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I don't have time to cook evey day. What can I do? Or Buy?

I work and when I come home I am to tired to cook. I want a meal I can buy that is healthy but good also. What do you suggest?
Are the ready made maels any good?

Sat. Jan 28, 3:13pm

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I feel the crunch

I used to be the same way, I have a couple of comments. First of all, yes you can get healthy, low cal fast food, you just need to do a little research. All fast food places have nutritional info available, either in person or on their websites. Also many calorie books out there list popular fast foods (try calorie king, they are pretty comprehensive) Example, McDonald's grilled chicken caesar, but substitute the low fat vinaigrette is about 240 calories, and pretty satisfying. But not all salads are created equal, I've seen some at other places in the 800 cal+ range! Sub sandwiches (hold the cheese and mayo) can also be low fat and low cal. There are also many grocery store options. I wait for the sales and then stock up on my favorites, lean cuisine and weight watchers smart ones have many choices I like. I also keep soups handy, and often just heat up with some extra frozen veggies thrown in. Lastly, there really many dishes you can cook up quickly, as long as you've planned ahead and have what you need on hand. Get a little George Foreman grill or nonstick grill-pan, and in notime you can have a grilled chicken breast and fresh or frozen veggies. Watch the Food Network if available for lots of yummy ideas. Also a gazillion food websites, and often you can search by "quick" and "low cal". Good luck, with a little forethought you can have fast, no-brainer dinners in no time. Bag-o-salad with a few chopped veggies and pre-cooked chicken strips is also a great go- to. Possibilities are endless! Enjoy!


Saturday, January 28, 2006, 5:03 PM

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Thanks. I did not know that the weight watchers food was in the grocery store. I thought it was something you had to order. Are their meals any good?

Saturday, January 28, 2006, 5:10 PM

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Quick fix meals

There's a show on food network- the premise is that you spend an hour or so on the weekend prepping ingredients and dinner's on the table every night in about 15 minutes. Her meals aren't always low cal but once you get the hang of thinking like that you could really make just about anything.


Saturday, January 28, 2006, 8:10 PM

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what are you doing that's more important than ensuring you're eating healthy? (if it's a pre-packaged meal, or comes from a fast food restaurant, I don't personally consider it healthy- regardless of the calorie count)

Take one day a week, and make things ahead of time. Grill some chicken- you can throw it on a salad, add a baked potato (8min in micro). make soup, store some in the freezer. Harboil some eggs- you can make egg salad, or add them to a salad. Frozen veggies can be nuked. Or buy a countertop grill- cooks food fast.

With proper thought and advance preparation, you don't need much time from walking through the door to sitting down to eat.

Saturday, January 28, 2006, 9:29 PM

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I guess I just never thought of preparing food in advance. I have a little girl(7 yrs old) and my concern is she need to eat healthy. But also need my help when we get home in the afternoon. Around 6:00 pm. And she has to be in bed by 8

Saturday, January 28, 2006, 9:42 PM

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Fruits and Vegies

I made the mistake of giving my children sweets after every dinner meal and not insisting they eat lots of fruits and veggies. 4 of my children are thin and trim becuase they burn it off, but I have one daughter who is very sedetary and she has a real weight problem. I wish I had been a better mom and insisted that they eat lots of F& V with every meal and by them doing it, I would do it and then I wouldn't be here trying to loos all the pounds that I am. Just a thought. Debbie

Saturday, January 28, 2006, 10:10 PM

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Use a crock pot. Throw a bag of frozen vegetables and some meat (stew beef or a couple chicken breasts work well), plus a can of tomato sauce or just some water w/ salt and pepper or a can of chicken stock or veggie stock plus more water, etc., and some rice, barley, or lentils if you want some carbs, in the crock pot in the morning (takes about 3 minutes, you don't need to thaw the veggies or anything) and cook on "low" all day long. When you get home, it's ready to eat. And you can easily make enough to have leftovers for dinner the next night too. There are also "crockpot helper" meals that you can buy in the grocery store. Or you can use fresh veggies, etc. You can also use just about any soup as a base, plus some water. You can cook a whole brisket in a crock pot. There are so many healthy, yummy meals you can make in there, it just takes some experimenting.

Monday, January 30, 2006, 10:33 AM

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Also, you can pick up a whole rotisserie chicken at the grocery store for about $5, depending on where you live. It's great, hot, and healthy (especially if you remove the skin from the part that you eat). If you have a salad bar at your grocery store, you can make a totally healthy, unique salad to go on the side, with tons of veggies. You can make one large salad and split it up into bowls when you get home, for as many people as are eating. Totally simple!

Monday, January 30, 2006, 10:35 AM

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Hey there. I have this same problem. You can either spend a Sunday cooking foods ahead of time and then freezing them, so that you can pull them out as you need lean cuisine skillet meals, etc. or use a company like You say you have a daughter and if there is a letsdish in your area, or anything similar it could be a good thing for you two to do as a mother/daughter activity. (Basically go to a location and pick from different recipes and make the meals together, and package them with their stuff to be frozen and used at later times)


Monday, January 30, 2006, 10:43 AM

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I am one of those who likes to plan ahead - I usually make a meal plan for two weeks at at time, and I prepare as much as I can in one session. I do shop two times - I get all the meat and enough veggies, dairy and perishables for one week. The second week, I just have to restock on fruit and veg, milk, or anything I've run out of (mustard, ketchup, etc).

I'll grill/bake/boil a bag of the frozen chicken breasts and cut them into strips or chunks that I can use in stir-fry, soups, chicken salad for lunch or casseroles. I brown, drain and rinse 3-5 lbs. of ground beef at a time (great for sloppy joes, chili, tacos, etc.). The beef and chicken both refreeze well after they've been cooked, and if you have your meals planned out ahead of time, you know what to take out of the freezer to thaw in the fridge the night before. I also process veggies and store them in bags in the refrigerator - chop and broccoli, green beans, snap peas, carrots (or use baby carrots), onion and green pepper so that I just grab and dump them into whatever I need them in or can steam a batch of broccoli. I do prepare veggies each week, because I've found that they just don't keep for much longer than a week.

I've been doing this for years now, so I only take a Saturday morning or a Sunday afternoon to get it all prepped (it does take practice because it's a tad overwhelming to see all of the food that needs to be dealt with), but it's nice to feel like you're in control of what's going into your food and knowing ahead of time what you're going to eat.

It also helps me avoid the pratfalls of fast food. I hate waste, and if I've already got something going in the oven or crockpot or ready to go on the grill, I won't let it go bad and eat fast food instead.

Just some suggestions - it really does help in many ways - reduced calories, reduced fat, and reduced expenses. My family likes it, too, because I don't have to spend nearly as much time in the kitchen each night.

Monday, January 30, 2006, 11:29 AM

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