takes to cook by a huge amount. I don't eat out much as I have a family and it is very expensive. And, I don't cook seperately for my children. At supper time I prepare them the same thing as I eat. They are learning to make good, healthy choices. There are things I do eat that they won't so sometimes I have to change up the sides I make for them which is understandable.

Try Wok cooking..Fast and easy. I also used to hate to stand there and cut up the meat. Well, I solved that. I now have some meat scissors. Cutting meat with scissors frees up 3/4's of the time that I used to take to cut it all up. I made a meal for my whole family last night in under 15 minutes. So, I know if I can make a meal for all of us, making a meal for one would take even less time.

If you don't want leftovers seperate your food immediately in baggies after you get home from the grocery store into individual portions and put them in the freezer or fridge. Then, when you are ready to cook you just have to grab them and prepare them. This works great for meats. Good luck!!
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Old 06-10-2004, 01:15 PM   #6
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I got a george foreman grill... Slap a few turkey burgers, chicken or whatever on it... Always cook more than you need then pack it up for lunches just as the others said. My problem is I love to cook but don't have a lot of time ususally. The GF grill is a life saver! As Tammy said the WOK is awesome also.. I recently bought a cheap-o pan at walmart that has 3 different sections in the pan.. You can make your entire meal in one pan... Its awesome and cleanup is a breeze. I think a lot of the reason we don't like to cook is because of the mess that comes with it.. Buy yourself a pack of .99 cent paper plates and pick up that pan... One pan to wash throw away the rest!!

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Old 06-10-2004, 04:25 PM   #7
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I can't really relate because I love to cook. I just wish I had the time too. I'm starting to get more recipes that don't require a lot of time. There's also some decent websites with recipes www.meals.com, www.allrecipes.com are a couple that come to mind where you can modify how many servings you want to make so you're not making a lot.

another thing you can do is cook the full size of like a casserole or something and then put it into individual servings and freeze it for later. That's what I try to do on sundays is make something in the crockpot and freeze the portions for my lunches.
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Old 06-11-2004, 01:11 AM   #8
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I love my crock pot. I have no patience with cooking so it is perfect for me. I just throw everything in there and forget about it for hours. Otherwise my husband does the cooking around here
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Old 06-12-2004, 01:52 AM   #9
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We eat out WAY too much and this is how I fall off track.. One thing that's been a huge success for me is planning.. On grocery day, before making your list - make a meal list including what meals you want to eat for the next week or two (however long until next grocery trip) - then its easier to remember every ingredient for every meal and they're right on hand and easy to cook when you get home from work. I've put a meal list on the fridge so I remember what to defrost in the morning.. This really helps me at least... Often we eat out as we "forgot" to defrost something, or I'm missing a key ingredient of the planned meal... So, planning ahead definetly works..
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Old 06-12-2004, 08:31 PM   #10
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Try keeping some options around your house that don't require cooking.
You can buy precooked chicken breasts, cleaned bagged vegetables, grated cheeses, etc. and make a big salad in under 5 minutes.

Fruit, yogurt, string cheese, cottage cheese, precut carrots and celery, etc. make easy snacks that require little to no prep work.

A couple of easy dinners in individual portions are pita bread pizzas in the microwave (use jarred pasta sauce, pre-grated cheese, and cut up some extra vegetables if you want or just make a salad out of the bagged ingredients), quesadillas cooked in a pan or in the microwave (tortillas, salsa, pregrated cheese, vegetables or a side salad).

I also eat breakfast for dinner quite a bit, eggs and toast and fruit, cereal and yogurt and fruit, sometimes it's all I have energy for at the end of the day. There are a lot of things you can do without cooking if you explore the deli section at the grocery store.
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Old 06-12-2004, 11:10 PM   #11
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I have also started hating cooking. I hate anything that is time consuming or has too many ingredients. I don't care for really fancy food, I like plain food without a lot of sauces. I could probably eat the same thing every day and not really care. We eat out of cans a lot or frozen stuff. I don't buy the frozen dinners but I buy stuff like frozen meatballs and veggies that can be microwaved and then I just whip up some instant potatoes or throw some french fries in the oven. I would eat them plain, for my husband I would heat up some canned gravy. I also use the Foreman grill and do up a big batch of skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Marinate them in salad dressing that is also a vinagrette/marinade (it usually says on the bottle). If you can't find a dressing that is a marinade you can't go wrong with plain Italian. I usually add some pepper and onion or garlic salt. Let it marinade in a closed container in the fridge. I just usually let it sit an hour or 2. Grill them and throw them in the fridge. They will last a few days and are great with any kind of salad or in a sandwich. I buy the bags of prewashed salad. Chop up a chicken breast or 2, throw them on a bowl of salad and add a bit of dressing, croutons etc and that is a great meal. There is a great chicken and spinach salad that you can get at Subway with honey mustard dressing and it is super easy to make at home, tastes just as good and is way cheaper. Grilled chicken, prepackaged fresh baby spinach, grated cheese, bacon bits (you can buy them in a jar), chopped hardboiled egg and honey mustard dressing. The dressing is really easy to make if you can't find it at the store...mayo, plain yello mustard, a bit of oil, honey, sugar, a pinch of cayenne pepper and apple cider vinegar. Normally I would never have apple cider vinegar or cayenne pepper in my house but I love this dressing so much I went and bought the stuff and I think it is just as good as the dressing from Subway.
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Old 06-14-2004, 01:34 AM   #12
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Scuttle,

Depending on what city you live in, there are some cool options.

I'm lucky in live in San Diego, home of the healthy eater. So, there a whole book of participating restaurants that publish their healthy eating options. However, there are many restaurants that have a "healthy" menu that shows how many calories are in a dish, how much fat, etc. If a restaurant has that list, don't deviate from it because something "sounds" healthy. If they don't have that list and you go there often, tell them you're interested in something with your diet options (whether low cal, low carb, low fat, or no oil). If you're a regular patron, they'll help you out. With fast food, I gather up all the menus I can and figure out what calories are those frankenfoods.

The option your dad suggested is not only totally viable, there are people who specialize in healthy home catering -- from raw foods to vegan to low-fat to whatever. Find someone's who's speciality is healthy foods. A friend of mine does this for very restrictive diets and she loves what she does.

Good luck and let us know what you pick and how it works out!
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Old 06-14-2004, 07:23 AM   #13
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OMG...my DH and I eat out WAAYYYY to much. 3 times a week, sometimes. Yesterday, I tried Burger Kings new grilled chicken salad...not too bad, but I didnt like the dressing too much. I love McD's salads with the grilled chicken, and their dressing is better. (Plus you get a "toy pedometer".)
Any way, Im not doing that again this week, one time out is enough!
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Old 06-14-2004, 08:57 AM   #14
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Hrm. Well, I cooked this weekend, sort of. I got fish fillets and dumped them in a ziploc bag with some honey soy sauce for an hour, then dumped them in a pan with tin foil in the oven for half an hour. And I microwaved rice. It's a start.

I hate chopping things, no patience, and I've found that my grocey store sell some things presliced. I might try that for a stir fry, I think they have diced veggies and and chopped chicken meat. Which just leaves the pot and leftover problems but thank goodness my dishwasher is fixed again.

I do love salads, and that's been a bit help. Buy a salad at the produce department (because they mix up a ton of veggies that I normally wouldn't buy separate and chop), and toss on some shrimp sometimes. And I do eat breakfast for dinner on occasion, though mostly eggs and hashbrowns or something.

I looked into the catering. They either want to come to your house (which I don't want) or want you to buy an entire 21-meal week of food (which I also don't want). So, maybe I'll look some more, if there's something I can pick up but just like 7 meals a week.
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Old 06-14-2004, 11:41 AM   #15
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Jennifer, great, that is a nice start. There are lots of things you can buy that are already pre-made or pre-chopped and that is a good option for you. I'm glad you are finding some good alternatives to eating out.
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