Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Favorite Foods

Tonight we'll be having Tuna Wraps stuffed with spinach, spring greens, cilantro, onions, carrots, and tomatoes. I still haven't decided if I want to add black beans to the wrap and I'm kicking myself that I used our last ripe avocado the other day. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share some of the foods that I always like to keep on hand since I'm working the Weight Watchers (WW) plan.

Seasonal Vegetables and Fruit - I generally only purchase produce that is in season for a couple of reasons: it tastes better and it's cheaper. Where I live we have a wonderfully long growing season with plenty of growing heat so produce is pretty darn cheap nearly year-round. My favorite vegetables are: broccoli, carrots, celery, onions, peppers, garlic, zucchini, butternut squash, pumpkin. And I adore all greens: collards, mustard, turnip, spinach. My favorite fruits are: apples, bananas, strawberries. WW points vary according to what fruit or vegetable we're talking about. Generally speaking, they are the lowest point things you can eat when you compare volume to points.

Frozen Vegetables and Fruit - I have no problem hitting the freezer section of the supermarket if the fresh produce looks a little limp. Sometimes the price per pound (or ounce) is cheaper than buying fresh. My favorite frozen vegetables tend to be broccoli, spinach, green beans, and those blends with carrots, peas, & green beans. My favorite frozen fruit are berries - I prefer a blend of blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. WW points vary according to what's in the package.

Beans - I stock dried beans because they're so cheap and canned beans because sometimes I do a poor job planning and don't want to take the 15-minutes it takes to cook the beans in the pressure cooker. If I use canned beans, I always drain and rinse the beans thoroughly. I prefer black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, and lentils. Most beans (not all) are 4 WW points per cup.

Whole Grains - I always have a tub of brown rice in the fridge. I usually also have barley and quinoa on hand if I'm burned out on rice. Most grains (not all) are 4 WW points per cup.

La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious Tortillas - These are high fiber and low carb tortillas and they are HUGE. I use them to make very satisfying wraps. 1 WW point per tortilla - did I mention that they are HUGE?

Oroweat Double Fiber Bread - At 12 grams of fiber for two slices, you will be nice & full even if you only had a boring old sandwich at lunch. 1 WW point per slice of bread.

Canned Meats - I love the convenience of canned salmon, tuna, and chicken. I use these in casseroles, to make patties for grilling, to make salads, and to make sandwiches. WW points vary.

Lean Meats - You can always find some boneless, skinless chicken breasts in this house. We cook up a large package of these once a week and keep the pre-cooked chicken breasts in the fridge. This removes fast-food temptation because we always have something healthy to eat within minutes. We almost always have 4% ground beef on hand for patties, chili, to add to pasta sauces, and more. WW points vary by ounce.

Eggs - Eggs aren't glamorous and they aren't sexy, but they sure are satisfying and tasty! I like to hardboil them by the dozen so that I always have something handy to snack on if the crudites aren't cutting it. I know people like scrambled egg whites and egg white omeletes, but I'm a yolky kind of gal. 2 WW points per egg - ditch the yolk and the white is 0 points.

Nonfat Milk - Two cups of milk fulfills the WW Good Health Guideline for dairy. I'm glad that I never had whole milk growing up because I understand that people who did really are grossed out my nonfat milk. I don't like my drinks this way, but I kinda like my milk watery and weak. 2 WW points per cup of nonfat milk.

Powdered Nonfat Milk - Want to save a little money while cooking? Use powdered milk (all you have to do is add water) when you're cooking. Even if you think powdered milk tastes awful in the glass, you'll never notice the taste when you cook with it. 2 WW points per cup (prepared according to directions, of course)

Chicken Broth or Stock - I do have canned broth in my pantry for those rare times that I don't have any homemade stock on hand. I prefer to use homemade if at all possible though because it gives superior flavor and mouthfeel to the finished dish. I use it to make soups, cook grains, and make sauces. WW points vary.

Instant Potato Granules - Yeah, yeah, I know. Look, I haven't actually made "real" mashed potatoes in years and I don't think that anyone is the wiser. I make these instant potatoes with nonfat milk and don't add any butter. I figure that most people put gravy on potatoes anyway so they won't notice the missing fat. If I'm not serving gravy, I season them up with ranch dressing powder so that they are tasty. Lately I'm a fan of making ranch dip with nonfat sour cream and stirring in some of that to make the finished potatoes creamy and delicious. 2 WW points per half-cup for the potatoes prepared with just water & nonfat milk.

Flax Oil - You can choose from a few different types of healthy oil to fulfill your Good Health Guidelines, but I prefer to use flax oil. I like the nutty taste it imparts to plain ol' steamed veggies. Don't cook with flax oil, just use it to finish off your dish. 1 WW point per teaspoon.

Olive Oil - Another healthy oil and the one that I prefer if I need to cook with oil. I don't fry often so it's lower smoke point hasn't been a problem in my kitchen. 1 WW point per teaspoon.

Capers - These briny berries add a tasty tang to sauces and pasta dishes. Big taste for being such a little package. 0 WW points.

Mustard - My favorite condiment. I stock Dijon, spicy brown, and yellow mustards. I use more mustard than mayo when I make deviled eggs, tuna salad, chicken salad, macaroni salad, or potato salad. 0 WW points.

Flavor Helpers - The ones that I use most often are: kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, onion powder, granulated garlic, curry powder, turmeric, chili powder, fresh lemon juice (I freeze it in ice-cube trays), soy sauce, fish sauce. A complementary mix of these flavor helpers will liven up any boring dish. 0 WW points.

Sugar-Free Jell-O - I love this stuff when it's hot out. Sometimes I get cute and layer it in a wine glass with fat-free whipped topping. I've also been known to mix in fruit on occasion. WW points vary according to what you do with it.

Sugar-Free Popsicles - Another sweet treat that I love when it's hot out. WW points vary by brand.

Kool-Aid - It is so cheap to make a pitcher of Kool-Aid and you can control the sugar content. The package calls for a crazy amount of sugar (a cup I think - I'm too lazy to go look) and I've found that you don't even need half of that amount. You can also do what I did as a kid: freeze Kool-Aid in ice-cube trays to make ghetto Popsicles. WW points vary according to how you mix it.

Iced-Tea - I prefer Lipton black tea bags when I'm making iced tea because I find it pleasantly astringent. 0 WW points.

Do you have some healthy or low-point foods that you like? Please share!


  1. Definitely agree with allot of your favorites although wanted to highlight the La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious Tortillas. We use them for all of our meals - Breakfast (egg burritos), Lunch (all types of wraps including veggie, fruit and turkey), Dinner (pizzas, quesadilla) and snacks!

    Also we use flaxseeds allot in our oatmeal but never tried the oil. Definitely have to try it.

    Thanks for all of the great information.

  2. Thank you for reading, bodyhacker, and for your kind comment! Thanks also for the great ideas using the La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious tortillas. I think the Tater Tot & I will be enjoying breakfast burritos tomorrow morning!

    You'll find flax oil in a refrigerated case in most health food stores. I have found it at Henry's, Sprouts, and Whole Foods. It's pricey, but I love the nutty flavor so it's worth it to me. It is also high in ALA Omega-3s.