I HATE Cooking. There, I said it.

I am a registered dietitian and I hate cooking.  I feel terribly guilty about this.  Maybe it's not the actual "act of cooking", it may be the time that it takes me.  After working all day, I have about 3 hours before my sweet child goes to bed and if I have to spend more than 20 min preparing a meal, I tend to become resentful about that fact that I have to cook and eat.  Crazy?  Maybe, but today I'm just laying it all out there for you.   I love to eat healthy foods, I would just prefer that someone else make it for me.   A couple weeks ago I was complaining about my overwhelm to a a friend and she said, you need to talk to my friend Jen.  Jen is an RD and she shows people how to make 10 freezer meals in two hours.  I'm sorry, what?!?!?  I can have 10 dinners done in 2 hours, so I contacted Jen. I didn't even ask how much it cost, I just said sign me up (thank goodness it didn't break the bank).  My life has been changed.  I might not be to the point where I LOVE cooking, but I'm getting there and I'm certainly happier, less stressed and most importantly feel like I am making good food and good memories at dinner time.

As a dietitian, meal planning and coming up with healthy dinner ideas is a breeze for me, jealous? You don't have to be, I'll share the secret.  There is a very simple formula, ready?  Here you go.....

First, I don't believe that salad is ever good enough as the only vegetable unless it has some MAJOR additions to the greens.  So, if there is a salad at dinner, that's great, but you need one more veggie.  If you opt out on the salad, that's fine, then consider having up to two veggie side dishes.

STEP 1: salad plus veggie or two veggies, such as steamed broccoli, broiled brussels sprouts or asparagus, etc. There are tons of vegetables, pick the ones that taste best to you and your family. The serving for you is the amount that would fit in your hands if you cupped them both together.

Next pick your fiber source (carbohydrate/starch), will it be whole grains, beans, rice, potatoes with skin?  Whatever sounds good to your family, just try to keep the carbohydrate source close to nature. 

STEP 2: 1/4 of your plate or about 1 c or less of carbohydrate (give or take depending on how active you are) Sweet potatoes, potatoes, whole grain pasta, brown rice, quinoa or any ancient grain.  Basically anything that grows from the ground would go hear.  Low on pantry goods, you could even substitute or add a little fruit here if you wanted.

Finally, you choose if you want to have a protein, this would be fish, chicken, pork, beef, wild game, whatever protein you prefer. The idea with protein is to choose something wild, grass fed.  Fish is at the top of the list for anti-inflammatory foods, so that's a good option to choose at least 2 times a week. 

STEP 3: Protein is a side dish.  You didn't know that did you?  You only need about 4-6oz here depending on your size.  Your palm of your hand and thickness of your pinky is a good reference.  If you are female, 3-5oz is likely your portion, male 4-6 oz is likely your portion, if weight loss or maintenance is your goal. This is a general statement, therefore it is not individualized to you personally, there are likely exceptions to this rule.

The last ingredient in this meal is permission to enjoy it and not feel guilty.  If you follow this formula, you can choose any food that is enjoyable to you and your family and still maintain your weight, your health, and not be deprived.  I constantly hear people judging and "shoulding" themselves.  Stop. Own what you eat and enjoy it. Be mindful of your choices, yet enjoy the experience of eating.  If you put a little butter on something, acknowledge the flavor and pleasure you get from it, don't feel guilt about it (unless you eat the whole stick, then we should chat).  Somehow, we always come back to mindfulness. 

So today, I am committing to be more mindful about the experiences I create for my family around food.  I want dinner to be enjoyable, not rushed, and memorable because of the AMAZING food I am making for them.  Hopefully this formula will help get you on track with meal planning for you and your family.  Because I am now a freezer meal fiend, check out my Healthy Solutions with Angela facebook page to get more info about my upcoming challenge around family friendly freezer meals, or just contact me! 





5 Things Your Significant Other Needs to Know About Weight Loss

Why is it that every time you decide to lose weight your significant other comes home with pizza, beer, and dessert?  If you've gotten to the point where you have DECIDED, that NOW is the time to get your health on track, it's nice to have a little support, right? Here are the top 5 things that your significant other needs to know about your decision.


1. You are not trying to lose weight to pick up "dudes/chicks"(or maybe you are, and then that's a whole other blog post)! The decision to eat healthier may change the way your body looks, but more importantly it changes how you feel about yourself.  When you feel good about yourself, that will send more positive energy into your relationship.

2. You are not trying to torture them.  Let them know that you can acknowledge that even though you have made the decision to choose healthier foods, you can understand if they have not made that decision.  Let them know that you respect and support their decision and you would appreciate the same in return. Promise not to judge, compare or push certain foods- you probably didn't appreciate that behavior prior to making your decision, they will not either.  Keep your eyes on your own plate, who knows, maybe eventually when you're not looking, they will steal a bite.

3. Food might be love sometimes, but it doesn't have to be.  Just because you tell your significant other that you don't want to eat a bowl of ice cream with them, doesn't mean you don't love them.  It just means you are living your decision, and at this moment, that ice cream isn't part of your decision at the moment, but they will always be. 

4. You love them, but you are doing this for you.  It's OK for this decision to be healthier to be all about you.  You want to be the best you can be for the people you love.  That's not selfish, that is grabbing life, taking control, and choosing to be happy and enjoy yourself.  Let your spouse know you want to be the best version of you possible. In the long run, your significant other will benefit because who doesn't love a happy spouse with a new zest for life!

5. It's not all about the scale.  Look, I know what the title of my blog is.....if I called it something else, you wouldn't read it.  But here is the real truth...being healthy is being accepting of your body for what it can do for you, giving consideration to all foods that are desirable, and prioritizing your food to provide your body with the best possible fuel - because that is what you DESERVE, the best.  If you like the scale, so be it, hop on there, there's nothing wrong with it, but making the decision to change your course of life, by choosing higher quality foods, goes far beyond what any scale can measure.  Bottomline, share your positive thoughts about your journey rather than complaining about what is not going well (like the numbers on the scale).  Are you more likely to jump on board with someone is complaining and feeling tortured, or who is happy and has made peace with food and their body? Remember, what you put out there into the world, even through words, comes back to you. 

Some of the greatest results I have seen with my clients are when their significant other or loved ones join them in their journey....

Angela Manderfeld MS, RDN, LD, CDE


My 7 Meal Planning Hacks


  1. Fruit, yogurt and nuts work great for snacks. No, they aren’t exciting, but who cares, it’s a snack to hold you over until your meal…and these things happen to taste good and be really good for you!
  2. You can always add fruit to your meal if you’re short on veggies or whole grains.
  3. Realize, that you are going to be buying way more produce. Are you going to need to go to the store more often or will you buy a mixture of frozen/canned/fresh to make sure you always have a stock of vegetables?
  4. Your meals don’t have to be perfect.  You are going to eat pizza and cheeseburgers sometimes.  Maybe you can have a salad first or add more veggies onto your pizza.  
  5. Do what you have to in order to make the vegetables pleasing to you.  Do you need to add a little butter, seasonings, dressing or cheese?  That’s OK, focus on the words “add a little”.  Also, when you add a little fat to your veggies you absorb the fat soluble vitamins better and it also increases your feeling of satisfaction/fullness.
  6. Just eat the same thing.  It’s OK if you don’t make a different gourmet dinner every night!  I like to take pics of the my meal planning sheets and then just use the same one a few weeks later if I didn’t feel like doing meal planning on the weekend or if I just ran out of time (which happens a lot)!
  7. Confession - I don’t plan my breakfasts and lunches really.  I tend to eat the same 3 or so breakfasts and the same 3 or so lunches, so this makes my morning routine pretty speedy.  Someone said “variety is the spice of life” and maybe that’s true, but finding variety can sometimes be time consuming!!! Keep it simple.  Need breakfast Ideas? Click Here