Java Talk #4: Saving On Meals While Eating Nutritionally


I have just flipped the coffee to "On" and am waiting for my first cup of java.

Let's talk about recipes, special ways we've learned to save on food preparation, and fast ways to eat nutritionally.

I have to say right here and now that I have not been eating as I should be. I know I need to be eating more protein. A potato a day will not keep the doctor away.

After I get moved I'm planning to change that. I'm going to be watching how much protein and vitamins I take in so that maybe, just maybe, I will be healthier and my ankle will get better.

TV dinners are fast and easy and I don't have to stand up a long time to fix them. But let's face it, they really aren't good for you. They don't even taste that good.

Fast and easy has become the norm. I have never really liked to cook, and now I had a fairly good excuse not to. Who wants to cook for one?

Plus I just don't like that gas stove. This is the first gas stove I've had since I was a pregnant teen and blew one up. I have actually had two scary experiences with gas. The other story I'll tell tomorrow. It's kind of long.

I use to scramble eggs at various meals. Add some cut up mushrooms and other veggies, a little cheese and some herbs. I could use what I had on hand. And eggs, despite the negativity that is often associated with them, are filled with protein. It was an easy nutritious meal, morning, noon or night.

I know meat has protein. But I'm just not a big meat eater. Don't like the texture.

According to Men's Health:

Eggs: The Perfect Protein


The protein in eggs has the highest biological value—a measure of how well it supports your body's protein needs—of any food, including our beloved beef. "Calorie for calorie, you need less protein from eggs than you do from other sources.

But you have to eat the yolk. In addition to protein, it also contains vitamin B12, which is necessary for fat breakdown and muscle contraction. (And no, eating a few eggs a day won't increase your risk of heart disease.)

How they keep you healthy: Eggs are vitamins and minerals over easy; they're packed with riboflavin, folate, vitamins B6, B12, D, and E, and iron, phosphorus, and zinc.

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Okay, it's your turn. I'm off to pour my first cup of steaming coffee. I'll be right back to the discussion!

101 comments

  1. Please continue to share your ideas. I have been in a funk and blood sugar not in control. I am trying so hard to eliminate somethings- a few at a time. Even with small changes, I have dropped 4 pounds. It's so hard. When I got to 200 (I know who in the world would let themselves get that big!) and sugar out of control, I knew it was time. I pray for God's strength. Share. Share. Share.

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    1. During an extremely stressful part of my life, about 12 years ago, I got to 203. I couldn't believe it. I went on a diet where I ate a lot of chicken breasts plain. I can't even think of eating one now. But I love a good 50 pounds. Then after my ankle injury, the weight has crept up at least 20 pounds. I hear ya!

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  2. When I am craving something yummy, healthy and economical I make a pot of beans and rice. I love black beans and will saute some onions, garlic, diced red pepper. I toss in a can of pre-rinsed black beans and some frozen corn. Season with salt and pepper and a few red pepper flakes for some heat. Serve over brown rice. I like to add some chopped scallions, diced avocado and chopped cilantro for some freshness. Diced tomatoes work in this dish too. It's cheap, easy, low fat, full of protein and delicious. When you cook from scratch you can control the fat, sugar and salt and keep the cost down too.

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

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    1. this mixture is a lot like what I just posted :)

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    2. Oh, this sounds good. When my kids were young, I use to make a dish quite like this. I cooked a lot back then. You're right, easy and very good for you.

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    3. I like black beans and this would be a good meal for me. I am a lot like Brenda that cooking for one is hard and I'm not eating correctly and it is showing in my weight and my low energy levels. This is a discussion I desperately need!

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  3. well I just settled back into the computer with a cappuccino to check mail before I start on my quilt project this morning and thought I would write a little bit before I leave the computer again for awhile - one thing I like to make (I am not a big meat eater either) is a concoction I came up with that uses a small pork roast (the smallest I can find normally). I cook the roast in the crock pot and it serves for several meals - I will shred it after it is cooked and the first time I use it - that day - I will add barbeque sauce and it is bbq shredded pork sandwiches - another part of it gets put in a rice/bean mixture - I mix wild rice with brown rice (I cook a batch and freeze in bags) and a can of black beans and some corn - put in some of the shredded pork - as much or as little as you want and mix in some salsa as spicy as you want. I then take tortillas - any kind you want - and spoon some mixture in the middle - roll them up and put in a sprayed with Pam pan - pour a little more salsa over the top and add cheese - bake on 375 until thoroughly heated. I make a large pan of this and it serves as one evening meal and several lunches for two people. The mixture is as much rice as you want mixed in it - the black beans have protein and the brown rice and wild rice are both much better for you than white rice is. You can also chop an onion in this and cook the onion first until limp.

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    1. You've got this recipe and how many meals it will make down to a fine science! Exactly the kind I'm looking for.

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    2. I like pork so this sounds like a great meal for me to make also.

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  4. I also think a big component here is, if you possibly can, to raise your own veggies. I know I'd be much more apt to go outside and pick some veggies to put in a meal than to get in the car and go to the grocery.

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  5. The trouble with meat is it can dry out so easily. For instance those boneless breasts in the big packages at the store ? I can make them taste horrible very easily! :) Better off to invest in some chicken on the bone and cook it in the slow cooker or I find that a split turkey breast is even cheaper. And better to invest in a pork tenderloin or a good cut of steak than the cheaper cuts and throwing half away. Having said that, I would buy a tenderloin on sale, wait to use it for a family dinner, then have some leftovers for myself. Or I buy ground beef on sale and then make meatballs, stuffed peppers, meatloaf...all at once and freeze alot. If you want to try to just get a little more beef / chicken / eggs into your diet and you like tossed salads, perhaps do some cut of meat in the crockpot, freeze it in portions and use it in tossed salads if you like them, with cut up boiled eggs and cheese in the salad as well...when i do that sometimes at dinnertime it is as if I am at a salad bar somewhere! :)

    Unless it is some tried and true the family must have it for a holiday recipe, I don't make casseroles or dishes that require a lot of ingredients now. Casseroles used to be a cheap way to cook and now they are not! :) A few fresh ingredients such as salad, a plain vegetable such as broccoli, or peppers & onions, zucchini and tomatoes...this is the way that I usually cook nowadays. And little kids prefer that too.

    For instance at Christmas, I made a fancy zucchini casserole that my niece and us older people liked but the little kids hated it. Yet those same little kids will chow down on plain boiled broccoli or brussel sprouts seasoned with just a wee bit of butter and salt and pepper, so in the end, even little ones prefer the plainer foods.

    I see Karen mentioning beans. I am not much of a bean person but northern beans in a soup with a ham hock, lots of veggies and some tomatoes is right up my alley as far as beans go, yum : )

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    1. Did your mother teach you all these ways to cook? You seem to have a lot of knowledge (that I don't!) about ways to stretch meals and eat cheaply.

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    2. I never cooked when I was young...I just learned as a newly married, courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens and Betty Crocker cookbooks for the most party :) A few family recipes such as cole slaw and potato salad and things like that...recipes from magazines or friends....but my sister and I both married into Italian families and there was alot of cooking there! : ) Plus our area is pretty ethnic...so we are surrounded by Polish, Italian, German recipes from the immigrants who came here. But basically having three sons....who once they hit about 13 years old started to really eat ALOT, lol...I just learned to shop the store specials and cook around them. For instance the local store will have a special two day only sale on Friday /Saturday. Split chicken breasts will be .99 per lb. Those are on the bone so I can't kill them and dry them out, ha ha...I'll probably get a package of them and cook them in the crockpot and then I'll freeze most of them, eat chicken for dinner two nights from one breast. What I freeze...maybe the next family dinner I'll cut it up and do chicken and biscuits and stretch it that way. As long as I make a lot of mashed potatoes for those now grown boys, I can stretch meat like nobody's business : )

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  6. I try to make meals that will stretch so I don't have to cook every day. My family enjoys chili that I make with lean ground turkey, red kidney beans, chili powder, tomato sauce, a small can of mild Rotel tomatoes and a little bit of wild rice.. I also fix tuna casserole with a whole bag of mixed vegetables, a can of cream of celery or chicken soup and a little bit of cheese.. We like spaghetti too. It can be fixed with ground turkey also. I don't make my own sauce.
    I fix salads quite often.. Romaine lettuce is our favorite. I usually cut up a hard boiled egg for the salad and put tuna or chicken in too.
    I used to make chicken pot pie with an English pastry that is very good.. The pastry calls for an egg and lemon juice. My Mom gave me the recipe years ago.
    We don't eat much pork, mainly chicken, turkey and fish. I find Panko breaded Tilapia at Costco.. I imagine it could be found in other grocery stores too. We also enjoy baked salmon. I used to make meatloaf. That is good for a meal with mashed potatoes and another veggie. Meatloaf sandwiches are great too.
    For the past year, I have been eating a lot of vegetables-------yellow squash, kale, collards, zucchini, carrots and green beans. It has helped me to lose some weight.
    I don't bake cakes, cookies or pies like I used to. We have sweets for special occasions.
    I still haven't tried your Mexican casserole Brenda.. I want to do that soon. Do you have any other favorite recipes ?
    These chats are fun. Have a good day.
    Charlotte

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    1. My list of great recipes is fairly short, unfortunately. I cooked so much when my kids were young. I had both my kids pretty young and before I knew it they were adults, and I just became lax about cooking. And you know what, it's not like riding a bicycle for me, I forget. I have not been eating as much salad as I should, or good vegetables. I've been eating more frozen foods. Yek! Sometimes I think I might as well eat cardboard.

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  7. Good morning to all! I like to cook a quick sandwich when I am not feeling the cooking (which is often). I use the whole wheat sandwich thins or english muffins (that I keep in the freezer). I scramble an egg with whatever veggies I have on hand (sometimes none). Then place the egg (open face style) on the bread, top with tomato and a little bit of any cheese - then broil. It makes a very filling meal for me. I love anything hot - it keeps me satisfied for longer.

    I too make meals and freeze in smaller portions. I also cook up onions and freeze in small bags. Anything to make it quick and easy when I am hungry.

    I also like to roast veggies in the oven. I like to roast asparagus, peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc. for about 30 minutes with just a touch of seasoning and pepper. They taste so good that way. I don't have to spend much time on that and can just turn them once.

    Love to read all the ideas here and love your blog.

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  8. Eggs cheese and greek yogurt can also be a great source of protein. Brenda, do you like peanut butter? I work in a long term care facility and we use peanut butter to give extra protein to our residents. They also sell liquid supplements that are very easy to use and work great. Try keeping your bake potato and add a little turkey or fish with it. I know when we are mindful of what we eat we are on the right track. Enjoy your day!

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    1. I love peanut butter. But it has like a jillion calories doesn't it?

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  9. I like the quick sandwich idea. I am not fond of cold sandwiches myself. An open faced sandwich broiled sounds delicious. I shall have to try this. Great ideas. And thank you for reading!

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  10. I love to cook, and it is hard to not cook too much, when you cook for one. First, on the cold sandwich idea...I like to make my sandwiches like a grilled cheese, or a pannini. I just have a small non stick pan that is exactly the size of the sandwich that I use...I can put any combo of ingrediants in it. I dip it in some kind of broth type soup, for real comfort food. One of my favorite snacks is yoplait light yogurt. it is cheap and low fat. Many flavors and 5 grams of protein. There is more protein in Greek yogurt, but I don't like the texture of it. My main way of cooking is using several favorites, and freezing any left overs. I don't mind eating the same thing for a couple days, so Chili, spagetti(made with spagetti squash), meatloaf(I make mine by combining the ground meat of choice with salsa(no veggie prep work), an egg, bread crumbs, garlic powder and whostershire sauce. I place in a pyrex baking dish, and cover the top with bacon strips and bake. This is also good for sandwiches! I also love to make a type of quiche. I buy fresh spinach(hopefully on sale), saute it in a non stick pan with a little oil and chopped garlic. I then place it in a 9 by 9 inch pyrex dish. I mix eggs and salsa and a little milk and pour over the spinach. I then place grated cheese on top and bake. You can add anything you like, bacon and leeks is great! I also do this with Bisquick mix, to make an Impossible pie(receipe on box). I have a lot of ideas I should email you! Good luck.

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    1. Somehow, I forgot my very favorite food....pizza!!!!! I have made my own pizza since I was a child, and my Grandmother let me make it from a recipe of my mothers. There are so many ways to do it...I use a simple yeast dough, just like I would use for bread. I like to spread it out on a well oiled pan, and use any and all the ingredients I can think of. You can also go very light on toppings, when you are running low on items. Sauteed onions and bacon is a favorite of mine.

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    2. Keep them coming, Kathy! Keep them coming!

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    3. My retired school teacher friend used one of those George Foreman set ups to make her hot sandwich I think.

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  11. Okay, I wrote a really long comment and the computer ate it! I was saying that I had a neighbor, a retired school teacher, in Tyler. She had been on Weight Watchers about 8 years ago, lost a ton of weight, AND KEPT IT OFF! She would make this sandwich: took two pieces of bread, spread some of that guacamole you can get in the packets on the bread (a woman in the grocery told me you can freeze these packets), add a slice of low-fact cheese and turkey. Then she would grill it. She ate popcorn with it. That sort of sweet/sort of salty kind. And I have to admit that was good eating. I have a Cuisinart paninni maker that is perfect for this and haven't used it for quite awhile. (I know, bad me)

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    1. You are all set for great warm sandwiches!!! You can make a really wonderful, not too healthy patty melt sandwich with that! If someone does not know, that is a grilled hamburger, grilled onions and cheese, I like swiss, placed on rye, or any good hearty bread, and grilled. I have not made these, but I love a sandwich called a Monte Cristo, that is ham and cheese(I would use mustard on it) on a good bread, and dipped like french toast and grilled....yummy! You could go as simply as peanut and butted grilled. Just spray the Paninni maker with Pam, if you want to be healthier. I also love to make home made veggie soup. I like to use a big can of Chicken broth, a small bag of frozen celery, mixed veggies, a small can of diced tomatoes, diced potatoes or rice or barley and shredded cabbage. I always add a few drops of liquid smoke, a couple squirts of tobasco and a couple squirts of Woostershire to it, along with garlic powder and Cavender's seasoning. I don't go strickly veggie, so I like to use ground beef sauteed with onions and green peppers. You could used shredded cooked chicken or shredded beef instead of ground beef. You can buy frozen chopped onions and green peppers if it is hard to get fresh.
      My favorite comfort soup is cream of potato. I also like to add corn or cauliflower or leeks to make it more interesting. Mine has bacon in it...yum!
      You can get rotisseri chicken at Walmart, it could last you a few meals...and no cooking. I am afraid that your limited shopping might make it hard to buy fresh produce, but I love to have salads. I use the individual cans of cooked chicken on a tossed salad, for extra protein.

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    2. sorry..."peanut butter and jelly".....

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    3. Brenda, I was going to suggest that you might want to get a small George Foreman grill, but if you have the Cuisinart that is all you need.. I love grilled sandwiches.. I've made some with sliced turkey, a slice of tomato and a slice of provolone cheese on Italian bread.. YUM ! Put a little bit of Mayo on the inside and butter on the grilling side..

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    4. Every time I'm in the store I look at the rotisserie chickens. But I just can't bring that into the house (oh, the aroma of it) when the dogs cannot have even one bite of it. They're on a strict vet died. Same reason I so rarely make roast. They just drool. I can't upset my babies.

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  12. If I do cook (because I am one now), I cook on Sundays. I used to love to cook; but for one, not so much. I do like it when I make a homemade meal. My go to meals are White Turkey Chili (allrecipes.com) and Spinach Salads with all the fixings, bacon bits, hard boiled eggs, sliced red onion and I buy bottled spinach salad dressing. I freeze the chili in individual freezer containers. I am getting sick of the TV dinners. I am looking forward to the farmer's markets that will open in May. I tend to eat healthier in summer with all the fruit and tomatoes available. The hot sandwiches sound like a great idea. I have about 18-20 pounds on me that I should not and I have been in a funk for almost a year of eating horribly out of shear laziness on my part....I found my freedom and ate my way to oblivion I guess. I like these chats. Lots of great ideas. I tend to make some fruit smoothies. Hopefully my blender still works and I do not have to purchase anything quite like the Bullet that is all the rage right now.

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    1. Before I moved here I was making those protein smoothies with various fruit for supper. I need to get back to that and get off the baked potato train for awhile. I too got in a funk and that affected how well I treated my body and what I put in it. I need to lose at least 20 pounds. Before this ankle thing, I moved around so fast. Now can't do that. Will have to find a way to rid myself of the pounds moving like a slug.

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  13. What a great subject! I am perfectly happy not eating meat, but my family thinks otherwise. A recipe that has become a favorite at our house because it tastes good and is so easy is simply 6 chicken breasts (I keep a bag of frozen ones on hand), a jar of any salsa and a packet of taco seasoning. I let it cook in the slow cooker for a few hours and then shred the chicken putting it back in the sauce to simmer a bit longer. That's it! It makes a large amount so it lasts for days and my family eats it different ways. One of our favorites is over rice with black beans, we've made tacos, burritos, and quesidillas with it also. I do like making dishes that last several days. Myself, I eat lots of eggs and yogurt or kefir. I prefer getting my protein this way. Brenda, a comical thing happened to me the other morning. I was just up and making my first cup of coffee in my little red Keurig. I was waiting for it to brew when I thought to myself 'that sounds funny' when I went to look I had forgotten to put a cup under it and it was running into the bottom plate! It's nice to know that the bottom holds exactly one cup of coffee without spilling! Seems they must have foresaw this sort of thing happening:) Twyla

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    1. Well that's good to know that it holds one cup of coffee, because I'm sure to do this exact thing at some point! I could eat chicken breasts again like this. Just not baked, baked, baked plain. That put a bad taste in my mouth during that diet that I can't banish, and it was like 10 years ago! What was that diet? I never hear about them anymore. LA Weight Loss maybe? Anyway, the diet worked. I refuse to go on diets where you starve yourself, because that's just plain silly. As you can't maintain that sort of thing and stay alive. I'm not one of those people who go from one diet to another. Just not me. I've really only dieted twice. Another problem is the medication I take, which packs it on. But I guess I'll say right here and now I'd rather take the meds and put up with the side effects than be a raving lunatic. I'm sort of kidding. Sort of.

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  14. I'm not sure if we are talking about nutritional foods here or how to stretch a meal, Well, here's my 2 cents. If you need protein, make a list of all the foods you get protein from; meat, cheese, eggs, nuts, legumes, and then try to incorporate them into your everyday meals. No matter what, you are going to have to brush up on your recipe keeping and cooking in order to stay away from frozen meals and throwing together quick mindless meals that do nothing for your health.

    I blather on a lot on my blog about my love of one pot meals. For a long time we were a meat/potatoes/veggies family...and that's how I grew up. Boring! I love getting all my food groups in one sitting. I find it amazing how many very different meals you can come with just by switching out the ingredients or spices or simple cooking methods. I started to make a chicken noodle soup last night and then switched it around by thickening the soup and serving it over the noodles. But again...I think you are going to have to get get savvy with recipes and then get used to dividing and freezing these meals so you always have something "good for you" there.

    XO,
    Jane

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    1. Well Jane, we are talking about both I guess. Some people are good at just throwing this or that in and it being delicious. I am creative in some areas, but not in cooking. I would not have a clue as to switching something around by thickening it. Not a clue. I have never been the sort of person that eats a carton of ice cream, or half a cake. Not me. Yes, I've got to get savvy. I seem to take care of everything but myself. How many of you can amen that one?

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  15. Guessing chocolate is in a close category to potatoes, and I've had two scary experiences with gas myself.

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    1. You are one funny girl! In fact, you are a GAS!
      Brenda

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  16. There are lots of ways to add more protein to your menu. Plain yogurt is great any time with some fresh fruit and a little honey for sweetness or splenda in my case. I use plain yogurt in homemade salad dressings instead of mayo. Hard boil some eggs to keep in the fridge that can be made into egg salad, or sliced and eaten as a cold plate with some thin sliced turkey or ham luncheon meats. Add some slice tomatoes, cherry tomatoes or cucumbers to that cold plate and you have a nice lunch. Canned tuna and salmon are great sources of protein too. And as for cooking those chicken breast plain....yuck! You can put them in a crock pot with some veggies or even some canned soups and have them for more than one meal. You could freeze any you don't eat in ziplock bags and then reheat them for a future meal. They make great quesadillas, club sandwiches, or pannini sandwiches too. A pot roast, which I know you make sometimes, can be repurposed to a hot sandwich later too, on some nice bakery rolls or little sliders with your favorite cheese, such a Swiss. It's also good in warm flour tortillas with a little cheese, salsa and guacamole. Just a few of many ideas I use.

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    1. Computer ate another reply. I'm on a computer-eating roll. I am eating yogurt right now, Gina, after tossing from the freezer TV dinners past their due dates that didn't sound appetizing anyway. I wait till I'm half-starved oftentimes and just gobble up whatever is handy. (I know, bad girl.) Just to show you how far I have slid lately, day before yesterday I was hungry and nothing sounded good and I ended up doing what I do in these cases, ordered online from Mazzios. They've just made it too darned simple! I had eaten a pizza a few days before that (I know and it's getting worse my friends) so I ended up ordering their lasagna and I couldn't figure out what else I wanted, and instead of ordering a side salad like someone with any sense, I ordered their cheese sticks. Yeah, grease and fried heaven. I ate the leftovers yesterday and paid dearly with acid reflux all evening. So let's see who can beat that streak of badness.

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  17. You guys are killing me. I'm on week 3 of the Atkins diet. Gotta lose 20 more pounds. Lost 10 already. This is really a hard diet for me because I don't eat red meat at all. It definitely works though.

    Gloria in Virginia

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    1. Is that the one that you have to go hard-core with meat? Lord, that would stop me up for a month I bet. What else do you get to eat?

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  18. By the way, has anyone run across a chocolate diet? That is one I could easily adhere to.

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    1. Be sure to post it if you do! I did see a sign that said chocolate grows on a bush, that makes it a vegetable...hahaha! I don't have cancer, yet, but I saw a shirt that said: I'm hoping chocolate is the cure! Seriously cooking for one is really hard. I would end up making something and eating it all week, would just vary rather if it was for lunch or supper(dinner) every other day. My boyfriend likes to make stir fry and it's really quick and we usually just have veggies in it, no meat. Love your blog.

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  19. Eating Well has great recipes for hot sandwiches. I feel so inspired that I am going out to the grocery store on my lunch hour to get some necessary items for my hot sandwich...it's whats for dinner. I feel blessed to have found this blog over a year ago. Thank you Brenda for touching on so many interesting subjects on a daily basis.

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    1. Well Laura, you're making me blush. Thank you for your very kind words!

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  20. I became a vegetarian about three years ago due to health reasons. I lost over 60 lbs and have kept it off with my diet for two years now. Not eating meat has surely saved on the budget for my husband and I. I base all of our meals off of some sort of vegetable, it is the starting point of our meals. I then add in a grain such as rice or tortillas or quinoa, etc. We eat a lot of eggs and beans for our protein.

    Although being vegetarian and not eating dairy or sugar requires a lot more time for myself in the kitchen it has done wonders for my health. I feel better than I think I ever have in my life and have finally gotten the budget under control at the grocery store.

    Good luck with your journey of attempting to eat better. The best advice I could give is to make it fun. Don't be afraid to experiment with new recipes and even new foods you may not have eaten before. I'm certain your body will thank you for the changes and you will begin to feel better.

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    1. Share a week's recipes with us, and that might give me enough courage to join you.

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  21. I can't and don't cook outside of popovers and rarely Yorkshire pudding so I'm no help at all in the food department. But with you being
    inside for much of the time I'd up
    your intake of vitamin D if you haven't
    done so already. Also, look up
    "speed healing of bone fractures".
    There are several articles from
    seemingly reliable sources that offer
    tips on eating to optimise your
    recovery. More and more I've come
    to realise that since it is our food and
    lifestyle choices that make us sick, it
    is up to us to make ourselves well.
    A few days ago you thought you
    might have a stress fracture in your
    ankle/ lower limb. How are you doing
    with this further complication?
    National Osteoporosis Foundation
    has an excellent article "Food and
    Your Bones" that explains very well
    how our food choices impact how our
    body handles calcium.

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    1. So noted. I shall look it up. Now, since I haven't gotten groceries in awhile, you won't believe what I just had for lunch. Someone shoot me. I had a little container of mac and cheese and three frozen pancakes. Just go ahead and shoot me. But the cupboard is a bit bare. I'm telling it like it is, folks. I'm just being honest here.

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    2. Oh, and I take 2000 whatever-they-ares of Vitamin D twice a day as the doctor told me a year ago. I haven't seen a doctor about this ankle in some time. Just got insurance in January.

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    3. That kind of eating is what gets all of us, including me, into fat-land. I don't want to stop whatever I'm doing so I grab whatever is the easiest out of the refrigerator and eat it standing up. Terrible. Once upon a time, I lost 33 pounds and kept if off for 7 years. I quit eating meat. I did 45 minutes of aerobics everyday. And, importantly, on the weekends I planned and shopped every meal a week in advance.
      It is the grabbing whatever is closest when we are too hungry already that is the downfall. At least, that is what it is for me!

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  22. all this talk of chicken - I will get chicken breasts but I make sure to not cook them too long -- that can be a problem for causing them to dry out. I will slice a chicken breast or two into pieces about an inch wide then I use them with bbq sauce or italian dressing - like stir fry I suppose as I only cook them until they are done and take out of the pan - they only take about 20 minutes to cook - this way if you want only a couple strips to put on a salad or to go with a potato and vegetable you are not wasting if you are not a big meat eater. I usually do this with 1 1/2 breast a meal - hubby gets one I take a half. I will get the big package and put in zip lock bags to the freezer for the amount we eat. If company comes more bags get taken out of the freezer or I get something bigger!

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    1. Boy, you can't believe how many chicken breasts, plain, I ate on that diet over 10 years ago. Dry as a bone. Tasted like cardboard. Well, I've never actually tasted cardboard. But I imagine that's what it would taste like.

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  23. I also would like to start eating more healthy. I would like to get more active too. Its hard to get started but once you do ,it hard to stop.lol

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    1. Well, you could probably run circles around me in my steel boot. And without it I can't move very fast either. But maybe we should start a group and hold one another accountable about what we put in our body via our mouth and how much activity we actually get. Who's game?

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    2. I am! I really need to lose 20 pounds to help the pain in my arthritic knees and bad ankles.

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    3. And I need to take some of this weight off my clunker ankle. Let's figure something out! Our very own program.

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    4. Sounds like fun! My eating habits have been so horrible for so long, I'm surprised I'm not sick. I have no energy.

      This was a wonderful topic, Brenda! I'm reading through all the comments and taking notes! A big thank you for this very helpful post.

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    5. You and me both. I've got to get this cart turned around before I do get sick. I love the comments!

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  24. I'm a cook-for-one person, too. I go weeks without using my stove because I do crock pot cooking. I'm on a restricted diet (no grains, dairy or night shades) so it helps to have a big pot of something to have ready to eat. I also make my own trail mix with nuts & dried fruits. Sliced apples with almond butter are another favourite for breakfast or for a snack.

    As for weight, I dropped from a size 16 to a size 12 in 6 weeks when I went gluten free. I lost a total of 50 lbs. (I'm a comfortable size 10, now). In addition, I found a doctor (osteopath) who specializes in functional medicine and got a proper diagnosis concerning my thyroid. My thyroid now works with the help of Nature Thyroid. For supplements, I'm on Vitamin D, magnesium, & probiotics to name a few. All of this has improved my health, energy level, mood, and overall well-being over the past 5 years. Being 50 is WAY better than I was in my 40s! :-) H.

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    1. Well, you go girl! I haven't done much of any of the things I'd planned while here. I haven't delved into essential oils or gotten into homemade cleaners. I want to maybe do what you did. I didn't realize glutens kept you fat. I don't know much about all this. I don't even know what that Paleo diet thing is. I felt pretty good at 50. Now I'm 57 and feeling it.

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  25. Replies
    1. I've never made a frittata. I've had one in a restaurant years ago. Sounds good though.

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  26. I don't eat red meat so I substitute other sources for protein. Beans are a great alternative and inexpensive. xo Laura

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    1. You know, when you're not eating right, you feel guilty because you know you should. This ankle thing kind of turned my world upside down. The daughters didn't help any. Literally. I've been lonely and depressed. I think you all know that. I can't get out and walk the neighborhood and take photos and meet people.

      By the way, give me some suggestions for topics for next week.

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    2. Brenda...something to do with upcoming gardening would be my idea for an upcoming topic one week :)
      what do you usually plant / what do you want to try, anything to do with thinking about spring / summer/ gardens :)

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  27. I had written a post and I don't see it here, or did I have a senior moment and didn't publish it? Could be! I like to make a three bean salad and have that for lunch: canned green beans, kidney beans, garbonzo beans, some soy sauce, salt/papper to flavor and a little sweetner, along with a little olive oil, toss that all together and let it sit for a bit, so good. Another thing I like to make is a broccoli, apple salad with cut up chicken and pine nuts all toss together in a light honey mustard mayo dressing. I use the chicken that is packaged and has a Southwest flavor to it, it lasts several meals. And for dinner too, another great salad mix is garbanzo beans, chopped cucumber and tomato season with a little olive oil, salt/pepper, dash of vinegar and some herbs sprinkled with feta cheese. This has been a great posting, Brenda, I'm going to have to go back and reread all the comments later!

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    1. Garbanzo beans and I don't get along real well. I have trouble digesting them. Onions just about do me in. So do cucumbers. You all are so creative with your food. I somehow missed the boat on creativity with meals.

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  28. I could write a novel about this stuff - I'm passionate about health and nutrition and healthy eating and cooking! In fact, I've been thinking about starting another blog devoted to these subjects. But I digress...I know it's sometimes hard to cook for one, but hopefully some of these ideas that people have posted can help you. Please stay away from the frozen meals - they're a nutritional nightmare. Loaded with all kinds of preservatives and a ton of sodium. I promise you that when you start eating healthy, you will feel much better physically and mentally. Some protein ideas besides meat (I'm not a big meat eater either)...eggs (OK, you've got that one covered), nuts and nut butters (make sure they don't have hydrogenated oils in them), Greek yogurt (plain - add your own fruit and natural sweetener such as stevia, raw honey, or pure maple syrup) beans, chickpeas (do you like hummus? I had raw veggies and pita chips with hummus for lunch), even quinoa. Quinoa is a grain, but it's very high in protein.

    I bought a 1 lb pkg of organic boneless chicken tenders the other day at Trader Joes. Yes, they're expensive - $6.99/lb. But since there's only 2 of us and we don't eat a lot of meat, I can make this 1 lb of meat go a long way. For example, I'm going to slice these tenders in half so there's even more of them. I'll then stir-fry (I don't have a wok - you don't need one, just use a regular frying pan) the chicken strips with a bunch of veggies...onions, different colored bell peppers, broccoli or pea pods, whatever I have on-hand. The good thing about this basic recipe is that you can make it like chinese food by adding some soy sauce and maybe a little sesame oil and a splash of fresh orange juice; you can make it mexican-style by seasoning it with chili powder and cumin and then eat it as is, or eat it in tortillas or over rice or quinoa. Leftovers are easy to freeze. Put in individual containers or small freezer bags and take one out whenever needed.

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    1. Never ate quinoa, but I like hummus. Never made it though. You probably should write a book, Melanie. Or start a blog about it. I never have bought Greek yogurt cause it costs more. And the nut butters too. I finally bought stevia the other day. It is higher than other sweeteners.

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    2. Brenda, if you are eating hummus, you are eating garbanzo beans! All mushed up, of course. LOL

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  29. I see that several folks have recommended rice and beans! Maurie and I were vegetarian for several years early in our marriage, and this was my go-to quick dinner. You can easily tweak the ingredients to make it fit your tastes, or to use up what you have on hand. You can use instant rice, frozen chopped onion, canned tomatoes, substitute broccoli for the zucchini, and use different beans and it's always delish. Make a double batch and have leftovers! We still love it today, and now Abby makes it in college. Easy on the budget too! http://www.recipebridge.com/recipe/221/504715665/jane-brody-s-company-beans-and-rice

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    1. Well, that is a cheap meal! I can do that one.

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  30. you can also make pizzas using tortilla shells as the crust. Very thin crust. They have 8 inch tortilla shells that would make a great size pizza for one. Top with sauce, veggies and cheese.

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    1. Sounds good. Has to be better for me than these Mazzio pizzas that give me indigestion.

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  31. Since you love your baked potato, and don't really like to cook, try turkey chili in the can (Hormel, I think??) and pour it over your potato. This would be a great and inexpensive source of protein. I used to pour it over a green salad when I was dieting. We have recently gotten into stir frying again..... I use a bag of frozen mixed veggies, add whatever other veggie I may have lying around in the fridge (zucchini, cabbage, etc). Stir fry in a little olive oil, sprinkle with low sodium soy sauce, then push the veggies to the side of the pan, and scramble two eggs in the pan. Mix it all together and serve over a small portion of whole wheat linguine. (that also has low sodium soy sauce added) This is pretty inexpensive and delicious to us these days! (you could probably eat two meals, easily, from this) I actually saw a recipe recently for ramen noodles, made more like soup , with an egg added to the bowl for protein. The picture looked yummy, and hey! it's cheap!!

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  32. Gotta love cheap! I could try the chili during the day. But I could never have that at night. I'd be refluxing it all night long.

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  33. You'all do know that today is National Chocolate & Caramel Day, don't you?

    Judy

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    1. Oh, you are B-A-D. You're paying me back for my comment on your blog last night, aren't you?

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  34. I retired a year ago and discovered that I really do like to cook and I cook almost 7 days a week. I used to make a lot of dishes with beans but my hubby is diabetic and the beans raised his potassium level so I stopped. I use chicken thighs and the night before I cook them, I soak them in a big container of cold water and about a cup of vinegar. If you do this, you will never have dry chicken again. I also buy the thighs with the bone in and de-bone them. I use the bones and make broth to be used in other dishes. I NEVER eat eggs and very little red meat except for meatballs and I use a combination of ground meat and ground pork and I double the recipe and freeze half for a night I don't want to cook. I also get a lot of recipes from the internet especially Miz Helen's Country Kitchen. I also make a lot of soup and use things that would go bad if I didn't use them. We also stopped eating processed foods and our test results have been wonderful. Take care of yourself Brenda, we need more people like you in our world.
    Patty

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    1. Aw, thank you, Patty, for the sweet words! I've GOT to stop eating processed foods. I've got to figure out this no gluten thing. I've got to do a lot of stuff, but first I've got to get moved!

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    2. Brenda I wish you lived closer I would feed you too and help you move. I'm used to cooking for at least 5 and now there are only 3 at home so I always have leftovers and our two dogs (pit bulls) eat well. I should have also said I don't eat eggs because I don't like them. Use the computer to research some healthy things - no processed food!!!!

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  35. I'm sorry it is Miz Helen's Country Cottage not Kitchen. Her recipes are wonderful.

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  36. Wow. Lots of information and inspiration here - not only in your post, but in the thoughtful comments! I am trying to stay away from eating meat. Mostly for humanitarian reasons, but the health issue is a real one. My vegan daughter has cholesterol numbers that are "off the charts terrific!"
    Just want to add that I really, really, REALLY love your blog and am so glad that Debra at Frugal Little Bungalow steered me here! She knew I'd be a fan!

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    1. Oh, the best info here is always in the comments! Such diverse info from all over the globe. I'm so glad to have you as a reader and I shall have to thank Ms. Debra!

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  37. Good Morning,
    Mix rice (which is an incomplete protein) with beans (another incomplete protein) and whalaa you now have a complete protein. And rice and dried beans, even purchased at a food co-op are VERY economical.
    Have a great move!
    Lisa

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    1. Lisa, that is good to know! 1+1=complete protein! I shall remember that.

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    2. Beans and corn are another combination that makes a complete protein. Bean soup and cornbread is a great combination.

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  38. The stir fry idea is a great one. You can use one pan to brown cut up chicken breast. then add in any and all the fresh veggies you want. I marinate the chicken in soy, sesame oil, ground ginger and garlic. You can use broth and a little cornstarch to thicken it, to make a sauce. I like to top with sesame seeds or cashews on top, as nuts and seeds are great for you. You could serve over brown rice. All healthy for you and yummy!!!!!

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  39. Hi, Brenda! I haven't read all of the posts, so hope I don't duplicate too much. Have you tried to roast vegetables? Oh, my! Once roasted, they are SO sweet!! Carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, brussel sprouts, peppers, asparagus..... Just on a jelly roll pan with some olive oil and s&p and they are wonderful! I have made rice w/ those and you could certainly cut up some chicken or pork or something. I have also put the roasted veggies in a tortilla and wrapped and warmed it w/ just a bit of cheese. Also, scrambled eggs w/ salsa in them are SO good and not so bland. I have done chicken breasts in the crock pot or the oven w/ some taco seasoning and salsa over them. You can do so many things with that and extend to several meals and pack them in freezer bags for the freezer, too. Keeping hard boiled eggs on hand to add to salads or to have w/ an English muffin w/ some peanut butter is easy. Many mornings I just have an English muffin w/ peanut butter w/ my coffee. Just a small smear of peanut butter is all you need. It really melts into those crannies when the muffin is warm. Yeah, those frozen meals are so laden with sodium. They are useful once in a while, but so many other things are really just about as easy. Have you tried meal planning for a week or two to see how/if that helps you? It is when we get to the point of "hangry" ~ so hungry we are almost angry ~ that we grab whatever we find/ or order out. If you have a plan of sorts written down, it helps you to not have to think too much about it, because it is planned ahead. Just a few thoughts. Great topic!!!!!!

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    1. I never know when I'm going to have a "bad ankle" day. So I need to get food prepared so I have something already fixed to eat on those days. Sounds good! I know when I have an electric stove again I will be cooking more.

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  40. Hi Brenda: Lots of great ideas for adding protein to the diet here. I will make pinto beans in the crock pot--I get them dry in a big bag from Costco, so fairly cheap, and then I can season them as I like. I will freeze them up in pints so they're ready to go in recipes. Also do the same thing with dried garbanzo beans--these are great in green salads to add a little extra protein. Tofu, as long as it is non-GMO--can often be found on sale pretty cheap, and it's a great source of protein because it takes to different seasonings very well. I like it as scrambled tofu, like scrambled eggs, or like egg-less salad. My favorite breakfast is a smoothie. I use a generous 2 cups of unsweetened, organic soy milk--I find mine at the best price at Trader Joes, but available elsewhere, 1 cup of blueberries, half a chopped-up banana--I buy them on sale and freeze them in chunks, and I add 2 tablespoons of wheat bran, and just blend it up. For me, it has the perfect amount of protein from the soy milk, plus the soy is great if your body is considering going into menopause, fiber from the wheat bran and berries, anti-oxidants from the berries and potassium from the banana. I add no sugar or sweeteners to it, as the fruit is already sweet enough. I'll have that with a cup of herbal tea, and I am good to go until dinnertime usually. Soy milk is great--low in calorie--70 calories per cup, and super high in protein and low in carbs, and comparable in price to regular cow's milk. Just make sure it is organic, unsweetened, and non-GMO, which the Trader Joe's is--in the refrigerated foods section. I usually workout first thing before breakfast, so no excuses not to get my workout in--I walk on the treadmill for 45 minutes and watch videos from the library, and then I do half an hour of Pilates and arm exercises with lightweight free weights. Then after I workout, breakfast is my reward! I've dropped 25 pounds about 5 years ago and kept it off (mostly--my weight fluctuates 5 pounds up or down depending on the season). I still would like to lose 7-10 pounds. We pick berries at u-pick berry farms when they are in season in summer, and freeze them--that's the best price, but otherwise we find good berries and bananas at Costco for the best price. Hope this helps.

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    1. Well girl, you are fit and healthy and walking the walk!

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  41. Hi Brenda. I'm going to try to offer some ideas for protein that you can work in to the meals you already make. You could add some protein to your potato and veggie meal by sprinkling some cheese on top, or having some cottage cheese with it. (We rarely eat cottage cheese anymore because the brands carried in our area have a sodium content that is too high for my husband's diet, unfortunately.) We use a parmesan cheese with a low sodium content called Private Selection Shredded Parmesan that we get at Kroger. We also eat a Kroger brand of swiss cheese with a low sodium content. But, we eat small portions of cheese because of the fat content.

    Another way to add some protein to your potato meal is to sprinkle it with nutritional yeast. It's a yellow, flaky powder generally found at health food stores. It has lots of protein. Some people are down on nutritional yeast, saying it contains Monosodium glutamate and gives them headaches and such, but, other people say that's bunk. You can do some internet research on it and decide for yourself. We used to eat a lot of it on veggies along with soy sauce, but when we cut soy sauce out of our diet because of the high sodium, we quit eating as much nutritional yeast. But, we do like it sprinkled on steamed broccoli or other steamed veggies.

    Here is a link to a list of cheeses ranked according to protein:

    http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/36-cheeses-highest-in-protein.php

    Another way to add protein to dishes you already fix is to add in some wheat germ, wheat bran, oat bran, or flaxseed meal. Bob's Red Mill is a brand that sells all of these products, and we find them at health food stores, Kroger, and even Big Lots. We mix these foods into such things as oatmeal, muffins, coffee cakes, and breads, and have even tossed in a bit into casseroles. You could sprinkle them right on top of a salad or veggies, but I think they are a bit dry for that. So, we tend to mix them into things we will be cooking or baking.

    Another way to protein to meals is with texturized vegetable protein, or TVP. Bob's Red Mill sells it too. You can take a portion of TVP, mix it with an equal portion of water, and let it sit a few minutes to expand. Drain off any excess water. Then, toss it into spaghetti sauce and eat it over some noodles, or put it in casseroles, or soup, just like gound beef. We mix the soaked TVP in with ground turkey to stretch the meat and turn it into meatballs, patties, or in casseroles and so on.

    One more way to add in some protein is with nuts. We eat some almonds, pecans, or walnuts every morning at breakfast. Nuts are expensive, I know, but, we eat a dozen or so apiece each morning and don't go overboard on them, so they last awhile. You could maybe eat a few nuts in the morning with your cereal, or eat a few for a snack.

    We rarely eat beef, but do eat chicken and fish, including canned chicken, tuna, and salmon. We don't eat a lot of canned fish and chicken because of the sodium content, however, but if sodium isn't an issue for you, then that's a plus. An easy meal is to make a quick version of the French salad Nicoise, and put some canned tuna and cooked sliced potatoes and cooked green beans on top of lettuce, along with an oil and vinegar dressing.

    Some veggies do contain a bit of protein. Here is a list of veggies ranked according to protein:

    http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/vegetables-high-in-protein.php

    I hope some of those ideas are helpful.

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  42. I do put some sprinkles of cheese on my baked potato. I did use the flax seed in nightly fruit smoothies with protein powder when I was in TX. But haven't found the flax seed for a decent price. That stuff is high!

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    1. You can order the Flax Seed from www.mountainroseherbs.com for a very good price and its organic.

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  43. I am the last person to give advice on cooking for sure. I don't like to spend much time in the kitchen. I have to be gluten free and that's expensive. My stapes are frozen chicken breasts, ground beef but only the better quality and grass feed if I can find it, eggs, cheese, bread, Cocconut milk or almond milk. I can use the meats in soups and GF pasta dishes. We like to have eggs and some kind of meat for dinner sometimes. Also you can have spaghetti without meat. I like to have packages of frozen vegetables.....the steam kind, that you can pop in the microwave. I will sometimes just eat a package of that for lunch with a little cheese. We like grilled cheese with good cheese not those slices. I try to add fruits as much as I can as well. I am overweight but I have maintained my weight for a long time. I know it would be better to loose weight. Well, actually I have lost about 20 pounds in the last year and a half. Not sure how, just maybe eating better. I know I need to move to loose the weight. The best I felt was when I used to physical therapy in a pool. It's such a hassle because of the changing of clothes and wet hair. I hope to start walking when all this snow and ice go away. So you can tell, basics here....quick and easy. I really don't spend tons on groceries.

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    1. It was warm here today. I'm seeing green shoots come up. I'm not crazy about being in the kitchen. Maybe when I move in mid-April and have an electric stove again I will feel more like cooking.
      Brenda

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