One of the things I did as part of my "weight loss project" was to start a binder. It is something that I use all the time. It sits on a shelf with all my recipe books. If a calorie counting method is something you are interested in, I found some things that really helped. At the beginning of the binder, I put copies of my food journal that I keep every week. Every day and every meal, I put the time (since I have learned it's most effective to eat small meals every 3-4 hours) the food, the calories, and also beverage. (since it is important to drink lots of water) As you open the binder it has a list of quotes given to me by my sister from a talk she gave entitled, Just Livin' the Dream. One of my favorites:"Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty is waiting to be born." -anonymous. On the other side of the quote sheet is a list on "Overcoming the Craving to Eat Mindlessly" which I found on the Internet. I find it is good to refer to on the days I am not so motivated or am feeling burned out. A few highlights: 1. Treat your body with respect: nourish it, move it around, listen to it, and pamper it. Tune into your body to stop emotional eating. 2. Don't deprive yourself of foods you love, just don't overdo it. 3. Deal with your triggers. If you can't cut then from your life entirely, find better ways to cope with your feelings. Eating mindlessly makes things worse. Also in the binder is an "anger cheat sheet" I found in a Weight Watchers magazine: Why do I want to eat this? Is it because I an hungry or because I am angry? If I don't eat this now, will I regret not eating it later? If I do eat it, how will I feel later? Is there a healthier option? Here is a general breakdown of the binder:
Section 1: A calorie chart with most general foods I found on the Internet, for more specific foods, the website The Daily Plate is a good one.
Section 2: Tips for cutting calories, The 7 day calorie zigzag, a chart that provides the amount of calories needed per week, but "tricks" your body by constantly changing daily calories. This is great for plateaus. I found this also on the Internet.
Section 3: sample diets for 7 days of 1200, 1300 and 1400 calorie diets. I have learned that keeping it simple makes this calorie counting method easier, and these sample diets also gave me great ideas.
Section 4: A list I found from Good Housekeeping: The Best 100 calorie snacks and The 2008 healthy food awards Shopping List.
Section 5: Recipes: includes my favorites from the Zone Diet,healthy recipes from allrecipes.com, Free Diet Menu, Food Network: Ellie Krieger's recipes, Flat Belly diet recipes, Biggest Loser recipes, Weight watchers recipes.
Section 6: Fitness tips: treadmill routines, stationary bike routines, toning, Pilates ab routines, interval routines. You can find a lot of these on the website for Fitness magazine.
As you can see, I like to mix and match and use the things I like. Many of the dinner recipes are "slimmed down" versions of my favorites. This works out great for feeding my husband and two year old, because they are easy to adapt. For example a few nights ago,I made a Grilled Chicken Parmesan with pasta. For myself, I made whole wheat pasta and I made some regular pasta for my husband. He also added more cheese to his and this comes in handy because my daughter can't get enough cheese! I will go into more depth about some of these sections of the binder as I add to my blog. I hope you like these recipes and tips as much as I did! Like I said, it's all about finding what you like and what works for you!
Grilled Chicken Parmesan
Serve this with a side of whole wheat pasta and/or a large green salad
4 (4 ounce) trimmed, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Olive oil in a sprayer (not store bought that contains propellant)
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 c. low-fat,low-sodium,low sugar marinara sauce, or more to taste (I use Heart Smart sauces by Prego)
6 Tbs. finely shredded low-fat mozarella cheese
2 tsps. grated reduced-fat Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly mist both sides of the chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken, turning once, for 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until it is no longer pink inside and juices run clear. Transfer to a baking dish.
Heat the sauce on low on the microwave until warm, Top each chicken breast with 2 Tbs. marinara sauce, followed by 1 1/2 Tbs, mozarella, and 1/2 tsp. parmesan. Bake the chicken for 3 to 5 minutes, or just until cheese is melted.
Per Serving: 169 calories, 29 grams protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, 1 g fiber