Mighty Menu

22nd August 2007

More menu madness! How do I maintain my edge in the face of meal-planning tips? I type naked. (Except for my socks. My feet are always cold.)

Anyway, in my continuing quest to lose baby weight, I’ve been reading You on a Diet by Dr. Oz. It isn’t so much a diet book as a “Potato Chips are Not a Breakfast Food” book.

The book suggested adopting one meal choice that becomes a habit. You could have steel-cut oatmeal every morning for breakfast, a turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread every day for lunch, or a bowl of nine-grain gruel for dinner. This dramatically reduces the wild-card meals where you might accidentally eat an entire wheel of triple-cream brie.

I decided to adopt habit meals that have endless variations, so I’m having smoothies for breakfast and salads for lunch. For dinner, I’m freezing a bunch of soups that we’ll have whenever we’re too tired to cook or order pizza.


*Update: I added serving info and measurements to more adequately reflect the amount of fruit you’re getting per serving. If you’re making a smoothie for just you, you’ll want to halve the ingredients.

Makes two servings:
1 cup Orange juice
1 cup Lowfat plain yogurt
1 Banana
2 tsp. Cinnamon (a natural appetite suppressant)
3 tbsp. Psyllium husk (for fiber)
Flax seed oil (for delicious Omega 3 acids)

1 cup of frozen fruit, whatever you prefer:

fresh ginger
whatever fruit is about to spoil in the fridge (sometimes I’ll throw it in the freezer right before it spoils for extra longevity and smoothie slushiness)


Mixed greens or spinach
Tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
raw sunflower seeds
hard boiled eggs
cooked beets

oranges or tangerines
cooked chicken
smoked salmon


From Chic Simple Cooking
Chicken soup with lemon zest, thyme, and potatoes
Curried vegetable soup with fresh gingeroot
Winter borscht

From Bill’s Sydney Food
Spring vegetable soup

From Bill’s Open Kitchen
Spiced zucchini soup


-snap peas
-celery leftover from soups
-cherry tomatoes
-baby carrots

Raw almonds
Raw walnuts
almond butter on whole grain frozen waffles
dried apricots
fresh fruit
ak mak whole wheat crackers

23 thoughts on “Mighty Menu

  1. Lauren

    Please let these Menu Planning posts become a regular feature! I can’t wait to try the Breakfast Smoothie recipe.

  2. Megling

    I recommend some macadamia nut oil in those smoothies, it’s a good fat and is high in oleic acid

  3. kristi

    I too can encounter those inexplicable accidents in which I happen to eat an entire wheel of triple-cream brie! I love your writing style and just wanted to take a minute to tell you how much I appreciate your blog and your wit.

  4. kristi

    oops! I also wanted to add that IKEA sells a wonderful rye cracker called “Leksands” (sold in great big rounds). They are wheat-free and a great change should you get bored with Ak Mak.

  5. superblondgirl

    Mmmmmm, smoothies. Ground flaxseed is actually really awesome there, too – it gives them this sort of wheat-y thickness, which sounds gross but is really, really yummy. I have been meaning to do this sort of eating for a long time, but it never works for me. I am way too into variety, and the size of my ass suffers greatly for it.

  6. denise

    i recently had to drastically change my diet for medical reasons. i’ve been steadily losing weight all summer. word of caution – fruit and nuts are healthy, and but fruit has a lot of sugar and nuts have a lot of fat. fat is still fat, even if it’s good fat. sugar can make your hunger spike. a recommended serving of fruit is small. in one of the smoothies, you’re getting at least 5 servings of fruit.

    thinly sliced dill pickle chips make a satisfying snack and essentially take as many calories to consume as they have in them. yoplait fat free yogurt is good and satisfying. there is light bread with almost half the calories of regular bread, and the best invention in the world is fat free butter spray. i swear to god it tastes like real butter and has zero calories and fat.

    try to hit 35 grams of fiber a day – you can easily meet this by using all-bran cereal – mix it with yogurt, sprinkle on ceral. drink 2 gallons of water a day. my dr. says water, combined with fiber, flushes fat and sugar out of your body.

    dreyers makes REALLY good sugar free lower calorie ice cream, as does weight watchers. and baked chips have improved drastically in flavor and texture. if you like candy – the sugar free lifesavers and actually most sugar free candy, even chocolate is really good. the chocolate still has a ton of fat in it though.

    i miss those wheels of brie – with some grapes and apple slices, peppered salami, chili pistachios and thin slices of a sourdough baguette. alas.

    i used to abhor things like butter spray and diet anything, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

  7. Sus

    So…is it working? It sounds wonderful. Three years later, my baby fat is the only thing left of my “baby.” He’s a tall, lean, toddler machine. I continue to play peek-a-boo with my saddle bags.

  8. Mick

    I read this book and the whole chapter on the omentum fat Freaked Me Out.

    I so wish I could just drink a smoothie as a meal, but I always feel as if they are nothing more than good to wash a meal down with. (As opposed to being the actual meal. Se also: Slim-Fast.) I blame all those Fribbles I had with meals at Friendly’s as a child.

  9. Roo

    To throw in a little sociability, I sometimes organize Soup Troops… (an idea borrowed from a sweet friend of mine from Halifax).

    Here’s how it goes:

    1) You and some pals make soups at home, put it into serving-size, freezable plastic containers (I like the Ziploc ones, but whatever floats your boat), put little soup name + ingredient labels on each one.

    2) Get together at a designated time and swap soups. Lay them out on a table, maybe quickly go around the group and introduce your soup, mention any special considerations (hot, undersalted, dairy, whatever). How to divvy up? It works like this: You brought eight containers? You take away eight. You brought fourteen? You take away fourteen. Because all the people that you invited are great people, this just naturally goes fairly and thoughtfully.

    3) Go home with a variety of interesting healthy soups for the freezer, a heart full of love for your friends, and a comforting sense that you have a range of terrific emergency meals on hand. (And no fighting! You like the potato curry soup but your sweetie likes the lentil? You can still eat together!)

    4) Optional part: Turn soup-swap night into a potluck too, and get a little fun visiting in.

    The potluck part is: the host (this can rotate) makes a HUGE pot of some kind of soup, and then everyone else signs up to bring salads, breads, desserts, and wine. You all get together, eat, enjoy, catch up. THEN you swap soups.

    It’s really fun. I sort of think everyone would be happier if they were part of a Soup Troop.

    Special considerations: it’s easy enough to make vegetarian soups if anyone in the group isn’t omnivorous; I also like to note that there are lots of bouillon cubes (common ingredient) that do NOT contain MSG, which many are sensitive to.

    Thanks for all the tips, btw. (I also have a Manhattan when I can.)

  10. Lins

    I am struggling with trying to get to a good weight BEFORE I have babies, that way the after baby effect isn’t so tremendous…. I suppose we’ll see if it works.. :S

  11. Joe

    Dieting sucks. My wife and I were (are, sort of still) on The Fat Resistance Diet. What a pain in the ass. The food is OK, there’s just too much prep work involved; chopping, dicing, slicing, mincing. Fat people have no time for this.

  12. Tammy

    Baby weight? Just keep nursing past six months. By eight months, you’ll suddenly find yourself thinner than you were before you got pregnant. Because your body is feeding a creature roughly the size of an orangutan. You can eat three wheels of triple-cream Brie and finish off your snack with a tub of Haagen Daz.

    (My apologies if you’re not nursing and this comes off as preachy! It’s not, I swear! To each her own! Que sera, sera! Etc.!)

  13. ML

    I highly recommend the book _Saved by Soup_ lots of great recipes and nutritional info with each recipe. Has a great variety of hot/cold/dessert soups. Oh…and having an immersion blender is the best kitchen tool for soup making.

  14. Lin

    Here’s another idea for your morning smoothie and is delish: 8 to 12 oz of lowfat, vanilla soymilk, a frozen banana (I buy bananas in bulk and peel and freeze them), whatever frozen fruit you want. Delish. Gets rid of the juice calories and makes the smoothie way thicker. I use frozen, organic blueberries and strawberries and also throw in some frozen pineapple or mango. TJs frozen fruit is good.

    Salad: Grab some cans of smoked trout at TJs. It’s a German product and delicious and lower in fat and calories than other canned fish. Drain. Grab as many handfuls of arugula as you wish. Throw in some watercress, and any other veggies you wish. Also toss in some drained black beans or garbanzos and a sprinkle of feta. Toss with a good olive oil and vinegar dressing. I use a Spanish, sherry vinegar. Not nearly as sweet as balsamic and seems a better marriage with the fish.

    If this stuff agrees and you’d like some more ideas, drop me a line.

    I stir my psyllium up with anything at night and chug it down before bed. Fills me up.

    And make sure none of your carbs are wasted. Heavy duty fiber is the way to go.
    Good luck.

  15. Erika Hall

    The habit thing is a great idea. In the interests of eating more veggies, last month I switched my lunch habit from Caffe Centro, the home of the cheese sandwich, to the market down at the corner with the enormous and fabulous salad bar.

    I get a walk and a pound of raw veggies. I’ve been feeling much better in the afternoons. Using the autopilot to advantage.

  16. mir

    We’ve been doing Body for Life without the supplements. It’s ok for nursing moms and you end up eating a lot but in little amounts throughout the day.

    It’s working pretty well (6 lbs gone in 14 days) even though I haven’t been sticking to it really well. On the plus side, turkey & veggie wraps in whole wheat tortillas are yummy and low-fat and easy to make.

    Good luck! Finding what works so that you’re burning more than you’re taking in is really all you have to do.

  17. Tante Kooch

    I’m sorry to come here to comment on another post, but I’ve been away and I have to say, heavens to mergatroid, the boy is wearing granny pants.

  18. Pamela

    I have another snack idea for you: wasa crackers and laughing cow light cheese. It’s a filling and yummy snack. Those light cheese wedges are also good in egg white omelettes.

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