How do you plan your meals?

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Darkginger

How do you plan your meals?

Just wondering how other people do it - sometimes I find myself getting into a rut, cooking the same things over and over again - and when that happens, I go looking for special offers on the Tesco delivery site (at least when I'm here in the UK).

They usually have a '£7 for 2 or £10 for 3' offer on main ingredients like mince, whole chickens, salmon steaks etc., so I choose my 3 from their list, then go off Googling for recipes which use them, then back to the Tesco site for any ingredients I don't have.

This coming week I'm planning skate wings with caper butter, poached salmon steaks with watercress sauce (again, Dad loves it), shepherd's pie (with mashed celeriac instead of spuds), and chicken creole (based on a recipe I love for prawn creole).

I find it fun and relaxing to wander through recipe sites for inspiration, but a lot of my friends seem to think I'm nuts not to just eat 'normal' stuff (by which they seem to mean lasagne, chilli, curry and pizza) all the time - have had Facebook comments to the effect of 'do you ever eat basic food?' - which I DO, but don't bother posting status updates about an omelette, for example!

I know I'm a bit odd with the low carbing (11 lbs left to lose, in answer to whoever it was who asked, thanks!), and therefore perhaps have to be a bit more creative when food planning - but I can't be the only person who really enjoys cooking, as a hobby, and therefore spends time planning new things to try? How do you do it, and what inspires you?

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Esther R

How do you plan your meals

I get ideas from magazines, cookery books, websites etc. I try to plan at least four days in advance. I buy frozen free range chicken breasts from Waitrose and frozen mince occasionally. I also buy fish and sometimes have vegetarian meals with lentils, chickpeas etc. Like you Darkginger I like looking for recipes and cooking from scratch. I hate having the same meal too often but I do have old favourite recipes I return to again and again.

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Dottie May

How do you plan your meals?

In the past I used to cook meals from scratch using recipes from books and magazines but the older I got I found I wasn't as active as I used to be and things were taking me much longer. Although I still enjoy cooking I do find I'm now buying things like Waitrose readymade Bolognaise Sauce instead of making my own. Also buying their readymade Steak and Ale Pies instead of making my own. I stil cook a roast once a week with all the trimmings but now chops or chicken breast and we have a fillet steak with mushrooms, tomatoes and onion rings. We have fish during the week but here again it is usually ready battered and cooked in the oven. Occasionally I do a pork or chicken stir fry. Maybe I'm just plain lazy but don't think so....to me ready meals have become so tasty and quick to prepare. I still make cake(s)but buy readymade pastry for tarts/pies these days.

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Christine - Lancashire Lass

Low Carbing

Darkginger I find it interesting that you are going the low carbing route - I did the Atkins a few years ago & lost quite a bit of weight & although it suited me healthwise I found it too restricting long term. However, it sounds like you are doing your own version & I'm interested in how you are doing it - are you simply cutting out bread, potatoes, pasta & rice & not taking into account other ingredients in sauces etc?

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Darkginger

Low carbing

I originally did Atkins some 8 years ago, lost 5 stone, kept it off for 3 years, then slipped and put it all (plus a bit) back on again over the next 3 years (sigh). This time I've realised that it has to be a permanent change in the way I eat, so I'm trying to do it in a sustainable way - which means allowing myself the things that make life bearable - like onions, tomatoes, carrots etc. MOST of the time I eat along the lines of Atkins induction, but perhaps 20% of my meals allow a bit more leeway, and very occasionally I'll splurge on a 'special' meal - today being a case in point, as we went to my very favourite restaurant (the Hotel du Vin in Brighton) for Sunday lunch - I had 2 small slices of French bread, 1 small roast spud, 2 bites of a Yorkshire pud, and a creme brulee!

Having said that, lunch is the only meal I'll be eating today, and this is the first time since Easter Sunday that I've had any bread (we were at the same restaurant then), or anything with sugar in it.

I believe that dieting is like an elastic band - if you pull too hard against your natural inclinations, you'll zap right back as soon as your willpower fails - so the best way to eat is one which doesn't take any willpower in the first place. Low carb foods are the foods I enjoy - steak, poultry, fish, seafood, cheese etc. with lots of cream-based sauces (got to get the fat in!) to accompany them, and piles of salad leaves. I've never been a great fan of fruit, but enjoy strawberries and raspberries in season, so I have some in the summer.

Today is Day 280 since I re-started - I keep a food diary, but don't actually count carbs, I just eat low carb foods, and it works. Now I'm so close to goal, the weight is shifting very very slowly, but that's not a bother cos a) I'm at a reasonable size now, can buy clothes from 'normal' shops etc., and b) I know that the weight WILL come off if I continue to eat this way - there's no rush.

My downfall foods were always savoury ones - bread, pizza, pies, mashed spuds - never have had much of a sweet tooth, so I find this quite easy. I'm sure it would be a lot more difficult for people who like cakes, chocolate and biscuits, but I never really have. Also, reading Gary Taubes' 'Why We Get Fat' helped me to understand the metabolic processes that lead to laying down fat (all to do with insulin, really), and that helps me make the right food choices.

So yeah, I eat along Atkins lines, but manage to incorporate loads of treats like red wine reduction sauces, creamy garlic and Parmesan sauces, hollandaise and mayonnaise and all that good stuff. There is no food I will NEVER eat (well, maybe some fast or processed foods, cos I'm snobby like that!), but there are many foods I will only eat on special occasions - IF I feel like it!

This year's birthday feast (for example) will be a plain boiled lobster with butter and salad - perfectly Atkins, and perfectly yummy. My mantra is 'treat, don't cheat' - so my indulgences are things like the aforementioned lobster, or maybe a fillet steak, or a duck breast (have devised a low carb sauce Bigarade which goes well with it), or something like that. Most of the time it's cheaper foods like mince, chicken, tinned tuna etc., but I do enjoy a good splurge!

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Christine - Lancashire Lass

Low Carbing

Many thanks for that reply Darkginger - it's inspired me to get on the wagon again, but like you to do it "my way". I too have put most of the weight I lost back on & as you get older it gets harder to lose it doesn't it? I've always been a savoury dishes person rather than a sweets/desserts lover so the kind of food you describe is also the way I like to eat. Like you I love mashed potato & bread & they have been my downfall I'm afraid, but it's good to know that you can still lose weight even allowing yourself the occasional treat. I'll look out for the book you mentioned which sounds interesting & will give me a good insight into the way foods work within your body. So thanks again!

 
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