Four ways to create diet meals
Counting calories got a whole lot easier!
Please read this disclaimer. Before beginning any diet or excercise program consult with your physician. I am not a doctor or a nutritionist so the information that I am going to share with you should be considered strictly ancedotal.
Your first option is to sign up for Jenny Craig or NutriSystem, both have been very successful. NutriSystem is about 11 dollars a day with auto ship. With auto ship the food keeps on coming, but so do the bills! For a couple that's $666.00 per month. And if you stick with the program that's $666.00 a month for life! Jenny Craig says at their website that on average, their clients only spend one dollar a day more for meals than the average household. Although both programs are convenient, I think your'e bound to get some food you just plain don't like, because it's shipped to you sight unseen.
The second option is to integrate frozen dinners such as Healthy Choice or my personal favorite Marie Calender's, in with homemade breakfasts and or lunches. Both of these meals, along with Banquet and several others, are made by Congra- Foods the " 800 pound gorilla" of the frozen food isle in your super market. They usually cost between $2.00 and $3.00 each with Banquets and several others going for less than $2.00. The calories in these generally range from 300 to 420 each. Nutrition wise they have came along way from the tv dinners of old. Although they do contain some preservatives and slightly elevated sodium amounts (generally higher than 33% of the recomened daily allowance), as a whole, the average American would be better off eating these than what they are currently consuming.
The third option is to "re-use" the black pvc type plates that come with Healthy Choice or Marie Calender meals. They are excellent in providing portion control and can be put in the dishwasher, vacuum sealed and then frozen many times! When I say many, I'm talking 50 or more! Buy a huge Frozen Entree, say a Wal-mart brand lasagna and fill up the main course section, then fill in one section with frozen vegetables and the other with a sugar free pie filling like cherry or apple. It's pretty hard to get more than 450 calories in one of these plates! If the lasagna says 300 calories a serving and the box has 12 servings cut it into 12 equal servings. Take notes then next time you know how many calories it is! With the other two compartments pour water into each one then pour the water into a measuring cup. Now you know how much vegetables or pie filling your using, check the can and figure out your calories for the entire meal. You can then take a food saver and vacuum seal the left over meals! Get a marker and write the date and calorie amount on the meal!
The forth and final option is to reuse the pcv plates with your own complete home made meals. This is the cheapest and healthiest option but not the most convenient! You're going to have to research the calorie count of everything you use! I'm sure that all of those empty pvc plates will give you plenty of inspiration to create your own meals. When you cook, make large meals that can be individually vacuum sealed and then froze, so that you have an entire array of different meals that can be nuked and ready to eat in 5 minutes (take that at Rachael Ray)!