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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, where do I start? I need help. Everything about food overwhelms me. I dont know how to plan meals, which food groups should be in each meal, what to cook, ...the list goes on. It really stresses me out. We just eat toast, cereals, microwave meals sometimes, fruit. Whats wrong with me? Am I just lazy? My mom cooked when I was a child, but she didnt teach me anything to do with the kitchen...so I never learnt, it doesnt interest me at all and I dont find I ever enjoy helping out in the kitchen when we eat at a relatives, but I HAVE to provide food for my child and myself. Where do I start? please HELP <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Eat">: What are we supposed to be eating at meal times etc?
 

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Well, first, I'd say stick around here and keep reading, and you'll learn a lot. You might want to visit the Meal Planning subforum for some tips on how to plan, too. I think in time you can develop a relatively easy strategy towards meal planning and prepping that will be less stressful for you.<br><br>
It also depends on whether or not you have a little money to spend, or whether you really need to pinch pennies. If it's the latter, you will eat better if you spend some time and energy making things from scratch. If it's the former, you still don't have to eat "convenience foods" or take out, but it will be easier for you as you could buy pre-prepped veggies, pre-seasoned or marinated meats, bagged salads, etc. For example, a dish with a jarred sauce (curry, stir-fry, etc.) and the pre-bagged stir-fry veggies, and then some frozen heat-and-eat brown rice would be a simple but nutritious meal to serve. And there are lots of variations on that.<br><br>
You might want also to invest in a crockpot -- that way you can throw a bunch of ingredients in, set it to cook, and then forget about it until dinner time. Lots of nutritious meals can be made that way -- soups, stews, casseroles, beans, etc.<br><br>
As to the food groups, you should aim for mostly fresh (or as close to fresh as possible) vegetables, some whole grains, a little protein (lean meat if you eat it, beans or other protein-rich foods, like some grains, otherwise). Fats should be good fats -- coconut oil, good butter, EVOO -- and limited, of course. If you steer clear of processed foods, especially those which contain things like high-fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated or interesterified oils, dyes, and preservatives, you'll be well on your way. Try to keep the foods you eat as close as possible to their natural state -- "whole foods."<br><br>
That's my quick-and-dirty advice. You'll get a lot more information if you stick around here and keep reading and asking questions, though. And one more thing -- start small. It won't work to overhaul your whole diet at once; you'll get even more overwhelmed. Try to make one or two small changes at once, and incorporate that into your lifestyle, then try another.<br><br>
HTH! Good luck to you, Mama! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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Eat what makes your body feel good. There are no rules as to what food to eat when.<br><br>
I love to go to the library and check out different cookbooks. I write down/photo copy the really good looking ideas. Then just go for it! It's just the two of you so converting a 4-6 serving meal down to 2 will take some practice. A calculator and a chart with the measurements of oz, tablespoons, cups, and teaspoons helps A LOT! You don't have to be taught anything. If you're unsure what 'browned' looks like or the difference between blanching and steaming there are many books (at the library most likely) that discuss the different terms. They ought to be right next to the cookbooks.<br><br>
1. find a recipe that looks tasty<br>
2. read recipe all the way through, check for new terms and ingredients that aren't appealing.<br>
3. Buy ingredients needed. Also make sure you have something on hand to eat in case the end result isn't good. Frozen pizza, sammie stuff....etc.<br>
4. Set out all the pans you'll be needing. Get ingredients ready as the recipe states...chop onions, shred cheese. If you'll need several spices, get them measured out before hand or keep them out and near your measuring device.<br>
5. Start slowly and begin by heating pan, preheating oven etc.<br>
6. Go for it!<br>
7. If it ends up being a flop...there's always the pizza! If you like it, get the recipe down on paper and add it to the book of things you know how to make! This book will be HUGE before long.<br><br>
The best thing even for small recipe cooking :<br><br>
To make this chart get a piece of paper with 4 columns, or however many different measures you're going to deal with. I go, left to right, cups-oz.-Tbs-tsp. The Top of the page will have the smallest measurement you're going to be using...1/8 cup. 1/8 cup is equal to 1 oz is equal to 2 Tbs is equal to 6 tsps. Continue down to a 1/4 cup then 1/3 cup then 1/2 cup then 2/3 cup then 3/4 cup then 1 cup...all the way to 2 cups. The 1/3 measurements are tricky... 1/3 cup is just a tiny bit under 6 Tbs. 2/3 cup is just under 11 Tbs.<br><br>
Now when you need to know how to divide a recipe just follow the stated amount over to the nearest divisible. So say the recipe is for 6 servings. It calls for 1 1/2 cups of water. You want to make 2 servings. 1 1/2 cups of water is 12 oz so 1/3 of that (because you're using 1/3 of a 6 serving recipe) is 4 oz. 4 oz is 1/2 cup. So, use 1/2 cup of water. If you end up liking the recipe get it measured for the servings you normally will make and write that down.
 

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Personally, I always do a protein (meat, egg, etc.), a starch (rice, potato, bread), and two vegetables or one fruit and one vegetable. That's dinner. And the way I pack the kids' school lunches. I try to make breakfast protein heavy so it lasts longer -- steel cut oatmeal, poached eggs, egg and bacon sandwich, etc. When you do all starch like pancakes or muffins, you tend to get hungry again sooner.<br><br>
I was forced to learn to cook because DS had milk intolerance through my breastmilk and I had to cook from scratch to avoid milk in everything. My mother was a fishstick, Kraft macaroni & cheese, TV dinner kind of a cook. And when I first got married, DH wrote me a song called "Fishsticks Five Nights a Week"!! I watch Food Network for ideas.<br><br>
You can sit down and write out menus for the month to make shopping easier (or start with a week). I use the crockpot at least once a week. And I have a rice cooker that I use 2-3 times a week. You can put the water/rice in any time during the day and just plug it in when you get home and the rice will stay the perfect temp until the rest of the meal is done (or get one with a timer) and your rice and your slow cooker meal will be done when it's dinnertime and you just have to throw some veggies in to steam.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you! My mom's typical dinners would be a protein (meat), starch (potatoes) and 2 or 3 different veggies. So thats what I should be doing? And I agree its better to stay away from processed foods, I need to do that. Last nights dinner was toast and jello....and tonight I have no clue what we will have, I havent microwaved any veggies for ages, maybe I should microwave some peas and bake some sausages for tonight? thats a protein and veg but then its no starch...so i could do a quick potato waffle with it? *sigh* <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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good thoughts!<br>
i personally am a one-pot meal type person. i don't cook meat (b/c i don't eat it) i cook things like soups, casseroles, etc that include many different veggies/grains and my hubby will cook meat on the side. (but you could cook the same type things with meat <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">)<br><br>
anyway--i hear ya. i used to be overwhelmed by any type of cooking. but i got my hands on some good cookbooks and started trying out some recipes. some turned out good, some didn't...but i learned more and more. eventually, i began to love cooking b/c what i made tasted so much better than 'processed' or even food we had when we ate out.<br><br>
i say find a recipe and try it--go from there! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> and i don't think about making sure i have different food groups--i just tend to look for recipes that include many different veggies/grains.<br><br>
hth! good luck!
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">My mom's typical dinners would be a protein (meat), starch (potatoes) and 2 or 3 different veggies. So thats what I should be doing?</td>
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I think that's a good place to start. You can always do things differently if they don't work. I typically have dinners like that as well. We have allergies so we can't do a lot of casseroles and it all has to be from scratch.<br><br>
I meal plan, 2 weeks at a time. I have lists of the meals we eat and like and I'm constantly pulling new recipes to try. If I had to start all over again, I'd start with a few things most of your family likes and expand on that. You'll figure out what they'll eat/like and what they won't.<br><br>
For your dinner tonight, again if it was me, I'd cook the sausage, make roasted potatoes or hashbrowns or fried potatoes with it. Frozen veggies are really easy, you can steam them or stir fry them. We do alot of that.<br><br>
You guys probably have some things you like right? Start there, you can always (almost) make a meal healthier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just wondering, how come everyone knows what should be on their plate? Like half should be veggies, quarter should be protein and another quarter starch/carbohydrate...how do you know this? Are there nutritional food guidlines anywhere about it? I remember in school vaguely...we did about a food pyramid, which is what the dietitians working for the government say you should eat right?<br><br>
If I aim to do 1 starch/carbohydrate, 1 protein and 1 type of veg at dinner mealtimes, I think I'll be able to handle it. All seems so overwhelming when you aren't used to cooking. Yesterday we just had toast AGAIN! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> And today we are eating a proper roast dinner at a relatives house <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Im going to do the grocery shopping tomorrow, and still have no clue what meal time foods to buy.....I just had an idea it might help me if I make a list of all the different starch/carb type foods, all the protein foods, and all the veggie foods that we like, and then choose one from each list to make up a meal...that sort of thing if ykwim?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>young_mama08</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10777072"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Just wondering, how come everyone knows what should be on their plate? Like half should be veggies, quarter should be protein and another quarter starch/carbohydrate...how do you know this? Are there nutritional food guidlines anywhere about it? I remember in school vaguely...we did about a food pyramid, which is what the dietitians working for the government say you should eat right?</div>
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There is a government recommended food pyramid. I don't recommend following it. You need to eat what makes you feel healthy, and the government does not take into account that every person is different.<br><br>
Personally I don't eat starch at every meal. For us every meal consists of protein and veggie/fruit. <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Sometimes</span> I will add a starch. I know that pure starch is not a vital part of my diet and that I do much better when I limit how much of it I eat.<br><br>
As to the balance, IMO every meal should contain some source of protein... whether that's beans, meat, eggs, dairy, nuts, etc. And every meal should contain a fair amount of produce (fruit or vegetable in whole form). If you do well with starches, they should be an accompaniment to the other two, IMO, and not the bulk of the meal. The energy you get from starches is relatively short-lived, and often why people fall asleep at their desks after eating a sandwich and chips for lunch.<br><br>
As to what particular balance works well for you, that usually requires learning to listen to your body. It can be difficult because we spend so many years ignoring it, but with practice you can learn. After eating a particular meal do you feel sluggish and lethargic, or do you feel energized and awake? Make note of what you ate and how you feel in a food diary if it helps. After a while you will get a good idea of what your body needs to function well.<br><br>
HTH
 

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OMG, your current diet (I'm sorry if this offends you) sounds incredibly unhealthy. You are having problems that most Americans struggle with, getting away from convenience foods loaded with sugar, wheat and chemicals. You cannot stay on this diet forever, even if you wanted to, because health problems WILL be knocking you on your rear.<br><br>
I know this is going to sound ridiculous and will not provide you with the all time healthiest meal prep habits but it may be a start in learning. First, I would start watching the Food Network since this can be enjoyable. You'll start to understand cooking/meal planning basics and if you like some recipes you can get online to find them.<br><br>
As you get more comfortable not eating out of a box or bag--that is, eating real, whole foods--you can start fine tuning your diet. And cooking with whole foods means you don't have to learn how to read labels to avoid unsafe chemicals, sugars, etc. This second step includes adding in more fruits, VEGETABLES, less grain, more omega 3 fats, etc.<br>
Also, really cooking without packaged products means that your family will be getting at least some of the nutrients they need without you having to know textbook stuff like what nutrients are in which foods. You can learn this stuff later.<br><br>
Take it in small steps that you know you can keep up with--you have to enjoy the process to keep from reverting to boxed, empty foods that will slowly kill your family. This is doable, you just have to start.<br><br>
Simple Shopping List for someone in your position:<br>
olive oil<br>
cheese<br>
butter<br>
milk<br>
eggs<br>
fresh meats (not deli meats, not canned meats)<br>
brown rice<br>
dry beans<br>
all fresh fruits you can afford and know you will eat<br>
all fresh veggies you can afford and know you will eat<br>
100% whole grain breads and pastas<br><br>
You'll adapt this later and you'll probably buy some processed foods that are not on the list until you know what you're doing. After you're used to this you'll start buying organic, raw and you may begin eliminating some foods for individuals in your family who show sensitivity.
 

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I think it is awesome that you want to cook and eat better for you and your little one! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
How about finding some meal plans like this --> <a href="http://en.chatelaine.com/english/food/article.jsp?content=904909" target="_blank">http://en.chatelaine.com/english/foo...content=904909</a><br><br>
SparkPeople also has meal plans --> <a href="http://www.sparkpeople.com/" target="_blank">http://www.sparkpeople.com/</a><br><br>
I plan our meals for the week on Saturday morning before grocery shopping so I can check my igredients for everything. It's a comfortable ritual to go thru my cookbooks and favourite recipe websites for inspiration. Also, I recommend Everyday Food magazine as their recipes are usually simple but good and they have very good explanations. My 10 year old son often goes thru the books with me and makes meal requests.<br><br>
Try following the food guide without stressing too much about getting every serving in. Some days we are veggie heavy, some days we are light on dairy. It all works out. I never get all the grain servings in, but I eat whole grains so the servings I do get are quality, not white bread, white rice.<br><br>
Here is the Canadian food guide --> <a href="http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/index_e.html" target="_blank">http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-gu...t/index_e.html</a><br><br>
Keep good foods in the house and that is what you will reach for when you get the munchies. When the hungries hit us @ 3pm, we grab apples, maybe with some cheddar and crackers. Just make sure you buy real cheddar, not Cheeze Wiz, a whole wheat cracker that isn't too high in fat, sodium etc.<br><br>
Don't feel like you have to make something complicated each night. Home-made lasagna is a treat around here only a couple of times a year. Pasta on the average weeknight is with plain ol' spaghetti sauce or fresh tomatoes sauted with olive oil and garlic. Simple is all about eating food close to it's natural state. Poached eggs on whole wheat toast is better to me than some out of the box dinner with high sodium, loaded with preservatives, additives and unpronouncable fake foods.<br><br>
Google nutrition and read up on how to eat right and before you know it, good eating habits will become second nature.<br><br>
Some other good sites to visit:<br><br><a href="http://www.lesliebeck.com/index.php" target="_blank">http://www.lesliebeck.com/index.php</a><br><a href="http://www.101cookbooks.com/index.html" target="_blank">http://www.101cookbooks.com/index.html</a><br><a href="http://www.whfoods.com/" target="_blank">http://www.whfoods.com/</a><br><a href="http://realage.typepad.com/food_bites/" target="_blank">http://realage.typepad.com/food_bites/</a><br>
... and of course <a href="http://www.mothering.com" target="_blank">www.mothering.com</a>!<br><br>
Good luck and bon appetit!
 

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Are you mostly worried about dinners or all the meals of the day? I like to cook but not ALL day long. So here is a typical day for us:<br><br>
Breakfast:<br><br>
Bowl of organic or low sugar cereal, milk, fresh fruit (banana, strawberries, or blueberries are most common), and my son always has string cheese for breakfast. My DH cooks his own egg, bean and rice dish for breakfast.<br><br>
Lunch:<br><br>
Soup and sandwich is common for us. A sandwich might be on wheat bread or on a tortilla. I put more fresh fruit on the side (apple, oranges, strawberries, melon, or other) and often some carrot sticks. Again, my son often adds string cheese.<br><br>
Dinner:<br><br>
This is where I put in the planning and cooking effort. Lately I have been doing a lot of crockpot meals because there is a great mothering.com thread with new recipes (that would be a great start for you). The nice part about the crockpot is that I can throw everything in right after breakfast and then all I do when we get home in the evening is cook some rice or biscuits to go with the crockpot meal. Most of the time the crockpot recipe already has a ton of vegetables in it, but sometimes I will microwave some frozen vegies or make a salad to go with the meal. A couple times a week I will make a more involved meal (like yesterday we had Vietnamese spring rolls and vegetable koftas).<br><br>
Step 1:<br><br>
List a couple meals that you already know how to make like spaghetti, pizza or some such.<br><br>
Step2:<br><br>
Read up on some crockpot recipes (and/or other recipes) that sound good to you. In the beginning, stick with ones that use 5 or fewer ingredients (it will seem less overwhelming). Pick enough recipes for 1 week of dinners.<br><br>
Step 3:<br><br>
Put the recipes in a 3-ring binder (this way you can make notes about how they tasted, if you would eat it again, and whether there was anything you would do differently) and then make a shopping list of ingredients. If you haven't been cooking it will take a little while to build up a supply of some staples and basic seasonings, but just buy what you need for these recipes.<br><br>
Step 4:<br><br>
Shop for the ingredients and then stick to your plan for the week. If you unexpectedly get invited out for dinner then just push that meal back a day.<br><br><br>
Once you have done this for a few months you can start to plan your meals around store specials.<br><br>
It also helps to have a trusted friend come show you how to make some of their favorite meals. I have a friend who had NEVER cooked for her family (never even cracked open a jar of spaghetti sauce). She finally decided it was time (mostly because they suddenly were on a tight budget). She wasn't even sure how to read a recipe so she invited a friend over to help her get started. Now she cooks a ton. So go for it!!!
 

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Alot of my meals are pretty low fuss:<br><br>
Dinners in less than 30 minutes:<br>
chicken breast sauteed in olive oil. Steamed broccoli. Brown rice or jasmine rice.<br><br>
Salmon filet (bake or poach or pan fry). Sauteed spinach in olive oil.<br><br>
pasta with meat sauce. Saute ground turkey or beef until browned. Add one can of Hunts Tomato Sauce, add basil, oregano, and garlic. Simmer for 10 minutes.<br><br>
I always do carrot and celery sticks on the side. When I get the package of whole carrots at the store. I peel them all, cut off the ends, and make them into sticks. Then they're always ready for eating. If you're short on time, get the little whole baby carrots. And the kids can munch on them while they're waiting for dinner. If they fill up on vegetables, so what?<br><br>
Breakfasts:<br>
Eggs - scrambled, poached, fried, hard-boiled, etc. If you've got some leftover vegetables, stick them in with the scrambled, and it's even better.<br><br>
Whole grain English muffin (I make mine) with peanut butter and honey.<br><br>
Oatmeal with dried fruit and some ground cloves, and a little honey.<br><br>
Lunch:<br>
leftover chicken in a tortilla<br>
leftover meatsauce heated, and stuck on a roll (like an open-faced Sloppy Joe)<br>
tunafish sandwich<br><br>
If you find you have more time on the weekends, do some prep work ahead. Dice veggies, make a bunch of hard boiled eggs, bake something healthy.<br><br>
When you go to the store, if you're shopping for a week, buy enough veggies for at least 7 meals: Big bag of carrots and celery, a couple of onions, a head of cauliflower, a bunch of green beans, a bag of frozen peas, a bunch of asparagus, a squash, a zucchini.<br>
Buy meats: chicken breasts, ground turkey, beef for roasting (on a weekend, then have leftovers during the week), salmon (or other fish) filets, stew meat (for slow cooker).<br>
Starches: whole grain rolls, tortillas (for quick sandwiches), brown rice (or a box of rice pilaf), potatoes to boil<br>
Fruits: apples, bananas, oranges, pears (these are great to just eat and go)<br>
Olive oil to saute<br>
honey for sweetening<br><br>
Is it that you don't know how to cook? Or just don't know how to make balanced meals? Better Homes & Garden Cookbook is fantastic for new cooks (it was DH's only cookbook when we were dating). It tells you how to hard boil eggs, how to roast a chicken, basic stuff.<br><br>
What are you cooking tonight? Or what do you have to cook, and we'll make a meal for you!!
 

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I thought I would think of an easy meal ideas for you w/directions. I'm going to put canned food on here which you will want to get away from and move on to the fresh (or at least frozen) vegetables when you can. (Canned veggies are much better than an all toast and jello diet!)<br><br>
Meal:<br>
Pan seared chicken, baked potato, and green beans.<br><br>
Ingredients: 1 chicken breast (there will probably be 3-4 in a package so save the others in a ziploc bag for later.),<br>
Can of green beans<br>
2 small potatoes from the produce section<br>
butter<br>
pepper<br>
seasoning salt or blackened seasoning<br>
olive oil.<br><br>
Directions: Cut the chicken breast in half. Sprinkle seasoning salt/blackened seasoning on both sides of the chicken breast. Put some olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat (non-stick one if you have it). Put the seasoned chicken breast in the pan. Flip when it starts to brown. It is done when there is no pink inside the chicken.<br><br>
Open your can of green beans. Put in a sauce pan and cook on medium heat until it starts to boil. Reduce heat and let it bubble a little until dinner is ready. You can put some pepper in there but I wouldn't add any more salt.<br><br>
Get the potatoes, poke a few holes in them. Place it in a bowl with an inch of water and cook in the microwave until they get squishy. (It might take 10 minutes or 30 depending on how big the potato is) When you get them out, cut them open and you can put sour cream, chives, bacon pieces, butter or whatever but just simply butter would do fine.
 

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A favorite easy meal around here is whole grain pasta with a can of rinsed, drained beans, steamed veggies (you could buy a bag of frozen mixed veggies and cook them in the microwave, I have a veggie steamer that sits on top of my big pasta pot) and some good Italian or Tahini-soy sauce salad dressing. Mix it all together.<br><br>
Another kid-friendly favorite is thawing some corn, peas, diced carrot, and broccoli, dicing the broccoli to be the same size as the peas and carrots, cubing some extra firm tofu, and mixing all of that up with hot brown rice and a few splashes of soy sauce, so it's about half rice, half other stuff.
 

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If all this talk about different ways to prepare food (like poach, sautee, dice, chop, etc) is like greek to you, I have a suggestion: the book I learned to cook from is called <a href="http://www.howtocookeverything.tv/htce/Home/index.html" target="_blank">How To Cook Everything</a> by mark bittman. It's a giant yellow cookbook. your library probably has it, but it is worth it to purchase it. I use mine (even still!) nearly every week.
 

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I just want to encourage you and say I admire your desire to change! Take one day at a time and make changes without overwhelming yourself. There are lots of healthy and easy meals out there. It's been 2 years since I really started looked at what I was feeding my family and I'm always learning something new and trying something different. I've had to be careful not to get overwhlemed by all the great things I could do because it gets to easy to revert back to easy, bad food. Once all these things are part of your normal rountine it gets easier!
 

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I think that it is great that you want to start trying to cook healthier. You didn't mention whether or not you're vegetarian or vegan, so I'm going to assume you're a meat eater. Of course I make a variety of things, so I may forget some things, but this is basically the base of cooking in my house...<br><br>
A lot of our meals go like this:<br><br><b>Breakfast</b> pancakes: peanut butter or butter: sometimes with fruit and usually with maple syrup. Eggs (sometimes omelet style with vegetables and cheese, poached or sunny side up), organic oatmeal or semolina with fruit or preserves mixed in and or bacon or sausage. Sometimes it can be french toast with wheat bread served the same way as pancakes. Oh, and yogurt is a possibility as well.<br><br><b>Lunch</b> This can just vary. We're not so much the sit down and I make a lunch type of people. Often we are having leftovers mixed up with some sides of vegetables or salad and fruit. Sometimes it can be grilled cheese with some cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and chopped fresh dill thrown together with some sour cream as a salad. My daughter often also has string cheese with a lot of things as well as yogurt.<br><br><b>Snacks</b> Cut up fruits like apples, bananas, mangoes, strawberries, etc. Yogurt, string cheese, digestive biscuits...<br><br><b>Dinners</b> Dinners are often thrown together. At the moment I only have a small stove top, so there is no baking for me. We are living in a place temporarily and there is no use in buying the whole stove as then we'll just have to store it. So, I have been doing a lot of quick stove top cooking.<br><br>
Most of our meals consist of: meat, vegetables, salad, etc.<br><br>
Meat can either be pork, beef, chicken or fish. We do not eat lamb or goat. I make a lot of pork personally because I like it. I usually just throw some spices on it and pan grill it.<br><br>
Vegetables are usually sauteed in a bit of butter. Sometimes potatoes mixed with carrots and courgette or fresh green beans, etc. I usually leave potatoes out. I make potatoes with our meals a lot because we love potatoes. They are often baked or mashed.<br><br>
Or pasta. They sell fresh pasta here that I buy often that isn't dried or I'll buy wheat type of pastas that are dried and some organic tomato sauce. Sautee any of these mixed together: mushrooms, carrots, courgette, broccoli, etc. Then throw it all together.<br><br>
I also can make things like chili and cabbage rolls, etc.<br><br>
If I'm in a pinch and need to come up with something it's usually soup. Normally I fill up a pot with water, throw in potatoes, carrots, courgette, cabbage, onion and a few organic stock cubes (chicken, vegetable, tomato and herb, whichever sounds fine or I have) and some salt and pepper. I often add dill at the end before serving.<br><br>
That is just how I'm cooking at the moment with only two burners. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
Normally you can make things like roast, which can later be used in sandwiches or in soups if it's not finished. Make your own chips or potato wedges and chicken strips and so on are easy to make and bake. And slow cookers / crockpots are an amazing and useful thing. And <b>easy</b> to use. I like a lot of Martha Stewarts recipes which you can find on her site as well as useful videos. And Food Network of course.<br><br>
I have this book of recipes aimed towards healthy eating for babies, toddlers and children - I think by Australia's Womens Weekly, but I cannot find it anywhere! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/headscratch.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="headscratch"> It has tons of amazing recipes that are easy and healthy.<br><br>
I hope I helped a little. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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everything is helping here. I dont know what my problem is exactly, trying to explain it, I feel overwhelmed with any thoughts to do with preparing and cooking a dinner time meal. There are so many foods out there I dont know how to decide which I should be using, which is healthiest? how do I cook them? I heard microwave steaming veggies is healthier than boiling them in a pan? what type of starchy foods are there? whats the point of starch foods? im guessing its because they fill you up...like potatoes and rice are filling?<br><br>
the meats we like are chicken breasts, pork chops, sausages, turkey breast, bacon, beef steak mince...the steak part is the healthiest right?<br><br>
If I was going to cook say pork chops or chicken breasts, I would wash the raw meat under cold running water, place them in a pyrex dish with a lid, and cook in the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes at 200 degrees temperature. Thats how my mom does them, or she grills the pork chops....I didnt know you could fry meats? Then I think of some people who season all their meat before cooking it, and worry should I be doing that or not? then what things do I use to season it, which is best? ....then everything feels too overwhelming again, so I put myself off, lose confidence and go back to opening a packet of biscuits for dinner or having a bowl of cereal <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
I dont enjoy cooking when I occasionally do it, seems to take a lot of time, all the preparation, cooking, then all the cleaning up afterwards...ahhh, thats probably just my laziness talking, but even all that seems so overwhelming. I do have depression which means I dont want to do much most of the time which I think is contributing to how the whole dinner time cooking seems overwhelming.
 

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For seasoning, try sea salt & pepper for now. Move on to other things later.<br><br>
Saute chicken breast: Put a couple of Tablespoons (or just drizzle it - as Rachel Ray says, Two glugs) of olive oil in a fry pan. Heat it on medium. Then put your chicken in. Shake some salt and pepper on it. When it's white half way up the side (probably about 8 minutes), flip it, put a little more salt and pepper on it (not too much) and cook all the way through (another 8 minutes or so). If you're worried about whether it's done, use a knife to cut it open and make sure it's white all the way through.<br><br>
I boil my veggies on the stovetop (I only use my microwave for thawing). It doesn't take long. If you do frozen veggies, pour it into the boiling water in a covered pan. As soon as it starts to boil again, it's done. Peas, corn, green beans, broccoli.<br><br>
I don't do organic everything. I do organic if it's on sale. Salads are pretty easy these days. Most of it's done for you in a bag. Shake it into a bowl. Cut up a cucumber and a green pepper and you're done. And that's really healthy.<br><br>
I do the starch, veggie, meat because my grandparents were 97 and 99 when they died and that's what they did, though I usually do two veggies, or a fruit and a veggie.<br><br>
Even having a poached egg with your toast is healthier than toast for dinner. Do one meal at a time if that's easier. Start slow. I do things like make a roast on Sunday. Then I have leftovers for stew on Tuesday. Or roast a chicken one day, and make soup a couple days later. So that I don't get in a rut of all chicken, or all beef.<br><br>
All meats are healthy. Protein is great because it fills you up. Veggies and fruits are also good. I guess you're mostly right, the carbs fill up the rest of the space. I do jasmine rice. Other people do brown rice. I don't do Uncle Ben's or Minute Rice. I like real stuff I guess. I don't do instant oatmeal either.<br><br>
Rachel Ray magazines have quick ideas, and I think there's even a pullout section where you can make a whole week's worth of meals. Maybe something like that would work for you.
 
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