Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Meal & Snack Planning Tips

The goal of tonight's WLS Support Group meeting was to compile a list of tips and tricks for meal planning, healthy snacking and making healthy choices at restaurants. We also went around the room and shared our favorite protein shake recipes - I'll share that list in the next blog post. Below is the list we all brainstormed together.


Two more parts from this discussion



Meal Planning - making sure meals are the right size, contain the right balance of nutrients and are the healthiest choices we can make

  • Always measure or weight food portions
  • Write down meal plan ahead of time -- the night before or first thing in the morning
  • Pack your breakfast and lunch the night before so it's ready as you run out the door in the morning
  • Use small containers to pack individual portion sizes (like Ziploc extra-small bowls)
  • Use Snack Size Ziploc baggies for small portions on the go
  • Don't travel without food (see snack ideas below)
  • Write everything down that you eat in a food log
  • Use an electronic or online food journal to record food (if you're not a written food log type of person)
  • Cook once - prepare one dish and portion into individual bowls for lunches all week
  • Keep food choices simple to reduce calorie counts
  • Choose fruit for dessert
  • Use small plate and bowl instead of standard sizes
  • When cooking for your family, eat the same thing but choose smaller portions and forgo starchy carbs and read for protein and veggies instead
  • Planning ahead removes the temptation of too many choices or eating based on cravings or moods
  • Recognize when you make mistakes and move on making the necessary changes
  • It's easier to resist temptation in the grocery store than it is when the bad food is in your kitchen, so don't even bring it into the house. 
Restaurant Tips - how to make good choices when ordering off a menu
  • Before you arrive, look at the restaurant's menu on their website and decide what you'll order when you get there
  • Use the website Diet Facts to review nutritional information of menu items before you arrive
  • Keep it simple -- if recipes are overly complicated, it generally means added calories. Order simple foods prepared in simple ways.
  • When you need a quick meal - skip the drive through. Instead go to any convenience store or gas station and pick up a package of beef jerky and cheesesticks - most places have these options now.
  • Dessert - there are several options:
    • order fruit (berries have the lowest natural sugar content whereas pineapple has the highest)
    • order one dessert for the entire table and everyone have one bite
    • order the mini desserts (bite-size tasters usually served in "shot glass")
  • Don't be afraid to order something not on the menu - such as cottage cheese or chicken broth, most kitchens have alternate foods not shown on the menu
  • Don't be afraid to order anything off the menu, even if it's not specifically listed. For instance if you see that shrimp is used in Fettuccine Shrimp Alfredo - but don't want the pasta or Alfredo sauce, just order the shrimp as a main dish with a side of steamed veggies.
Health Snack Options - looking for protein-forward snacks
  • Cheesestick or cubed cheese
  • Raw almonds
  • Jerky -- either beef or turkey
  • Carbmaster Yogurt
  • Wasa Flatbread as a base for tuna, egg or chicken salad (Mark loves the rosemary flavored ones!)
  • Flax crackers, also as a base for a protein snack
  • Dry Roasted Edamame
  • Fresh veggies -- buy carrots, celery, green peppers, cucumbers and have them cut up and read for grabbing in the fridge

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