Question about reading labels to find suitable BFL food

  • Hi.  I'm starting week 3 and I'm really getting overwhelmed with the cooking (prep to cleanup) involved.  When shopping, are there any frozen meals or cans of soup that fit with BFL?  I don't know what to look for on the nutrition label (carbs, sugars, calories, fat -- how do you figure protein?)  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  I'm trying to stay positive, but I really feel lost when it comes to forming my own BFL meals.  And when I feel lost, i get overwhelmed and give up in defeat.  That can't happen.  I've been using the BFL cookbook, but for this to work long-term I need to be confident that i can throw the right things together for a meal or pick out a suitable prepackaged meal in a pinch.  THANKS!

  • I use soup sometimes (I aim for all natural or organic soups 'cuz then I'm keeping the ingredients close to what you'd make from scratch).  one thing i look at on the label is Carbs and Protein.  Since we want our carbs/protein ratio to be similar, I usually need to add extra meat to the soup.  Chances are, the soup already has around 30 g of carbs (I aim for 20-30 grams).  Also, the soup alone won't supply you with enough veggies so add some frozen ones while you're boiling it, or have a salad or something, if this is a meal you were adding veggies to.

    Fat--try to keep the number of saturated fat below 2 or 3 grams?

    Serving size--look how many servings they consider to be in that can.  Most cans have 2 servings.

    How about this?  keep beef or chicken broth on hand.  Make a simple soup of boiling whatever frozen veggies youhave in a serving of broth until they're cooked.  Then make a grilled ham/turkey on wheat and you've got a soup/sandwich combo you can dunk you're sandwich into!

    i can't think of any frozen meals that fit in--most are mainly processed carbs that you still need to add more meat and veggies to anyway.  Well sometimes I buy this panko-coated fish in the frozen section.  Its carb/protein ratio is pretty close so then all I need to do is throw it in the oven and make a nice helping of veggies to accompany.


    anyone else elaborate?  I feel I didnt explain that well.

  • Thanks!  This gets me headed in the right direction.  When I deviate from the cookbook and try to plan a meal on my own, I'm obviously not doing it correctly, because I'm left really hungry.  I'm so scared of "going over" the correct portion that I think I'm short-changing myself.  Thanks again for the info!

  • I agree, stay away from frozen meals. Frozen veggies are fine, and frozen unsweetened fruit for smoothies, but other than that my freezer is pretty much empty.

    Have you thought about making double or triple portions of your meals and eat the leftovers throughout the week? I sometimes make big batches of stir-fry and eat on that for a couple of days, or I'll broil two lean steaks and save the second one for steak and eggs or hash or a sandwich. Or I will do several chicken breasts and make low-fat chicken salad with the remaining portion, or shred and cook the leftovers with some chili powder and spices for fajitas. Figure out all the different ways you can enjoy the same thing whether it's meat, potatoes, or veggies. It's pretty easy once you get in the groove.

    If you end up getting overwhelmed here is my suggestion for a nutritious "default" dinner. This one has saved me when I'm pressed for time or just can't make a decision:

    Broil a chicken breast, lean steak, or piece of fish and a single sweet potato. Buy plain steam-in-the-bag veggies and heat them in the microwave. The only dirty dishes you'll have are a broiler pan, a plate, a fork and a knife. It couldn't be easier.

    If you want further food inspiration, check out , and . I have gotten amazing recipes from these sites, and even something high in fat/carbs/sugars can be adapted by omitting or subbing out things like butter, cream, sweeteners, dark meat poultry and fatty cuts of meat, et cetera.

    I would be cautious about soups... most are unbelievably high in sodium; read your labels and make sure you select a low-salt option and stay away from ingredients like corn syrup, modified food starch, etc. I would advise against Campbell's, Progresso or any other "big" brands and go for something organic. They tend to be lower in sugars and are simply "cleaner" than major labels. I like Amy's Organic Vegetable Lentil Soup with 1/2 cup of spinach added in, served alongside chicken breast or a lean burger patty. Today I had some organic minestrone that had chicken meatballs in it, but even that had only 9g protein per 8oz serving. So you will have to supplement your soup with a side of protein for sure.

    One thing I always keep in my house is deli meat slices. A good sandwich takes no time and no cleanup.

    For portion control: Are you tracking what you eat via a site such as MyFitnessPal? I would recommend getting on the site to ensure you are getting adequate protein, carbs, and calories. It breaks it down per meal (you can customize to accommodate 6 meals a day) and then gives you daily totals, which you can also customize based on your needs.

    Hope this helps!

  • stupid question---When making meats using your broiler--Are you supposed to keep the oven door open?  'cuz once I started a fire making a steak and I had the door closed.    It freaked me out and I never used it again! now I do it on the stove--and sometimes create too much smoke and set the smoke detector off....  surprised I'm still allowed to cook! lol

  • THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!  Really, folks, thanks so much for taking the time to answer my question about nutrition labels.  I'm feeling much better about my food choices and now that I've just completed my 3rd week, I'm starting to see some results.  I will definitely check out the MyFitnessPal.  Thanks again, friends!