Ready to eat meals

I am trying to lose as much weight as I can before I enter the army in July of 07. I am still in high school. I was thinking if I eat those meals that you just put in the microwave for lumch and dinner. It has like 8 grams of fat and like 300 calories or somthing like that. Im running about 4 miles every day, male, 5'6 195. Anybody have any recomendations.


  • Why don't you try a big bowl of filling, low GI, slow release energy, perfect all rounder porridge for lunch? If you have access to a microwave then zap some porridge in the microwave, add a handful of raisins, maybe a few seeds (something to do with protein!!) and you've got a yummy lunch. I love it! Skimmed milk of course!
  • I seriously agree with the Hoose-Goer. I too used to eat a lot of ready meals but they really are truly rubbish and are nothing but convenient. There are loads of other meals you can throw together in advance and then just reheat (if you get yourself organised) that will be far better for you than ready meals!

    The other mid-morning snack I love is a big bowl of fat-free natural yoghurt, with fruit (blueberries, strawberries, grapes) and sprinkled with sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Its really filling and tastes delicious!!

    If you'd told me 2 years ago that I'd be swapping my chocolate bars and crisps for a diet like this, I'd never have believed it but I wouldn't go back to eating rubbish for anything!
  • Don't eat many ready meals but do like Weight Watchers beef hotpot as a very quicky at lunchtime in the week.

    Another idea for quick lunch is pasta with tuna.
  • "I am trying to lose as much weight as I can before I enter the army in July of 07"

    Does this mean your entry to the army is assured? If so relax, you have eight months. You shouldn't be trying to lose weight as quickly as you can, you should be trying to lose it slowly but surely. A couple of pounds a month is fine. If you still have some surplus when you join up, the square-bashing will soon shift it.

  • How much over weight are you ?
    If you have passed the medical you will be fine, just stay active and eat healthy stuff.

    Roast veg. sounds boring but tastes great.
    Chuck the crappy junk food and try some of the recommended meals here.

    Good luck with your army career, hope it goes well.
  • Cliff, You'll love this suggestion but it works, join Weight Watchers the thought of standing in the queue to be weighed with all the others (mostly women) really good incentive AND works. I lost 2 stone in ten weeks first time round but be careful, its oh to easy to put it back on. A change of lifestyle is the key.

    When I started to run I actually put more weight on

    If you really want to join up it would be worth starting WW.

    Good luck, you CAN do it.
  • OK - Long missive but I have something to say here..

    I have quite a healthy diet, am very slim, but eat all day and am never hungry.

    Here is a typical work day:

    Breakfast - 4 dessertspoons dried muesli, low fat Greek yoghurt and a handful of fresh raspberries. Try it, just once.

    Lunch - 2 small granary rolls with homemade tuna and cucumber (homemade so low fat mayo - tastes no different, doesn't need spread either...

    Dinner - bowl pasta and pesto with veg (mushrooms, peppers,courgettes,onions, spring onions, anything in the fridge. steam or fry this off (in olive oil while boiling pasta - not too taxing). Grated cheese on top if you think you are allowed it - I always do.

    Or have bowl a veg risotto - cook rice in chicken stock and a splash of wine - throw veg in to steam after 10 minutes. When cooked stir in greek yoghurt, and a bit of butter maybe....

    Both of the dinner meals above can be heated up at work the next day for lunch.

    Also, make a big bowl of chilli or bolognaese (spelling)on a Sunday and freeze in portions - this can then be eaten with rice, pasta or a jacket potato in the week for dinner, only do this once though as low on veg.. Use low fat mince and drain off fat before adding the rest of the stuff. Then have cheese on top. Easy.

    At work my typical snack is a cereal bar - watch the labels though, can be piled high with sugar, I like harvest chewy ones..), but a piece of fruit is better. I hate all fruit and struggle to get fruit down.

    In the afternoon, when everyone is reaching for chocolate, have a carton of fruit juice - it will fill you up and is one towards your 5 a-day.

    Just because WW meals are low in fat and calories does not mean they are good for you, in my opinion. They are better for you than eating a take-out pizza, a chinese and a burger once a week, but that is how they are marketed. They can be very high in salts and preservatives. And do you think the same care was taken preparing the chicken or washing the veg, as you do at home.

    Think for a moment about how this food is produced, in big vats in a factory somewhere...How long ago? How many people have transpoted this too me? Where did it come from? Personally, I find the answers to these questions make me get the pasta water on the go pretty quick. Our weight should not be our prime concern when planning our food intake, our health should be.
  • So, in short, I totally agree with Patient Pixie above..I an hear tell she is pretty trim....
  • Are you planning to have these little hermetically-sealed 300-calorie confections before or after your proper meals, or as post-run snacks?

  • Never eaten a WW ready meal.
  • Totally agree Boomching, But I'd stick to fruit veg & pulses though. With plenty of water.

    I found I was eating a lot more qty wise once I was on the WW thing, more of the things taht are good / better / not so bad for you.

    But we all need little treats to look forward too (food wise I mean). Iced gems for me :)
  • ok thanks for all you messages,

    "How much over weight are you ?
    If you have passed the medical you will be fine, just stay active and eat healthy stuff.

    Roast veg. sounds boring but tastes great.
    Chuck the crappy junk food and try some of the recommended meals here."

    I dont think im over weight, idk, but I want to be in better shape when I go to the army. I am already in,(warrant officer, gonna be flying helicopters yay!!) I know that when I go to boot camp I am gonna get my butt kicked when running and stuff and I know that if I slim down a bit It would be easier for me. I am 195 five foot six, i dont think I am overwieght, well actually im not sure.

    Well anyway im gonna tell my mom to start buying some more veggies for me when she goes food shopping. I love eatiing fruits and vegs. I like the idea of making a big bowl of somthing and then freezing it so I can bring it to school or have for dinner next time.
  • Agree totally HH, if you eat well 90% of the time, treats are fine, whatever they are.

    All things in moderation, nothing to excess.
  • I'd say 195 lbs at 5'6" was definitely on the chunky side, Cliff - but you might just be very muscular, we don't know!

    But whatever your ideal weight, 300 calories for a meal is just silly if you're active.

    Once you're in basic training your fitness will go through the roof - but you need to be strong to withstand it; starving yourself is not the way to make yourself strong!
  • thats the thing about those meals
    for 300 cals you get 2 mouthfuls
    if you made your own low fat pasta and tuna-youd get a better amount for the same cals
  • THe thing that is good about ready meals is that they are pre calorie counted but you will get much larger portions for the same calories, or a lower calorie meal for the same portion obviously, making the food yourself.

    I am 5'5" and I aim for about 1600 calories a day before exercise for a one pound a week weight loss. You should be eating a little more than that because as a bloke you have more muscle which is more metabolically active than fat.

    So, if I were you, I would go for say 1800 calories a day, and then add to that around 700 calories per hour for running.

    You can reduce that by up to another 500 calories to give you a defecit for 2 pounds a week but you shouldn't restrict yourself any more than that.

    It is the calories in versus the calories out that will make you lose weight. If you ate that purley in chocolate you would still lose but you wouldn't be very healthy.

    THat is losing weight, being healthy is a whole other subject. For that you should avoid processed, heavily salted ready meals and go for lean protein, some complex carbs and lots of fruit and veg. Good luck!
  • Firstly, for a soldier, weight isn't the issue. Body fat is. You need to reduce fat, increase muscles, and not worry too much about how much you weigh.

    If the ready meals are low fat, high protein, high carb meals, fine.

    As long as your burning more calories than you consume, eventually you'll lose weight.

    Seeing that your goal is eight months away, a pound a week is all you need to lose. You shouldn't try to lose more than that anyway as you'll also be losing muscle as well.

    Personally, I dont eat ready meals. This is what's working for me.

    Breakfast: Porridge or muesli, with skimmed milk

    Lunch: Lots of fruit. Most supermarkets do those prepacked fruit chunks in their chiller cabinets, 200g, throw in a couple of bananas.

    Main meal: Protein and carbohydrate with as little bad fat as possible. White meat or oily fish (good fat), and half plate of salad, or veg. Pulses and salad, or veg.

    Snacks: Hummous, wholemeal bread, fruit, unsalted nuts, occasional Jaffa cake.

    Weekly treats: A few pints on the weekend. A piece of cake, a chocolate bar.

    Just don't forget to run, and definitely dont forget to rest.
  • I agree that you should avoid ready meals. They are full of salt and unrecognisable ingredients and highly processed. If you were to make, say, a shepherds pie at home you would need about 6 ingredients (depending on how many vegetables you like to add). Compare that to a shop bought ready meal and that will give you an idea of how many unnecessary ingredients go into processed foods.

    They are popular because they are quick and because they tell you exactly how many calories you are eating - which I would guess is why they appeal to you - but I think you need take a different view.

    You need calories quite simply because they are your fuel. But you need to eat the right food at the right time. Porridge has already been suggested - as a low GI, low fat food. The energy you get is released slowly. Have loads of it for breakfast. With fruit.

    For lunch have rice, pasta or potatoes. Or homemade soup with bread.

    Then for your evening meal cut out the carbohydrates and have something like chicken or fish with as many steamed vegetables (not potatoes) as you like.

    I found that by avoiding carbohydrates in the evening I lost the rest of my baby weight. I was still eating loads, just at different times of the day.

    If I am doing a race the next day though, I will still have pasta or a carbohydrate based meal the evening before.

    By the way, that also means no beer or crisps in the evening...! But you did ask.

    Good luck.

  • OK Great

    Those ideas for breakfeast lunch and dinner sounds good. Should I stay away from carbs at night? I run at night because Getting up in the morning discourages me from running. People are saying eat rice pasta or potatoes for lunch and then other people are saying to eat fruit, whats the best idea. Oh and whats in porridge, do I make it or buy it?
  • Oh oh, can I answer this one about porridge? I buy a big bag of porridge oats (don't buy Ready Brek, its just not the same!). I put half a cup of porridge together with a cup and a half of skimmed milk in a big bowl and microwave it for about 4 minutes. I have either prunes or raisins on mine, and have just started putting sunflower seeds on as well (because I'm still learning about all this healthy food malarky!). Its honestly my favourite meal of the day (if that makes me sad, I don't care!). Its a good all rounder. For convenience, you could buy those OatsoSimple type sachets - I'm guessing they're probably the same sort of thing.
  • The major problem with these low fat microwave meals seems to be the amount of added salt and sugar. I've seen some that provide at least 50-70% of you daily salt requirements. How good or bad going over the daily limits are I'm not entirely sure of, although you will lose some salt during running anyway.

    I think these are good in moderation as it does take a lot of the hassle out of preparing a meal especially if time is short. I personally like a combination whereby I make my own stir fry on one day for example knowing there shouldn't be excess amounts of anything or chemicals I've never heard of in it.

    As for those porridge sachets, some of them are packed with sugar etc and therefore make sure you read the packaging first, or just buy a box of Scott's or quaker oats to be on the safe side.
  • Why aren't you eating in the mess? The chef will make you porridge.

    Run more with the squaddies, that'll get you into shape.
  • flwayay-hes still at schoool at the moment
  • Oh, sorry. I misunderstood, I thought he said he was already enlisted as a WO. That makes more sense then!! Stupid me! :)
  • Don't eat too many carbs after 8pm. As for porridge, the oats so simple sachets are more refined than jumbo or thick milled oats so will not keep you full as long.

    I use the oats so simple ones cold mixed up with a yoghurt as a pudding type snack (more substantial than yoghurt). You can chuck in some extra dried fruit / seeds if you want.

    Fruit vs carbs at lunch - it's personal preference. Too many high GI carbs at lunch can make you sleepy in the afternoon, so I'd avoid a baked spud. Too much fruit will give you the trots. Try omlettes with some salad.
  • I havent read all replies so excuse me if I repeat anyone, I think ready meals are ok in an emergency if you really dont have time to cook, but would add a jacket potato and stick on a pan of frozen mixed veg (just as good as fresh)to add some decent carbs and vitamins etc
  • I'm not an expert but I personally think the 'no carbs after x o'clock' advice is a bit misleading. Surely it depends on your daily routine? Midweek, I do all my exercise in the evening after work (typically 4x down the gym and an evening run) which means I get home feeling rather peckish, and eat a proper meal around 9pm - containing all the protein and carbs my body needs to recover from the exercise.

    I honestly can't remember the last time I ate a ready-meal. The microwave is there for heating up porridge, and for re-heating my fantastic home-made stir-fries, pasta sauces and vegetable soups. :)
  • Forget the ready meals. Although they can be 'calorie controlled' they often contain far too much salt and other evil entities. Eat sensibly with a balanced approach to carbs/proteins and plenty of veg and fruit. If you are running just for fitness and not to run (you know what I mean) then mix it up a bit. Go mountain biking, find a squash partner, start doing weights - all these will add different aspects to fitness, which you will need for the army. When I joined the RAF back in the day, it was all round fitness that was needed. You had to be able to run (often in full combat gear), walk miles, do gym tests - pull ups, chin ups, press ups etc) and play team sports.

    However, like previous answers you have 8 months - enjoy getting fit and eating nice things.
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