Wednesday, March 05, 2014
I recently tasted Garden Lites Zucchini Banana Chocolate Chip Veggie Muffin and loved it. Moist, chocolaty, just the right amount of sweetness. They are 3 PointsPlus values each and I really appreciate that the first ingredient on the list is actually zucchini. They come frozen – perfect for keeping them out-of-site, out-of-mind to minimize temptation.
Garden Lites has four other muffins (Veggie Blueberry Oat, Zucchini Chocolate, Carrot Berry and Golden Corn) that I have not tried but will definitely give them a shot considering how much I enjoyed their Zucchini Banana Chocolate Chip variety.
Ever tried them? Let us know what you think!
Leslie Fink, MS, RD
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Really? Do you buy into that? I never did. I certainly believe feeling the feeling is better than feeding it by mindlessly eating. But giving it a workout? Could that really work?
I enjoy group exercise and some of the crazier machines we have at the gym, but I’ve never really looked to them for de-stressing. I mean, I guess I’m less stressed while I’m working out, but it wasn’t an outcome I purposely sought after.
That is, until yesterday! I was in the midst of one of “those weeks” – you know the kind that feels like someone is playing a cruel joke on you. My gym just renovated; got bigger and better. I was actually planning to go, but I was feeling edgy and grumpy, it was cold outside and I just wanted to stay put at home. I don’t know how it happened but there I was, putting my workout clothes on, grabbing my water, car keys and gym pass. All of a sudden I’m in Body Vive class! It seemed like I floated there. And as the class was about to start, I thought about why I was stressed and tense, and then decided to get moving.
Did it work? Did the class make my stress disappear? I can honestly say it did. For that one hour it was all about the music, the activity, those “nasty” crunches and me. Was I de-stressed when it was over? Actually, I felt great. The class was great. I earned my activity PointsPlus® values, I didn’t mindlessly eat and I felt in control.
The experiment was a success! (Pass the Ibuprofen- I ache!)
Have you used exercise as alternative to feeding your feelings?
~ Anita Sado – Community Editor
Thursday, February 20, 2014
I was in San Antonio, TX this weekend at a popular Mexican restaurant called Rosario’s. They served shrimp tacos in jicama “tortillas” – basically super-thin, raw jicama circles that sub for soft tortillas. The jicama “tortillas” are sweet and crunchy, a fantastic pairing for spicy taco fillings.
What a fantastic idea! Perfect for us Weight Watchers folks.
I wasn’t fast enough to take a picture of the ones at Rosario’s before they were snatched off the plate by my husband, but I did manage to find an image of jicama tacos from Zenbelly (posted here). You get the idea.
Want to try them? Either carefully use a mandolin to thinly slice peeled jicama (better yet, do you have access to a deli-meat slicer?!) or try your best with a good, sharp knife.
Leslie Fink, MS, RD
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
I’m a chip gal. Love salt. Love crunch. Here are three new products that I’ve recently tasted and definitely recommend. A serving of each has 3 PointsPlus values and gives you a good handful or two (actual 3 PointsPlus value portion of each shown in photo). From left to right we have…
Multigrain Sweet Onion Skinny Sticks – a fun riff on French fries. Nice balance of salty and sweet. Come in 5 other tasty flavors such as Cheddar, Tangy BBQ and Sea Salt.*
Everything Pressels – almost like mini bagel crisps. Sesame seed and caraway seed flavors really shine. Try their Original and Sesame varieties, too.*
Simply Naked Stacy’s Pretzel Thins – simple indeed! A thin, crisp pretzel that’s great on its own or perfect with dip. Also comes in Honey Dijon.*
Tried them? Let me know what you think!
Leslie Fink, MS, RD
*PointsPlus values might vary for other flavors.
Tuesday, February 04, 2014
I’ve lived in the northeast most of my life. I’m used to cold winters and sticky summers, short falls and the non-existent spring. BUT this winter is driving me crazy. The sub-zero temps are my kryptonite – they immobilize me! I’m always cold and when I’m cold I’m always looking for a nibble. It goes beyond looking for a hot cup of tea or coffee to warm me up. I’m craving something crunchy or gooey, something to take my mind off this arctic blast!
Meet my indulgence bowl! It’s overflowing with my favorite crunchy, gooey Weight Watchers snacks (My husband’s nutty WW snacks are in there as well). My fridge is always stocked with veggies, sugar-free Jell-O and fresh fruit but this bowl holds the satisfying crispy choices when a spontaneous snack attack hits.
With my nibbling under control, I can now take the time to tackle my lax exercise routine. This week’s goal- fit in two or three indoor workouts.
How are you handling this colder-than-usual winter?
~Anita Sado – Community Editor
Friday, January 31, 2014
Even though my team hasn’t made an appearance at the big game since 1993 (Go Bills!), I love Super Bowl Sunday. For lots of reasons: the star-studded commercials, the glitzed-out halftime show, the screaming at the TV when I don’t win my office pool, and most of all, the eating and drinking with reckless abandon.
Every year I go in thinking, OK, I’m only going to have two of these pigs-in-a-blanket. But who am I kidding? Super Bowl Sunday’s my last chance to eat buffalo wings until September (Yes, I only eat chicken wings during football season. Long story.)
Anyway, back to my original point. When it comes to staying on Plan, sure you can make awesomely tasty lightened-up game day favorites, but there’s one thing that’s pretty much never present at the party: fitness. That’s why I love this funny Super Bowl challenge put out by Anytime Fitness. It’s a play on a traditional drinking game (“Every time the other team scores, take a shot!”) but instead of shooting booze, you do exercise moves. My favorite is 10 burpees every time “another” Manning is mentioned or shown. You'll probably be whipped by halftime.
Trying this challenge will not only get you some Activity PointsPlus values, but doing exercises during the game is a surefire way to distract yourself from the spread of food.
Me? I'll be running a few extra miles on the treadmill on Monday.
-Mary Elizabeth Hurn, associate editor
Friday, January 31, 2014
It’s January 31st and my New Year’s resolution has already gone down the toilet like a school carnival goldfish. Not that this comes as a surprise. Vowing not to eat after 6:00 pm sounds perfectly doable at the stroke of midnight (after a half a bottle of champagne) but as someone who works until 6:00 pm, it just wasn’t happening. Neither was last year’s resolution (“I’m going to work out every single day!”) or the one before that. (I can’t even remember what it was, so you can guess how well that one worked out.)
Point is, without a clear, simple plan of action around food, I am sunk. (Sound familiar? Welcome, friend.)
So I’m trying something new: I’m going small. Want to hear what I’ve come up with? The ol’ toothbrush technique. After I’m done eating, I immediately brush my teeth. This stops the cycle of “Wow, I have a weird taste in my mouth. Let me just wash it away with this box of Cheez-Its.” Instead I hit my mouth with some super-minty freshness. Best part? It’s DOABLE. I mean yes, it’s a little awkward brushing my teeth in bathroom at work (spitting in front of people is weird) but I'll deal.
Another thing I’m trying is something I stole from Simple Start. I cannot control myself around a cracker, particularly of the club or cheese variety. So instead of having of having a staring contest with the aforementioned box of Cheez-Its, I’ll grab a big metal soup pot, pour in 2 tsp of olive oil (so fancy! And a Healthy Check!) and ¼ c. of popcorn and 5 minutes later I’ve got myself a giant bowl of crunchy goodness. Sometimes I’ll get crazy and add herbs or grated parmesan (the canned kind, not melty), but usually I keep it simple with some sea salt. I can go to town on it and not feel like I ate the PointsPlus equivalent of a chocolate bus.
So what about you? Do you have any small steps I can steal?
- Alisha McKinney, copywriter
Thursday, January 30, 2014
...and I need some crunch, I sometimes find thick cucumber rounds sprinkled with salt satisfying. Or a pickle spear or two - if I don’t mind a little bloat.
Other times though I want - okay, I need - a “real” snack. For 1 PointsPlus value, I’ve discovered I can sink my teeth into any of the following:
- 1 pretzel rod
- 2 cups reduced-fat (94% fat free) microwave-popped popcorn
- 3 Stacy’s Multi-Grain Pita Chips
- 4 cashews
- 4 saltine crackers
- 4 Cool Ranch Doritos
- 4 regular tortilla chips
- 5 regular potato chips
- 6 baked potato chips
- 6 baked low-fat tortilla chips
- 6 Wheat Thins Crackers
- 6 Pringles Original Potato Crisps
- 7 almonds
- 12 peanuts
- 12 Simply 7 Creamy Dill Lentil Chips
- 13 oyster crackers
- 13 Pringles Light Original Potato Crisps
- 16 pistachios
Disclaimer: You don’t get a lot of some of the items above so take your portion and put the rest away.
What do you do for low PointsPlus value crunch?
Leslie Fink, MS, RD
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
I just got a sample of PASTA CHIPS from Vintage Italia. They’re thin, crisp, baked squares of pasta dough that come in a variety of tasty flavors such as Garlic-Olive Oil, Alfredo and Marinara. These three varieties are all 3 PointsPlus values per ounce – the same as an ounce of baked potato or tortilla chips – but with a lot more flavor. Perfect for a salty, crunch-craver like me.
Ever tried them? What do you think?
Leslie Fink, MS, RD
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
December's Sunday in the Kitchen with Mark & Bruce column launched yesterday, and we're having a technical problem with the recipe link. Since this delicious Brown Rice Paella recipe should not be missed, we are posting it here so you can enjoy it just the same.
Brown Rice Paella
Before you start stirring the paella over the heat, pay special attention to the prep work: chopping the vegetables into similarly sized bits and browning the meat well to get the most flavor in every spoonful. To slice sausage into such thin rings, freeze it for 1 hour to firm it up — then add it straight to the pot after slicing, no thawing necessary.
Makes 12 servings PointsPlus® value: 8
6 cups reduced-sodium fat-free chicken broth
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb Italian-style turkey sausage, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick disks
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cups chopped, trimmed fennel
2 1/2 cups chopped zucchini
2 cups chopped, seeded and cored green bell pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp mild smoked paprika
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups medium-grain brown rice, such as brown Arborio
1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium canned diced tomatoes
1 lb peeled and deveined medium shrimp (about 25 per lb)
1. Mix broth, saffron and salt in a medium saucepan and warm over low heat while you prepare paella. Position rack in center of oven and heat to 325°F.
2. Coat inside of a large, oven-safe Dutch oven or cast-iron casserole with cooking spray; set over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add sausage; cook, stirring often, until browned, about 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer sausage to a large bowl.
3. Add chicken to pot; cook, stirring often, until browned, about 7 minutes. Transfer to bowl with sausage.
3. Add fennel, zucchini, bell pepper and onion; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 15 minutes. Stir in garlic, oregano, smoked paprika, thyme and pepper; stir over heat until aromatic, about 1 minute.
4. Stir in rice; toast for 2 minutes, stirring all the while. Pour in tomatoes, then stir until all liquid has been absorbed, about 5 minutes.
5. Reduce heat to medium-low and add about a third of the warmed broth mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.
6. Add half remaining broth and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes more.
7. Add rest of broth and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in sausage, chicken and shrimp. Cover pot, place in oven, and bake 20 minutes, or until rice is tender and most liquid has been absorbed. Set aside, covered, for 10 minutes before serving.
Serving size: 1 1/3 cups
Executive Food Editor