Posts Tagged ‘ 4 Points ’

Healthy Cooking: Zucchini and Summer Squash Pasta Medley

Ok, so vegitables aren’t for everyone. Exhibit A is my roommate. He has nothing against them in particular, but won’t go seeking themĀ  out any time soon either. Me, I’m a different story. I LOVE fresh produce in my cooking, but due to expense, time, yadda yadda yadda, I usually limit it to some salad, green peppers, and onion.

Well due to an uncertain dinner schedule this past weekend, I came into my Monday night meal cooking with a little extra weekly produce: green and yellow zucchini, and of course an onion.

Now I know the whole zucchini and summer squash like group of veg isn’t for everyone. To some it’s taste, others texture, and still some simply un-adventurous people. Well dieters, and specifically Weight Watcher’s in particular should take note of these because they’re free (that’s 0 points folks) and can be cooked in any number of ways.

Well, at first I was thinking about grilling these things. It looks great, and tastes better, but laziness, and a lack of balsamic dressing scratched that plan. Instead I decided to create a pasta medley with my ingredients. Here’s how it went:

  • 1 green zucchini sliced (like cucumber), and then quartered to get reasonable chunks
  • 1 yellow zucchini chopped up the same way
  • 1 onion (your pick) sliced into half rings
  • 1 perfect portions chicken breast cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pasta
  • calorie free butter spray (my cooking crutch)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Seasoning (Italian blend, garlic, pepper, salt, and dill…and more dill)

So clearly my ingredient list wasn’t that awe inspiring, but still it was what I had. So after all the chopping, and prep work, I got my vegis cooking in one pan, chicken in another, and pasta boiling on a back burner. All of these things are pretty easy to cook, and fairly forgiving with their finishing times.

Once the chicken was cooked, I just dumped it in with the zucchini and onions to start those flavors working together. Then the pasta was done so I drained it, and chucked it in with everything else. A couple minutes, and some work with a spatula, and wallah: something edible looking.

Really, not that hard to do, and delicious would be an apt description. Oh did I mention that it made a TON!? It could probably feed two people, but it’s so low in points (2 for chicken, 4 for pasta, and just say 2 for the vegis due to volume), and I needed to get a bit closer to my total for the day, so I ate the lot. I walked away happy, and that’s all there is to it.

Weight Watchers Goes Out: Taco Bell Fresco Decoded

Oh chain restaurants, how America loves thee. Still, I’m not here to trash them. I won’t lie, I enjoy going out to them, and even rocked some Taco Bell last evening for dinner.

Taco Bell is still a novelty too me, so I’m almost always good to go there. Growing up, the nearest “Big” town had the classic three: McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s. I was always a big Wendy’s guy, but now I favor BK, and the Wendy’s is getting replaced by a DQ…I digress. What I’m really here to talk about is how to stay on the Weight Watchers wagon at a place like Taco Bell. Luckily, Taco Bell has joined the health craze with their Fresco Diet Menu.

Weight Watcher’s Points for Fresco Menu

  • Fresco Bean Burrito: 7 Points
  • Fresco Burrito Supreme – Chicken: 7 Points
  • Fresco Burrito Supreme – Steak: 6 Points
  • Fresco Crunchy Taco: 3 Points
  • Fresco Grilled Steak Soft Taco: 3 Points
  • Fresco Ranchero Chicken Soft Taco: 3 Points
  • Fresco Soft Taco: 4 Points

So there you have it: nothing on the Fresco Menu is particularly crippling, and you can actually fair better than at some of the Bell’s competitors. Still, the key here is that when you start combining items, you can lose that fiber bonus as most of these items are loaded fiber already. The Bean Burrito alone boasts 11g of the stuff. Mmmmm fiber. Still, walk away with a burrito, and a chicken soft taco, and you’re doing pretty well for a trip to the fast food place. I know where to go when I want to be bad and good at the same time now.

Subway: Jared has it Right

For a few years now, we have been seeing ads for Subway, with their poster boy Jared talking about their healthy offerings. Well, he is right, the 6 Grams of Fat or Less menu is a healthy way to get fast food. Here’s a breakdown of the menu:

6 Grams of Fat or Less Subs
6″ Ham (Black Forrest w/o cheese) : 5 Points
6″ Oven Roasted Chicken Breast: 6 Points
6″ Roast Beef: 6 Points
6″ Subway Club: 6 Points
6″ Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki: 7 Points
6″ Turkey Breast: 5 Points
6″ Turkey Breast & Ham: 5 Points
6″ Veggie Delight: 4 Points

Looking at the menu, it’s easy to see that Subway is a great choice for fast food dieting. The key is not to miss the fine print. According to Subway’s nutrition site, these point values are based on the sub being on 6 inches of their 9-Grain Wheat Bread with lettuce, tomato, onions, and green peppers. Note the fact that these subs DO NOT include cheese, or any form of condiment. Don’t lose hope. Since the subs are so reasonably pointed, it won’t cripple you to get 1 slice of cheese, and add 2 Points to your overall sub value. Even an 8 Point sub is reasonable. If you’re like me, and can’t stand a dry sandwich, then there is the fat free honey mustard which you can ask for. It tastes great, and only adds about a point for a healthy serving. There you have it, a decent sized meal for a reasonable amount of points. You just need to let go of the foot long chicken bacon ranch sub, my own personal weakness.

Slim-FastĀ Optima

Ok, so in an effort to vary my eating habits (I have a tendency to eat the same thing too much for too long) I decided to break up my meal schedule. To start, I decided that I should eat my breakfast at home, and then have something else once I got to work in the morning. By using my points more throughout the day, I could avoid power loading at night; eating too many of my points at the end of the day.

With that in mind, I though about foods that would be good as starts to the day as I like to curb my hunger so that I can stay focused, and at the same time not eat too much because I don’t like to feel overloaded in the morning. After looking around online, I decided to try Slim-Fast Optima, one of Slim-Fast’s shakes designed to curb hunger.

Well, today marks the last day of my personal “trial”, and I won’t be buying any more. At a steep price of $7.99 at my local grocery store for six cans, its way too expensive. Also, it is about as satisfying as an over-glorified chocolate milk. I will say that it does taste good, but doesn’t provide the hunger curbing effect that I was looking for. Also, at four points a pop, it’s pretty steep on the weight watchers points for the day.

Overall, if you are in a hurry and on the go, this might be a solution for you, but I think that a granola bar or or Nutri-grain might do better. Also, as I’m finding that I might have a slight issue with lactose, this is definitely not for me.