Menu Planner and Cookbook Program

I enjoy studying nutrition and healthy eating and I have been studying it for 10 years.  Although I understood it, I still had a weight problem because eating healthy and losing weight do not go hand-in-hand.  Eating healthy means putting the right foods into your body.  Controlling weight has to do with how MUCH you put into your body.

I had 3 problems in controlling weight.  First, counting calories is nearly an impossible task.  I did not want to calculate the calories in a dish that I made (adding up how much of each ingredient I used while keeping a running total), write it down, file it, and re-calculate it every time I wanted to eat it, based on the portion size that I ate.  Even if I did do all of this, what would happen if, for example, my favorite brand of whole wheat pasta was no longer available, and I had to switch brands?  I would have to go back and re-calculate every dish that uses it!  It was too much!

Second, there was the problem of exercise: even when I got over the mental hurdle of starting a routine, how much good was it doing?

Finally, I grew tired of maintaining recipe cards and searching for them.  Too many times I would plan out 10 dishes to make for the week with plans of cooking them on the same day.  I would double-check my list, shop for my ingredients, and realize when I started cooking that I had forgot something.  Arrrgh!

In light of all of these problems, I spent 5 years writing a program to solve these problems.  I have over 375 ingredients and over 250 recipes stored in a data base.  I add more as I see fit.  I now select what dishes I want and how much I want to eat.  With a few mouse clicks, based on what I selected, I have the entire grocery list for my week of food sorted and alphabetized.  In addition, I have a meal list showing me the different meals I can eat for lunch, supper, breakfast, and mid-meal snacks.  I can add and remove foods from the list and the calorie count and nutrition is automatically re-calculated instantly, as well as the corresponding grocery list!  Furthermore, I know I am not exceeding the calorie limit for the day (in my case - 2000 and for my wife - 1500).  I also enter my exercise routine and I have a close calculation of when I will meet my weight target goals.  So far, I have dropped 30 lbs.

Best of all, if I want to upgrade an ingredient (such as switching brands), I do so in the program, and all recipes using the ingredient are automatically updated.  I can also add new ingredients, as well as edit recipes or add new ones to my massive list, and it takes just a couple of minutes and the recipe or ingredient is there for good - ready to be used and calculated with the click of a mouse..  

Along with all of this, I added a feature that simplified life: if you use part of an ingredient, you often toss out the rest.  If I had 1/2 cup of, say, fat free half-and-half, I was not going to search through all of my recipe cards trying to find a recipe that used this amount.  It was easier to throw it away.  Now, I select the ingredient, and the program will shows me every recipe that uses that ingredient, and how much.  Waste not, want not.

Finally, in the January 2008 issue of Good Housekeeping, says, "It's scientifically proven: The key [to losing weight] isn't just what you eat, it's what you write."  The article stresses the importance of recording all food that you eat in a day in a food diary.  However, this gets tedious and as I said before, recording calories becomes nearly impossible.  With my program, I select my menu, and with the click of a button, I have a daily menu and the nutritional breakdown of all of my selections.

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