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starting a diet tomorrow (well today now actually)

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and am in search of inspiration. anyone have any great healthy low cal dishes and/or snacks they care to share? some can be hard but some easy ones for dinners post working with the kids would be great too. thanks!!!!

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  1. AMFM, we'll probably be of more help if you could tell us what you like to eat vs. not like to eat; fish okay? Tofu okay? etc.
    But to get you started, here's a link to a very good thread on weight watcher recipes:

    1. If you have any weaknesses - people can help you with that. Me? salty snacks so I make my own pita chips from lots of things, I love ww pocket bread and joseph's low pita bread and those new Arnold's sandwich rounds (each of these is only 1 point on weight watchers) so I just cut them up (sometimes triangles, sometime strips), spray with pam then season with herbs. 225 oven for mayby 10-15 min.
      If you are a sweet snacker - pizaelli's are very low (Hannaford Bros has a really great one, thicker then most and only 1 point)

      Our dinners consist mostly of vegies, with little protein and little brown rice or coucous or potato. We are back on WW and it's going very well.

      Most seasoning and herbs and condoments are good/low. I do a lot with mustards for jazzing up fish, meats. This week I'm going to try homemade raviolis with wonton wrappers (I believe they are low).

      Good luck!

      1 Reply
      1. re: lexpatti

        I just purchased those Arnold's rounds. Thought they were tasty toasted and spread with a small amount of hummus.
        I followed the Curves diet plan and go there for exercise. Breakfast is one slice ww toast with 1/2 C egg beaters sort of fried and seasoned with Zatrain's or your favorite seasoning, one slice provolone cheese, two thin slices of ham. I found I really need to start of the day with protein. Snack is one apple and one piece of stick cheese. Lunch is a huge salad, mostly greens. Dressing is 2T orange juice, 1T red wine vinegar and 1T EVO and 1/2 tsp salt. I usually have a small roasted chicken drumstick and an orange with lunch. Afternoon snack is 3 Bistro multigrain crackers spread with a bit of hummus and 12 or so grapes. The diet theory is 3 meals plus 2 snacks a day to keep your energy level up. You need to eliminate starches, sugars from your diet. Go whole wheat and brown rice. A serving of meat is the size of a deck of cards. Unfortunately some of my favorite vegetables like peas, potatos and winter squash are high in carbs/sugars. Eat more zukes and green beans, carrots, etc.
        It's weird because before the diet I didn't care for apples because they made me hungrier. Now I crave fresh fruit esp my daily apple. Cooking Light magazine helps me with a lot of recipes. Nuts are also good for snacking. I don't feel hungry on this diet because of the healthy snacks and no longer feel sleepy all afternoon.
        I have a grill pan for quick chicken breast meals. I enjoy a variety of seasonings. DH doesn't. Pork tenderloins are great and okayed by DH's nutritionist for low fat meals. Good luck on your diet.

      2. I've just discovered roasted soynuts, which are crunchy and salty and satisfy the crunchy/salty need. They have protein, so they aren't empty calories, and I don't feel bad about dipping into them. Also snacking on raw sugar snap peas! Quite satisfying, because they crunch. I'm at an age where if I don't pay attention, my weight will creep up alarmingly, so I have to start paying attention. It's a drag.

        1 Reply
        1. I recently discovered Chia seeds (Salvia hispanica) -- yes, the same seed those of us of a certain age remember growing as Chia pets. I add 2 level T. to my morning cereal, yogurt, or cottage cheese. They are ultra satisfying (essentially tasteless), and get me through the morning with lots of energy for only additional 45 calories. I don't know if it is the high fiber (4 grams) or the fatty acid (they are a good source of omega-3 and -6) or the fact that they swell up in my tummy 7-fold, or some combo of all the above, but I am finding them a great addition to "mindful eating" (I am don't have the patience to go on a "diet" anymore). If you add them into your diet, remember to drink an extra glass or 2 of water!

          1 Reply
          1. re: dkenworthy

            Dang, I can't imagine eating them uncooked! I eat chia cereal hot sometimes. It's some solid food in the gut. Healthy stuff, though.

          2. thanks all. the challenge i have is that i'm cooking for a 2 and 6 year old (who aren't picky for their ages at all but are still only 6 and 2 so don't do salads well) and for a husband who is INSANELY picky for his age! :)
            i'm willing to eat separately/share parts of meals. whole meals of tofu likely won't fly unless it's easy for lunch. but seafood is ok.
            the snack ideas are great so i appreciate. i love snap peas so i can't wait for them to start looking better at the market! :)

            42 Replies
            1. re: AMFM

              Are you my twin? I have a 4 year old and 2 year old and a husband who is INSANELY picky for his age! But there are ways around this.

              I have been following Weight Watchers for the past 2 months and I have some suggestions for you, but I will have to post later when I am at home (they are cracking down on internet usage at work -- oh the horror!).

              One meal that I make for my family is Fajitas and it works for all of us. It is low fat, tasty, and I load up on the peppers and onions with a small amount of chicken and 1 small tortilla, while my husband and kids have the chicken, tortillas and then add some cheese. So it works all around and I'm only cooking 1 dinner.

              I will post more tonight, but here is the Fajita recipe that I use -- it is foolproof (but I leave off the avocado -- love it, but too fattening).


              1. re: valerie

                Fajitas are a great idea- I use colorful bell peppers and tons of onions. When the veggies are cooked with chicken or beef it takes on the flavor so you don't need to eat too much. Also, I find a few thin slices of avocado makes a delicious difference- to me it's worth it.

                Pizza is also a great idea. For yourself, use a low calorie pita split in half, and for the rest of the family, use individual crusts. Let everyone put their own toppings- that way your husband can have all cheese and you can put all veggies.

                1. re: cheesecake17

                  I'm sure someone will have already mentioned this but I can't read all these posts- replacing beef with ground turkey in things like fajitas is a really simple switch

                  1. re: CoryKatherine

                    Be careful on assuming that ground turkey is leaner than ground beef. It isn't always. It's better to actually check the labels for the fat percentages. I like the extra lean (92%) ground beef or bison.


                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      Agreed. And ground turkey (and I think to a lesser extent, chicken) is surprisingly high in cholesterol. I suspect this is because some of the skin gets ground in. That said, if you're not watching cholesterol, the super-low-fat ground turkey is a good option.

                      Also, check out the turkey and low fat smoked sausage and kielbasa options in your meat case. Many are low in fat/cholesterol and very high in flavor. Just a little added into some soup or a seasoned rice or sauteed greens dish can really be satisfying.

                      1. re: ChristinaMason

                        There :is: ground turkey BREAST, which is 99% fat free and very low in cholesterol. It's pricier than regular ground turkey, but such a good option!

                        1. re: operagirl

                          The fat content of any ground meat is heavily dependent on who is doing the grinding and how much fat (in the case of poultry, skin) they grind in. You can't assume even ground turkey breast is 99% fat free. Unless you've ground it yourself, you have to check the fat percentage.


                          1. re: operagirl

                            Just in case anyone is interested, this is the produce I purchase:


                2. re: AMFM

                  Let me ask before I go into lots of recipes.

                  Tons a simple pasta recipes with easy quick sauces
                  Seafood any think you want, let me know if you would like.
                  I just roasted some chickens (well smoked) but you can just roast, I make quesadillas,
                  add veggies mushrooms or just cheese with the chopped chicken, You don't need tons
                  of sour cream, but guacamole is great for you.
                  Soups are great and simple stews to help with you and your family, veggie and chicken
                  in a crock pot can be healthy
                  Grilled steak a think skirt is great, have some chimchurri for you and dmaybe another
                  sauce for your kids and husband.
                  Turkey ground is great for meatballs, even I make a fun meatloaf in pepper rings
                  Shrimp is wonderful stir fried or just steamed or grilled on skewers with a dipping sauce
                  Spring rolls is a great way to use leftover meat, poultry or seafood. Some presliced carrots and cabbage with some fresh cucumber and a simple dipping sauce, terriyaki (low sodium is ok) Lots of sauces to choose from.
                  Fresh vegetables in a casserole can be fun, use those that the kids and family like.
                  Brown rice is great, lots of vegetables with added spinach chick peas, but there would be ways your husband would never know.
                  And some cheese is ok, all in moderation.

                  Anyways, post back if you want me to send any, be more than happy. I thought I would start with some ideas first.

                  No fried, but there are ways to get a fried texture and some of the flavor without frying, lots of grains too. I would stay away from heavy creams but nothing wrong with a cream sauce, maybe lower in fat and calories.

                  1. re: kchurchill5

                    would love a few pasta recipes, seafood, or crock pot things - i'm going back to work and would like a few simple ideas.

                    1. re: AMFM

                      Shrimp in a simple marinade. Orange juice, olive oil, a few red pepper flakes and soy (low salt), garlic. Marinade and then stir fry with snap peas, some thin sliced red pepper, onion and mushrooms. Also bean sprouts and water chesnuts and carrots are also great in this. I was going easy with the picky husband. Towards the end I add a little veggie broth and a dash more soy with some ground pepper. I like this served over rice, but use what you enjoy, You can go light on the rice, white or brown, but all in moderation is the key.

                      Stuffed potatoes, have fun, beef tips, left over from a roast. Chicken left over or all vegetables. I cut mine in half and then lay out the place. You are adapt to eat more veggies and less potato. Let the kids have sour cream, beef or even some chili and you veggies.

                      I love pasta with some artichokes, black olives, some diced chicken and some pesto (store bought is ok) some grape tomatoes halved and thin sliced onions. Use some of the oil from the chokes and a simple vinaigrette and add to the pasta. Amazing simple flavor. Also add shrimp to this or scallops and dinner is served.

                      Simple garlic, fresh tomatoes or you can even use a diced good canned, some sliced mushrooms and a healthy pasta dish. Don't worry about some cheese. MODERATION

                      Also, I good whole grain pasta helps same with rice

                      I love a pasta with some sauteed mushrooms and onions with a little chicken broth and yes, some cream, just a touch is good and then toss with a spinach pasta and add some fresh spinach at the end. The heat will naturally wilt it. Add a some sprinkle of parm just for flavor, don't need much.

                      I make a chick pea sauce with fresh wilted spinach, garlic, olives and chick peas, but thought they may be out with you husband.

                      I'll do another post with crock pot and fish

                      1. re: kchurchill5

                        everything is out with the hubby. seriously he eats no veggies so i have to separate stuff out. but the chick pea sauce sounds great so post - my kids and i will eat it. they love chick peas! :)

                        1. re: AMFM

                          Great, doing seafood and crock pot next.

                          He eats NO veggies?

                          I do make a stew with potatoes, carrots and onions, any hope there?

                          1. re: kchurchill5

                            i usually just cook separate - which is fine with the kids too. he eats corn and artichokes and potatoes. onions if they're so small he can't sense them. seriously, he picks green parsley flakes off things. but he'll just make frozen pizza when he hates it, sad but true.

                            1. re: AMFM

                              Wow -- you're much more patient than I would be.

                              1. re: rememberme

                                Please my husband would go hungry then, I make one meal and if he doesn't eat it he can make his own (and clean up after himself) or go hungry!

                                AMFM - Are you a saint?

                          2. re: AMFM

                            Hope about cheese quesadillas or pizzas, you guys could make your own, seafood with shrimp or chicken, goat cheese or regular cheese some spinach for you etc.

                            Make some of the pasta sauces and puree the artichoke and spinach and cheese and just mix. I bet he will never know cuz he can't see it. Same flavor

                            1. re: kchurchill5

                              I hate to chime in with a contrary opinion, but I keep seeing "cheese" pop up here as a recommendation. While no food should ever be completely off-limits, if one's serious about losing weight, I have to say, it's doing to be hard to drop any pounds if cheese-based dishes like quesadillas and pizzas are your mainstays. [Also, if you're having quesadillas and pizza and pasta, try to make sure you're using whole grain tortillas, pizza dough and pasta.]

                              It's so easy to say, "Oh, I'll just have an ounce of cheese", which would be about the most I'd eat in a sitting when I'm trying to lose weight, and then let one oz turn into two or three. Of course, it depends on how much you have to lose, but as you get closer to your target weight, it's very hard to eat more than a very small amount of cheese and still see results on the scale.

                              Personally, I think a person in weight-loss mode ought to think of cheese as a "seasoning", an approach that's most effective when you use very flavorful cheeses, like parmesan or goat cheese, sparingly. Not as the foundation of a dish.

                              If your husband doesn't eat vegetables, you might be better off just serving up very simple meals of broiled, grilled, steamed or poached lean protein, a side of whole grains, a side or two of vegetables your husband can ignore (will he eat a side of fruit instead?) I like to see 1/3 to 1/2 of my plate be vegetables; don't skimp on the vegetables for yourself, even if your husband hates them. This is kind of a boring approach to meals, but it's expedient [which leaves you with time to spare for things like exercise] and everyone can have as much or as little of the foods s/he likes/dislikes without sabotaging you. You can make things interesting for yourself by experimenting with different whole grains and vegetables and proteins and such.

                              I love the frozen bananas suggestion below. I also like frozen grapes as a snack, which someone else mentioned below.


                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                and to add on to the cheese discussion: we buy those lil round baby bells (light) and they are 1 pnt on ww - no joke, I'll shred it or cut it up. I like the flavor, also that low motz is not bad on stir fries (little goes a long way when it melts). As Dairy Queen says, fresh parm grated over is sooo much more flavorful then the green container of cheese.

                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  I do agree with less cheese, but I also think a little goes a long ways. I love 25 lbs last year and continued to use cheese. I just used it very sparingly and just a little gave it lots of flavor. To me some dishes have too much. Also some of my pizzas I hate with thin crusts, even whole wheat pitas and topped with sometimes no cheese or some times just a couple of crumbled goat cheese. I make a ricotta based white sauce I put on pizza with some fresh vegetables that is great.

                                  My second comment didn't go through (internet problems last night) It has a few good rubs and simple marinade for grilled fish, pork and some easy crock pot dishes. And agree with veggies, I also have a lot but when I dieted tried to add a little pasta, rice or some kind of grain just to even it out but all in moderation. You also have to balance it with everything else you have ate that day as well.

                                  Love the grapes, it hurts one of my teeth (sensitive to cold but still eat them)

                                  1. re: kchurchill5

                                    Yep, I agree with the importance of whole grains--I mentioned that, emphasized it even, in both of my previous posts in this thread.

                                    But, when I say whole grains, I don't really mean just mean "whole wheat bread" or "whole wheat pasta" I mean actual WHOLE GRAINS. Quinoa, barley, steel cut oats, millet, wild rice, farro, bulgar, popcorn, and even polenta to a degree. I think one of the best things you can do for yourself from a healthy diet perspective is explore new whole grains. I swear, it's life changing. The nutritional impact is very high , you'll feel full and satisfied longer, and it's interesting enough to keep you from getting bored. Some you'll like, some you won't, but surely you'll end up with an expanded repertoire. I cook all of mine in a rice cooker and almost always use homemade chicken or vegetable stock instead of water to boost the flavor.

                                    Heidi Swanson's site is great for a source of recipes and inspiration if you are unfamiliar with many of the grains, as are some of the links I provided in my first post in this thread: http://www.101cookbooks.com/whole_gra...

                                    Also, I always forget to mention legumes. Very effective in keeping you full and satisfied in a healthy low-calorie way.

                                    And, yes, a little bit of parm or goat cheese can be fabulous as a flavoring. Other high-fat flavorings that are delicious in moderation and actually have some of those "healthy" fats in them are nuts (walnut, almonds, sunflower seeds especially) and the aforementioned avocado. Again, in small quantities.

                                    Oh, and lemon and lime juice. Think of all of the ways these can be used to flavor and perk up your foods. A nice window-sill herb garden is nice, too. Garlic and ginger. Red pepper flakes. Dried mushrooms of all varieties. Great high-flavor things to have around all the time.

                                    P.S. to lexpatti above. I know it's not very chowhoundly of me, but I like that laughing cow "lite" cheese, too. :). When I'm really pressed for time, I break it up and put it in some cooked, but still hot, whole wheat pasta along with some shrimp and fresh arugula or spinach and lots of freshly-ground-pepper--you can get one wedge to serve two that way.


                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      Total agreement, love all the grains.

                                      I make shrimp, arugula, olives; pesto and some roasted red peppers in whole wheat spaghetti. The shrimp marinated in a simple vinaigrette just for a few minutes as I prepare the rest. Yes store bought pesto and red peppers and a jar of olives, but not too bad. Still pretty healthy. I make this a whole pot and then back it for leftovers for a couple of days. I love that too!! Only enough pesto to lightly coat the pasta is all you need.

                                      FYI, the COW, rocks. I like it too. I have used in many times. A quick go to

                                      1. re: kchurchill5

                                        Agree--olives are a fantastic way to add flavor in a hurry. You don't need many. Also, artichoke hearts, roasted red bell pepper, marinated mushrooms, etc. as long as they are not swimming in oil. Anchovies!


                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          Love all that. Love some anchovies .... a little at a time is ok.

                                          I did have an anchovy dish with pasta which was amazing. Not sure where I got this other than my friend, she got it from a friend of a friend thing. It was great.

                                          It had olive oil, anchovies which she said, currants which were great, pine nuts and tomatoes, onion, fennel, a think saffron although he didn't say that (yellow color) and the pasta, Linquini or spaghetti and some spice. I think a spicy pepper. It was decadent and very good. Just a simple dish which was perfect. It had a think bread too mixed with the pasta or bread crumbs, couldn't tell. And fresh basil of course ...

                                          1. re: kchurchill5

                                            I see below that AMFM doesn't have that much to lose. In that case, I really caution to be more vigilent about the sparing use of nuts and cheeses.


                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              I agree, it depends how much and how easily you loose and how much exercise you and and .... how much you eat during the day. All concerns. Nuts were a treat for me. Now and then just is small quantities. They satisfied my craving. But yep, all depends on each individual body. Me NOT carbs would kill me. No way. I could never, but I try to eat everything as many of the programs like nutrisystem and jenny craig. Still some carbs, but all in relation.

                                              Even today I ate a poached egg for breakfast and a chicken and veggie soup (broth no cream) for lunch and seared grouper with a lime cream, just low fat 2 tablespoons of cream with lime and chili powder for dinner, with fresh zuchinni, baked thin slices with cumin and chili powder and my carbs (some couscous with scallions in veggie broth and fresh sliced mushrooms.

                                            2. re: kchurchill5

                                              I love a few olive on a salad or with pasta. I also recently discovered peppadew peppers- awesome plain or with salad

                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          Whoa! Whole grains are great and really tasty BUT they ain't silver bullets!
                                          They have just as many calories as white rice and plain old pasta.
                                          And calories DO count.

                                          You still have to pay close attention to the QUANTITY you eat, especially to the little drizzles of olive oil, etc. Just becasue olive oil is considered a "healthy fat" doesn't mean you get a free pass for adding it. Healthy fats are still fats. Can you stop at 10 almonds? Really?

                                          Pull out your measuring cups, spoons, and YES, even a small digital scale, and MEASURE everything until you get an instinctive sense of exactly how much you're actually putting into your mouth.
                                          One half cup is a lot less than you are used to guessing that it is.
                                          It was a shock to me how often I was misjudging portion sizes.

                                          This is a really useful website for calories. http://www.calorieking.com/foods/
                                          Just don't forget all the little add-ons that we use to add pizzazz!
                                          A bit of olive oil, some cheese and a few olives or nuts can easily DOUBLE the calories load of the most innocent foods.

                                          1. re: MakingSense

                                            I don't think I suggested that whole grains were silver bullets, or that they were exempt from calories, just that they often have higher nutritional value. Also, that they fill you up more (because of the fiber), which is key to feeling satisfied when you're "dieting". Also, I think it's important to experiment to keep from getting bored and I personally had a lot of fun experimenting with different whole grains. Rice and pasta and potatoes day in and day out can get boring.

                                            Notice I also said that about 1/3 to 1/2 of my plate is vegetables. With 1/2 my plate being vegetables, there's hardly unlimited quantities of whole grains and proteins on my plate. I agree with you that 1/4-1/2 cup is about right. And usually 4-6 oz of lean protein, depending on what it is, is about right.

                                            I think also was quite clear in my first post below that SMALL amounts of healthy fats is key. Again, I didn't suggest drenching anything in olive oil or any other kind of fat. Also, when I suggested nuts and avocado are good to add flavor, in SMALL quantities. And a flavorful cheese, if you like to add it, is something you should do in small, in my case never more than about a 1 TBSP, is what you would use.


                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              Also, I wanted to mention these fabulous "everyday" dishware that I have from Williams Sonoma. I like it because it's "normal sized" when so much dishware these days is oversized, which just makes your food look so lonely with all of that extra white space. I really think those plates help me keep my portions in control.


                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                TDQ, I have the W-S everyday restaurant dishes, too (ironic that they call them that, given restaurant and most other dishes are so much bigger), and I agree that they are the perfect realistic size for dinner plates.

                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                  At first I thought they were too small, but now that I realize what a helpful "tool" they are, I'm very pleased with them.


                                              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                I know that your intent was clarity but your " small" or "drizzle" may not be the same volume as another person's.
                                                Subjective measurements are potential pitfalls for dieters.
                                                That's why my post emphasized using measuring tools until you get a handle on it.

                                                Yes, a lot of people - including me - have devoted half our plates to vegetables but then added just a "tiny bit" of olive oil or herb butter for flavor, maybe some parm, a bit of gremolata, a few toasted almonds, some breadcrumbs, and before you know it, the veggies are calorie-laden.
                                                A simple chicken breast from the store these days usually exceeds that 4 to 6 ounces. We're used to seeing Godzilla-sized ones that are often 12 oz. or more.
                                                Salad dressing on the side? The resto gives you a quarter cup. Then you dump it on yourself. What do you save?
                                                Many recipes for 4 people call for one pound of dried pasta. Yikes! A serving is 2 ounces making a pound suitable for 8 servings, not 4. How many of us are accustomed to eating that amount as "normal"?

                                                I'm sure that you've been able to do this, but as evidenced by the number of people struggling with weight problems, it doesn't seem to be easy.
                                                I know that it isn't for me and I've had to revert to measuring and weighing again until I can get back on track. I had slipped into some very bad habits.

                                                BTW, there are LOTS of folks who happily eat rice/pasta/potatoes each and every day, sometimes more than once a day, and never get bored.

                                                1. re: MakingSense

                                                  All excellent points. I actually seldom "drizzle" as that can get out of hand. Even if I'm just using a teaspoon or soup spoon from my flatware drawer, I "measure" it.


                                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                                    When it all comes down to it, in order to lose weight, one needs to create a calorie deficit.

                                                    I found that weighing all my food and logging the calories helped me with portion sizes. It also helped me to figure out what the difference was between a craving and actual hunger. When I reached my calorie limit for the day, I realized the 'hunger pangs' I was having were actually 'cravings' so instead of reaching for more food, I just drank some water and waited for the craving to pass.

                                                    So I'd recommend making a spreadsheet or using an online calorie logging journal to give you a better idea of how much you're actually taking in. Also, you will want to get a calculation of how many calories you actually need daily. The following website has a burn meter based on your weight, sex, age and activities alongside a calorie counter.


                                                    1. re: soypower

                                                      i agree. as i just ate way too many samoa cookies (not sure i feel about the girl scouts right now...) :) i can't say that i'm doing it, but i agree that that's the trick.

                                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                                          nope samoas. about 6 ( a serving is 2). yesterday though it was about half a sleeve of thin mints. curses to the girl scouts. :) :) :) :)

                                                      1. re: soypower

                                                        sooo true, hubby and I do very well when we log our intake - if you don't write it down, your not aware of how it adds up. It keeps portion control accountable and it does force you to make better decisions as the day goes on.

                                                  2. re: MakingSense

                                                    Agree agree, that is why I just use common sense and drizzle lightly and again ... my motto is everything in moderation, I don't mind pizza, cheese, pasta or grains, but one grains are very nutritional which is important, but again like you said. The amount matters and I just cut back on all amounts.

                                                    Nuts I like as a small garnish or a snack but found that some nuts is small amounts are a nice satisfying snack, but again moderation. calorieking is a good site to look at. And as Dairy queen mentioned, plates are oversized, I use a large salad plate for my portions and found I am just satisfied. I love lentils with some good vegetables as a side with a great salad and a small grilled chicken breast. A wonderful hearty dinner. Probably 1/3 the size as we would normally eat.

                                                    1. re: MakingSense


                                                      I've been on a diet since July of last year. Managed to lose 45 pounds with another 30 to go.

                                                      One of the things I've learned is that I really have to personalize things to my appetite. All of the "sensible" and "moderate" things that I've read that emphasize healthy whole grains (which I LOVE) and fruit are ticking time bombs for me. Yes, even the barley and quinoa. And, sadly, even measured out to "proper" servings. I've learned that I just can't eat them.

                                                      You can't lose weight when your appetite is raging. You can't even concentrate and function when your appetite is raging.

                                                      So I say read everything, experiment but LISTEN TO YOUR OWN BODY -- what all the "experts" say may NOT be what works for you, don't go off the deep end, and don't be impatient -- doing it for forever takes a LOT of time, take vitamin supplements and get some support. Whatever we wish were true, exercise is VITAL to keep your muscle tone and avoid the saggy skin that isn't a whole lot more attractive than bulges.

                                                      I've stopped thinking about weight loss and started working on managing my appetite and it's working better for me than all the things I've tried over a 60 year lifetime.

                                                      Good luck with your effort.

                                  2. The easiest diet for me is still Sugar Busters - don't have much of a sweet tooth so don't mind giving up sugary things (can still have pure chocolate). It's very healthy, too. Eat lean meats and fish and a lot of other things, no white stuff like refined sugar, white rice, or white bread (except for extra sourdough). Have to watch timing of some things - like eat a piece of fruit 2 hours before or 2 hours after a meal...but it works.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: bayoucook

                                      I finally pulled the Sugar Busters book down from the shelf this weekend.
                                      A good healthy plan devised by four doctors in New Orleans - of all places - for their patients who simply couldn't bear to give up the wonderful food that the city had to offer but still had to drop the weight that the good life had packed on.
                                      It's more or less a modified diabetic diet (one of the docs is an endocrinologist) and is based on insulin resistance.
                                      Teaches you to avoid "white" foods like refined flour and sugar, while allowing moderate amounts of brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and sweet potatoes.
                                      Men (gotta hate 'em) drop weight like kids lose mittens on this one. And women succeed well although at a slower pace. Lots of veggie and lean meats.
                                      I did great on it and lived/ate like this for years - until I fell off the wagon after being bed-ridden following a broken ankle and dependence on others for meals. Too many casseroles and cookies later and I was in another food zone.
                                      Back to Sugar Busters....
                                      Lots online about this popular diet. Google it.

                                      1. re: MakingSense

                                        men drop weight like crazy on any diet. ugh! :)

                                        1. re: AMFM

                                          We used to joke that rice cakes were diet pills for men.
                                          Eat whatever they want, add two or three rice cakes, and they drop five pounds in a week.
                                          The Diet Gods are definitely male.

                                        2. re: MakingSense

                                          My husband was pre-diabetic when we went on it. It "cured" him, AND he lost 15 lbs. in under two months! Since that was probably 5 more than he needed to lose, I added more carbs and good fats to his diet. This was 10 years ago. His blood sugar levels are still down. We found the food easy to eat - kind of regional for us since we live 1 1/2 hours from New Orleans.

                                      2. Here's a link to a thread about websites with great "diet" recipes. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5882...

                                        I had a lot of luck with Weight Watchers "core plan" which is now (in 2009) called the "simply filling technique." Emphasis on eating lean protein, whole grains, nonfat dairy (reduced fat, if non-fat doesn't work for you), small amounts of "healthy fats" (like olive oil, flax seed oil), and lots of fruits and vegetables prepare in lower fat ways (ie., not deep-fried or drenched in butter or cream sauce or syrups)...
                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/473398 And, of course, drinking lots of water and doing a reasonable amount of exercise.

                                        I really enjoyed experimenting with different kinds of whole grains (barley and quinoa and such).

                                        Good luck!


                                        1. Here's a website that shows the equivalents to Nutri System food.


                                          You should try to eat about every 2.5 hours to stave off hunger which makes it easier to stay away from temptation...food wise.

                                          10 Replies
                                          1. re: Den

                                            my problem is that i do great until dinner and then eat WAY too much and snack at night. ugh. i'm not even hungry much during the day but by dinner time. perhaps i like my own cooking too much... :)

                                            1. re: AMFM

                                              hmmmmm....starved by dinnertime SEEMS to mean that you haven't had any or enough protein during the day...do you include some kind of protein (meat or non-meat) in each meal? That's important so as to "stick with you"...maybe a light snack at 4 o'clock or 4:30 of 10-12 almonds or walnuts and an apple or other fresh fruit would be a way to stave off huge hunger pains...just throwing out ideas here!

                                              1. re: Val

                                                i think it's the stress of putting the kids to bed. really they go to bed quite badly - lots of screaming and stress! they're good otherwise but they both HATE sleeping. so i want to eat after - junk usually. i hate the idea of not eating together but wonder if a few days i cooked for them, put them to bed and then cooked something for myself so i didn't eat with them AND after!

                                                1. re: AMFM

                                                  There seems a couple of things to tackle here:

                                                  One is the stress of the kids' bedtime routine. If DH won't eat veggies, can he take over putting kids to bed?

                                                  Another thing is your (seeming) emotional eating: i.e. eating to comfort stress rather than because you're hungry.

                                                  There are lots of books and websites that could help you with the latter, and it will really help in the long term, as people tend to fall off diets, but if they develop healthy eating lifelong habits, then they stick with them.

                                                  For an immediate suggestion for your situation, have you tried soups? You could have a cup with the family, and then after the kids are in bed, you could eat the rest of your dinner in peace. You can make the soups very tasty and also low cal (e.g. tomato soup; broth-based soup; use potatoes to make them 'creamy' instead of butter or cream etc. etc.); full of veggies and chunky or pureed. Mr. Picky may also be persuaded to try them, and for sure the kids will like them. You can make large quantities when you have time and freeze for when needed.

                                                  The advantage of soup is that it will half fill you up and it is very comforting. You'll have energy to tackle the kids bedtime thing (and believe me, it *will* get better in a few months), and when you sit down to eat your dinner, you will eat smaller portions.

                                                  Then instead of conventional dessert, de-stress further with fruit and a cup of soothing herbal tea or similar. Again, these will fill your tummy with low calories and make you feel soothed and nurtured without scarfing down a bowl of ice cream or whatever.

                                                  The others' suggestions of small snacks at intervals is very useful to stop feeling hungry and desperate later in the day.

                                                  Good luck, and keep us updated.

                                                  1. re: Rasam

                                                    thanks. the funny thing is i don't have that much to lose. 10 pounds? but i've been hating the mirror lately. 35 and my belly are a bad combo. the muffin top is becoming a bundt cake! :)
                                                    and when i exercise a lot i just get hungrier! :)
                                                    thanks for all the advice. i think good snack things are probably the most important. i do eat/cook pretty healthy.

                                                    1. re: AMFM

                                                      I was totally understand what you mean about the exercise making you hungrier! That's why I got my diet in check first (portion control, cutting empty calories) before adding in an exercise regimen. So now that I exercise, it's a lot easier to make good food choices when I'm hungry after a workout.

                                              2. re: AMFM

                                                That's funny, I do the same - awesome all day, great choices, etc. Then a great dinner, then if I sit in front of the tv - bring on the food!!!! I'm exhausted after dinner and sit and snack. Those homemade pita chips come in handy and salsa is usually very low but honestly even if I'm grabbing low stuff, it's non stop grabbing. I've been opting for tootsie pops, since they take a long time to consume but really don't like all that sugar.

                                                1. re: lexpatti

                                                  I think sliced veggies are your friend: cucumber, carrots, bell pepper, celery, cauli and broc, asparagus, snow peas, etc etc. Dip in salsa, and you can do a lot of non-stop grabbing without doing yourself much harm (unless you have diabetes or similar).....

                                                  Same goes for apple slices, grapes, orange segments, etc. Give you lots of crunch and flavour and lots of nutrients with comparatively few calories.

                                                  To break the mindless munching habit, people recommend eating mindfully, eating only when hungry and stopping when full (emotional eating ends up with people eating way more than otherwise as you are not going by your body's 'start' and 'stop' cues, but by your hands or head being bored/stressed).

                                                  1. re: Rasam

                                                    Yes, great point. When I do some prepping ahead of time - I do much better. I need to get some nice vegies cut up when I bring them home. I love carrots but when I'm lazy, I don't want to prep them. I also have taken 1/2 a package of carrots and shredd them (put in a bag) and add to my sandwiches/salads (like shredded lettuce but better) - I can easily have a vegie sandwich if I have shredded carrots, sliced cuks and hummus close by.

                                                    1. re: Rasam

                                                      Another trick to curb mindless snacking is to portion out whatever you're going to have, and leave the rest of it out of reach. People tend to eat more when they're distracted because the brain has other things to focus on. I've tried this myself, and it helps. Rather than sit down with a whole pint of Ben & Jerry's or something, I put a reasonable amount in a bowl, and when it's gone, that's the end of it. Very, very rarely do I get up for seconds because I'm concious of how much I've eaten already. I also have the "issue" of eating well all day, and blowing it at night, but I've been trying to use that to my advantage. I count calories during the day, and that gives me an idea of what I can "spend" on dinner without being neurotic and counting everything I eat. If I've been good, I know I can have something "naughty" for dinner. If I haven't, I know I should probably stick with a salad or something. Hope this helps...

                                              3. Some snacks I really like are:
                                                Turkey slices wrapped in romaine and topped w/ salsa or dijon mustard
                                                Celery sticks dipped in salsa
                                                Frozen berries and grapes - they take a lot longer to eat when frozen and satisfy my sweet cravings

                                                Some dinners I like:
                                                -Grilled chicken breast topped w/ a chunky tomato sauce and a bit of low fat mozzarella - I close my eyes and pretend I'm eating chicken parmesan.
                                                -Grilled Thai Red Curry Chicken - I substitute low-fat coconut milk in this one..

                                                -Sauteed Squash - I get the frozen, cut squash pieces, saute in a little bit of chicken broth and season w/ lemon pepper and garlic salt . Suprisingly good.
                                                -Cauliflower Mash
                                                -Roasted Cauliflower

                                                1. I love frozen bananas with a little jam, I use a raspberry low sugar and just as a light dip. I fine that it is a great satisfying sweet snack and still the benefit of fruit but I do that once in a while. Celery and peanut butter (limited amounts), I love a fresh granola or dried fruits now and then. I find a small amount goes a long ways.

                                                  1. thanks all! there are some great ideas here.

                                                    1. Round 2 of 3, sorry my post didn't go through with internet problems last night. Crock pot and grilled

                                                      I love to mix simple dry rubs and vinaigretes for pork and chicken, just grill (outside or inside grill pan or cast iron or saute pan.
                                                      - lemon, olive oil, a dash of red wine, garlic and herbs (very clean taste) all day or overnight is fine with bone in or boneless. Pork or chicken
                                                      - cumin, chili powder, garlic, and thyme. Just rub and then grill, this is great on chicken
                                                      - Pesto (I would make my own but a good store bought it ok). Used for chicken
                                                      - Ginger, soy, brown sugar, garlic, cilantro and dijon mustard. Grea for pork or chicken.

                                                      Cinnimon, chili powder, garlic, orange juice, olive oil and red pepper flakes, cumin. Let marinade in a baggie with that all day and grill.

                                                      These can be used with pork loin slices, pork tenderloin, chicken and are all simple. Just Marinade (over night, before going to work) and then grill the next night. Slice and top over salads, veggies, or just served with a sides for the kids and husband.

                                                      Crock Pot:
                                                      Beef tips. Dredge in a little flour, salt and pepper, then put in a crock pot with small pearl onions and whole crimini mushrooms, some beef broth/stock, fresh parsley, basil and rosemary. It is very simple but good protein, use the low salt stock, you can serve it just in a bowl where your husband and or kids, mashed potatoes or butter noodles. And you husband can just ignore the mushrooms and onion (big whole pieces)

                                                      Here is a trick for dinner. For a great roll or bread option. I used a low fat herbed cheese and spread a little on a nice slice of a baguette. Grill and have that along side the beef. It gives you satisfaction of bread but not too many calories. I learned I can't diet without carbs, but I also learn to just allow myself some now and then is small amounts and it satisfies me.

                                                      Pork roast, 1 bottle of beer, 1 teaspoon worschestire sauce, 1 large onion cut in quarters, rosemary, thyme, pepper and 4 cloves of garlic. Add some whole red potatoes for your husband and carrots for the kids. Cook all days and great pork roast. Nothing fancy, simple and great flavor.

                                                      Pork loin are great stuffed. Cut a slit down the middle and stuff with a simple bread crumb stuffing (for your picky husband) and then rub with some seasoning, but in the crock pork add some chicken broth, some onion (always even if just for flavor) and some lean turkey bacon on the top of the loin. I like to add some apple cider to the broth as well, Simmer all day and cook. I sliced pretty, great flavor. You can make gravy, Just use some of the broth and thicken slightly with some flour.

                                                      Chicken with honey ginger. honey, soy ground ginger, whole roasting chicken cut up, garlic 1 large orange sliced and some sherry wine or orange juice. Roast all day Serve over greens for you, a good pilaf for the kids and husband.

                                                      Pork chops with sweet potatoes and onions. I know he doesn't like most but you can also add regular potatoes too in this dish. It uses pork chops, a mix of sweet and white potatoes, some whole onions quartered, some dried apricots and and sliced granny smith apples. Just a bit of ginger, and some syrup and just a splash of chicken stock. Add some fresh broccoli and perfect.

                                                      Chili, I love a all bean chili, even turkey chili or a black bean chili, cooks all day, but not sure hubby would love. And soups

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: kchurchill5

                                                        re: Pesto
                                                        substitute cilantro & pistachio nuts for the tradititional basil & pine nuts. I use it more for a topping for chicken or fish, rather than over pasta. Don't forget to add a little lime juice.

                                                        1. re: Rmis32

                                                          I have done similar. But if in a hurry I use store bought. But pistachio and cilantro with lime is amazing. I use this for fish and shrimp too. Great over grouper. I serve over a potato cake I make with hashbrowns, no cheese, scallions, a little cayenne and a chili lime oil as a light glaze and the fish comes out. It really isn't hot, just flavorful.

                                                          1. re: Rmis32

                                                            Wow! I'm going to try the pistachio and cilantro and lime!

                                                          2. re: kchurchill5

                                                            I have a complete bastardization of pesto that I love and is much lighter than the original (but very different as well). Basically, I still use basil leaves, garlic cloves, and a few pinenuts, but I puree those all together with frozen green peas. Just cook the peas in boiling water, drain, and add to the food processor with the ingredients I mentioned above (or the variations suggested by other posters). You can thin the concoction to the desired consistency with the cooking water. Can go as watery as soup (and it is a great soup, btw), to pretty lumpy and dry, which I prefer as a dip for veggies. I love it as an accompaniment to poached chicken breasts. One hint on this is to make sure you add enough salt to bring out the flavor. I tend to add what seems like a lot of salt, but I prefer saltier, plus I have low blood pressure!

                                                          3. One more, another of my favorite dishes uses roasted tomatoes, onions, garlic; and olives and a few capers, pepper and some parsley and dried oregano (fresh if you want). Drizzle with tomatoes cut in quarters, onions, too cut in half or quarters and garlic with olive oil, s/p and roast at 400 for 20 minutes. Peel garlic and all veggies to a food processor. Add capers, olives, seasoning and purre. I like to add just a bit of broth, veggie for this but chicken will work. Puree until smooth. Add to fresh pasta. For your husband, top with some fresh meatballs (turkey is great too) or even grilled chicken or some fresh grilled Italian sausage. Top with just a hair of cheese for you to achieve the flavor, but moderation. Add tons for him, lol.

                                                            I love to wrap in parchment paper, make little pouches. fish, a drizzle of olive oil, and veggies you want, julienne of zuchinni, carrots, onion, mushrooms (anything goes), a fresh lemon slice, broth or white wine, some herbs parsley and basil and butter for everyone but you. Close up the pouch like a package and cook at 400 for 10-20 minutes depending on what type of fish. Cod, halibut, mahi mai, tilapia, flounder, grouper. Anything goes. Also works for a pouch of shrimp too.

                                                            Mussels steamed in a light broth is great. A little broth, herbs, lemon, some fennel and mussels. Then serve with anything. I like a little pasta, but some hearty lentils would be great for you or just some roasted fingerlings is great for husband and the kids.

                                                            Shrimp on skewers with a chili, cumin, lime marinade with a spicy yogurt dipping sauce, healthy and quick.

                                                            Salmon with maple and ginger topping over wild greens or just simple sides is great.

                                                            Garlic and onion sauteed chick peas
                                                            Sauteed spinach with red pepper, lemon and fresh shallots
                                                            Lentils with garlic and mushrooms
                                                            Cabbage slaw with a light vinaigrette and fresh cucumber and walnuts
                                                            Pesto roasted vegetables
                                                            Small breaded baked sweet potato or white potato cakes with lots of green onions and mushrooms. Taste like fried ones and a great side dish.

                                                            1. The South Beach Diet website has lots of good recipes. I'm not on the diet, but I like their stuff, for example there's a shrimp curry -- onions, red pepper, shrimp, coconut milk -- I think -- over rice. Very tasty, quick and satisfying. I use the new Uncle Ben's 10 minute brown rice, which I find is just as good as 45 minute brown rice. So look at that website.

                                                              1. I definitely agree with the comments about cheese: love it, but SO and I really had to come to grips with it in order to lose weight (30 lbs me, 40 lbs. him). So we started eating some low fat cheese in sandwiches (non-fat is too yucky) or enjoying the real stuff in meals instead of meat occasionally.

                                                                So, tonight we are having polenta rounds (sometime homemade but tonight its sliced from the tube and weighed for portion control), layered with grilled zucchini and plainish tomato sauce flavoured with some rosemary. Crumble a small amount of strong blue cheese in between each layer (weigh it first) and sprinkle just a touch of parmesan on top. Bake til it bubbles and the cheese melts into the tomato sauce. I don't know if this can be adapted to your family's likes and dislikes though. With a dinner like that we'd have a salad too.

                                                                Our other strategy is to eat A LOT of vegetables. Last night we had baked potatoes with a sauce which worked out quite well. I baked the potatoes for quite a while so they got crispy on the outside and made a sauce/stuffing out of sauteed leeks, mushrooms and asparagus and used some kielbasa sausage for flavour. Added chicken broth and cornstarch to sauce it up a bit. Spooned this over the potato halves. Picky folks could just have the potatoes with sausage slices and cheese. In fact my kids had sausage, carrots, toast and fruit as they are potato phobic.

                                                                I snack on light laughing cow cheese too and sometimes I have for lunch on crackers with a cup of heated up tomato juice. Not gourmet by any standard, but OK. If you google around you'll come across variations of the weight watchers zero point soup which are good for lunch too. I especially like the Mexican-inspired one, the Asian-y one is good too, oh here's the link:

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: waver

                                                                  I think the COW get kudos :)

                                                                  I allowed myself a little spoon on parm on things, just enough for flavor but not much. I ate chicken parm and eggplant parm. Fresh tomato sauce, Fresh bread crumbs used for the breading, egg white and baked, a little parm or mozz a little and presto a Italian dinner without all the calories. a nice hearty salad and maybe some fresh veggies, squash, I love roasted squash and what a healthy dinner.

                                                                  Soup ... I take some homemade stock, some fresh scallions, a few mushrooms, herbs and a few bites of poached chicken. It is great flavor. I serve it with a small baguette, some COW cheese spread on it and lightly broiled with a slice of tomato. Can't get much better.

                                                                  1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                    i did do well on a diet once when i ate chicken broth or veggie soup before every meal. i need to do that more. you guys are all great! i just ate a pretty bad lean cuisine for lunch! been in the freezer for who knows how long! :)

                                                                    1. re: AMFM

                                                                      I had sesame noodle low fat frozen thing. Not home and didn't have any leftovers except my my smoked chicken so a took a few bites to nibble on late in the day.

                                                                      I'm having my smoked chicken quesadilla for dinner, avacado, some thin shallots, a little cheese, pepperjack (not too much and the chicken, some fresh tomatoes and Ok ... a dab of sour cream, I allow myself a little for flavor. I add some chipolte to make more flavor. I still find it lov fat. I use small tortillas, flour and more tomatoes and avacado then chicken and cheese. Just one is great for dinner. Plenty and vanilla yogurt with a teaspoon of crunched up pistachios on top and some sliced apricots for desert. Healthy but still within reason

                                                                  2. re: waver

                                                                    non-fat cheese is the devil's work. don't even try it. don't even think about trying it. i'm still traumatized...

                                                                  3. A couple of suggestions:
                                                                    Low carb doesn't make any sense, but avoiding any refined grain or sugar will make a huge difference. You will find that these increase your cravings. That means brown rice, barley, quinoa, wheat berries, whole wheat couscous or farro over white rice or pasta. period.

                                                                    At the same time, all fresh vegetables or fruits are fair game. When you need something sweet, go for either fresh fruit or sugar-free jello. You can even allow yourself a little whipped cream or CoolWhip on top.

                                                                    Be careful about foods that are labeled fat-free. They often make up for it with more sugar or HFCS, which is the last thing you want.

                                                                    You want to include as much flavor as you can. Salsas are your best friend. They have almost no calories and no fat and they work on most everything.

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                                      < "Be careful about foods that are labeled fat-free." >
                                                                      These days, I think we have to be careful about foods with LABELS. Period.

                                                                      It seems that virtually ALL packaged foods have something sneaked into them to hype flavor.
                                                                      Foods that are sold as "fat-free," "low-cal," or anything that is meant to grab your attention as a dieter or health-conscious conscious consumer, needs to be viewed with a cynical eye.
                                                                      As you say, take away the yummy fat, and it has to be compensated for with something else.
                                                                      Even that salsa can have "unfriendlies."
                                                                      If it has a label, READ it.

                                                                      1. re: MakingSense

                                                                        I'm not one for low fat unless I know what it is. Some I think are ok. I may use a low cal sour cream or cottage cheese or a ricotta, I enjoy some sugar free, but watch for more natural all fruit and no sugar. They are good.

                                                                        Chicgail I agree, I love salsa. If I am having it as a main condiment especially trying to loose weight, yes .. read the lable and buy some descent. Otherwise I get a I think Paul Newmans in the fridge, my son likes it best.

                                                                        A fresh salsa over fish with some fresh mango is wondefful over grilled fish with a lime vinaigrette. I mix cumin, red wine vinegar, lime juice, olive oil some chili powder and drizzle over the fish before baking.

                                                                        OK ... "DRIZZLE" I was caught on this earlier. As a chef I said drizzle as a few drops, maybe 1/2 teaspoon over something. I need to state that. A drizzle is just a few drops to moisten the top but not saturate it. A drizzle for a large salmon is different that a drizzle over a few scallops. Just a few drops. I hope that works ok. And yes the point was valid. Some do not realize the difference of what a drizzle is.

                                                                        I agree totally! you were very right.

                                                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                          It really helped me to measure something like olive oil and then check the calorie count.
                                                                          Yikes! One tablespoon = 119 calories!!!! Wow!
                                                                          If I skipped it and learned to eat my veggies with plain salt and pepper or lemon, that meant I could have an apple later.
                                                                          Or even a bit of chocolate.
                                                                          That lemon juice started looking really good. So did Molly McButter.
                                                                          Those tiny little details like olive oil were sabotaging me right and left.

                                                                          1. re: MakingSense

                                                                            ... olive oil is a healthy fat. used in moderation (teaspoon perhaps), it supplies a LOT of essential nutrients (fats are good for us btw) in a tiny, relatively low-cal portion. Olive oil is not our problem.

                                                                        2. re: MakingSense

                                                                          I agree about the labels. It seems to me that 95% of all food with labels has high fructose corn syrup or some variation in it. The sugar is so hard to avoid.

                                                                      2. I didn't use a chart or a program (no offense) I think they all work for different people and it depends on each persons eating habits, amount of weight to be lost, the ease of loosing weight for them and what they currently eat.

                                                                        I made a chart on my fridge that had a list. I wanted at least 4 servings of 1/2 cup portions of vegetables, grains, protein, dairy etc. I used a general program ... I think nutrisystem or any weight loss chart that indicated the approximately calories you should have for the day and what is recommended for weight loss. Many charts available. I took my every day intake and counted calories ... then rather than counting out what I liked I just cut back. I found I could still eat all my favorites, rice, pasta, bread and sweets (even though I very few if any) and still loose weight. I really cut most of my portions by almost half, worked out more, even if it was just a bike ride, walking, swimming, anything and drank at least 8 large glasses of water a day and filled up on simple fruits when hungry (in moderation), also nuts. I know calories but they were very filling and good in the right oils and nutritional. Besides, I gave myself a limit. I mixed with some natural oats and some dried fruit and instant easy snack. I did proportions but I really don't snack much. 3 meals is all usually but I just really cut back and cut out snacks. Ate lots of veggies, fruits, whole grains, and good meats. A few sauces as a condiment, not a main item.

                                                                        1. Healthy cooking is easy: lots of good, fresh, local veggies and fruits. Fish/fowl/meat only at dinner, and only as flavor contributors, not the main deal. Olive oil instead of butter in most cases, best added right before serving as a flavor booster (so use the best). Cheese, ditto. Dessert a once a week treat, so make it special and eat a realistic portion. Don't snack! Walk everywhere. This is not hard to do.

                                                                          Strangely, my worst diet bad is the 8 ounces of freshly-squeezed OJ I drink every morning. I love this stuff, but it adds about 4,000 calories (over a pound) that I have to work off at the gym every month.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                                                            How much do you drink ...
                                                                            110 calories per cup

                                                                            Where is 4,000 coming from, 1 cup per day / 7 days / for one month 2,800 - 3,000, and it does have nutritional value. You have to weigh in that and also weigh in other factors. have the orange juice and some fresh oatmeal, or a salad for lunch ... all in moderation

                                                                          2. I use http://www.thedailyplate.com to track all of my calories. It really helps me get a handle on my eating habits. When I see my calories creep up over the course of a week or two, I know it's time to reign it in for a while. They also have a calculator on their site so you can figure out how many calories you should eat in order to meet your own weight loss goals. Very cool tool, with a huge database of generic and name-brand foods (grocery and restaurant items).

                                                                            As for food ideas . . . eating lots of high-fiber/low-calorie vegetables, low fat sources of protein, moderate amounts of whole grains, and small amounts of olive oil and nuts works for me. I think the most important thing for me is to keep these foods on hand at all times, and not buy the junk that gets me in trouble. Harder than you might think.

                                                                            Also, I try to drink a glass of water with every meal.

                                                                            Here's a snack I made today that was pretty tasty:

                                                                            1 whole wheat pita
                                                                            1 lite laughing cow wedge
                                                                            1 cup baby spinach

                                                                            1. Warm up the pita in the microwave until it starts to puff up. Take it out and immediately split it along the sides, into two round pieces.

                                                                            2. Spread the laughing cow cheese evenly on each half of pita, then layer the turkey and spinach on one piece and place the other half on top.

                                                                            3. Toast until the spinach is wilted and the pita is crisp.

                                                                            237 calories, 5 grams fat, 32 grams carbs, 6 grams fiber, 17 grams protein.

                                                                            I cut mine into 6 wedges, because it takes me longer to eat it that way. Anything it takes to fool yourself into being full with less food, right?

                                                                            13 Replies
                                                                            1. re: operagirl

                                                                              sounds yummy - what kind of turkey/how much?

                                                                              1. re: AMFM

                                                                                Haha, I like how I accidentally left that out of the ingredients. I use Columbus brand low sodium turkey lunch meat -- they sell it at Trader Joe's. A slice of it is exactly 1 ounce, so it's easy to portion control.

                                                                                1. re: AMFM

                                                                                  Halved pitas are great with pretty much any filling you can think of. Just make sure your added ingredients add up to 140 calories or less, and you'll end up with an under-300-calorie snack. Options include

                                                                                  -hummus, baked falafel, and chopped cucumbers
                                                                                  -spinach or arugula, basil, tomato and mozzarella
                                                                                  -cinnamon and sliced banana

                                                                                  I also do these on a whole wheat tortilla sometimes.

                                                                                  1. re: operagirl

                                                                                    I think halved pitas are awesome, or just the mini-ones. I keep them in the freezer since I don't seem to use them up quickly another.

                                                                                    Another thing that works well, if you're trying to amp up the vegetables, in lieu of the pita or a tortilla is just a lettuce leaf. (Not for the cinnamon+banana combo, though).


                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                      I love lettuce leaves wrapped with all kinds of fillings.

                                                                                      1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                        Maybe we need to start a recipes for things to wrap in lettuce leaves in anticipation for the greens explosion that is about to happen when CSA season starts up again (for those of us in the Midwest, of course. Everyone else is probably already enjoying their greens, though, perhaps, could use some inspiration.)


                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                          I too like lettuce leaves with toppings...hummus especially...my favorite green thing with hummus is flat leaf parsley, though...am growing it in my garden...I just curl it up and dip it in the hummus--the 2 flavors together are fab.

                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                            Lettuce-Wrapped Fish
                                                                                            THE MINIMALIST; Quickly and Easily, A Touch of Elegance http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage...

                                                                                            1. re: Rmis32

                                                                                              Nice! I'm going to try that, thank you!


                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                I wrap left over grouper, cod, halibut, anything. I mix with some asian spices, red pepper, some lime plain yogurt, some honey, some cabbage, cucumber, mango, avacado, lots of possibilities. Even some chow mein cruncy noodles for texture, water chesnuts chopped, and some chopped red pepper, carrots and celery too. Anything in the fridge. I use a simple soy and honey dipping sauce. Nothing fancy. You can use anything. Shrimp is a favorite of mine.

                                                                                                Salmon, dill a yogurt sauce with crunchy cucumber and carrots is a favorite of mine too.

                                                                                  2. re: operagirl

                                                                                    ummm. Are you sure your math is right???
                                                                                    A Trader Joe's Whole Wheat Pita - by itself - is 160 calories.
                                                                                    After adding cheese and turkey, how can this be only 237 calories?
                                                                                    A Magic Snack?

                                                                                    1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                      This sounds great and I can't wait to try it...

                                                                                      And I think the math might actually be overly generous. My calculations are:

                                                                                      TJ's Whole Wheat Pita = 160 cal
                                                                                      Laughing Cow Lite Cheese (1 wedge) = 35 cal
                                                                                      Turkey (1 oz.) = 25 cal
                                                                                      Spinach (1 cup) = 7 cal

                                                                                      = 227 total cals

                                                                                      1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                        Yup! Magic snack indeed. I was going to list the calorie counts of each item next to it but didn't end up bothering since I put the final counts. Thanks for doing it, soy power! My turkey was 35 calories a slice, so our numbers are a teensy bit different. The trick is that incredible 35 calorie cheese wedge.

                                                                                    2. There are some good suggestions here. But as some have stated, cheese can be the enemy. It is very easy to use too much. The good (and bad) news in my house is that my son (age 2) cannot have dairy products, so I am not tempted to cook with cheese or butter. There are ways around this (he can have soy cheese) but my husband wouldn't eat soy cheese unless it was over his dead body, so most times, I just leave it out. We do, however, keep a lot of parmesan on hand and when I use it on my small portion of pasta, I measure out 2 Tbsp. for myself and suprisingly it goes a long way (only 1 WW point). If I use cheese to make my kids a baked ziti, I use soy cheese and they are fine with it (it melts fine).

                                                                                      Anyway, with similar parameters to yours (and I work full time), here are some meals that are in our regular rotation:

                                                                                      Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kabobs (I got recipe on Chowhound from MMRuth) -- you can use low-fat, fat-free, or in my case, soy-yogurt for this and it all works well. Love it in the warmer weather when I can cook it on the grill.

                                                                                      Various chicken or turkey sausages with pasta -- husband eats it, kids eat it, I eat a small amount of pasta and sausage with a lot of roasted vegetables. I make extra and then mix it with tomato sauce and turn it into a baked pasta dish for kids to eat later in the week.

                                                                                      Store-bought Roast Chicken -- don't like doing this myself -- easy to get, best ones from Costco. With baked potatoes, usually baked fries for kids.

                                                                                      Chicken Burgers -- I don't like turkey burgers, we prefer ground chicken burgers with an asian flavor. Husband has it on a bun with peanut sauce, I skip the bun and sauce. Kids use ketchup.

                                                                                      Baked Apricot chicken -- works for everyone

                                                                                      Grilled chicken with Lemon and Oregano -- a Martha Stewart recipe -- I only make this on the grill -- comes out great every time.

                                                                                      Chicken or Turkey Cutlets with Cranberry Mustard Sauce -- husband and kids like the sauce but don't like the cranberries (fine, more for me since I'd rather have the sauce/cranberries than the chicken!)

                                                                                      Stir-Fried Chicken with Sweet & Sour Sauce -- from The Best Light Recipe (Cook's Illustrated).

                                                                                      Chicken or Turkey Cutlets Marsala -- Husband and kids don't eat the mushrooms, again, more for me.

                                                                                      Sweet Hot Tofu -- an asian flavored stir-fry from Cooking Light. Good Flavor, very versatile. Kids are on the fence with tofu, so usually I just make it with chicken.

                                                                                      Lighter Sesame Chicken -- a Martha Stewart recipe

                                                                                      Mapo Tofu -- I usually leave out the tofu, and just make it with ground turkey breast instead of pork. I have a very easy and tasty recipe. Maybe not 100% authentic, but my 2 and 4 year olds do not care. They like it!

                                                                                      My key in all of this is planning. Even with working full time, my kids eat my cooking 5 nights a week. I prepare a lot of stuff in advance, cook and freeze food for those times when I just can't get it together. I keep things like meatloaf, meatballs, turkey chili in the freezer in portions for my kids to eat during the week. Again, my husband wouldn't eat those things, but they are great to pull out when I don't have anything else prepared.

                                                                                      I hope this helps...let me know if you want more details or specific recipes (or links to websites).

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: valerie

                                                                                        thanks! those sound great and very much like what i was looking for - in fact they're a lot like what i do now. but different. which is what i wanted (if that makes sense!) :)

                                                                                      2. I know a lot of you will be shaking your head (because I would have) but check out Gwenyth Paltrow's detox recipes on goop.com. They're really good! I wanted to go on diet and figured she'd probably spent a lot of money talking to people and figuring out the diet, so I did it but expected the food to be bland. A bunch of the dishes were really good. So good that I had to fight off my diet adverse boyfriend as he tried to eat the Terriyaki chicken and avocado soup.

                                                                                        1. btw, lexpatti, try baked sea vegetables, like wakame.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: suekrag

                                                                                            hmmm, never had although we love sushi which is the seaweed sheets - do you put wakame in salads or soup? It's not snacky is it?

                                                                                          2. Here’s my advice to you coming from one who loves to eat, but loves staying slender as well.

                                                                                            - Continue to eat everything that you love. Conserve calories by making your portions smaller. I’ve never given up pizza, burgers, or wine. I just watch my quantities.
                                                                                            - Swap out fat/calorie rich ingredients in your recipes for lighter touches. For example, we’ve dropped 35% cream sauces in favour of reductions. Where it can be done, butter has been replaced by olive oil.
                                                                                            - Eat snacks all day long so you don’t pile up the calories and then lay down for the night. Drop the nighttime snack. That’s probably your worst enemy.
                                                                                            - Avoid all gratuitous calories. If your food tastes fine without “extra’s” then drop the ladle and start eating.

                                                                                            I find Epicurious.com a big help in this dept. I can go into the advanced search page, plug in what I normally eat, then check off one of their choices such as “healthy”, “low fat”, or “low calorie”. Voila! You’re far more likely to stick to a plan if you actually like what you’re doing. Good luck.

                                                                                            1. Buy a great big mess of fruit, and always have some around. It's hard because fruit is expensive, especially when you buy a variety. But it's sweet, fills you up, and is a god-send during the after-dinner TV snacking hour. My problem is if we have fruit I'll eat it all day, but to keep it stocked I have to keep going to the store!

                                                                                              Also, try turkey/chicken sausages, they are your friend. Low-fat, high-flavor and protein, family-pleasing.

                                                                                              But seriously. Fill that fridge (and car and desk drawer) with fruit.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: dubedo

                                                                                                Much to my dismay, I found through trial and error that fruit is deadly for me. The sugar does me in.
                                                                                                I can eat twice the calories in vegetable or even cheese with no problems but a couple of peaches or a banana and that needle on the scale gets stuck or goes up.
                                                                                                A friend with diabetes suggested that it might have something to do with insulin resistance. I have no idea. I've never been diagnosed with any pre-diabetic tendencies but have just learned to go easy on fruit. I treat it like brownie or ice cream. It's in the category of special treats. Pretty sad.
                                                                                                Good thing that I have a preference for savory over sweet anyway.

                                                                                              2. The Moosewood Low-fat Cookbook is a great place to start.

                                                                                                1. Been about three weeks, ey? Just wondering how your diet is going!

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                                                                                                  1. re: operagirl

                                                                                                    i caved and joined jenny craig - which i was a lifetime member of from before. it's more processed than i'd like and i do hate seeing that a few things have HFCS (certainly not all though) but it works. and i figure doing it for a couple months will remind me of portion control and then i can back off and do it with real food. i do better when i know what i am allowed to eat very specifically. at least for a while.

                                                                                                    weigh in is on wednesday - we'll see!

                                                                                                    1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                      Ah, well, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. I hope it works for you and you can get back to eating more delicious food soon!


                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                        most of it doesn't taste bad(some i have to confess tastes pretty good) and it forces me to eat lots of fruit and veggies. i essentially just don't cook mains (which is fine since i eat way too much of them) for now and i don't eat my kids leftovers etc. and then in a month or two when hopefully i'm not starving anymore i can do other things!

                                                                                                  2. My go to snack food when I'm trying to shed some pounds is this roasted vegetable soup. It is similar to V-8 in that you have it as a snack not a meal, but the flavor of the roasted vegetables makes it a lot more appetizing and you can control the salt to your taste. The cabbage in the recipe acts as a mild diuretic and there are so many vegetables in the soup that you will get a healthy dose of fiber. After a few days of a cold glass of this soup before lunch and dinner I feel terrific and usually have shed a few pounds too!

                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Phoo_d

                                                                                                      that looks yummy! and it'd be free on my diet so i could eat it as an app before any meal. just may be making it tomorrow! thanks!

                                                                                                      1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                        Can we revive this thread?

                                                                                                        I'm dieting, but not crazy. Gained some weight in the past year after an injury and working now to get it off. I really don't look it but I could easily lose 20lbs...so I've cut out sugar and refined carbs and am limiting fruit intake (I can eat a quart of strawberries in one sitting....actually I could make meals out of fruit). Eating steel-cut oats, limited amount of pb, salads, chicken, etc. Pretty much just avoiding carbs and sugar. I am not nuts however about anything and would rather just have the "full-fat" or "full-carb" version of something if I am going to eat it at all.

                                                                                                        So looking for ideas for meals, snacks (especially snacks). etc. I'm not trying to be seriously restrictive for a lifetime, only for a few weeks while I lose weight and then maybe I'll incorporate a bit more things as long as I can keep losing.

                                                                                                        Oh and exercise of course! :-)

                                                                                                        1. re: lovessushi

                                                                                                          Have you searched this board for some "healthy snack" threads? There are so many! I think there are a few specifically for "office snacks" too.

                                                                                                          Are you already eating cut up fresh vegetables for snacks? Celery sticks, radishes, grape tomatoes are all handy and good for you...cut up cucumber too, pretty low calories. For a little protein in a snack, maybe some nuts or seeds...pepitas are great and so are sunflower seeds.

                                                                                                          1. re: lovessushi

                                                                                                            I'd say exactly the same thing I said almost exactly 6 months ago.

                                                                                                            1. re: lovessushi

                                                                                                              I know this thread is older, but thought I would throw my 2 cents in.
                                                                                                              My bestie (Friend) is a personal trainer and she has helped me BIG TIME, even thought I have a nutrition background …before working out carb up, eat a piece of toast (no butter) or a yogurt and after a workout always protein down, my fav after a workout right now is 4 egg whites, 1/4 c chopped onion, 4 slices of turkey bacon (20 cal per slice) topped with 1 tbsp of parmesan cheese. I feel full for hrs after that. The protein helps with building lean muscles, which more lean muscles more weight you will lose...Biggest thing to remember is it not a DIET, it is a way of life. I have drop major by changing my life style. Work out 5 days a week, regardless, cardio one day, weights the next. Carb up before, protein down after, small snack, lunch…salad or chicken with some sort of veggies, everything is measured, small snack, dinner clean simple food…fish and veg, salad and protein…all whole foods, no processed what so ever and I have to say I have never felt better (and starting to look better)

                                                                                                              It can be you can do it, I still have an indulgence meal on the weekend, and wine for that matter, you do not have to give up everything. Last weekend I had truffle risotto!

                                                                                                        2. For an easy healthy dinner I would always say any broiled fish- salmon is a favorite of mine. I am not sure if others agree, but I shun almost all "lowfat" foods. I find that small serving of real whole milk yogurt is much more filling and satisfying that a larger serving of non fat. For me, this goes for mayo, dressings etc. I would rather have oil and vinegar than a fat free dressing filled with perservatives. I would suggest trying to avoid highly processed foods in general and stick to a diet of minimally processed foods.

                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: cassoulady

                                                                                                            It's been my experience that a little bit of fat leaves me much more satisfied that purely fat-free foods. Prepared foods that remove the fat often add more sugars to maintain a flavor profile. At the same time, I have learned that the refined grains and sugars I crave also leave me hungry for more much faster. So I try to avoid those refined grains and sugars while consuming some fats. It's worked for me.

                                                                                                            1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                              Oh yes, I shun lowfat foods also...I agree that I would rather have something more filling than fill of refine sugar or fake sweetners, which to me have a chemical aftertaste...like cassoulady, I love making my own dressings ...dijon is my friend!

                                                                                                              1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                                                                                                I agree with you both. I can't remember the last time I used a bottled salad dressing. It's so easy to make your own and it tastes infinitely better than anything you can buy.

                                                                                                                1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                                                                                                  Just gotta ask you if you've tried Fage 0% yogurt...??? It's a great no-fat product and has tons of protein and great mouth-feel! That's one no-fat product that really does taste good.

                                                                                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                      Heck yes, it is! Fage 0% is like, unbelievably delicious and satisfying!

                                                                                                            2. This post is great, but unfortunately seems to have lost some steam over the years. We need to bring it back to life! I just joined WW- I'm loving the recipes people posted and would love to discover some more. Any WW veterans out there wanna help a chubby girl out? I love all food!

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: JenniferFromBoston

                                                                                                                Jennifer...here's another thread you might find helpful...Weight Watchers. the good the bad the ugly....


                                                                                                              2. I've been doing tons of spaghetti squash lately...After cooking and shredding, I stir-fry it in butter spray with tons of garlic, zucchini, mushrooms and a little bit of chopped tomato.