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 Meals To Go

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Tonibaby
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Female Age : 47
Location : Danville, VA
Posts : 204
Join date : 2010-10-13

PostSubject: Meals To Go   Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:05 am

A frequent concern of members has to do with the issue of meals on the run. In today's fast-paced society, we're all busy. We're on the road all day, we're working multiple jobs, or we're taxiing the kids back and forth. How, then, can you possibly stay on plan without defaulting to convenience items or fast foods? It's not nearly as difficult as you might think!

BASIC EQUIPMENT
You know most of this already. Have a stock of Tupperware, Gladware or other containers, baggies, plastic wrap, foil. Invest in one of those insulated squishy sided insulated lunchboxes. Other things to have on hand might include Handiwipes, paper napkins or towels; plastic forks, spoons and knives; a small bag for trash: and a can opener. If you like soups, stews, smoothies or chili, consider a wide-mouthed Thermos. If I you're somewhere where you feel a lunchbox is out of place, our meals are small enough to transfer into a small paper bag (women can usually fit this comfortably into a medium handbag.)

PLANNING COMES FIRST
Cardinal Rule: Prepare for the unexpected. Think you'll only be out till noon? Pack enough food to carry you through to that meal and the next one, just in case! Keep a can of NSA tuna and a can opener in your desk drawer at the office. Don't get caught short-handed!

BUT WHAT DO I PACK??
Even though this is the most common area where people go blank, it's actually the easiest answered. Almost ANYTHING can be packed to go. Honest. And no, you don't need a microwave. People have been packing meals to go for centuries before the advent of the microwave.

Ever go on picnics? Perhaps it's a diversion which is dying out, but it's something I still like to do once in a while. Picnicking doesn't require sandwiches, hot foods or protein bars. It's about interesting meals, packing skills and proper utensils. And basically, that's what you're doing here.

Proteins
Seen those old movies with the blanket spread out on the grass and the woman pulling out cold chicken or sliced roast beef out of her picnic basket? Room temperature proteins are good! Take them out of the lunchbox a while before eating to take some of the chill out of them and consider enjoying your leftover grilled chicken, fish, turkey, beef or pork right out of the container. Eat by hand if it's that kind of thing; bring plastic utensils if it requires cutting. I've enjoyed plenty of room temperature meatballs, sausage or meatloaf to go as well. Try making individual sized meatloaf servings by cooking in muffin cups (yes, we have such recipes on file in the index to our Turkey Recipe Forum) or try some mini quiches.

As for those of you who want stews, soups or chili, a Thermos would be the way to go. No, I wouldn't plan to eat them hours and hours after packing, but they should carry through okay from morning till lunchtime. Alternatively, for the smoothie lovers among us there is the Smoothie to Go.

Protein plus carb (or more): A Mixed Bag
Some meals to go may incorporate two or more of your required food types in one. Your binder lists a salad niçoise which combines canned tuna, egg white, cooked potato, cooked green beans and greens. Measured ahead, this would be a great option for a time when you're required Protein, Carb and Veggie. Or, since the veggies in this salad fall under the classification of Free Veggies, you could use this at a time when your plan calls for Protein and Carb. You could do something similar by packing a chicken or elegant shrimp salad: cooked chicken or shrimp on a bed of mixed lettuces (more than one variety makes your salad more interesting and more flavorful), cucumber, tomato, egg white if you wish, and sprinkle with a bit of chopped chives or green onion. With either suggestion, you can top with one of the dressings from our Condiment Recipe Forum or simply dress with a bit of lemon juice. In either case, pack your dressing or lemon wedge separately to be added just before eating.

"But I REALLY miss sandwiches..." you're lamenting. OK, we've still got you covered. Check the index to our Side Carb Recipe forum. There you'll find ideas for oat wraps, potato buns or potato skins.

Need more? What about a rice pasta salad? Chop or slice leftover turkey or chicken and toss with cooked rice pasta, cooked broccoli or asparagus pieces or any other veggie which interests you. Dress with a bit of rice vinegar and again you've got your Protein, Carb and Veggie in a one dish meal! What about leftover grilled kebabs? A little chicken, some grilled veggies, pineapple on the skewer if your meal requires fruit. Serve it on or in leftover rice if your meal requires a carb.

On plan muffins and quick breads are other portable options, combining protein, carb and sometimes other elements such as fruit in the recipes. You'll find numerous recipes listed in the index of our "Breakfast Recipe Forum". Because ground oats don't give desirable results for everyone, you'll want to be sure read any warnings posted on such recipes and monitor your progress closely to make that these foods work well for you. In many cases, you'll find that leaving the oats whole will produce perfectly acceptable results. And for the carboholics among us, one other thought bears mention: if your impulse is automatically to grab a carb when you're on the run, please consider that as much as this program is about losing weight it's also about relearning poor eating habits as well. Ideally, you want to wean away from the notion that it's easier to eat a sweet than it is to eat a leftover fish fillet so that when you're at goal you don't automatically revert to old ways. Maybe it's an extra motion pulling some fish out of a baggie and a few extra minutes to eat your rice -- but aren't those few extra seconds worth a slimmer, healthier you?

Carbs
On plan carbs-to-go seem to pose a significant problem for some. Perhaps it's that our minds automatically zap to those forbidden highly processed or fat laden carbs. Or perhaps it's that we tend to think that most of our recommended carbs need to be eaten hot. Not necessarily true! Steamed red potatoes are actually quite pleasant eaten at room temperature. Or for that matter, you could make a potato salad out of them (see Side Carb Recipe Forum Index). Want crunch? Jicama and radishes may help you out. We have recipes for either microwaved or oven baked chips. They don't have much of a shelf life, but you can probably make some the day before and store them in a paper bag. Sweet potatoes and yams are also good travelers. Bake them in the oven in their jackets, cool, and take a portion with you to go with a plastic fork. At room temperature, you'll find a cooled sweet potato to be a sweet and satisfying treat. Rice and other grains travel well. Last night's rice dish may taste fine at room temperature. Ever think about making a rice salad? It can be as simple as cooked rice mixed with chopped fresh herbs and a splash of white wine vinegar, or you could slice up the veggies from last night's kebabs and toss them in with your rice. There are a number of rice salad variations to be found in our Side Carbs forum. Like tabouli? You'll find it there as well. Our on plan version uses barley instead of bulgar. You can also use NSA plain flavored rice cakes or you can make one of our on plan granola recipes found in our Breakfast Recipes Forum. Check it out!

One last carb-to-go option bears mention -- and this is a good one to bear in mind when you're in a bind. On occasion only (so don't make it a constant thing) you may substitute a small banana or small apple for a ½ cup serving of carb. Since apples and bananas are both convenient to carry and easily available, that's a good option to remember if you find yourself without a carb. Do bear in mind though that this switch is meant to be used only once in a while and that this substitution doesn't work well for everyone -- so if you opt to give it a try, be sure to monitor your results and see how it works for you!

Fruit
Fruit to go has got to be the easiest of all foods to take on the run. Just like when Mom used to pack lunches (okay, so maybe yours didn't), you toss in an apple, a pear, a banana, a peach. You wash it; it's ready to eat -- or if your taste runs toward berries, clean them and toss them into a baggie or container. How easy is that? Another option would be individual sized servings of fruits such as peaches, pears, or applesauce, packaged in unsweetened juices and sealed into disposable containers. As most of these items are Fruit B and some body types require smaller portions of Fruit B than they do of Fruit A, watch the portion size on those! And remember to pack a spoon!

Veggie
I've already discussed salads -- if you want one without meat included, just pack your dressing or lemon wedge separately and bring a fork. Like raw veggies? Carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, tomato and mushrooms will do you fine. You can pack a homemade dressing as a dip if you wish. For those preferring their veggies cooked, what about packing some grilled squash, eggplant, or peppers (as previously mentioned, those which were grilled as part of kebabs make yummy room temperature leftovers)? Cooked veggies can also translate nicely when served cold and marinated with an Italian style dressing: green beans, asparagus, onions, mushrooms, snow peas, broccoli or peppers are some examples of vegetables which might work with this method.

"But I CAN'T just whip out my on-plan meal and eat it right there in the middle of the mall/bleachers/campus!"...And why not? Take a look at the junk people ARE eating in these places: it's not exactly health food. Or didn't you even notice they were eating? Very probably they won't take notice of you either. Even if they do, there's a good chance they're looking because they're wondering where they can get the same thing! So just smile, enjoy your healthy meal, and realize that every bite is bringing you that much closer to a slimmer, healthier you!

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