If there’s one thing that can be said of me, it’s that I’m really lazy. Or, if I’m nicer to myself, I’m “low-key” and “relaxed.” When it comes to life’s intricacies, I want it simple and I want it easy because I just don’t have the time or patience otherwise. Life is complicated enough without my having to worry about washing, cleaning and cutting up fruit. For years I cheated on diets and cheated myself because it wasn’t “easy” — I didn’t have the tools I needed to be successful. And for me, food and food prep has to be EASYYYY. I totally lack willpower when it comes to food — it’s just much easier to grab a large bag (and not watch portions) or eat processed food than it is to eat properly and sensibly.
Until now. In this incarnation of Weight Watchers, several things have changed for me. First of all, I’m willing and able to invest the significant money one needs to have it “easy.” Secondly, I have ample resources in Los Angeles/California when it comes to healthy, sensible choices. And I’m finally listening to food recs from meetings and blogs. I’m experiencing steady success in part because of WW PointsPlus, partly due to my environment and in large part due to an array of handy new food tools. I’d like to share my latest and greatest with you.
Laughing Cow cheese
PointsPlus: 1 point per wedge
Love, love, LOVE Laughing Cow cheese wedges. If you love dairy, can’t give it up, but cry every time you think about the points in cheese, Laughing Cow is a wonderful alternative. It’s a soft, spreadable cheese that comes in a few “flavors” – original swiss, swiss light, garlic and herb and blue cheese. I love it on whole wheat toast – it’s a crunchy, filling, cheesy snack. Honestly, sometimes I eat it for dinner! It also works nicely on crackers, instead of my favorite cracker accompaniment, brie.
Pre-cut fruit cups/apple slices
Again: I’m lazy. Which is why I love pre-cut fruit from Fresh & Easy and Trader Joes. I know, I know – you can’t just eat an apple/buy strawberries on their own/get a pineapple? Well, yes, I could, but these stores make it so easy nowadays. I buy a giant bag of apple slices which is my daily snack for the week — all I have to do is plop a bunch into a Ziplock and throw it in my bag. Fresh & Easy’s fruit cup mixes are my favorite dessert – I don’t have to worry about cutting up a pineapple or buying a bunch of strawberries/grapes of which half will go bad when I don’t eat them fast enough. The drawback is price — usually $3.99 or $4.99 per package. But I’ll pay it if it means I eat fruit every day.
I’m really bad about strawberries. I love them to pieces, but whenever I buy a full carton, inevitably some goes bad because I don’t eat them fast enough. Enter frozen strawberries. I’d never even considered frozen fruit (and still prefer fresh), but knowing I always have a bag handy in my freezer is comforting, plus it’s cheaper than fruit cups (only $1.99 a bag at Fresh & Easy). I pour about half a bag into a bowl, shake one packet of Splenda over and let them defrost. In 3-4 hours, they are ready to eat and so yummy. If I put them out when I get home from work, they’re a great 9 or 10 p.m. dessert, if I’m still feeling hungry.
Single serving size ice cream cups
PointsPlus: Haagen Dazs is 6 points per cup
If you love ice cream, but just can’t control yourself around a pint of it, single serving cups, such as Haagen Dazs’s (Ben & Jerry’s & Edys make them, too), are ideal. You get a taste of yummy, full-fat, real-deal ice cream… but all in a controlled portion. I’ve found they’ve been helpful in reprogramming my mind in terms of understanding what a proper serving size of ice cream is.
Oh, VitaTops, HOW I LOVE YOU. Just like probably every other weight loss guru, I found these through Hungry Girl. I eat them for breakfast, with coffee, for dessert… and I got some tips last night on how to make them work for dinner. The possibilities are endless! How to describe them? They are high-fiber muffin substitutes that are amazingly tasty — 100 calories a piece! Personally, I love their chocolate flavor, and every iteration of it — I LOVE the Triple Chocolate flavor in particular. My fave non-chocolate flavor is a toss up between Corn and Banana Nut. Beware sticker shock — VitaTops are expensive, but WORTH IT. If you pick them up at your local store — I’ve seen them at Target — you’re going to pay at least $5-$7 a box (4 VitaTops a box). But look for coupon deals on Vitalicious.com — recently, I got 36 chocolate-flavored VitaTops for $44 (including shipping!). Vitalicious also makes a tasty brownie substitute… but that’s a topic for another post
Microwaveable steam-bag corn
PointsPlus: 2 per serving
The steamer bag food revolution has CHANGED MY LIFE. I love veggies, but have always preferred them microwave steamed to done on the stovetop. However, most of the corn brands I was buying had to be done on stovetop… it was an extra step, and I was lazy (see how bad it is!). Enter steam bag microwaveable corn. In 3-4 minutes, you have a GIANT bag of yummy corn. I often eat an entire bag + whole wheat toast slices for dinner. My go-to has been Birds Eye brand “Steamfresh” (they also make faboo green beans), but Fresh & Easy also makes their own brand of steamer veggies. Try it — you’ll find eating your veggies has never been easier!