Friday, March 11, 2011

Food Friday: A delicious week of weight watching

Speaking of burgers, Samuel L. Jackson's character Jules in Pulp Fiction remarks "I can't usually get them 'cause my girlfriend's a vegetarian, which pretty much makes me a vegetarian. I do love the taste of a good burger." I feel, sometimes, the same way about Weight Watchers.

Using WW along with an exercise program called the "Buff Bride's Fitness Challenge," my wife got into the shape she wanted to be in for our wedding, and now she's looking to lose the Thea weight, so she's back on Weight Watchers. Which pretty much makes me back on Weight Watchers too, especially since I do most of the cooking.

I don't have to be obsessive about my own meals, though I suspect that by eating the same foods she is and limiting my consumption of meat to meat that I feel good about from a health, ethics, and sustainability standpoint, I'm probably doing pretty well too. In any case, I do have to play my role by finding recipes that have reasonable serving sizes yielding reasonable point values (if you are unfamiliar with WW, basically the nutritional information of food is boiled down to a point system depending on several factors, and one is allowed a certain number of points a day--and, I should add, encouraged to eat all of those points, not to starve oneself).

I feel like I've hit the jackpot with Gina's Skinny Recipes. Not only does she offer recipes that look good and include all nutritional information and Weight Watchers Points, but so far the ones we've tried have, without exception, been recipes that we would very happily eat even without being on Weight Watchers or another diet. Gina isn't trying to cut out every bit of fat or every "bad" carb so much as she's trying to find the balance between healthy eating and tasty eating, and from what we've tasted so far, she manages to walk that line perfectly. She's also an excellent food photographer, as all the recipes look great.

The "Lighter Baked Macaroni and Cheese" was cheesy and full-flavored. No nasty "Fat Free" cheeses were used, either: a 2% cheddar combined with a sauce of milk, chicken broth, and flour made it taste richly creamy without being nearly as decadent as it tasted. Oh, and there was spinach added to it, which added some color and some nutritional benefits without really altering the flavor at all.

There are a number of pasta recipes, including last night's dinner, "Lowfat Baked Ziti with Spinach." More pasta and spinach, but the end result here felt an awful lot like lasagna, which is no bad thing. As it happened we couldn't find fat-free ricotta and our box of pasta was less than 1 pound, so we had to "point it out" ourselves, but the two offset well and still left us a good-sized portion.

"Chicken Pot Pie Soup" was quite good, packing in a lot of vegetables along with a homey, comfort-food taste. I guess when you take away the crust and lighten up the filling a bit, chicken pot pie is awfully good for you, while still giving enough of the tastes we crave.

Although not quite what we expected, either because of the nature of the beast or because I sliced it too thick, "Zucchini Pizza Bites" was nonetheless a very satisfying dish. It's basically zucchini covered in pizza sauce and cheese, so how bad could it be, right? We liked it well enough that we'll be having it again this evening.

We also tried one dessert so far, "No-Bake Fudgy Snow Balls." Wow. These were quite good. The bulk of their substance was made up of, surprisingly enough, dates--along with almonds, which were both thoroughly handled by the food processor. Some cocoa powder and a dusting of powdered sugar and you've got a wonderful chocolate treat that's not so bad for you.

All in all, we've been eating well and Lauren's been making progress on her goals, so we're happy all around.


  1. Thank you for making me extremely hungry while trapped in the doctor's office! These recipes sound fantastic. Thanks for sharing, and happy eating. :-)

  2. Oh I love this! I've done Weight Watchers many a time. =) I get obsessive about getting the most possible food for my points, though, so I seem to do better (if my goal is weight loss) when I just keep to a whole foods diet of mainly fruits, vegetables and whole grains (some high-quality meat and dairy occasionally) and eat until I am satisfied, then stop. But I totally respect Weight Watchers and know that it works!!! Fun!!

  3. Good to know! DH and I are both doing the Weight Watchers thing, so recipes that have info for points calculations are great.