Food Talk And Fabulous Finds Recipes, Healthy Cooking, and General Food Topics

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Old 05-22-2013, 09:11 PM   #1  
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Question Cannot cook to save my life- help?!

Hi, I've just joind this forum after seeing some excellent advice on here! I've never been considered 'big', but I've steadily been piling on the pounds over the past 2 years since entering uni and I've had it with being 'not quite slim enough' and really want to properly lose weight this summer for fall!

My main issue is that I cannot cook for the life of me, everyone on weight loss forums or anyone I know that's trying to lose weight can usually cook themselves some delicious, healthy meals. I have really bad eating habits that probably stem from just not knowing how to do anything, which ends up with my relying on frozen foods and pizzas and pastas. I'm just not a healthy food person, but I obviously need to make changes to my diet. I'm also a vegetarian, so that means no lean turkey/chicken, which seems to be a diet food staple. I would love to make these delicious sounding salads and low-cal meals, but they just seem so complicated, I don't know how to even use the different vegetables, etc. so I just look for convenience in pre-packed salads, but those are way too expensive on a daily basis. I love stuff like SlimFast just because its easy and I don't have to think too much about my calories, also it saves time when I'm busy with university/work.

I'm not someone who gets bored of the same food, if I find something I like I can literally have it every breakfast or every lunch, so I really just need to find a few key foods. Could you guys please help me with some healthy yet filling options, mainly for lunch/dinner as I have healthy breakfast options that I enjoy. Thank you so much in advance and sorry for the long intro!
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Old 05-22-2013, 09:19 PM   #2  
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when i'm in a situation where I cant cook meals (although I love to cook) I do things like the veggie steamer packages in the freezer, yogurts, pre-packaged salads, cut up veggies or fruit at home and bring with me in a ziplock bag...I also would take cut up chicken to add to salads but you can't do that...
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Old 05-22-2013, 09:25 PM   #3  
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We make a huge salad every 3 days or so (me and my husband eat so much of it!) and it's much cheaper than buying the premade ones. We change it up with whatever veggies are on sale so it keeps it new and exciting (as much as a salad can be exciting!).

We do a lot of roasted vegetables, it's so easy. A little bit of Pam, some seasoning and the oven does all the work.

For easier nights when we are in a hurry (and to avoid going off our diet plan), we use the frozen steamed bags. There are a good variety of them in the store and they average about $1 a bag for 4 servings (we both do 2 cups of vegetables plus salad at dinner).

I think for us, it was more of getting into a routine. Now I find it easier and more satisfying to do what we are doing instead of relying on "bad" food.
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Old 05-23-2013, 10:41 AM   #4  
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My oven/stove is on the fritz right now, so I've been doing either quick salads or steaming veggies in the microwave. I've also dragged out my crock pot (good grief, that thing was dusty!) and have been making soups. My favorite right now is a lentil kale soup from WW. Here's a link:

It's only me here in my little apartment, so I'll cook up a big batch, let it cool, and then portion each serving out into ziploc baggies and freeze. When I'm in a soup mood, I'll take out one bag and defrost in the microwave. I'm thinking of checking the library to see if they have this on hand. The previews on Amazon looked interesting: lots of explanation and information, some illustrations, and a couple of variations of a dish right at the bottom of the main recipe. I've looked at a few of the other How to Cook Everything editions and I've liked the dishes I've made from them.

For me, meal planning is key. I'll look through a couple of cookbooks and decide what I want for the week before I go out shopping. When I get back, I try to group things in the fridge according to meals so when I'm ready to cook, I can just grab and go. It might take more time on Grocery Day to do, but getting your prep-work done beforehand on one day saves you time for the rest of the week.
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:26 PM   #5  
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I have the same issue i am not good cooking and after a whike I get bored of the same food. I think soups are a great thing you can make a veggie soup and it could last you a fes days. You can have that daily before your lunch and dinner. One of my favorites is a lentil soup. You start off by boiling the lentils on a pan you but olive oil and throw in chopped onion and garlic then you put in chopped tomatoe let that simmer and throw it in the lentils that are cooking put brocolli in the lentil soup to cook and spinach season the soup with oregano and some salt. You can also add chicken broth for more flavor.
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:30 PM   #6  
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If you absolutely can't cook and don't want to, there are vegetarian frozen dinners in the freezer case.
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Old 05-23-2013, 06:27 PM   #7  
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My suggestion is to look to your local community center. Many of them offer cooking classes.
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:30 AM   #8  
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There are plenty of easy things to make!

Think of the pre-packaged salads you usually buy and then try to replicate them. Start with a bunch of mixed greens as a base. I like fruit in my salads- one thing I might do is spinach, sliced strawberries, blueberries, and blue cheese crumbles with a balsamic vinaigrette. Or for more savory, mixed greens, some drained, rinsed chickpeas from a can, some sliced kalamata olives, some feta cheese, and some grape tomatoes. Once you start making them, you will start learning what you like. Greens with hardboiled eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, and light ranch is great and super simple.

What about bean burritos to take for lunch? Buy a can of fat free refried beans and get some of those low-calorie wraps. Put some beans in a wrap, top with salsa and lots of salad greens/cilantro. Roll it up, wrap it in plastic wrap, and you're good to go!

Soup is really easy to make, probably a good thing to start with if you're learning to cook. Plus, you can keep tinkering with it until it tastes right to you. It's almost impossible to muck up! My advice would be to start with pre-made vegetable broth, though, because making a stock can be difficult and the pre-fab stuff is pretty decent (just try to find the low-sodium kind).

I second the idea about frozen veggies. One of the things I like to do is take one of those little Velveeta single-serving macaroni and cheese meals and cook that in the microwave, then while it's cooling, cook a half a bag of frozen broccoli. Then I mix them together. It's plenty of sauce to cover both, and it comes in around 300 cal for a very easy and filling meal.

I've said for a long time that if you can read, you can cook. Look up recipes and get ideas. Look for easy recipes at first. The more you do it, the more confident you will get and the more you can improvise and make different things. Cooking can be a great joy and a stress reliever, plus it feels wonderful to make food for someone else. It's as easy or as hard as you want it to be.
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