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ElsieD

Cooking Light Diet

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Last year we decided we wanted to lose a few pounds and decided to follow the Cooking Light Diet (CDL).  You answer a few questions and they tell you how many calories per day you can have based on the number of pounds you want to lose per week.  CLD provides you with a menu plan each week based on the calories you are allowed to consume.  You choose what you want to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack based on the menu selections they provide.  If you don't like their suggestions, you can change them choosing from a large number of suggested substitutions.  What we like is that nothing is off limits, and that includes bread, pasta and spuds.  With some items they have been known to suggest a beer or wine pairing.   All suggested items come with calorie counts.   We record our calories using Fitness Pal.

 

I am not a fan of most of their lunch and snack items and since I am not a morning  eater, i often have breakfast for lunch, sometimes but not always based on their suggestions.  So, the only things I am apt to post about are their dinners.  If a breakfast/lunch/snack appeals to me and I eat it, I'll post about it.

 

This program is working for us.  In three months, we are about halfway to our goal.  If anyone else out there would like to lose a pound or three I recommend this program.  To give you an idea of what we are eating, i will from time to time post a picture. We have liked the recipes, some more than others and have only had one which we considered a dud.  Tonight we had jambalaya, with a side of collard greens.  This is the first time I have made this particular recipe and we liked it very much.  We will have it again.

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Tonight's dinner, turkey-ricotta meatballs with arrabiatta sauce over linguine  was based on a blogger's recipe who claimed it came from Cooking Light although I can't find it on that site.     However, it fit the calorie count and we enjoyed it.  Best of all, there is room left for dessert which will be a couple of mini eclairs.

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Thank you for this, @ElsieD.  I almost 'bit' on an advert for this diet a couple of days ago but have hesitated.  On the one hand, I need to do *something* to get my weight under control.  On the other hand, I have ideas about cuisines to explore when I have time and energy, and I'm hesitant to invest money in a plan that may make me choose between my hard-earned money and cooking what I wish.  How much flexibility is there in the plan offerings?

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@Smithy  as far as menu selection goes, there is lots of choice.  I just looked at my menu for this week and it contains the following:

Coconut-lemongrass chicken bowls, sesame carrot salad

Goat cheese stuffed chicken, spinach salad, roasted carrots with thyme

Seared cod with bacon, braised fennel and kale, sprouts and bacon, apple salad with Dijon vinaigrette

Thai Red Curry shrimp, sauted lemony broccolini

Jerk chicken with pineapple salsa, green beans with lime and cilantro

Apple and rosemary pork roulade, rolls with honey orange butter, roasted green beans

Classic lasagna with meat sauce, romaine mushroom salad.

 

This was what I picked out a week ago.   In looking to change some of these meals, i kept hitting the suggestion buttons to see what else was on offer.  I stopped looking after 58 options per day.  

 

I hope this answers your question.  I'm happy to answer any questions anyone may have about this.

 


Edited by ElsieD Added side dish for jerk chicken (log)

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I did just sign up for this, though not sure how closely I will follow it. I wish I could see a month of the plans instead of just 2 weeks. And we get a Butcher Box from a local butcher every 2 weeks. We don't know what is in it until we pick it up, so I will have to do a lot of switching out of proteins.

 

I figured for the same thing I pay for Sirius, I can at least get some cooking inspiration.

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Another feature of this diet is that you can save the recipes you like or want to try to "My Cookbook".  Some of the recipes that we have made and will make again that we have saved are noted below.  I picked the ones I did mainly to show you the variety of recipies available.

 

Turkey and Andouille gumbo

Upside down shepherd's pie

Pork medallions with grainy mustard sauce

Cowboy style beef and vegetable ragout

Pork ragù with polenta

Asian spicy noodles with chicken

Mushroom and sweet pea risotto.  I have made this a couple of times, once adding merquez sausage into the mix which was really good

Easy sesame-hoisin salmon (I used cod)

Peanut sauced chicken pitas (lunch)

Pita pizzas (various toppings)(lunch)


Edited by ElsieD Added lunch after the pita pizzas (log)

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4 minutes ago, Maison Rustique said:

I did just sign up for this, though not sure how closely I will follow it. I wish I could see a month of the plans instead of just 2 weeks. And we get a Butcher Box from a local butcher every 2 weeks. We don't know what is in it until we pick it up, so I will have to do a lot of switching out of proteins.

 

I figured for the same thing I pay for Sirius, I can at least get some cooking inspiration.

 

Congratulations!  Once you have been on this a while you develop your own little catalogue of recipes which should help you in planning your meals.  Although i plan a week, sometimes two weeks in advance, i will often substitute one recipe for another.  Tonight's, for example, may be replaced by pizza.  A new wood fired pizza place just opened up within walking distance of where we live and John wants to give it a try.  So there may be no coconut-lemongrass chicken bowls for us tonight!

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Here is what we had for lunch today, Peanut Sauced Stuffed Pitas which is on the CLD.  Innards consists of chopped cooked chicken, satay sauce, red pepper, green onions, sambal olek, a bit of salt.  They are supposed to be topped with cilantro, carrots and bean sprouts.  I was out of bean sprouts so diced some cucumber and put it into the mix instead.  We have made them numerous times, they are that good.  The picture shows one topped, the other before adding the topping.

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OK, I'm in.  Maybe.  By which I mean I've signed up (your menus look so good!) but haven't figured out yet which meals to plan and which to change out. It's surprising to me to see how generous the breakfast and lunch allowances are.  We usually have very light breakfasts (the same, as a rule - which is boring to write about but easy to plan).  Back in the days when we were eating lightly and losing weight we had the habit of salads for lunch.  Sandwiches were a splurge.  The plan as presented to me uses fairly generous sandwiches for several days this week. 

 

It'll be interesting to see where this leads. I like that they allow an easy opt-out from automatic renewals by offering a button that simply says "Stop automatic renewal".

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@Smithy  That's great!  Maybe you, @Maison Rustique and I can compare notes as we go along.  John and I are living proof that it does work without a great deal of sacrifice. But, no CLD meal tonight.  Pizza is on the menu.

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I made the first recipe from it last night: Chicken Adobo, with some liberties.  It was quite good.  The "liberty" involved keeping the skin on the chicken (I know, I know) and doubling the chicken (so there would theoretically be leftovers) and simmering the vegetables in the same sauce so it was a one-pot meal.  I had intended to stir-fry the vegetables separately, but ran out of motivation and started taking shortcuts.  It worked well.  I'll do it again. Maybe I'll even stick to the portion size next time.

 

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I miss the Weight Watchers calcuator that allowed me to work out points - in this case, calories - for myself and allocate them during the day as I see fit.  @ElsieD, is there a calculator on the site that I've missed?  I'd like to be able to make allowances for, say, wine at dinner.

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Tonight we had Seared Cod with Bacon, Braised Fennel and Kale.  I couldn't find lacinato kale but I still had fresh spinach so decided to use that instead.  By the time everything was cooked, the spinach had turn into an unappetizing blob so we didn't eat it.  The dish as a whole was only so-so, but I did like the fennel/pepper combo.  The salad was good too.

 

Lunch was a ham and pineapple pita pizza and some Greek yogurt and pineapple.  Got a bit peckish in the afternoon and had some grapes.  I love grapes.  We are well within our calorie counts for the day.

 

 

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@Smithy  there is no calculator.  As you know, they give you a daily calorie "allowance" when you first sign up and the daily menus fit into that range, and each menu item lists the calorie content of that item.  I found it easy to work with once I got used to it.  I hardly ever eat anything resembling breakfast but yesterday morning I was starving and had some yogurt, fresh pineapple and some qia cereal mixed into it.  I entered my calories into Fitness Pal which then told me the calories I had left.  Do you use Fitness Pal, or some other calorie counter?  I find it really helps me keep track of what I eat and the calories I consume.

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1 hour ago, ElsieD said:

@Smithy  there is no calculator.  As you know, they give you a daily calorie "allowance" when you first sign up and the daily menus fit into that range, and each menu item lists the calorie content of that item.  I found it easy to work with once I got used to it.  I hardly ever eat anything resembling breakfast but yesterday morning I was starving and had some yogurt, fresh pineapple and some qia cereal mixed into it.  I entered my calories into Fitness Pal which then told me the calories I had left.  Do you use Fitness Pal, or some other calorie counter?  I find it really helps me keep track of what I eat and the calories I consume.

 

I hadn't thought of looking for a different calculator.  Thanks for that suggestion!

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@Smithy  If you decide to use Fitness Pal, where you type in the food, you type in the recipe name followed by Cooking Light Diet.   Most of the time that recipe will be displayed and you can just press the check mark and it will post it to that day's meal.  You can also adjust portions.  John, for example, generally gets twice the serving and adjusts his accordingly.  Make sure though you dnter the recipe name exactly or it may not find it.

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2 hours ago, ElsieD said:

@Smithy  If you decide to use Fitness Pal, where you type in the food, you type in the recipe name followed by Cooking Light Diet.   Most of the time that recipe will be displayed and you can just press the check mark and it will post it to that day's meal.  You can also adjust portions.  John, for example, generally gets twice the serving and adjusts his accordingly.  Make sure though you dnter the recipe name exactly or it may not find it.

 

Do you have any idea why Fitness Pal wants access to my contacts?  I hesitate to allow some "personal helper" onto my machines when it needs the full suite of permissions.

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6 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

Do you have any idea why Fitness Pal wants access to my contacts?  I hesitate to allow some "personal helper" onto my machines when it needs the full suite of permissions.

 

Mine doesn't have access to my contacts.  At least not that I'm aware of.  I'd like to think I just said 'no" when prompted.  I'll check later as I have to go out for a while now.

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Sparkpeople.com has a nice browser interface and app. Linked to the USDA database as well as allowing user input. Track calories, macros, and micros. 

 

It’s a bit of a steep learning curve, but it’s a nice set of tools. 

 

It’s free, for all of the above, too. 

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Tonight we had the Coconut-lemongrass chicken bowls.  So good I would have liked to have a second bowl.  Just kidding.  About the second bowl.  Sort of.

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51 minutes ago, Maison Rustique said:

Oooh! I need to put that one on my list!

 

 

Yes you do!  One thing I did do was reduce the braising liquid a bit before adding it go the coconut milk/fish sauce etc. mixture.

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Tonight we had jerk chicken with pineapple salsa.  I thought I had taken chicken breasts out of the freezer but when i went to marinate them I discovered they were thighs.  Oops.  We had them with this sort of stewed mixture of okra, onions, kumato grape tomatoes and corn over Jasmine rice.

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@ElsieD, are you able to get okra in your grocery stores?  I don't think I've ever seen it in Duluth.

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23 minutes ago, Smithy said:

@ElsieD, are you able to get okra in your grocery stores?  I don't think I've ever seen it in Duluth.

 

Which would be reason enough for me never to live in Duluth. Can't be without my okra!

 

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2 hours ago, Smithy said:

@ElsieD, are you able to get okra in your grocery stores?  I don't think I've ever seen it in Duluth.

Sometimes the mainstream stores carry it, sometimes they don't.  We live close to a store called Produce Depot and they always have okra so that is where I go.  It is a store that sells the regular produce but also a lot of fruits and vegetables other groceries don't.  Things like fresh tamarind, seaweed, baby pineapples.

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