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Another 'help me eat healthy' thread
Vegetarian edition

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#1 Academic

Posted 30 January 2013 - 11:59 AM

Have seen other posters get some wonderful help with specific suggestions on their daily eating habits, and I'm hoping for the same!

Background: I'm about 163cm tall, weigh around 65kg (I think - I don't own scales but did jump on some at my friend's house recently). I was consistently between 50 and 55kg most of my adult life until about 2 years ago. I'm uncomfortable at this weight and would like to get back to 55kg.

I'm a lacto-ovo vegetarian and have been all my life. I don't really eat a lot of junk food as such - I very rarely chocolate, chips, lollies, ice cream etc. My biggest weaknesses are cheese, carbs (I could happily eat pasta for every meal), not eating often enough, pure laziness and being a bit too fond of a drink.

I walk a lot as I don't drive, but have trouble sticking to exercise regimes. I'm currently trying to get back in the habit of running, but so far haven't managed to get out more than once a week. There's no excuse for it other than laziness - I'm not currently working, have no kids etc. so have plenty of time.

So. I know the theory behind eating well, but have trouble coming up with specific ideas on what I should eat every day. Most of the suggestions I read online are based on an omnivore diet, which seems easier in many ways (grill fish or lean meat, eat with vegetables). I've tried My Fitness Pal etc. but find I get too obsessive and overwhelmed.

Here is what I would typically eat in a day at the moment:

Breakfast: strong black coffee, then I don't eat until at least lunchtime - usually two pieces of wholegrain toast with vegemite, sometimes poached eggs with a bit of mayo.

Sometimes I will snack after this, but usually not. If I do, I'm likely to eat more bread.

Dinner: Varies. Usual meals on rotation are: vegetarian tacos (mixed beans and corn in the filling, then the usual salad/cheese/low-fat sour cream/ guacamole on top), vegetarian shepherd's pie (made with brown lentils and grated veg), roast vegetables (I usually have store-bought veg sausages or nutmeat slices with mine), lots of different soups, spinach/lentil curry, vegetarian lasagne, quiche, risotto, etc. I try to make salads with a lot of meals but not as much as I should.

Terrible, right? I know I'm eating far too infrequently, filling up on bread and then eating huge dinners! And eating virtually no fruit!

Now this is what I'm thinking would be a good day:

Breakfast: actually eating it early in the day for a start! Poached or boiled eggs with no mayo on top (any suggestions on how else I could flavour them, as I find eggs on their own not very tasty?), just one piece of toast. Any suggestions for easier breakfasts that don't need cooking? I really dislike cereal and porridge so it's tough. I find fruit and yoghurt just makes me hungrier as well. I did go through a stage of making a smoothie every day with frozen berries, a banana, a splash of milk or orange juice, sometimes some silken tofu for protein, but I find this gets expensive with the berries and tofu.

Snack: one piece of fruit. Or, if I already had fruit at breakfast, maybe something like Ryvitas with tomato and avocado and cheese? Would ricotta be better than cheddar or should I try to ditch the cheese altogether?

Lunch: I'm thinking I could make a big batch of vegetable soup (with beans or lentils for protein) and freeze in small portions for lunches? Otherwise I did go through a stage of enjoying a wrap with hummus, beetroot, spinach and cheese every day. Or a sandwich with grated carrot, beetroot, avocado and cheese. Are these okay choices? I find I do better when I don't have to think about it too much - when I get in a routine of eating the same thing every day (until I get sick of it, that is!).

Snack: as above

Dinner: The usual meals in rotation, but maybe with more salad or steamed vegetables on the side and smaller portions of the mains? I feel the meals themselves are pretty good as they always have a lot of vegetables and I'm pretty good at including pulses for protein, but some may be a bit heavy on fat. I'd like to do things like switch to brown rice when we have meals that include rice, wholewheat pasta or lasagne sheets etc.

I'll definitely try to cut back on the booze as well, for obvious health reasons on top of the weight issues (I drink cider and red wine, both very sugary!). At the moment we have a few probably four nights a week, sometimes more. It's a habit we're constantly trying to break but difficult as drinking is big in our social circle, and even during the week we seem to always be going to friends' gigs or art things or pub trivia.

Please critique my plan! Other vegetarians: what do you eat that you find helpful in shifting weight?

#2 matt1972

Posted 30 January 2013 - 01:02 PM

If you can get your hands on some decent avocados they go really well with eggs in the morning. They are high calorie but fill you up for longer I find. Mushed avo, salt, lime juice on toast with an egg on top is a great start to the day.

#3 emlis22

Posted 30 January 2013 - 01:27 PM

The good thing is you know what you're doing wrong. You know that because you don't eat during the day, you fill up at night and this is ultimately why you've put the weight on.

Breakfast: I know you said you don't like porridge etc, but would you eat overnight oats? It's just 1/2 cup oats 1/2 cup of whatever milk (soy, almond - sorry not sure what you can have) 1/4 water and you mix it all together at night time and by the morning you have whatever topping you like on a soft mix. Ricotta and tomato on toast is good, or ricotta, honey and pear/strawberries is awesome too.

Lunch: if you like soup, then go for it. I know i'd get incredibly sick of it after day two and head for a vegetarian pastie. Sandwiches are good. avo, tom, cucumber, beets, carrots, alfalfa etc are all good. I also think lunch is a great opportunity to have some of your carb rich dinners you've been having, like risottos, or pastas. Just make sure you use wholmeal pasta, use tiny amounts of cheese, and pack in some veggies (like zuchinni and peas), and dress with lemon juice and a little oil.

Dinners: Your dinners sound fine. Cut the carbs - and maybe make extra at night (like the shepherds pie) and have for lunch the next day.

As for the booze, welcome to my world. I generally drink most days and a lot on weekends. I started to eat healthy/not drink so much at the start of Jan - I realised that after a week, I didn't want it. I'd have a cider on the couch at night and be like, why did I do that? So it might be easier than you think. I have a wine every second or third night, but I make sure that I don't snack that day and I certainly don't help myself to the chocolates as well.

Good luck!

#4 laridae

Posted 30 January 2013 - 02:00 PM

I've been trying to lose a little...
Breakfast - 1/2 cup quick oats with 1/2 cup water & 1/2 cup milk & 2 tsp brown sugar

Lunch - frittata - 8 eggs & 1/2 cup milk & a little cheese & black pepper mixed together, and whatever vegies you like in it (eg spinach, zucchini, tomato, sweet potato, pumpkin, spring onion), bake it for about 1/2 hour - this makes 4 serves (so lasts most of the week), serve each with a salad (lettuce, tomato, a little cheese, cucumber etc).

Dinner - actually, I'm not a vegetarian, so eat something like chicken stirfry (without rice - just lots of vegies), but you could make it without or substitute chickpeas or tofu.  I find kidney beans a good substitute for red meat and chickpeas a good substitute for white in most recipes.

Snacks - I've been making up a small tub of fresh fruit (cherries, raspberries & grapes as they are in season - and we have raspberry bushes) for morning tea, and a banana for afternoon tea.  And I'll have a tub of Nestle Soleil Creme Caramel or Chocolate Mousse if I'm feeling like something really sweet.

I have been using MFP - mainly so I get a better idea of what the calorie content of food is - seems like bread & pasta type, and things with lots of sugar, like chocolate milk original.gif are the worst so I've been minimising them.  I use zucchini in place of pasta a lot of the time (cut zucchini into thin strips & steam it a little and you can almost pretend it is spaghetti) - and you can grate cauliflower and its almost the same as rice.

#5 Academic

Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:58 AM

Thank you for this!

We went grocery shopping yesterday and our fridge is now full of fresh food.

Today so far I've had two boiled eggs with a little bit of ricotta, sliced tomato and spinach on one piece of wholegrain toast. Will soon have a little fruit and yoghurt for a morning snack. Salad sandwich for lunch, tomato and zucchini flan with huge salad for dinner. Let's hope this motivation lasts!

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