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  #1   ^
Old Sat, Dec-28-02, 02:34
KoftheWest KoftheWest is offline
New Member
Posts: 12
Plan: Schwarzbein
Stats: 180/180/145 Female 67 inches
Progress: 0%
Location: Idaho
Unhappy New to Zone: Need Convenience

Hello there!

My husband and I are just starting the Zone (a New Year's resolution) and are already feeling overwhelmed. The problem is that we are both in school and working (and commuting t'boot) and are finding it incredibly difficult to prepare fast, convenient, appropriately blocked meals and snacks. I only have time to do any cooking a few nights a week and on weekends (due to work, driving, and homework) and am at a complete loss what to do. We desperately need to do this, as I am an overweight type I diabetic and my husband (who is only slightly heavy) is at-risk for diabetes b/c of genetics.

Any suggestions on easy and fast recipes for meals/snacks?

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  #2   ^
Old Sat, Dec-28-02, 23:57
ZoneCoach's Avatar
ZoneCoach ZoneCoach is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 314
Plan: Zone
Stats: 151/129/128 Female 5'4"
Progress: 96%
Location: United States
Default Quick & Convenient

Carefully check the labels on some frozen meals. There are quite a few that are either zoned, or very easy to modify to round out. Lean Cuisine has several, and I'm sure that other brands can work too. If there are too many carbs, get rid of some of the pasta or rice. Lean Cuisine has some "healthy portion" varieties that have more veggies than the standard ones. Try to have a salad with these types of dinners because a lot of the carbs tend to be high-glycemic. A nice salad will fill you up and help offset the other carbs. Add some feta cheese or other cheese to add protein and fat if needed.

I've seen a lot of new heat-and-serve meat products in my grocery store, like pot roast, pork roast, turkey and gravy, etc. You put them in the microwave to heat them up and that's it! They may be worth the convenience.

Progresso soup has a lot of different flavors that are almost perfectly zoned. They are very easy and quick, but watch the sodium. There are also quite a few chili brands that are quite good as well.

I've found that cottage cheese and yogurt to be great friends. It's easy to grab quickly. I prefer the "no salt added" variety, but that can be hard to find. Add some fruit and nuts for breakfast, or add tomatoes, cucumbers and basil for a lunch salad. Also, there are some that come premixed with cottage cheese and fruit, and they're about right. You may need to check the fat. A favorite lunch is 1/2C no fat cottage cheese, 1/2 container BLUE BUNNY LITE 85 strawberry yogert, 2T TVP, 1T peanut butter, 1C blueberries all mixxed together (=3 blocks).

Speaking of salads, Louis Rich/Sara Lee/Perdue have pre-cooked chicken strips. Perdue is a better value unless the others are on sale. 1/4 package is 19g protein. Take a bag of salad and divide it into four containers. Divide up the meat, add a cube of feta cheese and some black olives and veggies and you have lunch for 4 days. You'll probably need to add some carb and fat blocks depending on what kind of dressing you use. Unless you are using a lot of carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers, the salad itself is essentially free.

I've also used the chicken strips to make "wraps". Get some small tortillas and fill with chicken strips and shredded cheese. Microwave if desired. Add some salsa, maybe some guacamole (and the ever-present salad) and you've got another easy meal.

Sandwiches: Get a good quality, whole grain, low carb bread. There are plenty to choose from that are 1 block per slice or less (Natural Ovens is a great brand). Grab some of your favorite lunch meat, a slice of lunchmeat, maybe a few slices of lettuce. Add a block of fruit and a salad (watch the dressing) and you have another quick meal.

Boca burgers (or similar): another great way to save time. Pop one in the microwave for a minute, add a slice of cheese, flavorings (fat-free mayo, mustard, etc.) and make a hot sandwich. Again, add a salad and maybe some fruit, depending on the carbs and bread. Read the label.

By the way, bagged salads are GREAT. They save a lot of time. Try to avoid the cheap ones that have mostly iceberg lettuce, which has little nutritional value. The darker green it is, the better.

I realize that most of these ideas get most of their carbs from the unfavorable category, but that seems to be the price you pay for convenience. That's why I try to add a good salad any time I eat these things. It seems to help offset the high-glycemic effects of the unfavorable carbs as well as filling you up and providing lots of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

More ideas: On the weekends, when I have a little more time I cook up large quantities of steel cut oats and freeze in (recycled) yogert containers. It’s quick and easy to heat that up with (frozen) strawberries or blueberries for the carb portion of breakfast. Often times I will bake 1-1/2 dozen eggs (whites only w/maybe a couple of yolks added) with steamed spinach, no fat mozzarella cheese and turkey bacon and olive oil totaling about 15 blocks. That makes 5 quick heat ‘n eat protein/fat breakfast portions.

Don’t forget protein powder and smoothies for something quick to go(although they don’t sustain me for long). A favorite is 2 blocks vanilla protein powder, 2 blocks (6g) natural peanut butter, 1/3C cooked steel cut oats, 1C strawberries whipped up in the blender with a little water. Add 1C 2% milk to make it a 3 blocker.

I also posted a recipe under the “need chocolate” thread for a great fudgy snack (1 block each). You may want to start with about 1T-2T less water and add if needed, otherwise you may end up with a sticky mess. Seems I always let too much evaporate during the boiling process, so I end up adding more.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by ZoneCoach : Sun, Dec-29-02 at 00:03.
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  #3   ^
Old Sat, Dec-28-02, 23:59
ZoneCoach's Avatar
ZoneCoach ZoneCoach is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 314
Plan: Zone
Stats: 151/129/128 Female 5'4"
Progress: 96%
Location: United States
Default Another Snack

A string cheese stick & 1/2 cup grapes makes a great on-the-run 1 block snack.
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  #4   ^
Old Tue, Dec-31-02, 13:31
beegee beegee is offline
New Member
Posts: 9
Plan: zone
Stats: 172/105/105
Progress: 100%

K, one of my favorite quick tricks is to pick up a rotisserie chicken on the way home.

The first night, I'll throw a bag of mixed veggies in the microwave. DH and I will have the breasts, veggies, and share an apple or have a tangerine each. Then I'll bone the rest of the chicken.

The next night I'll have a stir fry. Thaw or pre-cook until tender a bag of frozen oriental-style veggies in the microwave and stir fry with the boned chicken and teriyaki or soy sauce to taste. Sometimes I'll also saute some onion and green pepper first, then add the veggies and chicken.

Both of these dinners take 10 minutes or less.

HTH, beegee
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