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Now, I know there are people here who think M & Ms are one of the major food groups. (You know who you are ;) )

I thought it might be helpful to some of our members to talk about healthy food, or easy recipes for people who don't like to cook. A lot of our members are on limited incomes, so suggestions about economical foods would be welcome. (Not ramen, people. Let's try to stay in the healthy spectrum.)

It is apparent to me that when I eat good food, I have more energy, my hair and skin look healthy, I'm not lethargic and I can control my weight a bit.

There has been a lot of publicity in the past few years about the trend toward cooking at home and eating in, as opposed to getting take-out or going to a restaurant. Every article I've read on the subject points out that cooking at home is

1) cheaper

2) lower in salt & fat (than restaurant food)

3) easier on the environment (Fewer clamshell containers, bags, plastic deli containers, etc)

It's also a choice that allows you to pick what you want to eat. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, carnivore, herbivore, gluten intolerant or an omnivore, preparing your own food is a healthier, less expensive route.

So let's talk about eating good food, and how to do that without breaking the bank. Please do NOT use this thread to condemn other people for their food choices---I don't want to get into morality arguments. (You're welcome to start a topic on any subject you want, including your particular food crusade.)

I'm about to go to bed, so I'll start us off with a discussion about breakfast. Do you eat breakfast? If not, why not? There's an old saying that you should "Breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince, and dine like a pauper." Many nutrition experts consider breakfast the most important meal of the day. I think for those of us with MI issues, it's important because we need to keep our blood sugar levels stable, and because you need food in your stomach to take your meds and not ruin your stomach lining.

If you don't like cereal or toast, eat an egg. Cut up an apple. Eat a bean burrito. Maybe have some of that macaroni and cheese your roommate made yesterday. A glass of rice milk and a few crackers. Almost anything you eat is going to be better than nothing.

I'll be having granola, skim milk, half a grapefruit, and a glass of our homemade apple cider tomorrow. What are you having?

olga

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I do a big breakfast on the weekends. Tomorrow I'll be making a breakfast casserole made with biscuits, eggs, cheese, and soy sausage crumbles.

Typically, I eat oatmeal with fruit for breakfast. Oatmeal is extra cheap when purchased from a bulk bin. I top it with frozen berries from Aldi (or my freezer, if I picked them over the summer). I usually eat yogurt, too.

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Well, I don't know about tomorrow, so I'll tell you that I've been having whole wheat cereal with lowfat milk and coffee for breakfast.

I also had that for lunch.

And babybok choy cooked in a little olive oil and fresh garlic for supper.

Tomorrow? I'm out of cereal. Oh wait, I do have oatmeal, so I'll have that with lowfat milk and coffee. And I need to cut up the pummelo and have some of that.

Olga this is a GREAT idea for a thread.

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I usually eat a pretty light breakfast like a piece of fruit or a granola bar, I'm just not hungry when I wake up. But I do always choke something down because it's so important to start your day with some nutrition. But by lunchtime, watch out! Then I'm hungry! That's always the biggest meal of the day for me.

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I'm pretty rigid when it comes to breakfast. I eat the same thing every day. Day in and day out. Fiber One Frosted Shredded Wheat Cereal, Whole Milk. Followed by lot's of iced coffee with more whole milk. On the rare occasion that we do decide to eat out for breakfast, I splurge on pancakes.

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I will eat ANYTHING for breakfast (and do cook most of my own food ..we go out to eat about once a month or so)

I have no rule of thumb except for me it has to be a bit fatty ( this is not for everyone but it works for me ..and keeps me full all morning... a low fat breakfast just does not sustain me) ..eggs scrambled with cheese and vegetables .. my absolute favorite breakfast ever ....I feel such a power pack of nutrition in each cackle berry I eat! ..the nice part is we have chickens so they are always fresh

Mostly I eat whatever I had for dinner the night before again for breakfast! I love leftovers in the morning and since we are really working at making healthy dinners the breakfast becomes healthy as well ..I am going to have some left over curried eggplant today for breakfast ...

I HAVE TO PUT THIS SOME PLACE!!! I LOST 14LBS ONLY 16 MORE TO GO! It is possible to be a middle aged woman with a passion for food ..and still loose weight...not easy but it can be done and I fell so much better..mentally and physically eating well and getting more exercise

I finally get to a point in life that I feel like an accomplished cook and baker! Now I have to be so careful what I eat!!!! it is just not fair I say ;) I know I can have tastes of anything but always want to eat eat eat when something is good!

OT a little but it relates ..I am reading a very good book right now about if you have not seen it check it out..

The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David Kessler

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1605297852/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=3258118751&ref=pd_sl_35sekbp3h9_b

no food crusades here this is just an extremely insightful book about the "why's" !

thank you so much for starting this most awesome thread

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Isn't ramen potenitally quite healthy? I mean, if you used good quality noodles (maybe wholewheat ones) and made your own vegetarian, high-veg, lower-salt version of traditional ramen soup it seems like it might be a good choice...and it could be very low fat too (no frying the noodles!). Or does ramen mean something else in America?

Personally, I eat an immense amount of basic vegetable stew (or "general vegetable mush" as my friends call it) - it's healthy and cheap ;) I just fry some onion and garlic in a little olive oil, add a tin of basic no-frills tinned chopped tomatoes (no added anything!), bit of water, a vegetable stock cube (knorr or oxo) and then chopped fresh vegetables...all sorts of different ones to keep life interesting. My main staples tend to be aubergine, carrot, broccoli, mushrooms and cabbage but sometimes I add mini corn, peas, etc. Simmer until veg is softened but not soggy, then often I add some sort of protein thing like quorn mince, butterbeans, chick peas, etc, and bob's your uncle. You can have that with rice or pasta (preferably brown not white) or just by itself. I can eat that same thing for weeks, with minor variations! And you can cook it in a batch, keep it in the fridge and reheat portions the next day.

I think that it seems more difficult to eat healthily if you live in the USA. My sister lived there for 7-8 years and she's really health conscious so had a bit of nightmare with the food. It seems as though just about everything has unecessary added crap like sugar, salt, general chemicals. Or corn syrup, what's with that?! Even the normal bread, baked beans, etc, tases all sweet and chemically. And the fruit and veg is all waxy-looking and super shiny, no odd shaped or dirty stuff in American supermarkets - you have to go to a health food shop for ordinary food! Very strange.

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Isn't ramen potenitally quite healthy? I mean, if you used good quality noodles (maybe wholewheat ones) and made your own vegetarian, high-veg, lower-salt version of traditional ramen soup it seems like it might be a good choice...and it could be very low fat too (no frying the noodles!). Or does ramen mean something else in America?

I have never heard it used to refer to anything but prepackaged (single-serving) instant noodle soup that you just pour hot water over. The noodles are fried and the flavoring is basically salt (a lot of it) and MSG.

As for added crap being in the food here, yes it is, and the solution is not to buy processed food. I bake my own bread and cook my own stuff. I don't really get it when people say they have trouble avoiding high fructose corn syrup, or whatever it is they want to avoid. It is cheaper this way too. Sorry, this was about breakfast.

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I have no sense of portion control. I recently joined the Biggest Loser at my job (I know, I'm pathetic), well in a week, recording what I eat, etc., I've already lost 3lbs! (I'm 5'5" and was 165.8 for the record). I hope I don't gain it back this weekend, the next weigh in is Tuesday. I hope I don't gain the weight back. I know 3lbs isn't a lot, but it's something! I've been eating rice, yogurt and salad for lunch and just had one serving of whatever I happen to make for dinner. I would usually have three, heh. So baby steps! Seltzer is God.

Is there a thread for recipes? I'd love to share some of mine and make some of everyone's here.

ETA: Pre-packaged Ramen is one of the reasons why you get the Freshmen 15. I know it's cheap, but the stuff is seriously evil.

ETA2: No, I don't eat breakfast, I don't have time. Sometimes I'll bring a bio-K to work and drink that for breakfast, but from 8:30 to 12:00 I'm not allowed to eat at my job, so yeah. I already get up at 6:40 just to make it to work. So no breakfast for me.

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Problem is not all of my recipes are all that healthy. To be honest I actually don't know which of my recipes are healthy and which aren't =( Should I post anyway and you guys can tell me?

ETA: Tell me if the recipe is inappropriate for this thread and I'll delete it.

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I usually have two scrambled eggs with cheese in a tortilla for breakfast. It's hot, filling and keeps me going all morning. It's not low-fat, but my cholesterol is okay so I don't worry about it. It's about 400 calories, which leaves plenty for the rest of the day for me. Figure about 140 calories for two eggs, 35 for a teaspoon of butter, 100 for one ounce of cheese, 100 for the tortilla, and 15-20 for the milk mixed with the eggs. You could always used low-fat/reduced calorie versions of the ingredients to reduce the numbers.

I'm also a last-minute type of person in the morning, and my best time so far is four minutes! That includes taking everything I need out of the fridge and putting the egg pan in the sink (I wash it when I get home).

Here's the four minute routine:

I put a piece of foil on the counter, topped with a paper towel, and take all the ingredients out of the fridge. I put a tortilla in an ungreased skillet at the same time I melt the butter for the eggs in the other skillet, mix up the eggs with a tablespoon of milk, scramble the eggs, flip the tortilla while the eggs cook, grate some cheese in the eggs when they're cooked, flip the tortilla onto the paper towel/foil, add the eggs & cheese, roll the whole thing up, put the milk & cheese back in the fridge, put the pan in the sink, and I'm out the door. If it's cold, I also wrap the whole thing in a dishtowel and it's still warm when I get to work 25 minutes later.

As a single person, for other meals, the freezer is my friend. I had a pizza delivered the other night, and I can't eat a whole pizza, so I freeze what's left. One of my other favorites is burrittos, I'll make a big batch with beans & cheese, sometimes meat, and freeze them. Everything but lettuce and sour cream freeze well. They're also good for breakfast.

I figure if I see it in the grocery store freezer, it must freeze okay, so I freeze my home-cooked version instead of buying Stouffer's.

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Breakfast for me is whatever I have available - whether it's leftovers from last night's meal, tortilla chips and cheese (today's breakfast!), or occasionally cereal and whole milk. Everything I eat is portion controlled, so my breakfast never goes over the 500 calorie mark. Oh, and coffee of course.

Cooking is a non-issue for me because I do not have a kitchen. Now that the snuggle buddy is gone (*sob*) I can't even use his. I have two shelves in my closet, a cube refrigerator, a microwave, a coffee pot, and a rice cooker as my "kitchen". This means that, yeah, I eat quite a bit of processed and "eat out" food.

That being said, it's surprising the amount of things that can be made in a rice cooker other than rice. ;) I've also found that if I buy the frozen meals and don't use the sauces that come with them, they're pretty darned healthy. I just either heat them in the rice cooker with water, or steam them in the microwave.

BTW, did you know you could boil eggs in a coffee pot? (I only heat water in the coffee pot) It takes longer, but it can be done. :) Also, if you toss a couple in with the rice when you cook it in the rice cooker, they'll hard boil there too.

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I usually forget to eat breakfast, until I am starving. Then I tend to eat leftovers. If there is some of "my" cereal in the house, I might eat some of that, and when raspberries or strawberries are in season, I really like them with cereal. But I tend to eat cereal for lunch, or as a snack.

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I think Withing gets the Creativity prize!

That vegetable stew sounded good, and I will reiterate what sorrel said: good food is available in the US if you stay away from prepared foods. I'll start posting some of my food porn pictures to give you an idea of what we eat for dinner.

Raquin, please do post some of your recipes. If you don't mind comments, I bet you will get lots of them!.

Well, it looks like I'm not the only breakfast-eater around here.

Now, here's a challenge. The US Gov't suggests that we eat 7 to 11 servings of fruits and veggies every day. (Not grains, so oatmeal and cereal don't count). If you don't have a serving of fruit with breakfast, you're starting the day off with a deficit. So how about some creative ways to get a little fruit (or veggies) into that breakfast?

Spinach in the eggs is a great idea. Banana on the cereal is a classic. LO has a pummelo, but it doesn't count until you eat it! heh And remember that a serving of fruit is half a cup, so a large peach or apple counts as two servings. The person who suggested a handful of berries on the oatmeal has a great idea.

My sweet baboo and I generally eat cereal, but on Sunday we have French toast or blueberry pancakes. (All whole-grain, of course.) When I serve the plate, there is a ring of orange sections, or grapefruit sections around one side of the plate. In the summer, it might be 4 small slices of cantaloupe. This time of year is tough because there aren't a lot of sweet, juicy fruits available.

Lots of good ideas here, so keep 'em coming!

Catnapper's breakfast on the run is cool. I like the idea of taking it with you. I have an elderly friend who likes leftovers. If I give her a serving of my pasta dinner, or lentils with sausage, she eats it for breakfast! Hey, whatever works.

So, anybody gonna work on having a serving of fruit or veg with breakfast? Great for the constipated crowd....

olga

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