Thursday, June 21, 2007

Luigi's Sugar Free Italian Ice

While not calorie free, Luigi's Italian Ice is the perfect low-cal summer treat. You can only get a mixed box of Lemon and Cherry (though perhaps this is all that's available to me locally) but it doesn't matter. The lemon, because of the tartness, tastes nearly as good as a full out sugar ice, and I didn't miss the sugar in the Cherry flavored either (I had actually never tried the Cherry before, and was pleased to discover that I really liked it). These palette pleasing deserts come in at just 60 calories and are fat free.

Lean Cuisine's Chicken Pecan

I'm always a little leery when it comes to chicken dishes prepared by someone else- I HATE grizzle. But I'm pleased to say that my Chicken Pecan contained great pieces of chicken as well as what I would call a "restaurant quality sauce". The initial smell of the sauce is a little strange (almost burnt) but I think this is because of the pecans. The pecans are not overwhelming, and in fact are chopped up quite small so they blend in pretty well with the brown rice the chicken comes with. If you don't like nuts, you'll want to pass on this dish- there's no way to pick them out. Normally I don't like them, but like I mentioned, they blend in well with the thicker texture of the brown rice, so it's almost most like eating a wild rice dish.

I would definitely recommend this dish.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

How'd We Do It?

Now that my husband and I have lost weight, people are always asking us how. I signed up for and we followed the Type 2 Diabetes diet because it runs in both our families and that's what was suggested for us. We started out eating between 350-400 calories per meal plus 2 100 calorie snacks. The great thing about Ediets is that they give you a ton of different diets to follow (Suzanna Somers, name it) so if you aren't happy with one, you can try out another. They give you your menus for the week and a shopping list so you know exactly (I mean exactly- down to the teaspoon) what you need to buy at the store. I had no clue as to what serving sizes were, and was completely surprised at how much overeating we'd actually been doing. The key is get a good scale (I recommend a digital one over any other type because it's more exact) and really measure everything out. Eventually you'll be able to know by sight how much a serving is, but this is a great way to learn. For example, I always assumed that a chicken breast was pretty much a serving- but it's actually almost two depending on how big the breast is (I've weighed some to be 8 ozs- twice the recommended serving of 4 oz).

Am I an expert on weight loss? Uh uh. But this program worked for me and my husband and made it easy for us to learn (no- it wasn't easy being hungry in the beginning, but you've got to stick to the plan and it will work!). I couldn't have done it on my own. So if you need help check out ediets. It's only $15 a month, and they ask you to sign up for three months. You can cancel before that, but they'll charge you an early cancellation fee (mostly because I think it's there way of encouraging you to stick with it). They also have forums for support and staff that you can contact via instant message should you have questions or need advice. The more you put into it, they more you'll get out of it, and the more weight you'll lose.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Healthier Spaghetti

I *heart* pasta- it's one of my favorite things to eat. When the husband and I first started our life style change, our pasta intake was limited to an ounce of dry pasta (about 2 ozs cooked). It was horribly depressing, so we didn't eat pasta that often. But as our calorie intake was slowly increased, we now eat the 2 oz normal serving size, but we only eat the healthier pasta from Barilla (in the yellow box). It has extra protein, fiber and omega 3 fatty acids- all of which add up to a longer lasting, more filling meal. I also make "mini meatballs" (which is really 93% lean ground turkey with just a bit of breadcrumbs sprinkled across the top right after throwing it in the non-stick skillet, along with garlic, garlic powder, salt and paper to taste- then just mix it in the pan as you cook it). I no longer use store bought sauce- I use diced tomatoes, add some water and season that to taste with garlic, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. We've been eating pasta this way for so long, I didn't even realize that I no longer even like store bought sauce until I made dinner with it one night for the in-laws and was completely disgusted.

So- pasta 200 calories
serving of meat (4 oz): 110, breadcrumbs- 50 or so calories-
"sauce": @50 calories

Still enough room for salad!!

Need a Pizza Fix?

Because I'm still kind of trying to lose weight (but really just need to get in shape), I try to keep my meals under 500 calories and usually keep breakfast and lunch around 400. But on occasion, we do need an easy meal, or just a meal that feels "fatty" but really is pretty healthy. I love pizza, but I've yet to try a convenience, dieter's pizza that I like (the sauce always tastes funny to me). So when our family started getting Schwann's delivery's we decided to try the Spinach and Mushroom pizza. It's a white pizza, so no funky sauce and a 1/4 of the pie is only 310 calories. That's a good 6 x 5 inch piece, which means you can have either a salad with low cal dressing, or if you really need it...another 1/8 of a piece. You can't beat it. Plus, it's loaded with spinach which is very healthy for you.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Morningstar "Sausage" Links and Patties

I love sausage. Real, fatty sausage- especially with french toast and maple syrup (which comes in Sugar Free now, BTW). But, obviously I can't eat it everyday, or even really once a week. So, the husband and I decided to try out the veggie sausage.

The texture does take some getting used to, and I recommend using the patties for things like sandwiches and the links for pairing with eggs or other breakfast goody. The flavor is pretty good too, and spluring a bit to eat a fried egg sandwich (light butter- one egg) I threw a patty into it and couldn't tell the difference. Definitely recommended!

Morningstar Veggie Bites

While on our lifestyle change, I found myself struggling with breakfast foods. Cereal, no matter how much fiber it has, lasts like an hour in my system. I can't stand oatmeal, and breakfast bars don't often last long either. My tolerance for eggs is limited (there's only so many days in a row I can scramble some eggs before they start to make me nauseous at the thought of them), so I started looking into vegetarian alternatives. It was then that I discovered Morningstar's Veggie Bites. They look something like chicken nuggets on the outside, but there are many different flavors and fillings. I cautiously bought a box and found, to my delight, that they're really good. I particularly enjoy the Country Scramble, which contains "eggs" and "sausage" along with other chopped up veggies. I also like the Eggs Florentine (but if you don't like spinach, you may want to try another flavor). The only one I'm not crazy about is the Spinach and Artichoke, because I'm not a huge artichoke person. But, they were ok, and I finished the box anyway. The only flavor I haven't tried is Broccoli and Cheddar, which I'm sure is good, but wasn't breakfast-y enough for me.

The serving size is 3 for 160 calories, but I usually eat four and am pretty well set for a few hours. Pair them with a piece of fruit, and you've got a great healthy, low cal breakfast.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Lean Cuisine's Butternut Squash Ravioli

While out to dinner one night with friends, I took a chance and ordered a Butternut Squash Ravioli that I've had a hankering for ever since. So when I saw Lean Cuisine's new Butternut Squash Ravioli offering, I decided to try it and see. It could have very easily been a good idea gone wrong, but I was pleasantly surprised. It's really good. I'm not crazy about the nuts in the sauce, but they're easy enough to avoid. But the ravioli is tasty and savory. My only complaint- there's not enough!

Lean Cuisine Panini's

I was never much for melted cheese sandwiches, but I *heart* panini's. Panera makes a fabulous Turkey and *ahem* bacon that's probably not so figure friendly. But Lean Cuisine recently came out with a line of Panini's that cook up pretty well in your microwave and will even get toasted a little (be careful not to overcook, or the bread will be inedible where it burns). Favorite flavors: Chicken Club panini (yeah bacon) and the Southwest Style Chicken Panini which has got just enough spice. It's satisfying and yummy to boot. They are 320 and 280 calories respectively.

I haven't tried the Chicken, Spinach and Mushroom (the husband ate it before I could, but said it was good), or the Steak, Cheddar and Mushroom, but I'm sure they won't disappoint.

100 Calorie Snack Packs- Ya Gotta Love 'Em

I love snacks- Doritoes especially. With envy, as we were driving through small NY town to visit my in-laws, I saw a gang of 4 teens walking. One of the girls, probably 16-ish, stick thin, was carrying an open bag of Cool Ranch Doritoes, just munching along. With a sigh, I remembered those days of being able to polish off whatever I brought into my bottemless pit which never, ever stuck to my ribs, butt or thighs. But now, two kids later and 60+ pounds gained and then 40+ lost (which puts me at my ideal weight for my height), I know those days are far gone. So, I get my fix with Doritoes 100 Calorie packs. Yes, they are yummy, and yes, I do hog them and tell my skinny kids they can have the real thing (which are taunting me from the snack cabinet as I write). Might as well enjoy them while they can- but if you've got to have the Doritoes, get the snack packs. They're worth every cheezy morsel.

Lean Cuisine's Chicken Fried Rice

I've gotten this convenience meal a few times now and always forget that I have a problem with it. It's not in the flavor (a lite soy sauce type flavor), or the vegetables (peas and carrots), it's with the chicken. Nearly every single piece has some sort of grizzle in it, which makes me want to puke. I'd rather have processed rib meat that's free of any hidden fat.

Could just be my bad luck. I've had this happen with other frozen dinners, but not usually every time. It's too bad, because it does taste good, but all but one piece of chicken had some sort of nasty fat in it.

Final Verdict: Taste is good, but proceed with caution. If you've had a similar experience with this product, leave a comment!

Welcome to the Dieter's Review Guide

This blog isn't about dieting, "get skinny quick" products or anything that's probably too good to be true. Instead, we're focusing on review products that people eat everyday. Frozen convenience foods, snack bars, 100 Calorie Packs, etc. On occasion, we'll even bring you recipes. Maybe you've been dying to tryout Weight Watcher's Chicken Sante Fe, but just aren't sure you'll like it. Well, check here before you buy. We'll give an honest review and let you know if it's worth purchasing.