Operation Skinny Jeans: Meal Planning......sucks

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Meal Planning......sucks

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Meal planning.

Sucks

I mean it doesn't suck.

but I suck at it.

Let me just be honest for a second, I suck at FOOD in general. I suck at eating the right food, I suck at writing that food down, and I suck at planning so I DON'T eat the wrong food. I just suck.

I KNOW its easier when I do it.
I KNOW I eat better when I do it.
I KNOW I am more successful when I do it.

I just suck at it.

My husband and I have like 5 meals in our repertoire. We used to have a lot more before we started eating clean. But now that Hamburger Helper isn't a part of our lives (may he rest in peace) I can't seem to rack my brain for better ideas!

Yes I know pinterest exists.

Here is my thing with Pinterest recipes. They all require 7 THOUSAND ingredients. I want to use maybe 5. 5 is a good number for me.

So with all this we end up "meal planning" AT the grocery store ("so what do you want?" "I dunno, what do you want?"-THE WORST) and we end up with the same 5 meals we always eat, in repeat.
Fajitas
Meatloaf
Something with steak and peppers
Grilled Chicken, boring style
Pork ala dull.

bor-ring.

So I guess I am in need of a foodervention. I need to add fish into my life. I need to find more 5 ish ingredient recipes that I can actually make and that taste amazing. Then I need to WRITE THEM DOWN so I remember them the next time I am meal planning.

My question is, what works for you? Do you have a database of go to recipes you wanna share? A less than 7 thousand ingredient pinterest board I can follow? Wanna plan my meals for me? lol! kidding (not actually kidding, I would love you forever). 
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38 comments :

  1. Emilybites.com

    LOVE her website. Simple recipes, that take ingredients you have in the cupboard and they taste DELCIOUS.

    A few of my favourites:
    http://www.emilybites.com/2011/05/mexican-rice-casserole.html
    http://www.emilybites.com/2013/12/spaghetti-pie.html
    http://www.emilybites.com/2013/07/pretzel-coated-chicken-nuggets.html
    http://www.emilybites.com/2010/12/chicken-tortilla-soup.html#more

    ENJOY! Love her website!!!! :)

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  2. Girlfriend, you need to check out SkinnyTaste.com. Lots of super simple, easy to make recipes. A lot of them are clean and those that aren't can mostly be modified.
    She does step by step instructions too, so if you aren't sure what's you're supped to do, she shows you.

    Good Luck! You can rock this! Once you get into the routine of meal planning, it just becomes second nature.

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    Replies
    1. I third Skinny Taste! Recipes are fairly simple and so much variety - I love her crockpot section.

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  3. I suck at food in general too! And I give up on meal planning SO easily. I need to be more determined!

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  4. I like to make tilapia that I top with a corn/avocado relish thingymajig that I made up. I roast some corn (I do corn on the cob on my griddle pan indoors). While that is cooking up, I chop up a few Roma tomatoes, some red onion (about 1/2 of a red onion), a bell pepper, and a bunch of cilantro. Then I take the corn on the cob and slice it off into the tomato mixture. Take 1/2 an avocado & dice it up and squeeze a lemon or lime over the whole thing, season w/ a little salt, pepper and garlic powder. You can make this ahead of time but leave out the avocado until ready to serve. The corn gives a sweetness to it. I top the fish with it and we also eat it as a side dish. My whole family gobbles it up, including my 12 yr old.

    Another meal I make is chicken tacos. I take a few frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts and throw them in the crockpot. I had a jar of salsa (you can buy clean salsa) and a packet of taco seasoning (you can make your own so that it is clean). I cook on low all day. I make either a "taco" salad or "tacos" - instead of taco shells, I use iceberg lettuce as my shells. There is also usually leftovers of this for lunch the next day so 2 meals for the prep of 1. If you like it, you can use more chicken and then freeze it in individual portion sizes which is what I do. Easy peasy lunches.

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  5. Check out skinny taste dot com. Some of hers or complex but a lot are very simple and easy to make clean. Shredded chicken is my repeater. But you can do so much with it; buffalo style, salad, tacos, wraps, etc!

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  6. I love to cook and can meal plan pretty easily. However, when I'm looking to shake up our meals, we'll subscribe to Fresh20 for a few months at a time. The meals are usually delicious and there is nutrition information provided. We tried emeals, but I found them to be too heavy. I stay off of Pinterest because most of the recipes look prettier than they taste.

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  7. I follow SkinnyMom on Pinterest - I love the recipes they post there. All have minimal ingredients, most that are in my closet, and are easily modified.

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  8. So, I am in the process of creating a menu plan series! (NO JOKE). I also only want a few (healthy!) ingredients that are simple, easy and every-day stuff! I have been working on it (and not releasing it yet), because I still don't know what it will look like. Maybe we should work together on this one....?

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  9. LOL..I feel the same way I'm pretty sure I can't find fresh goat milk anywhere and nor do I want fresh goats milk , but I've built up a pretty big go-to list of stuff that's healthy and tastes good.

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  10. I'm pretty sure if I had someone to buy my food, make my food, and pack it for me I would rock at this losing weight thing. LOL

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  11. I'm echoing others comments above! Skinnytaste is great and on the side bar on the right side she has 5 ingredients or less recipes and a lot of good crockpot ones. If you don't get bored of your food options I say stick to what works...my boyfriend and I went through a rotation of pretty much the same stuff every week but they were things that we liked...I think that's key. I always like to do turkey meatballs or turkey meatloaf, spaghetti squash boats (skinnytaste recipe that is great!) or spaghetti squash lasagna (also skinnytaste). A really good fish recipe if you like salmon is terriyaki with lime...I let the fish sit in the terriyaki for awhile and then squeeze a lime on before I throw it in the oven. The acidity is a good combination with the terriyaki. Stir frys are always really good....and then I usually plan on leftovers for lunch. That way food doesn't go to waste and I don't have to think about lunch. I'm kind of a meal planning queen when I want to be so if you want help I could help you! I usually do an excel spreadsheet which helps (nerd much? haha).

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  12. Budget Bytes (http://www.budgetbytes.com/2012/02/hearty-black-bean-quesadillas/) is my favorite food blog. All the recipes are super easy, plus she always includes the cost per serving, so it's helpful if you're on a budget too! The black bean quesadillas (see link) are my favorite, but every recipe I've tried from here is delicious!

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  13. Skinny Taste is great. I also love red beans and rice (brown rice), with andouille sausage (find someone who makes it from scratch). I love salads, the more veggies the better and I also add chicken to it. Grilled green beans (olive oil, Mrs. Dash, a little sea salt and grill them on a grill skillet or on a grill), roasted broccoli. you could make turkey meatballs and have spaghetti (whole wheat pasta). I am all out of ideas right now. Good luck!

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    Replies
    1. agreed! skinny taste is a great resource! i also really like "paleomg.com" and bobby flays healthy dinner ideas on foodnetwork.com

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  14. My new go to recipe is so easy, I figured I'd share. We routinely eat a lot of tilapia, and we buy the prepackaged frozen fillets, so that all I have to do is defrost, cut it open, and drop it in a pan. I had found a recipe on food network (Rachael Ray I think) of a lemon tilapia with escarole and potatoes. We used to do that one a lot, but hubby has been diagnosed with diabetes, so we're saying "no" to carbs. What I do instead is I get a deep skillet with a lid and put a steaming basket in it. I put water in the bottom, just like I would in a sauce pan with vegetables, and in the steaming basket, I fill to the brim with escarole and add some seasoning (salt, pepper, and maybe garlic powder, lemon, creole, whatever I'm feeling). Cover and steam that until the escarole starts to wilt. Then arrange the fillets on top of the escarole, season those, and cover and steam until fish are cooked through and flake with a fork. I usually serve with a little bit of brown rice and it is super yummy. The trick is to use way more escarole than you think you'll eat because it will cook down significantly.

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  15. I hear ya sister! When I first began cooking (period) I bought the Better Homes and Garden 5 Ingredient Cookbook. Not everything in it is super healthy, but a lot of it is. Also there are big color photos for every recipe. I happen to love Kalyn's Kitchen http://www.kalynskitchen.com/ Her recipes always come out AWESOME! And if she uses a weird ingredient for some odd reason, she will tell you what "normal" one to use instead. I also found this http://www.cleaneatingmag.com/recipes/5-ingredient-meals/ which looked pretty good....clean eating 5 ingredient meals.

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  16. I can't keep on track with the meal planning to save my life! I've tried many times, and after that initial 1st week, it's all downhill form there... If we even follow the plan for the whole week. I'll have to check out the recipe links the other ladies have posted here in the comments.

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  17. I love the better homes and garden 5 ingredient cookbook. Also has photos on every page (not everything is "clean eating" though)...This looks pretty good: 5 ingredient clean eating meals http://www.cleaneatingmag.com/recipes/5-ingredient-meals/ Also, my all time favorite is Kalyn's Kitchen http://www.kalynskitchen.com/ her stuff always comes out AMAZING. And is pretty easy. If she uses something odd, she will tell you the "normal" substitute.

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  18. I love spicy food and I make these chicken burritos that my boyfriend loves. First I throw some boneless skinless chicken in a pot of water and set it to boil. While thats cooking I saute some mushrooms and onions. Once those are good I add 1 small can of green chiles, I dice up a few slices of pickeled jalepenos, and 1 small can of Heradez salas verde. I let that simmer while the chicken finishes up, then I shred the chicken and add it to the pan with everything else and let it all cook together for like 5 minutes then throw it in a tortilla with whatever sounds good (my BF loves it with Pinto Beans, lettuce, tomato and cheese) It's good to throw over a salad too with a dollop of sour cream :)

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  19. I suck at meal planning because I cook and prep things and then can't force myself to eat it! I get bored easily and want options. If a recipe has too many ingredients for me I modify it. Seasonings can ALWAYS be changed to what you prefer. I agree that quick and easy is key!

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  20. I started eating clean as well and struggled with the same issue! I actually have a crockpot and use recipes from the gracious pantry. Everything I have made so far has come out awesome and doesn't have a thousand ingredients. It's been really great for me!

    -Jen

    moderndaymotion.blogspot.com

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  21. I was struggling with the same thing! I actually have a slow cooker and use recipes from The Gracious Pantry. Everything is super easy to make without a thousand ingredients. Plus, I put it in the slow cooker and it's ready when I come home. Easy peasy and healthy! I definitely recommend it!

    -Jen
    moderndaymotion.blogspot.com

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  22. My husband and I do stir fry at least 2 nights a week. It's cheap, easy, and you can change it up completely! Sometimes we use brown rice, sometimes quinoa. Whatever we're feeling. You can also change up the proteins - chicken, ground turkey, etc. And the veggies are limitless! We stick to bell peppers, onions, brussel sprouts, broccoli, sweet potatoes, zucchini, squash, ETC ETC :) Then - you can mix up the sauces, too. Sometimes we just make a basic lemon pepper sauce, and sometimes we use stir fry sauce from the store. Delicious!

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  23. Emeals! Saved my meal-planning life!

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  24. I'm terrible at meal planning, too. I end up always buying the same things at the store and then come home and feel like I have nothing to make. So glad you posted this question. I've already written down several great ideas from the comments!

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  25. tri tip, red potatoes, green beans or asparagus.

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  26. I only do a few days at a time because it's just easier for me. I also am always looking on Pinterest for good ideas or I take something I really like and try to make it healthier. Also I get so tired of chicken breast but I find that trying different spices helps.

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  27. I believe you are cooking for two like I do. I love to cook once, eat twice, or even more with a pan of lasagne. If a dish is good as leftovers, I make extra. I have numerous meals in the freezer right now, and two meals in the fridge. Tonight I am cooking a pork tenderloin. The side dish is a rice pilaf I made to have with our salmon Sunday. I usually make a fresh salad every night. It sounds like you are very meat-focused. Have you tried some healthy vegetarian options? I love vegetarian meals, and most are easy on the budget.

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  28. What about something like spaghetti squash marinara? Or salsa chicken? Or soup? Or utilizing the crock pot? The crock pot is my best friend most days now with two kids and work.

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  29. A couple things I do that help:
    We bought a chest freezer for our apartment. On certain weekends, I'll cook a ton of stuff and make our own "frozen" meals. Like chicken stock, chicken with veggies in the crockpot, spaghetti sauce, chili, etc. Then during the week we can just pull them out for a fast easy meal.

    Some ideas for easy prep meals:
    Chicken parm (I DO have the cheese on there), spaghetti squash with marinara, and broccoli
    One of my FAVORITE vegetarian meals: Whole wheat pasta with diced tomatoes, cooked in a skillet with olive oil and garlic and some parmesan cheese on a bed of kale chips.
    Brown Rice and Veggie Stir Fry. My fiancé is a meat eater so if he's home, I'll add a little cut up chicken. Trader Joe's has great stir fry sauce
    Those are just a few ideas. I have a lot of cookbooks but I end up usually just making stuff from whatever I dream up. You can also make many things healthier by changing out certain ingredients (olive oil for butter, 2% fat or fat free cheese instead of full fat, etc).
    Hope that helps!

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  30. God you sound like me ha. We are the same in my house, I love variety and to try new things but as a family we tend to stick to the same few meals and it gets sooooooooooo boring but everyone is so fussy and wants an easy life when comes to cooking! Theres so many places to try new recipes out there if you look for them. Just remember that once you have the ingredients in your house you will be able to use them again and again and some will have same ingredients in them

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  31. When I have time, I'll email you some of our easy go-to recipes. We've been in a slump lately too, and finding the time to try/make new recipes is tough!

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  32. I love this recipe, we substitute the hellman's for greek yogurt and it was delicious. http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/parmesan-crusted-chicken-hellmanns-chicken-change-up/

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  33. So this is what works for me....I find most of my healthy recipes on different blogs I follow. I pin those and print them out. Add those ingredients to the grocery list for the week (usually I lean towards things that may already be on my list). Then I try the recipe, if it's awesome great I add it to my recipe book. If it sucks, I toss it and delete the pin from pinterest. Sounds like more work than it is but I promise it's not bad. Plus I try to only try one or two new recipes each week. Keep the trusty recipes in rotation.

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