Tuesday, August 27, 2013

12 Weight Watchers Essentials

As I've talked about in past posts, I used Weight Watchers online to lose the baby weight after Annalyn was born.  I found it incredibly simple, educational, and healthier than most fad diet plans.  It taught me about portion control, choosing healthier snacks, and recognizing not only what, but also why I was eating (boredom, upset, etc. vs. actual hunger).  After 2 months of following the plan, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and a few months later I was about 10 lbs. less than that.  Between the online tools, recipes, and even iPhone apps, it was very easy to track what I was eating and learn more about choosing healthier alternatives.  Eventually I got to where I didn't even need to track my daily points because I'd made so many wonderful changes that it was second nature to eat healthily. It definitely made me a believer.

Then came and holidays and like a lot of people, I let my diet get a little less healthy.  Between all the travel, stress, and deaths of loved ones in the next few months, I pretty much went back to eating anything and any time.  I planned Annalyn's meals perfectly, but my own seemed more of an afterthought, usually some sort of comfort food involving lots of cheese (probably my biggest weekness)

some of the many tools on the iPhone app

With just 5 weeks until my little brother's wedding, I finally found the motivation I needed to recommit to my healthy diet plan.  I rejoined WW and was very excited to see that they actually saved all my recipes/favorites/etc., including the recipes I entered on my own (the online tools include a recipe builder which is perfect for me!).   After only a week, I'm 5 lbs. down and feeling better already. 

In honor of my recommitment to a healthier diet, here's some of my WW essentials:

1.  Nonfat Greek Yogurt - This stuff is great when it comes to remaking recipes.  Use it in place of sour cream, mayonnaise, dressing, and more.  This lightened up chicken salad is proof of it's magic. (
about 3/4 c. served in whole wheat pita pocket is around 6-7 WW points, depending on type of pita, etc) 
Just this weekend, I used it in a red potato salad that's only 4 pts per serving (coming soon!) along with this baked Dijon dill chicken at only 3 pts per 4 oz. piece of chicken.

2.  Salsa with veggies - Salsa is a great WW snack, especially when eaten with carrots/snap peas instead of chips.  I made up a big batch of this restaurant style pineapple salsa to have on hand.  2 pts for 1/2 c. salsa and 1 c. carrots/snap peas.

3.  Fat free evaporated milk - This can be used in place of cream in recipes such as this corn chowder (9 pts per serving) and this slow cooker mac 'n cheese.


4.  Fresh Vegetable Soup - Here's a recipe no WW can do without!  Full of fresh veggies and flavor, this soup is only 2 pts per cup or 3 pts for 2 cups.  I just made a big batch and put in mason jars in the fridge.  Half the battle is having healthy food available when the hunger strikes!  If you don't buy it, you won't eat it and vise versa, right?  Even Peanut loved this nutrient-packed dish.

5.  Fat free Cool Whip, low-fat yogurt, and sugar free pudding mix - with these three things you can make all kinds of concoctions to suit any sweet craving.  Experiment with different flavors of yogurt and pudding mixes, or add in some fruit or mini-chocolate chips (another tip:  using the mini's allows more chocolate flavor by using less!).  This was one of the start-up tips Shawna gave me, so it's been tried several times between the two of us!

6.  Overnight Refrigerator Oatmeal - I prefer steel cut, but Michael likes rolled oats - either one works fine.  I love that I can make us a filling, low-fat breakfast the night before, pop it in the fridge, and easily heat it up in the morning.  My general formula is: 1/4 c. oats, 1/4 c. skim milk, 1/4 c. low-fat yogurt, 1-2 t. ground flax, 1/2 t. cinnamon.  (for Michael:  1/2 c. rolled oats, 1/2 c. milk, 1/4 c. yogurt, 1/2 t. cinnamon)  The next morning, add in fruit, a tablespoon of jam, or whatever else you like in your oatmeal.  Having a filling breakfast helps me get to lunch without a snack.  7 pts well spent!

7.  Banana Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies - A recent addition to my list, I found this recipe on Pinterest and was surprised with the results.  Mash 2 ripe bananas, add 1 c. rolled oats, 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips, and 1 t. cinnamon.  Mix well and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.  Makes about 16 cookies, 2 pts each or 3 pts for 2 cookies.  Because sometimes you just need some chocolate!

8.  Snack sized Ziplock bags - Not a food exactly, but these are great for portion controlled snacks.  One of the biggest parts of WW is actually measuring portion sizes, not guessing.  For instance, I'm in love with these edamame crisps from Trader Joes.  So, I measure out portion sizes in these bags and write the point total on each.  Ready to grab healthy snacks = setting yourself up to succeed!

9.  Fresh fruit & veggies - This might be a no-brainer, but fresh fruit, veggies, and salads are all great for WW diet plans and healthy diets in general.

10.  Natural or homemade applesauce - With the natural sweetness of apples, there's no need to add sugar (cinnamon, sure, but sugar, no).  Add this to oatmeal, eat on its own or topped with granola for a low point snack or breakfast.

11.  Diced tomatoes - Stock your pantry with a few cans of these - they are zero points and make a great base for sauces, soups, and casseroles.

12.  WW Ice Cream Candy Bars - Now I don't usually buy too much of the actual WW food products, simply because they are somewhat expensive and I make most of our meals.  But these are outstanding!  They taste just like the Snickers ice cream bars and at only 4 pts per bar, they are a semi-guilt free treat.


  1. Could you please activate an email account for me because I would like to follow your blog but Google will not let me sign up because of my school email account--I don't know why it blocks it because I am not using my school account but my home one.
    Thanks for anything you can do.

    1. Sorry, I don't know what I can do to help. I don't have any blocks on accounts following me, so it must be Google?