Friday, October 23, 2009
There are several foods that have been staples of our eating plan. When we started a few months ago - I cleaned out the pantry. It is good to clean out old things and clear the dust. It was also good to discard items that we would no longer need. Sugary or fatty basics that don't make the cut had to go. We are changing our lives here - managing our eating and making healthier choices. Opting for higher protein and high fiber choices, there were things that were just stumbling blocks to success. After editing the shelves, we added some items that we now use all the time. Do I miss things? Sure. I miss tortilla chips but a whole bag of chips is not residing in the same house with me to be consumed with abandon in a moment of weakness. We don't opt for much commercial snack food - like 100-calorie sweets or chips. We don't eat frozen meals. Instead, we are trying to eat REAL and nutritious foods - not empty calories. We rarely eat out - preferring to spend our money on great foods at home. We are using the WeightWatchers points system for our food monitoring. There are several good "plans" but long-term change is the key.
We both work - sometimes long hours - so we have to plan. We eat 3-4 points sandwiches on high fiber bread, bags of salad, containers of salads, soups and vegetables. I make sure we have extra on hand so that we are never without the items that we need to succeed. The foods we have found that work well for us.
• 0 points Progresso soups. We often eat a cup of soup before meals to take the edge off our hunger.
• Salads with measured light dressings or sprays
• Frozen pre-cooked chicken breast strips, 3 ounces for 2 points - great on salad or veggie stir-fry
• High fiber cereal - my favorite is Go Lean because it has both fiber and protein, Dee likes Fiber One - a half cup serving is 0 points! We make hot cereal such as oat bran (calling it gruel because we think we're funny) is comforting and filling. 1 point mini-bags of popcorn - perfect movie-watching snack.
• Whole grains in general have replaced white rice and pasta. We're trying new ones such as whole wheat berries, buckwheat groats and quinoa.
• Stubb's spicy barbecue sauce - at 30 calories for 2 tablespoons, there is a lot of flavor
• Goat cheese - soft goat cheese crumbles add a lot of flavor for fewer points than other cheeses
• EarthGrains Thin Buns - at 1 point (100 calories) - these are a perfect sandwich basic
• Nature's Own Double Fiber Wheat Bread - at 1 point (100 calories) and 10 grams of fiber for two slices, you can have a sandwich. I find the bread a bit fluffy but it's better textured double fiber competitor is twice the calories per slice. It's a personal choice.
• High fiber PopTarts - yes - it's junk food but if you ever just have to have junk food, it's only 3 points compared to other sweets and it's got 5 grams of fiber
• Pulled chicken breast - bake boneless skinnless chicken breasts, with Stubb's barbecue sauce, covered in oven - it's fine if they are partially frozen. When they are cooked- carefully remove cover and pull into shreds with two forks - add a little more sauce and put back in oven uncovered for 10-20 minutes so that sauce reduces. Divide into 2 - 3 points containers. Great on thin buns.
• Condiments - variety is the spice of life and condiments can save the day - Siracha, a variety of mustards, hot sauces and salsas, vinegars
• Herbs and spices - adding flavor for no points, you can renew a boring dish or make something entirely new. Penzys.com has many high quality salt-free mixes along with the basics to cook globally!
• Plain nonfat yogurt - used in cooking and topped with fruit such as blueberries. A good low points mix for tuna or chicken salad is equal parts fat free mayo (an unpleasant gel on its own) and plain yogurt and the juice of a lime. Add curry or herbs. Plain Greek yogurt is a wonderful substitute for sour cream. And vanilla Greek yogurt will help you to avoid other high-calorie creamy desserts such as ice cream and cheesecake. Greek yogurt is not inexpensive but it is a treat!
• All-purpose ham - the ham we get is described as smoked honey ham - no longer do you have to choose between smoked OR honey ham. This 2 points for a six slice serving helps keep us on points.
• Pre-cooked shrimp - low in points and easy to use, we have eaten these raw and add them at the last minute to dishes.
• Chinese black bean garlic sauce and chili garlic sauce. Lee Kum Kee is a good familiar brand to try. Add a tablespoon of each to a pan sprayed with cooking spray and a pound or so of vegetables and you have a delicious low-points stir-fry.
• Chinese greens (and vegetables in general). We have vegetables each and every day with our meals. We try to make them the bulk of our dinners. Feeling full helps us to succeed and filling our bellies with broccoli, greens and other veggies has been key. Don't like veggies? It is time to try them again - as adults, tastes and methods of preparation can change things. It seems silly not to eat something that can be so delicious and good for us!
• Mushrooms - adding mushrooms to soups or other dishes can give light foods an earthy taste and make the dish more filling - at 0 points per cup, this is a great addition.
• Beans - high in fiber and protein, they are easy to prepare and add to dishes.
• Wine spritzers. We like our wine with dinner but it can add many calories without a lot of nutrition. We have been measuring our wine and adding seltzer and a lime slice to make lovely wine spritzers. More hydration and they are quite good!
So there you have it - our formula for success. It is ever evolving.