This is part 2 in my series “My Weight Loss Journey”. If you think you need to spend money to find online recipes or menu plans, you are sorely mistaken! Everything I’ve found online has been free.
FREE ONLINE RECIPES & MEAL PLANS
I mentioned that my mindset changed after reading Made to Crave. I believe the most important change was that I stopped looking at food as the problem. I realized *I* was the problem. I started looking at food as fuel for my body. I looked at nutrition instead of just the calories. It was a big wake-up call when I decided to stop eating diet food. I thought to myself, “Why would I eat food that I can’t give to my children?” So I searched for healthy recipes online, and for blogs that would point me in the right path.
First, I found Skinny Taste thanks to a friend in our accountability group. She said they had recipes with Weight Watchers points and that most of the recipes were recognizable ones made healthier. It only took one recipe to get me hooked!
Then I thought, if I could just make this transition easier and have meals ready to go, then I wouldn’t be as likely to make or buy “bad foods”. So I came across Once A Month Mom. Her site was amazing, and again, free! I picked the “diet” menu plan and made enough food to last my family for more than one month. In fact, we had lentil stew in the freezer for more than 6 months! My accountability group was interested in doing the same, so we set up a day to put together a monthly menu plan at one of our houses. Another time, we did a meal swap where we each brought 6 dinners (one recipe) and 6 snacks (one recipe). It was great to go home with so many different meals that day!
Since that time, I’ve discovered that the easiest way for me to do freezer cooking is to pick 1-2 weeks of meals and double the ingredients for my grocery list (obviously, I have to go weekly to get fresh veggies). Then, each night I cook a double meal – we eat one and I freeze the other. When I do this 2 weeks in a row, I don’t have to cook for two whole weeks. It’s great! But for those just starting out, I recommend you pick 7 dinners, double the ingredients, and then cook for just one week, freezing your second meal each time. It’s an easier way to get introduced to freezer cooking and not as much money up front.
But even though Skinny Taste and Once A Month Mom are great sites, I still find that they use fat-free or sugar-free ingredients in some of their recipes. I also started realizing that boxed mixes and many prepared items are just not healthy. We wanted to avoid refined sugars as much as possible, so after some searching, I discovered 100 Days of Real Food. Here was a mom, just like me, who decided to start feeding her family healthy, nutritious, real food. She inspired me, and she made it so easy to make meals and snacks that my whole family enjoyed, while I still dropped pounds! It was her inspiration that helped me to create my homemade wheat thin recipe. And what's really cool is that she has partnered with Once A Month Mom to bring whole food menus to the monthly meal planning convenience.
I’ve also found Snack Girl and Chocolate Covered Katie to have amazing, low calorie snacks that we all enjoy. Who knew you could make a healthy chocolate chip cookie dough dip?! Chocolate Covered Katie did!
Definitely take some time to browse the sites from this post. Write down some recipes and try it out yourself. Cooking healthy, organic meals doesn't have to cost a lot and it doesn't have to be difficult or time consuming. I would be surprised if you come away from this post and not have enough information to get started making healthy, nutritious meals!
Stay tuned for part 3 of this series where we will go through the non-recipe sites that have taught me everything I know about proper nutrition.