When Meal Planning Fails

I LOVE to go out to eat.  I’ve always loved to dine out, but sometime in the last year, I realized we were eating out WAY too often and it was taking a real toll on our pockets, waistlines, and general sanity.  Eating out with two kids is not the same as leisurely dates.  We found that we were going out to eat as a convenience and really wasn’t anymore convenient than eating in.

when meal planning failsI find it helpful to have several essentials and “back up plans” for those nights we are getting home late or generally exhausted.  Here is a list of those meal ideas to hopefully save your pocket, sanity, and diet!  All are family friendly and work well with WW Freestyle!

  1. The good old Rotisserie Chicken.  Pairs well with bagged salads, steamed frozen veggies, and fresh fruit.
  2. Steamed Frozen Shrimp.  I try to always keep a 2lb bag on hand.  Thaw and pop on the stove for a few minutes.  I like to serve it with a bag of pre-cooked rice and again, steamed frozen veggies…might as well add them to your weekly grocery list.
  3. A ham slice.  Again, served maybe with some fresh fruit, rice, boiled egg noodles, or veggies.pizzameme
  4. Aldi Mama Cozzi’s Deli Pizza.  A cheaper alternative to ordering pizza and if you serve it with a salad, it’s not too points heavy.  I’ll pick one of these up while grocery shopping because let’s be honest, who feels like cooking after shopping?
  5. Tuna Melts.  I always have a couple cans of tuna on hand and tuna melts are quick to whip up in a flash.  I make mine open face on toasted light english muffins.  Top with a super thin slice of swiss and pop in the oven for a few minutes.

Freestyle Snacking

The very first time I did Weight Watchers was a few programs ago, back in 2008.  I had tremendous success, but there were a good many times that I was hungry. I have this specific memory of myself sitting alone in my apartment in my first year teaching STARVING and resorting to eat a container of raw mushrooms because they were “free.”  During this program, many fruits had points as did a number of vegetables (peas, corn), eggs, and yogurt. Granted, cake and breads didn’t have as many as they do now, but all in all, I would take Freestyle over anything that came before. The number of zero points foods makes all the difference!  I’ve not had a single, sad, mushroom moment since switching to the newest program. I have 3 big snack-y moments of the day.img_1166.jpg

The first comes mid-morning…sometime around 10am.  Since I am at school at this time, a piece of fruit or hard-boiled egg works well to tide me over until lunch at 11:30.

Another trigger time for me is after coming home from work.  I get home between 3:30 and 4 and generally start on dinner shortly after.  Yesterday, I discovered an awesome snack: Turkey and Pickle roll-ups. As primarily a salty snacker, chips and salsa or cheese and crackers are my usual craving.  The turkey/pickle combination satisfies my salty craving while offering enough protein to tide me over until dinner without further snacking.

We don’t do dessert with dinner 99% of the time.  If I get hungry later in the evening, I have a couple suggestions.  The first is to simply try a cup of hot tea – the more flavor the better.  My favorite lately has been Celestial Seasonings Caramel Apple Dream. If you are an evening-bowl-of-cereal kind of person, I suggest trying a bowl of nonfat greek yogurt with berries.  If you like it to be sweeter, add some stevia. If you want some crunch, try adding a little bit of granola or muesli. You’ll wind up with a 0-3 point snack that you can eat with a spoon and will leave you even more satisfied than if you had that bowl of cereal.  

Please share! What are your snacking triggers?  What have you found that works well?

A cold and blustery day…157.4

I’ll keep tonight’s post brief because I’m working on something bigger for tomorrow!  Today was an insanely frigid day in the northeast.  Most of the day was in the single digits with wind that brought a windchill below zero.  I spent the day painting windows and hanging out with my 19 month old, Nora while Elizabeth, my almost 5 year old was at pre-school.  I’ll be back at school tomorrow so I was trying to squeeze some last productivity out of the long weekend.

Dinner was the most amazing recipe from Gina’s Skinnytaste One and Done Cookbook.  If you do not regularly follow Skinnytaste, you need to do so NOW.  I made the Quick Gnocchi Bolognese recipe with a spinach side salad and my husband’s first words when he came through the door were, “Whatever you are cooking smells amazing.”  It was deeply satisfying and I love that I don’t have more than one pot to clean.  Pots and pants are by far my LEAST favorite dish to do so any way to minimize that drudgery is fine by me.

Anyhow, time to put Elizabeth to bed.  Stay tuned tomorrow for the 5 things I learned in 2018!