Sunday, March 18, 2007

WW Struggles and Cooking tips

I know that I have been really struggling these past few weeks, and others of you have, too. I just HATE doing without my treats on the weekends and it has been really hard. I could really identify with Alicia as she struggled to avoid getting a blizzard at McDonald's (actually, they're called McFlurry -- apparently blizzards are at dairy queen!). I LOVE those things too, and with the warmer weather, they just sounded SOOOO good! I managed to avoid getting one, too, but on Friday, I couldn't resist going by McDonald's on the way to work on Friday morning and getting some of their cinnamon minis for breakfast. I went to the McDonald's website for nutrition information and OMG they are 10 points!!!! But they were SOOO good! I had a diet coke with them (now there's an irony, eh?!?) and so by mid-morning I had a raging headache from the sugar and the caffeine, which I had managed to wean myself off of in the mornings (still have to have it at noon). And now I've woken up the craving for real sugar again, so I sort of feel like I'm back to square one again. Oh well, today is another day...

Oh, and by the way? A 12-oz. Oreo McFlurry is 13 points -- OUCH!! The good news is, that you could have one every once in awhile using your FlexPoints! I love it that you can go online and get nutrition information for a lot of the chain restaurants. Papa Murphy's has a brochure with their nutrition information on it in their stores.

Speaking of treats, one of the hardest things for me to give up has been my Dutch Bros. Freeze. I LOVE those things!!! I called the corporate offices and figured the POINTS value for a small freeze, and it is six points. That's A LOT but at least I can have a small one for breakfast once in awhile. YUMMMM!!!

I don't know how many of you have access to the WW website, but I got these tips off the site and thought I'd post them here. Perhaps one or two (or all 11) tips will be helpful to us in our weight loss journey. Hope you find them helpful!

1. Sauté your vegetables in a little chicken or vegetable broth instead of butter or oil. That's a POINTS value of zero for the broth versus a POINTS value of 1 (per teaspoon) for butter or oil.

2. Thicken soups with prepared instant mashed potatoes instead of heavy cream. The instant spuds have just a POINTS value of 3 for 1/2 cup, versus a POINTS value of 12 per 1/2 cup of cream.

3. Opt for a strong-flavored cheese. You'll get much more flavor from crumbled blue cheese, for instance, than from shredded cheddar, so you can maximize taste with a lesser amount.

4. Chop and toast nuts to cut back on the total amount of nuts needed in a recipe. Toasting maximizes their flavor, and chopping them allows you to cover more "ground." Also, experiment with using toasted rolled oats in lieu of nuts in some baked goods.

5. Make your own whole milk substitute. Swap it for fat-free milk and add a little fat-free yogurt, pureed tofu or powdered skim milk to thicken it up.

6. Swap applesauce for 1/3 of the total butter or oil in a cookie or cake recipe (light-colored batters) — or substitute pureed prunes for that same amount if you're making a chocolaty dessert. You'll add moisture while subtracting calories.

7. Many people know that you can use fat-free egg substitute in place of whole eggs. But did you know that you can substitute 2 egg whites for 1 whole egg in most recipes? Then, to make egg-based dishes like frittatas and casseroles look more authentic, try adding a little turmeric to the whites for a more natural appearance.

8. Use pureed silken or soft tofu in place of cream in dressings and pasta dishes.

9. Replace the mayonnaise in tuna, egg, pasta and chicken salads with pureed, seasoned silken tofu or plain low-fat yogurt, dressed up with your favorite diced vegetables and seasonings.

10. Make your own taco shells by hanging soft fat-free tortillas directly over an oven rack and baking at 400°F until crisp.

11. Chop, grate, shred. You can top a casserole with much less shredded cheese than cheese cubes or slices. The same goes for shaved chocolate, shredded coconut, chopped nuts and other foods with high POINTS values.

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