Saturday, November 13, 2010

MEAL PLANNING-Nacho Mama's Little Helpers

(Some of this post was previously published on my blog, defunct)

So those of you who read this blog regularly and/or follow me on Twitter (@shesnachomama) are well aware that I am on the Weight Watchers plan (again-don’t judge me!). I’m not going to into the details of the plan, for that please go straight to the source. Like many of you following this plan, I know that if you follow the plan, it works. Of course the flip of this is that, as my leader Judy likes to say, “If you almost follow Weight Watchers, you almost lose weight!” I love the ww plan personally, but I know there are a lot of other great ones out there (like Sparkpeople) and I really believe that when it comes to your Dining (just like your style) you really have to go with what works for you. But most plans have a lot of great insipirational sayings that pop up over and over again. Usually because they happen to be 1. Catchy and 2. True. One of my favorites is “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Well I plan to succeed, thanks very much! And a great part of my success on ww can really put down to the degree of planning that I put into my Dining.

So I thought I’d share a couple of things that have been working for me (and I would LOVE to hear what’s working for you!)

Mine is white-I can always find it in my bag

The first thing is my Crackberry. Which I use to:
-Hunt for healthy, low-point recipes (which I then email to myself)
-Keep a running grocery list which I make additions to throughout the week (which I delete as I shop or which I can send as a text to my DH when he is doing the weekly shop)
-Track points (I prefer the paper trackers they give you at the meetings, but sometimes I have to miss a meeting and the ww app is a good backup-if you’re not on ww there are all kinds of great free calorie/food tracking apps)
-Keep up with my favorite design, weight-loss and cooking blogs (see blogroll) for when I need inspiration on the go
-TWEET (I love Twitter! I wish I could tell you why.)
-I use the stopwatch app to time my exercise (more on this later)
-I use the Pandora app to keep me moving with great music (again, I’ll do an exercise post soon!)
I LOVE my new smartphone! But of course you don’t need one! In fact the first time I did WW (before Baby #1) I lost about 65lbs by doing all of the above with a small notebook which I kept in my purse at all times, as well as my, ahem, Walkman (remember those? No?)

The second Tool which really helps me is my Menu Planner. Now this I like to have on paper as well, and I always keep it posted above the desk in the family office. No more phone calls asking what’s for dinner! I found this adorable and useful menu planner for FREE on the web and print them out as I need them. I fill out my menu planner every Sunday. NOW-just because I plan out the entire week doesn’t mean the planner is set in stone. I prefer to think of my menu planner as my “safety net.” Sometimes things happen and we might end up eating out or with friends, but the planned meal is always there if we need it. We recently had company visiting for 5 days and I still went ahead and planned a dinner for every night they were here-we ended up eating at home at least 3 of those nights and it was so nice not to have to endure endless “So what do you feel like having?” conversations! I don’t know about you, but in our family those can go on for hours.

The third tool I use is my Mini Daily Docket, which I downloaded from one of my favorite home-management site, Simplemom. I fill this out every night for the next day. This is useful in just planning my day in general, it’s a small half page to-do list where I can jot down all the things that seem too trivial or tedious to enter into my Blackberry’s calendar (like “pick up 2 avocados”) and it’s so much easier just to have that 1/2 a letter-size piece of paper to throw into my purse every night instead of carrying a big filofax. But one of my favorite features is that at the very top of the page each day is a box that says “What’s For Dinner?” Having “Chicken Parm and Salad, 6points” there helps me keep my eating in check all day long.

What about YOU? What’s helping to simplify your dining? What’s challenging?

Wishing you love with extra cheese,
Nacho Mama

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