My Weight Watchers meeting was yesterday. Yes, I go to WW. I go every week. I’ve been going for the last two and a half years. I am astonished at the people who think that because I had gastric bypass, that’s ALL I had to do to lose 137 pounds. Perhaps it is because of the absurd percentage of people who have the surgery, lose a lot of weight and then gain it back again.
WW has helped me with my big bugaboo: accountability. Yesterday’s meeting and my post yesterday were both serendipitously about tracking. We all pledged we would track our points for a week and report back on how we did. The idea is to track proactively, rather than after the fact. But if you splurge, track that, too.
One of my buddies in the meeting, Ann, has been working really hard on eating healthier, but she is so busy and devotes so much of her time to her work and traveling for work, that cooking is a challenge. So I said I would do some research and post some ideas for how to eat healthy for a week without cooking. The results weren’t too exciting, so I added in one weekend cooking day and the menu just exploded! Here goes:
Shop on Friday on the way home from work so you can cook early Saturday morning. On your cooking day make these easy crock pot, stove top and oven recipes. You can prep everything in about 1 hour. Most of the cooking will be done in 2 hours except for the crock pot chicken – but you can have that for dinner if you start by noon. If you make the soup first, you can sit down to a healthy lunch of soup and sandwich when you are finished. Then you just need to cool and store all the food in meal sized portions.
Dairy: Greek yogurt (Fage 0%); 2% cheddar cheese (or lower if you like it, I don’t); fat-free milk, 2% cottage cheese (unless you just like the non-fat kind); Parmesan cheese – freshly shaved is great; 1 dozen eggs
Produce: 1 large yellow onion, 1 bag of spinach, 1 perfect avocado, 1 bag of small, organic apples (plus all the stuff in the recipes that you don’t have – see links below); 1 head of cauliflower, 1 large bunch of broccoli, 2 medium size sweet potatoes, 1-2 perfect tomatoes, 1 box of blueberries
Meat & Freezer: 5 chicken breasts, skin less and boneless is easiest, but more expensive, 1 pack of Canadian bacon (Jones Farm has less chemicals); 1 bag of frozen shrimp *30 count size is a good size.) 1 loaf of Ezekiel Sprouted bread (I like the Sesame)
Grocery aisles: ziplock bags in a variety of sizes: sandwich, snack, quart; ziplock storage bowls in a 1/2 cup size for soup. (Get the 1.6 cup sizes if you eat more than that with your sandwich – the soup is very low points); Pacific organic chicken broth (all the others have MSG even if they don’t say so); Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats (if you aren’t buying the Trader Joe’s pre-cooked ones); 1 bag of brown rice, long grain – not pre-cooked, instant! (unless you are getting the pre-cooked, frozen from TJ’s); 1 box of whole wheat pasta. Read the label, if it doesn’t start with whole wheat and have lots of fiber, they are misleading you with the box/name); 1 clove of garlic, 2 lemons
Bakery: 1 pack Thomas’ whole grain english muffins;
Truly Non-Cook: if you aren’t going to cook AT ALL – make meals for the week without cooking by picking up a rotisserie chicken, some pre-cooked frozen shrimp and Trader Joe’s pre-cooked brown rice. Buy a selection of Pacific Organic soups or Tabatchnik frozen soups. Use protein bars and protein drinks in place of the boiled eggs.
Put the frozen shrimp in a bowl of water in the sink and let a drizzle of water run into it while you cook everything else. It will be thawed by the time you are ready to cook it.
Heat a large pot of salted water for the pasta and a small one for the eggs.
WW 1 Point Vegetable Soup (click for the link to the WW site) (6 points in the whole pot)
Boiled eggs: boil 5-7 eggs in salted water for breakfast, snacks and salads. (2 points per egg)
Roasted vegetables: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the cauliflower, broccoli or sweet potatoes into slices. Toss the vegetable in a gallon ziploc with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then salt and toss again. Spread out on foil lined baking sheets (spray with cooking oil spray) and bake for 45 minutes or until they start to turn brown which means they are getting caramelized. Let them cool and then pack up into 1/2 to 1 cup servings, depending on how much you want to eat. Cook all three, using separate pans. Don’t mix them, so you can create a variety or have a choice all week. (1 point in each batch – that’s from the olive oil)
When the vegetables are done, make the rice. Or if you have room in your oven, cook both at once to save time and energy:
Baked brown rice: rinse 2 cups of rice and put it in a covered casserole dish. Follow the label for cooking, but use chicken broth instead of water to add flavor and protein. Cook in the oven, covered for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Check at 1/2 an hour and stir. Add more broth if dry but not fully cooked. (1 Point per 1/4 cup)
Easy Crockpot Chicken: Wash the chicken breasts. Place in the crockpot on top of the chopped yellow onion. Pour 1 cup of chicken broth over the top. Season with salt and pepper or non-salt seasoning as desired, such as onion powder. This will be used in several meals, so you want the seasonings to be good, but not too distinctive. Cook on low for 4 hours or until pulls apart with a fork. When cool, bag in meal size portions with some of the broth to keep moist all week. You can experiment with adding in pre-cut veggies such as carrots or celery to get a different flavor next week. (30 points from the chicken, 1 point from the onion – there should be about 10 servings: 40 ounces – or 6 cups of cooked chicken)
Shrimp and WW Pasta: The water should be boiling for the pasta. Add the pasta and stir, bring back to a boil. Cook according to package directions. Heat a wok or large non-stick pan and when hot, add sesame oil (or canola or olive but sesame has a great flavor) and chopped garlic. When hot, add the thawed shrimp and saute until just done. Don’t overcook it, as you will be re-heating it all week. When finished, take off the heat and stir in juice of one lemon. Drain the pasta and let it cool. Toss the pasta in one teaspoon of olive oil to keep it from drying out all week. Store separately – so you can mix and match the shrimp and chicken with the rice, pasta and vegetables. (2 oz shrimp has 1 point for 2 shrimp – depending on the ww pasta selected, about 3 points for 1 cup)
Protein Power Oatmeal -check out previous post for instructions. (26 points for the whole batch – should be 8 servings)
Cottage Cheese Dip: Put one container of cottage cheese in the food processor with 1-3 teaspoons of brown sugar splenda (depending on how sweet you like it. Start with 1 and keep tasting). Blend until smooth and creamy, then put it back in the container. (one 8 oz container has 4 points for the 2%)
Avocado Spread: Peel avocado and remove the seed. Mash and squeeze on lemon juice and some salt. Mix well and cover tightly and put in the fridge immediately. (8 points for the whole avocado – should be at least 4 servings)
Menu Plan: you need to figure out your portions based on your points allowance, so you can eat every 3-4 hours all day.
Breakfast 1: Protein Power Oatmeal, glass of milk (1 cup fat free has 2 points)
Breakfast 2: Toasted english muffin with 1 slice of cheese, one slice of Canadian bacon, one slice of tomato, glass of milk (5 points for the sandwich)
Breakfast 3: Slice of toasted Ezekiel bread with avocado, glass of milk (bread has 1 point per slice)
Breakfast 4: Fruit and yogurt smoothie – stir in some protein powder for extra protein: 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup yogurt, 1/2 cup ff milk, 1/2 cup ice, 1 scoop protein. (1 pt for the banana, 1 pt for the greek yogurt, 1 pt for the milk, 3 pts for the protein powder = 6 point smoothie)
Snack 1: 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt with 1/4 cup blueberries and 8 almonds (3 points)
Snack 2: Apple with cottage cheese dip and 8 almonds (1 small apple has 1 point)
Snack 3: soup with greek yogurt and Parmesan cheese (Parmesan cheese has 1 pt for 1 tbsp)
Snack 4: any of the breakfast options will also work for snacks
Lunch and dinner options:
- chicken, pasta and choice of roast vegetable
- shrimp and pasta, choice of roast vegetable
- chicken and rice with vegetables
- Shrimp and rice with vegetables
- shrimp salad sandwich (just chop and add some mayo) (2 tsp reduced calorie mayo has 1 point)
- chicken salad sandwich
- Spinach salad with shrimp or chicken, add boiled eggs, sliced tomato, roasted vegetables, avocado and/or parmesan (measure as you make it and add up the points!)
- Add soup to any meal or have for a snack – stir in some greek yogurt to add protein and some parmesan cheese to add fat if eating alone