Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Let's Talk About Food

Okay... so we all love to eat.  We all need to eat.  But for me, food is truly a love-hate relationship.  When I first got married, I loved to cook.  It was fun to surprise my hubby with new meals every night.  Of course, he stayed toothpick thin while I packed on the pounds!  No fair!  As the children came along, the new meals every night became more of a chore, and we now have a few select favorites.  Then you get bored with your favorites.... as life gets busy, it is just easier to grab something fast or go out to eat... also a love hate relationship.  While I love eating out, it is harder to make good choices, and of course, more expensive.

Over the years, I've made grocery list after grocery list. I've scourged the internet for more and more simple recipes.  I've tried really hard to make a plan, stick to it, waste less, eat out less, and provide healthy meals for my family.  I've also tried losing the weight gained in the first year of marriage and with each pregnancy.

In the last year, I've lost 50 pounds, and have kept it off.  While I did begin my loss with a juice fast brought on by watching Sick, Fat, and Nearly Dead, I've had help from a few other sources.  First, Skinny Taste has countless low calorie, healthy recipes that are now on our new favorites list.  Never have I tried one of Gina's recipes and been disappointed! They're wonderfully delicious.... and she uses a lot of cilantro, which we love. (If I believed in reincarnation, I'm sure I was Mexican before this life!)

The second tool that has helped as far as my weight loss has been Myfitnesspal.  It is a great site and has an ap for your phone where you can log your food.  Logging food has proven to be a major factor in successful weight loss. Myfitnesspal has a ton of foods already in their list.  I can put in hummus from 2 or 3 different brands, and they will already be there with nutritional info ready.  I select the one I want and add it to my list.  I can plug in my own recipes and it will give me nutritional info for that, or I can add a new food to the list by plugging in the nutritional info on the label.  The ap is handy when you are out to eat and want to know how many calories in a specific restaurant's dish.  It lets you know how many calories you have left to eat. Oh- and you can track your exercise and how many calories you've burned from that!  I love it... now if I could just get back to using it, and losing again!  I did lose weight when I was faithful with logging my foods! You can also have friends and leave them encouraging messages! It's great! By the way, this site is completely FREE!!!

Lastly, on the grocery shopping side of the food dilemma...  Being as I don't experience weekends the way most of you do, finding time to make a list and shop is very challenging.  Last week we ate out a ton because I hadn't shopped (big shopping) for 2 weeks(almost 3 now)!  Thank God for freezers and fast food!  One day, in desperation, I came across SayMmm.  I was floored that someone had created this and was sharing it for FREE! Woohoo!  SO, with SayMmm you can plan your meals.  Most of the meals I've used from Skinny Taste are already loaded into the database, so I can simply link the meal to my calendar.  Then, all the ingredients go directly to my shopping list.  Spices, and things you normally have on hand go in the "check pantry" section and you can simply click to add them to your list if you are running low and need to replace them.  I can also add my own recipes.  It does take a minute or to add the recipe and all the ingredients, but you only have to do it once.  There is also a database of recipes you can use; you can search by ingredient or title, or browse for fun.  You "click" the recipe to add it to your plan.  Once your weekly plan is on your nice calendar, you can view the entire calendar, one day, one month, or one week at a time.  Then you "create list".  SayMmm takes all your ingredients for all your recipes in that time frame you set, and creates you a list!!!!  You can choose to arrange it by recipe or by store sections, for example: dairy, produce, frozen, etc.  There are some "premium" options I have not used, but I believe they will estimate your cost and calories!  Fantastic.  Oh, and did I mention that all but the premium options are FREE!!!

I try to make my list when I'm at work and give it to hubby to shop for me.  Then, he can go to the website and find out what's for dinner, print the recipe and have it ready before I go to work!  Yippee!!! Easy, FREE, and wonderfully helpful. 

The last thing I do to help with our crazy schedule, is organize a casserole swap.  Every 6 weeks or so, my FB homeschooling group gets an invite to participate in the casserole swap.  I've just sent out the invite to our 3rd event.  About 6-7 people have been signing up, which is just right.  So, you make 6-7 of the same casserole and then exchange them on one evening.  It works out great.  Every Tuesday, I pull one out of the freezer and stick it in the oven before we leave for gymnastics... Hubby gets home a little later and pulls it out when it is done.  And...tada! Dinner is served, just add salad!

Maybe some of these things will be helpful to you!  Happy meal planning!!!

Linking up with Darlene

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