Weight Loss Support - Regaining Portion Control with pre-packaged foods




puhlease1
12-30-2013, 10:40 AM
Hi all - after years of struggle to keep off the 120 lbs I lost since 2009, I have watched the scale creep up until I've re-gained 50 lbs. This has been kind of terrifying, and I've been frustrated because I couldn't figure out why - I was still trying to follow my very low carb diet, but it just wasn't working anymore. My doc says my thyroid tests normal, but I am having hormonal fluctuations that look like perimenopause.

So, I've decided to nip it in the bud by regaining control over portion sizes, which low carbing never focused on.

Now, before someone says, "OMG, but frozen dinners are so high in sodium, and you should home cook everything and pre-package it", that just doesn't work for me. I'm a food addict - I WILL find a way to make portion sizes bigger if I'm pre-packaging my own meals. And, I've never had issues with sodium or high blood pressure. Frankly, I'm impressed with the higher quality of frozen meals out there for cheap prices. I counted my sodium yesterday - it was well within normal limits.

Anyway, I'd love to hear from others who are doing this - I'm not doing the "Simple Diet", as I'm not eating bars and I'm rarely having a shake. I'm sticking with frozen entrees that are higher in protein, as well as progresso light soups (love soup in winter), and having snacks of fruits and fresh veggies. I just started (after the holiday overbloating) yesterday. Stepped on the scale today and dropped 4 lbs. Now, I realize that's probably water weight, but I'll take it anyway. :carrot:

Anyone else who would like to (or is) doing this?


QuilterInVA
12-30-2013, 10:51 AM
Cheap prices = cheap food = poor nutrition. Most frozen meals don't have enough protein and vegetables and should be supplemented. Unless you plan to live on these the rest of your life, you need a scale and measuring cups and spoons and nutritious foods.

Arctic Mama
12-30-2013, 11:21 AM
I agree with Susan - I'm all about finding what works for you, but that isn't going to do anything but forestall the issue. Working with whole foods and volumetric principles is wiser (and if you're like me, nothing works but low carb - I overeat on any other normal diet), and getting used to finding a system daily to limit portions.

What about doing your own system, with once a week cooking and portioning out your main course into containers in the fridge? Then add in one serving (cup) of vegetables and one of nuts/dairy and having that be your portion controlled meal? Surely you could come up with a rotation that way that controlled your overall intake a bit, but with better quality food?


puhlease1
12-30-2013, 12:36 PM
Trust me, ladies, I know this is a stop gap measure to regain portion control. I'm a foodie and a great cook. I am not forestalling anything. I'm feeling a bit frustrated right now, because it feels like my opening post was not read, but skimmed. I do not WANT to once a week cook and portion into containers right now - I know me - I will find a way to add too much to each portion, or I will get so bogged down in the pressure of doing that, I'll give up too soon.

Susan - in my post, I stated I was supplementing with fresh veggies, fruit, etc. And choosing those dinners that have good protein - frozen meals have come a long way since Banquet was the only brand. I get bogged down in the measuring and minutiae and trying to be "perfect" in my nutritional choices, so that does not work for me.

Arctic Mama - in my post, I stated that low carb wasn't working for me anymore. I also addressed why a "once a week cooking system" would not work for me, and yet that is your advice. I lost 120 lbs low carbing, but middle age has struck and it's just not working anymore.

I've researched nutrition and weight loss all my life, and one thing I have discovered is that every single one of us is different. There is no one-size-fits-all plan. Just as no one drug works for everyone, as we are all chemically and genetically different, neither does one nutritional plan work the same for everyone.

As you can see by my stats, I've lost a lot as a result. I hesitated to respond because I feel like, rather than being listened to, I'm being lectured as to why my choice to do this is wrong, rather than supported in my decision to get control of portion sizes again. I specifically asked in my opening post for folks NOT to throw the lectures at me. **sigh**

pixelllate
12-30-2013, 12:49 PM
Ohhh yes. I've had to resort to methods in order to control my portions and love of eating a TON - not even an emotional eating, I just grew up not allowed to leave the table till I ate past full so its a habitual thing. What are leftovers? I know not of this concept! hahaha doggie bags from restaurants are eaten that very evening.

My method is to "buy what I need for the day" Sure its easier to buy a lot 1x a week, and then portion it out, but I will def overeat. I also live in NYC and I hate granny carts, so this works out for me anyways.

Frozen meals for me (that are within the caloric goals) don't fill me up for some reason? However, it sounds like its working for you and the nutrition labels make it pretty easy to see the nutrition facts - yay!
Maybe since you are also eating fresh fruit + veg, you can throw in some veg as you are heating up the frozen meals? I used to do that and the pre-made sauces+seasonings made it an easy way to season up those veggies.

Arctic Mama
12-30-2013, 01:01 PM
No, I read your post. But I truly believe that the way you're going isn't going to help, and may cause many more issues relating to true hunger. Those meals are not highly nourishing or nutrient dense for the calories, and that may get you into more trouble than it solves.

If you know yourself and this is the only method you'll use, you don't need confirmation from us. There are no great alternatives that don't involve managing portions by the listed means, that aren't quite a shift. You could always play around with higher fat, lower protein, lower carb (Nutritional Ketosis a la Phinney and Volek), and that may help with overall appetite and weight control, but the portion issue has no easy solutions besides pre-planning, food logging with measuring, or working off a volumetrics/exchange plan. There's no magical unicorns to solve the issues and trust me, I'm looking :lol: I have much the same issue in maintaining my losses as well, and my weight is low enough and reduced enough that it takes a lot more strictness than it did a few years and pounds ago. There's nothing for it but daily disciplines and making sure I'm not having dietary triggers, unfortunately.

It's not that I don't hear you, it's that I can't give you the answer you're seeking. And if you're struggling to maintain on very low carb, a plan reduced in calories and the same or higher in carbs is likely only going to exacerbate your issues :(

I hope someone else can give you something I haven't though of - I wish your the very best success but Nutrisystem is probably not going to yield that. It might, I could be wrong, and that would be GREAT! But I have not seen others do this with much success, especially longer term. My apologies my support didn't come across as more supportive - sometimes the kindest approach one can take is the truth, not platitudes we want to hear, and that was primary and gentle intent.

puhlease1
12-30-2013, 01:51 PM
Ohhh yes. I've had to resort to methods in order to control my portions and love of eating a TON - not even an emotional eating, I just grew up not allowed to leave the table till I ate past full so its a habitual thing. What are leftovers? I know not of this concept! hahaha doggie bags from restaurants are eaten that very evening.

My method is to "buy what I need for the day" Sure its easier to buy a lot 1x a week, and then portion it out, but I will def overeat. I also live in NYC and I hate granny carts, so this works out for me anyways.

Frozen meals for me (that are within the caloric goals) don't fill me up for some reason? However, it sounds like its working for you and the nutrition labels make it pretty easy to see the nutrition facts - yay!
Maybe since you are also eating fresh fruit + veg, you can throw in some veg as you are heating up the frozen meals? I used to do that and the pre-made sauces+seasonings made it an easy way to season up those veggies.

LOL - yeah, I think I was raised in the same family. Take what you want, but eat everything you take. Of course, when you're a kid and you're hungry, eyes are bigger than stomachs...so you end up taking too much, then having to stuff yourself to finish. It's a lifestyle. ;)

Frozen meals by themselves don't fill me up, but with the newer steamer bowls that several brands have started producing, I tend to add at least a cup more of veggies. Last night, for example, for dinner, I had a Lean Cuisine Kung Pao chicken steamer bowl, but added an extra cup of broccoli - it was filling and had enough sauce to coat the whole dish, including the extra veggies. When I felt munchy later, for a snack I had a few sprigs of asparagus seasoned with lemon pepper, and a really perfectly ripe pear.

I'm finding that doing this - adding the extra veggies to the meal - sometimes adding a little extra protein, is helping with the feeling of fullness.

I shop for just a couple of days at a time as well. I have a small refrigerator, so not a lot of freezer space. And, we live within walking distance of two really good grocery stores.

GettinFit
12-30-2013, 02:35 PM
puhlease1 - Congrats on getting back on track with your weght loss and congrats on your success in the past. After months of being off the wagon, I was finally able to get back on track and I'm on my 10th day now.

I have been using frozen dinners to help me get back on track. Adding extra veggies or a side salad is a great idea. I have also prepared some of my meals but the frozen dinners work for me too. My favorites are the Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers as I've found that they are lower in sodium than some of the other ones.

I wish you much success and I hope your new plan works for you.

puhlease1
12-30-2013, 02:58 PM
puhlease1 - Congrats on getting back on track with your weght loss and congrats on your success in the past. After months of being off the wagon, I was finally able to get back on track and I'm on my 10th day now.

I have been using frozen dinners to help me get back on track. Adding extra veggies or a side salad is a great idea. I have also prepared some of my meals but the frozen dinners work for me too. My favorites are the Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers as I've found that they are lower in sodium than some of the other ones.

I wish you much success and I hope your new plan works for you.

Congrats to you as well with getting back on track. On your 10th day? Meaning, you were getting back on track over the holidays - you're a rock star! ;)

The Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers are one of my favorites as well. They're what I have in the freezer currently, along with veggies to add for healthy bulk.

I'm going to stray tonight from frozen dinners, mainly because I have some fresh veggies I need to use before they go bad, but I'm going to keep it in the calorie count of a frozen dinner. I'll make a shrimp stir fry to use up the veggies (cabbage, green onions, broccoli/carrot slaw). I've actually got bowls that are the same size as the cafe steamer bowls, so I can control portion size.

At any rate, I've only been doing this for two days, but I feel so much better already - there is so much more variety in this than there was in the low carb eating, which was no longer working for me. Just to be able to eat a piece of fruit once in awhile is amazing. :) And, 4 lbs dropped in two days doesn't hurt, though I am aware that it's likely not going to be that much every two days. ;)

Wannabeskinny
12-30-2013, 03:44 PM
You know yourself better than we do so I say if it works then do it. I won't lecture you but twice you said that if you cooked once a week that you would find a way to portion out more than a proper portion. So I wanted to address that. Similar to the trick of never going to the grocery store on an empty stomach, I'd say never do portion control on an empty stomach either. So if you do by chance decide to make a stew and portion it out, do so only after you've eaten and are no longer hungry. That way you won't be tempted.

Look, we all have to find what works for us. I'm constantly advising people to shop for groceries every day rather than waiting for once a week. Shopping for what I need on a daily basis accomplishes many things. 1) it gets me walking every day like it or not 2) it keeps me from buying things I don't need 3) it keeps my refrigerator clean and my pantries manageable 4) it ensures that I buy very fresh produce and eat it every day. I read this tip once in the book "French Women Don't Get Fat" and it really stuck with me. However, I can think of a multitude of reasons why this tactic cannot work for someone else. I live in NYC for example so I live within walking distance to all sorts of markets, whereas someone living in a suburb outside of a small town might live miles away form a store, therefore this wouldn't work. I also work from home, so someone who works until 7pm everyday might not want to go to the grocery store every day. Anyway, the point is that what works for me doesn't work for someone else. Personally, the thought of frozen dinners is quite repulsive to me, so that's how I know that it wouldn't work for me :)

kaplods
12-30-2013, 04:47 PM
In an ideal world, I would shop daily for the best, local foods. And in the Spring, Summer, and Fall I usually do.

However, there are also times I rely on frozen meals (usually about half commercial and half my own homemade meals).

It can be hard to find tasty, healthy frozen dinners, but there are a few. Most are much more expensive, less healthy and much less tasty than a similar meal from scratch, but they definitely can be useful in re-adjusting one's perception of appropriate portion size.

I really like the skillet meal frozen meals such as Birds Eye Inspirations Meal Starters (veggies, sauce and rice, to which you add your own cooked chicken or other protein).

These are listed as having 2.5 servings at 180-210 calories per serving (not including the protein).

The pkg recommendation is to simmer the veggies and sauce and to then add 1/2 lb boneless chicken that has been cooked and set aside.

Instead, I usually just simmer my chosen protein in with the veggies and sauce.

It's perfectly portioned for hubby and I (1 serving for me, and 1.5 for him, or 2 servings for me to split between two meals).

Arctic Mama
12-30-2013, 04:47 PM
Wannabe - That's a great tip on not portioning out on an empty stomach! I hadn't even thought of that as an issue but it definitely could be (I have problems making my meal selections when I'm overly hungry, I tend to grab more than I need :o ).

puhlease1
12-30-2013, 05:28 PM
Look, we all have to find what works for us. I'm constantly advising people to shop for groceries every day rather than waiting for once a week. Shopping for what I need on a daily basis accomplishes many things. 1) it gets me walking every day like it or not 2) it keeps me from buying things I don't need 3) it keeps my refrigerator clean and my pantries manageable 4) it ensures that I buy very fresh produce and eat it every day. I read this tip once in the book "French Women Don't Get Fat" and it really stuck with me. However, I can think of a multitude of reasons why this tactic cannot work for someone else. I live in NYC for example so I live within walking distance to all sorts of markets, whereas someone living in a suburb outside of a small town might live miles away form a store, therefore this wouldn't work. I also work from home, so someone who works until 7pm everyday might not want to go to the grocery store every day. Anyway, the point is that what works for me doesn't work for someone else. Personally, the thought of frozen dinners is quite repulsive to me, so that's how I know that it wouldn't work for me :)

I agree (and loved the French Women Don't Get Fat book). When I lived in a very rural area, it didn't make sense to get groceries every day, as the grocery store was 15 minutes away. Now, though, I live in a semi-urban community and have two large stores in walking distance. It gets me exercise to walk and get things daily, as well as keeping things fresh.

Most frozen dinners aren't thrilling - though the cafe steamers have actually turned ot to have good flavor and lower sodium than others. It's a temporary thing, to get me used to eating normal portion sizes again after years of eating very low carb but as much as I wanted of those things. I'm working on finding my "real" hunger again, rather than allowing my addiction to food to take over my life. And, quite honestly, I'm a really good cook - so getting more bland/frozen dinners is also helping me not to overeat and slow down to monitor fullness.

I've also curtailed my watching of gourmet food shows as well - because I tend to want to make what they're making. I'll confine the rich foods to dinner parties and planning the amuse bouche menu for my wedding. ;)

puhlease1
12-30-2013, 05:31 PM
I really like the skillet meal frozen meals such as Birds Eye Inspirations Meal Starters (veggies, sauce and rice, to which you add your own cooked chicken or other protein).

These are listed as having 2.5 servings at 180-210 calories per serving (not including the protein).

The pkg recommendation is to simmer the veggies and sauce and to then add 1/2 lb boneless chicken that has been cooked and set aside.

Instead, I usually just simmer my chosen protein in with the veggies and sauce.

It's perfectly portioned for hubby and I (1 serving for me, and 1.5 for him, or 2 servings for me to split between two meals).

I hadn't even thought to look at the Birdseye steamers. I'll put that on my list to check out. Great tip :)

kaplods
12-30-2013, 06:33 PM
I hadn't even thought to look at the Birdseye steamers. I'll put that on my list to check out. Great tip :)

I usually make my own (1 pkg frozen mixed veggies, 1/2 lb or less meat, beans, tvp, or meatballs, and a homemade or store-bought stir fry, pasta or simmering sauce).

I found the Birds Eye meal starters at Dollar Tree last week. I like them, because I can trust hubby to make these according to pkg directions if I'm not feeling well. Otherwise his cooking tends to be restaurant-style - delicious but highly caloric.

jeanies
12-30-2013, 07:41 PM
Personal trainer food is a frozen food you may want to look into. Pre-portioned vacuum packed meats and veggies that are shipped to you frozen and get steamed in the bag they come in or reheated in oven.

Jacqui_D
12-30-2013, 08:16 PM
Absolutely do what works for you!

Elladorine
12-30-2013, 08:41 PM
I don't really have any advice to offer, but I wanted to chime in and mention that I relied on frozen meals a few years back to help out with my portion control for my lunches, and I lost about 30 pounds that summer. :)

I hadn't really touched them in ages, but I actually bought a set of 6 at Sam's Club on a whim just a few days ago. I had a baby this month, and since his arrival was earlier than planned I didn't get the chance to prep and freeze all the meals I'd wanted to ahead of time. Knowing the hubby would soon be going back to work and that I'd be spending days taking care of a newborn by myself, I figured they'd come in as a handy back-up plan for lunches for days when I don't have time to cook or am just simply too tired. It beats ordering take-out or stocking up on other convenience food! ;)

To me, it's a sensible way to help myself get back on plan now that I can concentrate on losing weight again. And if it's something that works for you as well, go for it. Congrats on your weight loss and especially getting yourself back on track! :) I had a regain myself back in 2010 before I started losing again, and I had to pause most of this year for my pregnancy. I totally get wanting to find a way to get back into the groove of things; I personally have to work pretty hard to get my portions back under control again since I got used to eating quite a bit more, especially in the third trimester. :dizzy:

puhlease1
12-30-2013, 10:16 PM
Kaplods - I can identify with your hubby - hence the reason I've curtailed my cooking ;)

puhlease1
12-30-2013, 10:19 PM
Personal trainer food is a frozen food you may want to look into. Pre-portioned vacuum packed meats and veggies that are shipped to you frozen and get steamed in the bag they come in or reheated in oven.

I've looked at it - a bit too over my price range, and I dunno why, but vacuum sealed stuff (similar to Nutrisystem) smells chemically to me. :)

puhlease1
12-30-2013, 10:22 PM
Elladorine - congratulations on the new baby! Yes, I also think it is a sensible way to get back on track and portion controlled.

IanG
12-30-2013, 10:32 PM
Yeah, I say do it if it works for you.

Screw sodium if your BP is OK. It only leads to temporary weight gain (water).

I eat a lot of canned fish. Economical (mostly, anyway, my Millers Jumbo Lump Crab in cans was $150/dozen from frickin' Walmart!). Very healthy. Shelf-stable. Cooked. And perfectly portioned. And, yes, I will eat it for the rest of my life.

There are super-healthy canned varieties out there. So there must be super-healthy frozen ones too.

I like the idea of adding steamed veggies to supplement. I also add eggs (boiled, poached, scrambled).

puhlease1
12-31-2013, 12:45 AM
Yeah, I say do it if it works for you.

Screw sodium if your BP is OK. It only leads to temporary weight gain (water).

I eat a lot of canned fish. Economical (mostly, anyway, my Millers Jumbo Lump Crab in cans was $150/dozen from frickin' Walmart!). Very healthy. Shelf-stable. Cooked. And perfectly portioned. And, yes, I will eat it for the rest of my life.

There are super-healthy canned varieties out there. So there must be super-healthy frozen ones too.

I like the idea of adding steamed veggies to supplement. I also add eggs (boiled, poached, scrambled).

Eggs are my "super food" - only 70 to 80 calories apiece, and packed with protein. They are my go-to food when I need tasty protein. Incidentally, lump crab is really great inside an omelette.

And yes, there are actually really good frozen varieties out there. Many are flash-frozen, which is better for nutrients as well as flavor. And, adding extra steamed veggies to them makes them even better.

llove
12-31-2013, 12:24 PM
Whatever works for you. That's how I look at it.

puhlease1
12-31-2013, 12:51 PM
Today is day three of my "back on track with portion control" plan. Yesterday, my menu looked like this:

Breakfast (I'm notorious for not being hungry at all) - coffee, half&half, stevia - and a pear

Lunch: Progresso New England Clam Chowder soup with green beans added for extra veggie.

Snack: 1 cup celery and two cups Ginger Miso broth from Trader Joe's (15 calories a cup, can't beat that)

Dinner: 2 servings of my own shrimp/cabbage/broccoli slaw/green onion stir fry.

Snack: Naughtiness - three snickers bite-sized candies

2 glasses red wine

I went slightly over my caloric limit for the day - today, apparently, my body is cleaning itself out. TMI, maybe, but after years of struggling with constipation on low carb, I'll take it. lol

Tonight, for New Years' Eve dinner, we're meeting friends for sushi. I'm off to investigate approximate caloric intake of sushi rolls. :)

rachinma
01-02-2014, 12:42 AM
What on earth is your daily caloric goal? That all must be under 1000 calories.

coffee - 50
pear - 100
soup - 250
beans - 25
celery - 10
broth - 30
shrimp & veggies - 250
wine - 250
snickers - 150

TooWicky
01-02-2014, 04:32 AM
pulease1, I love, love Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers! I wish they would expand that product line even more. I eat one frozen meal pretty much every day as part of my diet. I also eat a few cans of Light Progresso soups every week. I absolutely use eating frozen dinners for portion control and portion education. This is the first diet I've ever attempted and to say I was ignorant about how many calories were in foods is an understatement ><. I still find it very difficult to estimate the calories in things I cook myself, so prepackaged stuff helps me with the math. That said, one of my New Year's resolutions is to begin to learn to cook better and more interesting/tasty foods. I am envious of the delicious and healthy meals i read about on here that some ladies and gents prepare. To a rather crappy cook like me, it seems like some sort of wizardry, lol. However this new lifestyle of mine is a marathon, not a sprint, and I'm not there yet when it comes to, you know, getting fresh ingredients cooking portioning and freezing, lol, but, someday! Until then I'm not going to beat myself up over it if you know what I mean. Good luck with your diet :)

Kaplods, thanks for the tip on the Birdseye Meal Starters. I'm going to check that out on my weekly shopping trip on Friday. If they're on sale or I have a coupon, I also buy the little frozen cartons of Green Giant steamers I think they are called... Veggies with some beans or potatoes.

Ian, I eat several envelope things of salmon each week, usually over salad. I'm not really into eating a lot of meat, but I do like fish and seafood! I usually get hungry reading your posts. I have no idea why, but I had completely forgotten about crabmeat. I need to branch out.

kaplods
01-02-2014, 09:32 AM
Last night I was reading the labels on the Kung Pao and Fried rice Birdseye mealstarters and I found that the serving sizes listed were a little off. The fried rice dish listed 2 servings, but when I did the math it came to 2.53 servings. The kung pao claimed 2.5 servings but came out to 2.89.

This amounted to approximately an extra 100 calories per bag.

This is pretty typical for prepackaged items that have more than one seving, especially those that list the serving information as "about ____", but even when there is no "about" or "approximatly" in the serving info, the math can be off.

I'm ok with imprecise calorie counts, but it still annoys me when I find it.

And another thing the package doesn't make clear (unless I missed the info on the bag) is that the calorie count does not include the meat.



On another note, I did have to laugh at a friend's recent comment that frozen dinners did not teach anything about portion size or how to cook and eat "real food," after I revealed that I had been relying on frozen dinners more often as my arthritis and fibro has sapped more of my energy and interest in cooking.

I laughed and reminded her that I had lost 100 lbs cooking mostly from scratch and I had been dieting and studying weight loss and nutrition for more than 40 years. I knew how to eat, cook, and portion control and that eating frozen dinners was not going to make me forget everything I already knew.

puhlease1
01-02-2014, 10:36 AM
What on earth is your daily caloric goal? That all must be under 1000 calories.

coffee - 50
pear - 100
soup - 250
beans - 25
celery - 10
broth - 30
shrimp & veggies - 250
wine - 250
snickers - 150
Right now, it's about 1200 calories. Shrimp and veggies included sesame oil, fish oil, and red chili paste, so there was added fat, and I ate two servings of it.

With my peculiar metabolic issues, actually keeping calories between 1000 and 1300 a day is optimal. :)

puhlease1
01-02-2014, 10:41 AM
pulease1, I love, love Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers! I wish they would expand that product line even more. I eat one frozen meal pretty much every day as part of my diet. I also eat a few cans of Light Progresso soups every week. I absolutely use eating frozen dinners for portion control and portion education. This is the first diet I've ever attempted and to say I was ignorant about how many calories were in foods is an understatement ><. I still find it very difficult to estimate the calories in things I cook myself, so prepackaged stuff helps me with the math. That said, one of my New Year's resolutions is to begin to learn to cook better and more interesting/tasty foods. I am envious of the delicious and healthy meals i read about on here that some ladies and gents prepare. To a rather crappy cook like me, it seems like some sort of wizardry, lol. However this new lifestyle of mine is a marathon, not a sprint, and I'm not there yet when it comes to, you know, getting fresh ingredients cooking portioning and freezing, lol, but, someday! Until then I'm not going to beat myself up over it if you know what I mean. Good luck with your diet :)



TooWicky - I wish they'd expand the steamers as well. They're really pretty yummy, and easy to add extra veggies like broccoli to as well, to increase fullness and just add more veggies. :)

I have the opposite problem - I'm a good cook and I like to cook, so I have to virtually stop myself from cooking for periods of time, because when I do, I experiment too much, and tend to make what otherwise would have been a healthy recipe much less healthy. ;)

Anyway, Thus far, I've dropped 5 lbs in a few days - I don't expect that trend to continue so quickly, but it is encouraging!

puhlease1
01-02-2014, 10:54 AM
Last night I was reading the labels on the Kung Pao and Fried rice Birdseye mealstarters and I found that the serving sizes listed were a little off. The fried rice dish listed 2 servings, but when I did the math it came to 2.53 servings. The kung pao claimed 2.5 servings but came out to 2.89.

This amounted to approximately an extra 100 calories per bag.

This is pretty typical for prepackaged items that have more than one seving, especially those that list the serving information as "about ____", but even when there is no "about" or "approximatly" in the serving info, the math can be off.

I'm ok with imprecise calorie counts, but it still annoys me when I find it.

And another thing the package doesn't make clear (unless I missed the info on the bag) is that the calorie count does not include the meat.

Ugh - that is annoying. That's pretty much why I'm sticking with single-serving pre-packaged foods for a bit - I don't want to do the math on multiple serving packages to make sure they're correct. ;)


On another note, I did have to laugh at a friend's recent comment that frozen dinners did not teach anything about portion size or how to cook and eat "real food," after I revealed that I had been relying on frozen dinners more often as my arthritis and fibro has sapped more of my energy and interest in cooking.

I laughed and reminded her that I had lost 100 lbs cooking mostly from scratch and I had been dieting and studying weight loss and nutrition for more than 40 years. I knew how to eat, cook, and portion control and that eating frozen dinners was not going to make me forget everything I already knew.

I get tickled - and sometimes annoyed as well - when friends hear about what I'm doing and get all "teachy" about it, as if their way is far better and like they think I know nothing about diet and nutrition, having studied the science for upwards of 20 years.

I have on friend who is vegetarian and gluten free and is struggling with re-gain, another who is gluten free and has lost a lot, but spends half her life working out. And yet another who thinks that low carb is the only way to go (It was for me, too, for a few years, but just stopped working for me).
-----------------------
Yesterday evening, I had a planned "cheat" and ate a McRib - I know, they're disgusting and horrid and mystery-meaty and terribly unhealthy. But I crave them and about once a year I have to remind myself how terrible they are. I did just get the sandwich - no fries, no drink, but that's still:
500 Calories (not as terrible as I'd expected, but still not great)
22g Protein (this is okay)
26g Fat
44g Carbs
980mg Sodium (EEP!)
I'm satisfied for another year, and won't need to be doing THAT anytime soon. ;)

Today, I'm back on my plan. I'm currently enjoying my coffee with half&half, and will be having a progresso soup for lunch - probably something that feels hearty - can't get enough soup this time of year. I'll make roasted chicken breasts with rosemary and thyme for dinner, and maybe roast some brussels sprouts to go with them.

kaplods
01-03-2014, 03:35 AM
Even on one serving packages you need to make sure the serving size weight listed on the nutrition labelis identical to the package weight listed on the front of the package. Discrepancies are less common, but they're not exactly rare, either.

I think the nutrition labels should give data for the entire package as well as for the serving size and per 100g (which is the practice in many countries and allows one to more easily compare one food with another). I also believe that the package weight should be evenly divisible by the number of servings, with no fractions of a serving unaccounted for.

pixelllate
01-03-2014, 10:56 AM
Have you tried Amy's frozen meals? They are pricier for sure, but really delicious, esp if you like Indian food! I liked to combine them with other frozen veggies to bulk up the meal.

Mrs Snark
01-03-2014, 11:03 AM
I second Amy's frozen meals. I eat alot of Amy's stuff, love it, it is a life saver for me since I intensely dislike cooking.

puhlease1
01-03-2014, 04:07 PM
Have you tried Amy's frozen meals? They are pricier for sure, but really delicious, esp if you like Indian food! I liked to combine them with other frozen veggies to bulk up the meal.

I have tried Amy's meals, and they are really delicious. Unfortunately, except when I can find coupons, they are a bit above my price range for everyday use. I especially like the Indian dishes. :)

puhlease1
01-03-2014, 04:09 PM
Kaplods - agreed!

----------------------------

I was feeling crappy yesterday (sinus headache and constant nasal drainage), and made a lot of excuses as to why I was over-eating the comfort foods (example - Hormel chili and saltines - lots of calories there). The scale showed it this morning. I made my coffee and headed out into the biting cold today to run a few errands and stopped by Trader Joe's. Much of their pre-packaged food is too high in calories for portion size. But they do have a really great frozen veggies/shrimp stir-fry bag that is only 175 calories for the whole bag (lots of broccoli, snap peas, and water chestnuts). For you low carbers, it's also an excellent choice. It made a delicious lunch.

puhlease1
01-03-2014, 04:30 PM
I'm not seeing the ticker I put in my signature from tickerfactory - just testing.

Vex
01-03-2014, 05:25 PM
While I understand that there are better nutritional choices than prepackaged foods, I am one of those that lost my weight almost exclusively on them. They did teach me portion sizes for those times when I eat something not already portioned out. I know too that some people's weight will not respond to the sodium/carbs in those meals.

I'm not a cook, and despite my efforts will likely never be. I hate cooking. Even something as easy as making spaghetti with jar sauce is not my thing.

Whatever works for you in your weight loss plan, do it.

puhlease1
01-03-2014, 05:39 PM
While I understand that there are better nutritional choices than prepackaged foods, I am one of those that lost my weight almost exclusively on them. They did teach me portion sizes for those times when I eat something not already portioned out. I know too that some people's weight will not respond to the sodium/carbs in those meals.

I'm not a cook, and despite my efforts will likely never be. I hate cooking. Even something as easy as making spaghetti with jar sauce is not my thing.

Whatever works for you in your weight loss plan, do it.

I agree, Vex. I have the opposite problem - I'm a foodie and I love to cook - but I also love to eat what I've cooked, so I'm trying not to cook except for special occasions and just simple, low cal dinners. Otherwise, I'm sticking with single serving pre-packaged foods - they're still tasty, and I'm not tempted to eat my experiments if I'm not creating them. :D

Congrats on your weight loss! You give me inspiration :)

puhlease1
01-06-2014, 10:51 PM
Well, after 1 week (Saturday to Saturday) and two "out of control eating" days, I maintained a loss of 4 lbs. I'm okay with that. Going to keep working on the portion control stuff, AND the snacking between meals stuff. I've noticed that when I eat a meal that doesn't have enough protein, I'm hungry quickly, so I'm adding that to my criteria - to make sure I'm getting enough protein.

crispin
01-07-2014, 02:56 AM
I did this a few years ago, and I found it really helpful. Good luck!

I did it primarily as a way to get my stomach used to proper portions. That happened after only a month or two, so I didn't eat like this for that long. Like you, I also made a point of eating fresh produce every day too.

puhlease1
01-07-2014, 12:54 PM
Crispin - I'm doing it for the same reasons - to get my stomach used to proper portions again. Today, I have a slow cooker of mixed beans with cajun spices going, and will add a little andouille sausage to that later - however, I already have the small bowl I will use to control my portion size, rather than eating out of a trough. ;)

JohnP
01-07-2014, 02:30 PM
And if you're struggling to maintain on very low carb, a plan reduced in calories and the same or higher in carbs is likely only going to exacerbate your issues :(

Why would this be? I didn't see where she said she was insulin resistant, carb sensative or otherwise. I see someone who says they temporarily are going to use pre-packaged foods to get a handle on portion control.

I'm not a fan of pre-packaged food as a means to lose weight long term but based on the circumstances it seems like a reasonable temporary plan to me.

puhlease1
01-07-2014, 03:38 PM
John - I think, sometimes, if someone has found success with one particular way of eating, a bit of tunnel vision may happen, and they forget that every person is different chemically, and what works for one person may not work for everyone. I lost 120 lbs, and was mostly doing very high protein/low carb, as well as portion control. But, my body chemistry is changing in my mid-forties, and low carb just isn't working for me anymore.

But, the solution from someone who has had success with that? "Low carb isn't working for you? Then the other stuff won't - you should go low carb." ;)

Sometimes, I think it's a lot like a "religious" belief - that of, "if your prayers aren't being answered, it must be your fault. Pray harder." I think people can get the same with diet. "If the diet that works so well for me isn't working for you, then you must be doing something wrong. Try harder."

It's amazing to me how few people (even medical professionals) don't understand that every person is different. That's why some anti-depressants work for some folks but not for others - because each person is chemically different. Nutritionists and medical professionals haven't yet caught up with that where diet is concerned. One person may do very well on a diet high in grains/carbs, while another one can't metabolize them at all and needs low carb, while another one seems to only do well with low calorie. As body chemistry changes, the things that work for us might also change.

The good thing is, most of us who have struggled with weight have learned so much we should BE nutritionists. ;) But we also struggle with being shamed by fellow dieters who think their way is the only way that works, and we should all follow it, or we ourselves want to preach what is working for us. We need to learn to find what works for us - even if it isn't all that popular with purists (did you see that alliteration there? :D ), and just go about doing it.

Munchy
01-07-2014, 04:15 PM
I am the biggest supporter of bulk cooking and freezing, but I hear you that it's not for everybody.

I don't pull out a homemade frozen meal every day, but during the week I sometimes make super simple dinners that are in the 300-400 calorie range and take about 10 or 15 minutes. They aren't really "recipes" just some additional ideas when you're not going the frozen route - they are single serving, so there is isn't a temptation for eating leftovers.

One of my favorite easy meals to throw together is a pan seared piece of frozen fish over the frozen Asian vegetables mixed with a good squirt of sriracha and a bit of oyster sauce or stir fry sauce. I like to top the whole thing with chopped scallions and pepitas.

Another really easy one is any variety of frozen vegetables and 2% cheese corn tortilla quesadillas.

Fish tacos (frozen fish, bagged slaw, and a bit of mayo mixed with chopped pickles for tartar sauce)

Loaded microwave "baked" potatoes filled with any and everything.

Tortilla or flatbread pizzas topped with whatever toppings of choice

Breakfast for dinner

1-2 oz of pasta cooked and mixed with frozen vegetables in sauce (there are so many out there)

Frozen veggies mixed with canned beans and 2% cheese rolled into a burrito and pan seared for a crispy crust

Sometimes we all have to find our own way to reign in ourselves. Good luck! :)

showyorkies
01-08-2014, 08:53 PM
I have been doing the same thing. I do simple points with Weight Watchers but eat all frozen foods - adding in lettuce and vegetables. I am horrible on portion control - I have NO control. This way of eating has worked for me. I have currently lost 40 lbs and the best part is my blood pressure if finally normal. I am elated. Good luck with your loss :)

Arctic Mama
01-09-2014, 12:47 PM
John - I think, sometimes, if someone has found success with one particular way of eating, a bit of tunnel vision may happen, and they forget that every person is different chemically, and what works for one person may not work for everyone. I lost 120 lbs, and was mostly doing very high protein/low carb, as well as portion control. But, my body chemistry is changing in my mid-forties, and low carb just isn't working for me anymore.

But, the solution from someone who has had success with that? "Low carb isn't working for you? Then the other stuff won't - you should go low carb." ;)

Sometimes, I think it's a lot like a "religious" belief - that of, "if your prayers aren't being answered, it must be your fault. Pray harder." I think people can get the same with diet. "If the diet that works so well for me isn't working for you, then you must be doing something wrong. Try harder."

It's amazing to me how few people (even medical professionals) don't understand that every person is different. That's why some anti-depressants work for some folks but not for others - because each person is chemically different. Nutritionists and medical professionals haven't yet caught up with that where diet is concerned. One person may do very well on a diet high in grains/carbs, while another one can't metabolize them at all and needs low carb, while another one seems to only do well with low calorie. As body chemistry changes, the things that work for us might also change.

The good thing is, most of us who have struggled with weight have learned so much we should BE nutritionists. ;) But we also struggle with being shamed by fellow dieters who think their way is the only way that works, and we should all follow it, or we ourselves want to preach what is working for us. We need to learn to find what works for us - even if it isn't all that popular with purists (did you see that alliteration there? :D ), and just go about doing it.

As long as you have a plan for 3-5 years out from a prepackaged meal plan I think you may do very well.

John - everyone's body is different, but biochemically the majority of the morbidly obese or former obese population are demonstrating profound carbohydrate intolerance in comparison to the population mean. This isn't some crazy bias but demonstrable in clinical study. My base advice is given on that premise, and my own anecdotes, not out of religiosity.

To the OP, you are free to disagree with me on these points, but slandering me as "shaming fellow dieters" is quite inconsistent with my posting history both on this thread and site. Keep working hard and keep tweaking until you find your proper approach, but we all benefit from not existing in an echo chamber of agreement. That includes me, as well.

And on a partial aside - this particular entry is fascinating in terms of analyzing energy expenditure and calorie intake. It isn't clear cut for ANY diet camp, as the body isn't a machine:
http://caloriesproper.com/?p=3373

I highly recommend all of Bill's work. Peter, at Hyperlipid, is also a great resource. Lastly, Dr. Feinman. The man is pure gold for thoughtful assessment of the data available. The following is another helpful tidbit:
http://feinmantheother.com/category/thermodynamics/

pluckypear
01-09-2014, 02:11 PM
I usually make my own (1 pkg frozen mixed veggies, 1/2 lb or less meat, beans, tvp, or meatballs, and a homemade or store-bought stir fry, pasta or simmering sauce).

I found the Birds Eye meal starters at Dollar Tree last week. I like them, because I can trust hubby to make these according to pkg directions if I'm not feeling well. Otherwise his cooking tends to be restaurant-style - delicious but highly caloric.

kaplods I really like this idea. How many servings does this make? What are some examples of sauces you use?

Thanks
Andrea

kaplods
01-09-2014, 03:10 PM
kaplods I really like this idea. How many servings does this make? What are some examples of sauces you use?

Thanks
Andrea

Hi Andrea,

1 (12-16 oz) bag veggies + 1/2 lb (raw, boneless weight) meat = 2 generous dinner servings, or 3 smaller lunch servings.

1 bag veggies + 1/4 lb meat = 1 very large meal - for when I'm really hungry or when I need to get in all my veggie servings at dinner because I didn't eat them earlier in the day.


Sauces I've used, include

Yoshida's Original Gourmet marinade and cooking sauce. Before I began making my own, this was my favorite terriyaki-style stir fry sauce. Delicious, but measure carefully and use sparingly, especially if you're watching sugar.

My own = soy sauce, vietnamese fish sauce, a thin drizzle of sweet soy (a carmelized soy sauce)or hoisin, some fresh or jarred garlic (sorry, no measurements on these, I just add to taste), and sometimes a tablespoon or two of no sugar added fruit spread (apricot from Aldi is my favorite). If I use the fruit spread, I omit the hoisin or sweet soy.

Spaghetti sauce (Aldi spaghetti sauces, because they're cheap and delicious). I usually use pepper and onions (sometimes sold as either fajita blend or pepper and onion stir fry blend) or an "italian blend" (peppers, onions, broad beans). If I have the time, or if I find a good price on bell peppers, I'll saute fresh onions and peppers and saute them in a nonstick pan with the meat before adding the pasta sauce.

I've been asked the "secret" to my spaghetti sauce many times - it's Aldi spaghetti sauce (mushroom or original), and half a packet of onion soup mix (Also from Aldi).

A can of diced tomatoes with green chilies makes a great sauce (with or without other seasonings).

Diced tomatoes come in several preseasoned flavors (for example Delmonte)

Fajita seasoning mix or ranch dressing powder make a nice dry seasoning mix. About half a packet.

Bottled salad dressing, such as italian or sesame ginger. Usually these need to be balanced with a bit of sweetener (sherry, sugar, splenda, fruit spread...)

A can of cream of anything soup. Cream of mushroom and a bit of sour cream makes a nice stroganoff flavor.

Soup or boillon cube plus 1/2 c water.

Progresso soups make a simmering sauce that is really good. I think it's called soup and recipe starter or something like that. They're really good, but any cream or tomato soup works just as well.

Sloppy joe sauce or barbecue sauce.

My favorite "sloppy joe" recipe 1 lb lean ground meat + 1 pkg coleslaw cut cabbage or several cups of finely shredded cabbage + sloppy joe sauce (It is hard to find low sugar sauces, so I don't make this too often. I'm experimenting to make my own, but haven't come up with one I really like, yet).

mandydawn77
01-09-2014, 04:32 PM
I recently decided to try this myself, but so far I haven't actually been eating as many frozen meals as I had intended. I think yesterday may have been the only day that I had one for lunch and then one for dinner. I have had one almost every day for lunch though. I only decided to start this last Friday and didn't really get started until Sunday due to a dinner party with my zumba buddies Friday night and making a big pot of homemade chicken and noodles Saturday. I too have portion control problems and when I have a big pot of anything yummy I don't have very good self control. Portion control is why I decided to try this. I have been seeing all the nutrisystem commercials and thought why can't I do this with meals from the grocery store. I still buy produce and fill in with steamed veggies as a low-cal, quick snack. Hummus and red cabbage is one of my new favorite snacks (thank you mrs. snark!). My official weigh in will be tomorrow, but as of this morning I was at 238.2 and that is way better than the 245 last Friday! I had put on so much over the holidays and in such a short amount of time! Anyway, I just ran across this thread and thought I'd post since I too had the same idea. Good luck to you on your weight loss journey!

crispin
01-09-2014, 05:54 PM
Crispin - I'm doing it for the same reasons - to get my stomach used to proper portions again. Today, I have a slow cooker of mixed beans with cajun spices going, and will add a little andouille sausage to that later - however, I already have the small bowl I will use to control my portion size, rather than eating out of a trough. ;)

Haha I hear you on the trough. That meal sounds delicious! I also love to cook and can lose my self-control when eating my prepared dishes. Ok, I feel like every time I post in here I say I'm your twin, but only b/c I can really relate. ;) Good job on choosing your scoop contraption early on.

I wish my frozen food expedition got me into freezing my own foods, but most of the foods I like to cook don't freeze well. I should get some staple recipes that do.

shcirerf
01-09-2014, 11:39 PM
I don't have a problem, short term, using the prepacked meals, to gain perspective, on portions.

Being a long term maintainer, I still have a few in the freezer for emergencies. I overslept, or whatever. They are not a staple anymore, but it is nice to have a go to, just in case!

However, it's a tool, to be taken for what it is, while we learn better long term habits.

pluckypear
01-12-2014, 12:55 AM
Thanks Kaplods. I will try this recipe.

yoyoma
01-12-2014, 07:49 AM
I have found a variety of ways of losing weight over the years and at any point in time, whatever is working is the best (for me)! Sometimes I focus on eating very low calorie foods, but I tend to get into the habit of eating large volumes that way (say, half a winter melon or a huge bowl of salad). That's fine until for some reason I start eating some more nutrient dense foods.

Pre-packaged single servings (frozen or other, like canned soup) can be really useful to readjust serving size perception. I also find not having to make and measure my own food a blessing. Cooking and measuring out my own portions involves countless micro-decisions and the process drains my supply of willpower which has plenty of other demands on it.

FWIW, I'm a Garden Lites Souffle junkie (especially the zucchini; roasted veg is great too).

I'll just add that as a departure from my norm, I've recently been eating in a 2.5-hour window without a restriction on volume (aside: there are some restrictions and allowances which I've found work for me personally). My point for mentioning this is that I was concerned that it would become a huge pig-out and I was afraid I would end up getting to used to eating large volume meals. But the opposite happened. Since I wasn't eating most of the day, my stomach got used to being mostly empty, and I found myself satisfied with less volume than usual. Just throwing that out there as a data point.