These are a few of my favorite things

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

People often ask me what my favorite foods are now or what my go-to snacks are. I still love food but my taste buds have definitely changed throughout my journey. Natural sugar is so sweet to me! I go through weird cycles where I can eat a food every day for weeks and then I won't eat it again for months. Even though I go through these phases I still have foods that I just love! I decided I would just write a blog about some of my favorite things to answer these questions.

1. Honeycrisp Apples
Any apple really. I eat an apple every day either for lunch or for a snack. They are SO sweet to me now, especially Honeycrisp, and I really feel like they are a treat. Sometimes I will hollow them out and add a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon. I then bake them in a shallow water bath and they are to die for!

2. Orville Redenbacher SmartPop 94% Fat Free Popcorn
I am sure I will get some grief for eating pre-packaged microwave popcorn. BUT I can't make air popped popcorn at work and it is low calorie and so satisfying to me. I eat a bag of popcorn 3-4 times a week. Sometimes I have it with my lunch and other times I will eat a bag for my afternoon snack. An ENTIRE bag of this popcorn only has 113 calories! I like it plain or with spray butter and a sprinkle of garlic. It is a great replacement for chips (one of my weaknesses) and it counts as a whole grain.

3. Blueberries, strawberries and grapes with fresh mint
I make this fruit salad a lot. I slice up strawberries and add blueberries and grapes. I squeeze about half a lime over the fruit and then chiffonade some fresh mint and sprinkle it on top. Sooooo good!

4. Edy's Slow Churned Vanilla Bean
I love ice cream. This is one food I could eat every day and not get tired of it :) This ice cream is so satisfying and for only 100 calories per 1/2 cup, it totally fits into my plan.

5. Microwaved frozen blueberries
A 1/2 cup serving of blueberries has 80 calories. I add a teaspoon of sugar (15 calories) and then pop it in the microwave. It turns into a delicious pie filling-like concoction that is soooo good! If I have enough calories I will add 1/2 a cup of Edy's Vanilla bean to the blueberries which makes it sinfully delicious!

6. Skinny buns
Skinny buns are sooo good! They only have 90 calories per bun! I like them toasted with a tablespoon of nut butter (your choice!). It is a very satisfying 200 calorie snack!

7. Trader Joe's Lite Mozzarella
This cheese only has 45 calories per ounce and is soooo good! For a snack I will often added a tablespoon of pizza sauce to a toasted skinny bun and then sprinkle an ounce of this cheese on top. Pop it in the microwave and you have a delicious 150 calorie snack!

8. Laughing Cow Light Cheese Wedges (Any flavor)
These are so good! I often dip fresh veggies (green pepper strips, carrots, etc.) in a wedge and feel so satisfied with this snack!

9. Trader Joe's Fig Cereal Bars
A new favorite food that I have is Trader Joe's Fig Cereal Bars. Oh. My. Gosh. They are soooo good! At only 120 calories they go great with a piece of fruit for breakfast!

10. Roasted Vegetables
From carrots to potatoes to asparagus, roasted veggies ROCK! They are so sweet and delicious! I love halving red potatoes, putting a tiny amount of olive oil on the cut side, dipping it in a mixture of spices (chili, cayenne, salt, pepper, garlic) and roasting them, cut side down for 30-45 minutes. SOOO GOOD!

11. Ronzoni SmartTaste Pasta
After I learned that the serving of pasta listed on the box is dry pasta, I could totally justify having a small amount of pasta in my diet. I choose the Ronzoni Smart Taste because it is the lowest in calories and still tastes really good. I always make homemade pasta sauce with no sugar that adds very little calories and tons of veggies!

12. Smart Chicken Sausages
One of my favorite foods is a brat with sauerkraut loaded on top. Brats have a TON of calories and I am not a huge fat of the turkey brats. I have found that chicken sausage, however, is delicious! I love the Smart Chicken Italian Sausages. Either on a bun with with kraut or sauteed with bell peppers, onions, garlic and tomatoes these sausages are the real deal!

13. PB2
I didn't try PB2 until a month or so ago. It is actually pretty good! I love Reese's Ice Cream but it is WAY too high in calories. I have found 1/2 cup of Edy's Vanilla Bean with 1/2 tablespoon of PB2 and a tiny amount of chocolate syrup makes a great substitute.

14. VitaTop Muffins
I love these things. I know they are expensive BUT cheaper than a bakery muffin! The chocolate ones are good (try a dollop of Cool Whip Free mixed with some PB2 on top OMG), so are the banana nut. The pumpkin spice ones top the charts for me! My brother brought some home from Target for me and I almost died and went to heaven :) I always heat them in the microwave and add a small dollop of Cool Whip Free. Sooooooo good!

15. Green or white hot tea
Every morning when I get to school I pop my coffee mug into the microwave to heat up my water. I add a tea bag (my fave lately has been Lipton's Peach Mango White Tea Pyramid Bag). Tea really gets my day off to a good start. It keeps me satisfied until lunch and helps me up my water intake (I count it as water.)

16. Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
I don't like milk. I never have. Plus, it has SOOOO many calories (for something I don't like.) I have found that Unsweetend Vanilla Almond Milk is sooo much better and only 40 calories/cup. I put it on cereal or anything else that milk is needed for. It is expensive but for as long as it lasts me (it lasts a lot longer than milk) I can totally justify it.

17. Spinach
I don't love spinach salads but I add spinach to a lot of things (think pasta sauce) to add some vitamins and low calorie nutrition. I almost always add it to my pizza. One trick I have learned is to buy it fresh and freeze the leftovers. When it is frozen it is really use to crunch it into tiny pieces so you don't even have to chop it up!

18. Beans
I have never been much of a meat eater. I eat meat but it isn't my favorite. I loooove me some beans though! I could eat a bowl of black beans every day! I often add black beans to my tacos instead of taco meat and I don't even miss it! There really isn't a bean I don't like!

19. Salsa
I have always been a salsa lover but it has intensified over the last year. I can dip anything in salsa and enjoy it. One of my favorite things to do (my husband and brother think I am so weird) is to dip my popcorn in salsa. It is similar to chips and salsa and I love it! I love making homemade corn salsa (it is higher in calories than tomato) and enjoying it on my tacos or mexican salads (lettuce, beans, tomato salsa, corn salsa, tiny bit of light sour cream.)

20. Fresh Herbs
I used fresh herbs before but now I really appreciate them. They add SO much flavor to my dishes and make it so I don't even miss the added fat. I use olive oil almost exclusively but very little of it. The herbs make up for it and just brighten up every dish. The bad thing about fresh herbs is I don't use them before they get gross. I have found that freeze dried herbs really do taste like fresh herbs and last forever. I found them next to the fresh herbs in the produce section. Next spring I plan on planting an herb garden!
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