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Old 01-10-2012, 09:28 AM   #1
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Default Need advice on meal ideas/planning

I am having some problems and could use some advice. I am in that panicy overwhelmed mode right now where I start to feel like just giving up and I really am struggling not to do that. I just am trying to get back on track.

I know that the #1 thing that helps me is a good solid plan. The less of a plan I have the more I lose focus, get distracted, take the easy bad way, etc.. So i decided this time I would make a solid week long meal plan but I am having a very hard time doing so. I seem to be under my calories and trying to find stuff to add.

I am shooting for 1400 calories daily- 350 for each meal and 175 for snacks. With like 45 carbs for a meal- I am diabetic.

Here is like a sample day of what I am going for.
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_tracker.asp?id=
CAELESTIS

I am short like 200 calories!

Any advice or ideas would be deeply appreciated and loved. Thanks!
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Old 01-10-2012, 10:17 AM   #2
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I would recommend leaving they 200 extra calorie deficit and see if you're hungry - if you aren't, then you will lose that much faster.
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Old 01-10-2012, 03:09 PM   #3
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The way I started meal planning was by doing a full week at a time. I just keep my calories similar for each meal/snack of the week. B, S, L, S, D, S

I have a kind of routine.

For breakfast, I usually just pan fry an egg white with spinach and make a sandwich on some kind of low cal/high fiber bread, some kind of cheese or lean meat. There are so many variations of spreads, cheeses, meats, fresh herbs, etc. that can change the flavor profile.

For snack #1, I pack one fruit serving. During the summer it's usually blueberries and strawberries, in fall apples or pears, in winter I eat a lot of clementines. Anything will do. I just make sure to weigh the right amount.

Lunch I always make at least two kinds of soup on the weekend for my daily lunch, so when I pack my bag for the day, I just pull out one frozen cup of soup. I typically have 3-4 different types of soup on hand, so I just pull out the one I want to pack for the next day's lunch.

Snack #2 is pretty regularly a cup of either cherry tomatoes, baby carrots or a mixture of both and 3T hummus. I have a little tupperware container that I pack with hummus and throw into a baggie with the veggies. If I don't want that particular snack, sometimes I eat cheese with wasa or akmak crackers, natural jerky, measured out nuts with or without dried fruit.

Dinner I make a lot of easy dinner meals to supplement the more time-intensive meals that I freeze into portions on weekends. I cook big batches of tomato sauce, jar them, and freeze to have on hand. I do the same with zucchini/turkey meatballs, vegetable or meat curries, spicy beans, casseroles, burritos, chili, to eat for dinner everyday. I just make an entire dish, portion it into the 6-8 servings, then I pull a container out of the freezer for that night's dinner. Easy! Sometimes I need to add instant brown rice to my curry or beans, but it's only a ten minute wait time for a full meal.

If I don't pull something out of the freezer, I do quick meals:

-Make a little chicken when you can - grill, bake, crockpot, whatever. It helps to have it cooked when you're going for quick

-Salads are always easy, and can vary

-Soups with some veggies, broth, maybe pasta, maybe rice, maybe chicken (that you would have already made). All kinds of chili - chili is filling and can be incredibly healthy.

Asian noodle bowls are another variation. I use tofu noodles, but you can use rice noodles or anything around, some sriracha, hoisin, etc, and mix with your veggies and sauce.

-Flatbread pizzas. Take flatbread (I use flatout), bake, cover with toppings of choice, bake. I've made BBQ chicken, Thai chicken, regular pizza varieties, buffalo chicken.

-Tuna cakes - like crab cakes, but with canned tuna

-Veggie burgers. You can buy them or pre make your own on weekends.

-Roast your veggies. It's simple and tastes delicious with little to no prep

-Quesadillas are easy and delicious - I use Trader Joe's low carb

-Sandwiches and wraps

-I use barley as a "pasta" and mix with veggies and tomato sauce, maybe a little Parmesan.

-I make cheese sauce (for homemade macaroni and cheese) and even cook a little extra pasta to have on hand to make cooking even faster.

-Loaded microwave "baked" potato (roast your broccoli, maybe crisp up a chopped piece of turkey or center cut bacon),

-stir fry over quick cooking brown rice - you can even use the chicken that you've already cooked! Trader Joe's has a nice frozen stir fry mix in which the veggies taste much better than some of the others.

Snack #3 almost always ends up being a measured portion of popcorn or pirate's booty.

I just keep a routine and keep it simple so then I don't have to think too much about how much to eat. I often peruse websites that give calorie counts like www.skinnytaste.com, www.cookinglight.com, www.eatingwell.com, or www.eatbetteramerica.com

Last edited by Munchy : 01-10-2012 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:52 AM   #4
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WOW munchy, uve got total control of your food. I wish I knew what freezes well and what u cant. I tend to get lazy and not want to cook so i get paniky and eat crap.
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Breannaj1215 View Post
. I tend to get lazy and not want to cook so i get paniky and eat crap.
I can't speak for anyone else, but a big part of this process for me has been setting up my environment so I have healthy choices around so that I don't have "no choice" but to eat off plan. It does require fighting against the laziness, though. I don't freeze a lot but I do use my refrigerator - on the weekend, I cook dinner (at least the protein part of dinner) for the whole week. When i get home after a long day, there is no question, no panicking, just prep a vegetable and heat up what is already cooked in the fridge. I would not have succeeded had I not developed this practice!

To the OP: at your starting weight you might find you can lose on more than 1400 calories per day. Less is not necessarily more, especially if it leaves you feeling tired and crabby. That said, you can start at 1400 and see how it feels.

If you are having trouble getting to 1400, the answer is easy - just eat more! Take a slightly bigger portion of your protein. Add a boiled egg to one of your snacks. Drizzle some olive oil on your salad or grilled vegetables.

Okay, here is my typical weekday for you - it has more fruit in it than you might want if you are worried about carbs, but I think otherwise you will find it helpful:

Breakfast: 1 c. Kashi GoLean, 0.5 c. Skim milk, 1 apple

Lunch: 4 oz turkey on multigrain bread with lettuce, tomato, green pepper, cucumber, sprouts, side dish of more veggies

Afternoon snacks: banana, apple, and/or orange, boiled egg, or a little more Kashi

Dinner: 4 oz. chicken or fish, or 3/4 c. of lentils (protein part of dinner prepared over the weekend and stored in the fridge); a heaping portion of vegetables - sautéed, roasted, or a fresh salad, but always a LOT - most of the volume of my meal

Evening snack: a little cheese or Greek yogurt; sometimes a little fruit

It all comes out to 1400-1500 calories for me. I hope you find that helpful.
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Old 01-11-2012, 10:05 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Breannaj1215 View Post
WOW munchy, uve got total control of your food. I wish I knew what freezes well and what u cant. I tend to get lazy and not want to cook so i get paniky and eat crap.
Honestly, almost everything freezes just fine except potatoes and dairy-rich foods - the consistency changes enough to not be that palatable.

The easiest things to freeze are things in sauces or liquid (soup, chili, stew), and casseroles. I like to put them in individual containers so I don't end up having to defrost large amounts and be forced to either eat it all week or waste the rest. It's also the best for portion control. I'm so likely to take an extra spoonful or sliver of something if it's available, but if I'd have to defrost and eat an entire second serving, I'm not going to do it.

I freeze my casseroles for a few hours so they'll set but they're not impossible to cut with a sharp knife, cut into number of servings, and put the little squares side by side into gallon ziploc bags. I do this with chicken divan, chicken pot pie, and shepherd's pie (the potatoes seem to freeze fine, likely from the sauciness once it's heated up), all of which are easy to cook according to my dietary needs.

I work full time, I'm a single mom to a four year old with an extracurricular life, and I'm co-founder of an local non-profit. I'm too busy (read: exhausted) to cook everyday, but I care about my own health and hers as well. If that means I just have to plan a little more to make it all work, I don't mind. Honestly, I always hated the "what am I going to eat for dinner tonight" thoughts. Now I can make my time work for me, not against me.
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Old 01-11-2012, 01:21 PM   #7
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I do the same thing as @munchie pretty much. I also freeze things uncooked in big gallon ziplock bags and then throw them in the crockpot straight from the freezer. This is another situation where potatoes and sweet potatoes seem to do ok frozen.
Ooh, I love that idea. I have put the entire crockpot insert into the fridge the night before, but have never pre-prepped and frozen. Awesome!

Another trick is putting veggie ends/peels and meat bones into a "leftover" freezer baggie to make stock.
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Old 01-11-2012, 01:42 PM   #8
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Kara, that link is fabulous!

I actually started "freezer cooking" when my daughter started solids as a baby and I needed to make baby food. I quickly realized what a useful tool it was for me.

Thanks again!
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Old 01-11-2012, 03:27 PM   #9
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I like to eat to fulfill my protein needs. If you're diabetic you might want to add in some protein heavy snacks to help regulate blood sugar. Some good snacks I like are: peanut butter toast or peanut butter crackers, string cheese, fudgecicles(no sugar added are pretty good), greek yogurts, and of course veggies with lowered fat dressings or hummus.
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Old 01-11-2012, 05:46 PM   #10
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Thanks for that link, Kara. I have never thought of freezing the prep stuff either, but it makes so much sense. I mean, you can buy sliced, frozen peppers and onions, so there's no reason not to slice and freeze them yourself. Thanks!
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Old 01-11-2012, 11:17 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone for the help. That gave me alot of great ideas.

Quote:
I just keep a routine and keep it simple so then I don't have to think too much about how much to eat. I often peruse websites that give calorie counts like www.skinnytaste.com, www.cookinglight.com, www.eatingwell.com, or www.eatbetteramerica.com
Thanks. Skinnytaste is one of my very favorite sites already! I didn't have the others though and have been checking them out.

I am a horrid cook. The type of girl who would burn water lol. Slowly I am getting better. I try to do one new recipe a week.

It is just me and my husband and we rarely eat the same things. He can't have poultry and that is almost the only meat I really eat lol. So I am often cooking for just myself. I always hear about people making meals and freezing them but I admit I never have. Not to sound like a total cooking moron but I don't get how it works, like just throw it in the freezer then pop it in the microwave later? And it still tastes good?

Quote:
To the OP: at your starting weight you might find you can lose on more than 1400 calories per day. Less is not necessarily more, especially if it leaves you feeling tired and crabby. That said, you can start at 1400 and see how it feels.
Quote:
You don't have to do the meals and snacks thing if you don't want to. There is no physical advantage to eating more often - although there may be a psychological one.

Also at your height and weight, you definitely should start higher than 1400. 1400 is where you want to drop down to when/if you hit a plateau. I'd start at 1600 and go from there. I am 3" shorter than you and weigh 30 lbs less and I lose really quickly on 1600 with a little exercise.
Yeah I am using sparkpeople and it says I can go up to 1550 but I am just having such a hard time getting to that many calories lol

I definitely need specific meals. If I don't have it all laid out very solid planning I won't do it. I am just easily distracted without a firm plan I guess. My biggest issue now is that I will go all day without eating and then I am starving and will binge until I couldn't eat another bite. Or I will just graze all day long without noticing.


Quote:
@Munchy .. I started with ideas from this site and then went on to make my own recipes as well:

http://mamaandbabylove.blogspot.com/...ow-cooker.html
That is a great link!


Thanks everyone I think I will check out some casserole and slow cooker recipes that i can portion out and freeze for dinners and maybe lunch leftovers. Maybe one could last me all week so I would be set!
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:44 AM   #12
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It is just me and my husband and we rarely eat the same things. He can't have poultry and that is almost the only meat I really eat lol. So I am often cooking for just myself. I always hear about people making meals and freezing them but I admit I never have. Not to sound like a total cooking moron but I don't get how it works, like just throw it in the freezer then pop it in the microwave later? And it still tastes good?
Absolutely! Just put your meal in containers, freeze them, and when you want to eat one, take it out. Easy peasy. Sometimes I take things out the night before and stick in the fridge so they've defrosted more. Pasta that is not in soup or stew (like this recipe that I currently have frozen in portions) sometimes gets just a little too mushy if I microwave it from a solid frozen state.

During the weekend I do cook to eat right away, so that's when I'll make a steak, salmon, mussels, shrimp, etc, with separate sides. They wouldn't be as tasty if I pre-cooked and froze.

Quote:
Originally Posted by moonkissed View Post
I definitely need specific meals. If I don't have it all laid out very solid planning I won't do it. I am just easily distracted without a firm plan I guess. My biggest issue now is that I will go all day without eating and then I am starving and will binge until I couldn't eat another bite. Or I will just graze all day long without noticing.
One of my friends/co-workers did this and she has gained weight lately. For the new year, I have been making her daily lunches with calorie counts and she commented how she's no longer starving and overeating from dinner until bedtime.

It's worth a try for just a week.
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Old 03-18-2012, 12:38 PM   #13
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awesome suggestions here! I like what you do Munchy. I am going to try a similar plan. Boy, this has gotten me fired up to do the right thing. I resist cooking and prepping too and eat on the run too often. I realize now, that laziness keeps me fat. I am going to have to get up earlier to eat right and get my lunch together. Arghh, I hate that. But it is a fact and part of what I am going to have to do to get this thing manageable. Thanks everyone!
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Old 03-18-2012, 04:30 PM   #14
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1/2 cup of raw popcorn = 200 calories and it's considered a whole grain.

Air Popped Corn is great! I add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and just eat it when I'm hungry. You might want to use less salt if you use a lot of salt on your food. I don't use any so it doesn't hurt me. I heard from a doctor on CNN that you should only eat 1/2 teaspoon of salt per day because there's so much salt in fast food, canned and processed foods.
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