Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hi I’m Skinny Sticks – Multi-Grain Sweet Onion

I stumbled upon a fabulous find out of all places: Bed Bath & Beyond.  Hi I’m Skinny Sticks – Multi-Grain Sweet Onion reminded me of the apple straws I’m a huge fan of so I made sure to pick up the sweet onion variety. Particularly the fact that it was sweet onion was a huge bonus because I absolutely love the flavor in crispy snacks.

The straws themselves are very much like apple straws. If you haven’t had those, then they’re along the lines of French fries (in shape) but are light, airy and crispy. I’d say they’re a healthier take on potato sticks. They have a sweet onion flavoring to them, but it was mild and not overwhelming. The multi-grain also wasn’t overpowering on the palette, which helped make them quite enjoyable. They’ve got the natural lightness of baked chips and are not as heavy as regular fried potato chips. I enjoyed these just as a simple snack, as well as alongside a sandwich.

A 28g serving (roughly 34 sticks) is 120 calories or 3 points plus values.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ruffles Oven Baked Cheddar & Sour Cream Chips

While grocery shopping I found a pack of Ruffles Oven Baked Cheddar & Sour Cream single serve potato chips. Outside of single servings the flavor is what truly pulled me in and caused me to pull the box off the shelf. Cheddar Sour Cream potato chips are one of my favorite flavor combos and the fact these were baked were a winner in my book. I typically don’t buy the regular full sized bags of baked chips because there are some things I rather in single serving containers.

They’re a great combo paired with a sandwich. The chips themselves have ridges which give it a nice texture.  They’re not light and airy like some other baked chips/crisps – these definitely have that potato chip vibe to them. Of course since they’re oven baked, they’re not crunchy crispy like fried chips but they do the trick. They’re crunchy, flavorful and really delicious. There is a lot of flavoring on these where it’ll leave your fingertips just slightly coated in orange cheddar sour creamy goodness.

I found these I the chip aisle near the single serve “school snack” (i.e. the single serve multi-pack chips, cookies, etc.) section in my grocery store.

The single serve package is 130 calories or 4 points plus values.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Trader Joe’s Caramel Corn

I purchased a bag of Trader Joe’s Caramel Corn which feels like many moons ago. I love caramel corn, so I tucked it away until I could feel comfortable with an open bag in the house.

When I think of caramel corn I immediately think of Poppycock which is overpoweringly sweet but decadent. I was pleased to find an alternative which is a slightly ‘lighter” option. A ½ cup of Poppycock is 160 calories (which I have to point out also includes nuts mixed up with the popcorn and caramel coating). The Trader Joe’s caramel corn is a nice, crunchy caramel corn, but it’s not sickeningly sweet.  Admittedly it can get overbearing on the sweet tooth if you have more than a serving. The caramel coating isn’t as thick as some of the other caramel corns on the market – but it definitely does the job. If you’re a fan of caramel corn with nuts included in the mix, this may not entirely tickle your fancy. If you don’t mind it sans nuts (or even prefer it that way) this is a winner. I quite enjoyed this because it gave me the crunch and the sweet that I was looking for while leaving me satisfied with a serving size.

A serving is 1 oz (roughly ¾ cup) which is 120 calories or 3 points plus values.

LUNA Protein Chocolate Coconut Almond

LUNA came out with a few new flavors in their protein line, one being LUNA Protein Chocolate Coconut Almond and I was gracious enough to receive a sample of both to put to the test.  I typically have protein bars whenever I’m in the mood for either a snack (but a higher protein snack) or if I need something quick after a workout. One of the good things with these bars, is that each LUNA bar is gluten free, has 12 grams of protein and has 4 core vitamins: folic acid, calcium, vitamin d and iron.

The bars themselves have a nice and noticeable coconut and almond flavor. I find with each bite one flavor (alternating between the two) becomes more prominent over the other. There are decent chunks of almonds throughout the bar. The chocolate coating gives it a bit of a healthier candy bar vibe. If you closed your eyes you might be able to trick yourself into thinking it was a healthier alternative on an Almond Joy. I will say, this does have a mild protein bar aftertaste, but it’s honestly not that bad nor is it as overwhelming as some of the other protein bars I have tried. The flavor didn’t linger – it was noticeable as I was almost done chewing and the overall aftertaste went away shortly after eating it.

A bar is 180 calories or 5 points plus values.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Thirsty Thursday – Weight Watchers edition!

This is what I call my rendition of “Thirsty Thursday” (or really Thirsty Monday-Friday).  I drink like a fish (water beverages that is) and it definitely helps in keeping me equally hydrated.

Since I’ve started my job 3-weeks ago, in the morning when I head to work, I head into the office with a large ice coffee and a 23.7 ounce bottle of water. Depending on the day I bring in a 33.8 ounce flavored water OR a 23 ounce Diet Arizona iced tea. I then fill up my Weight Watchers water bottle which holds 24 ounces of water at the water bubbler.

It’s truly a beverage party in my cubical … and once my drinks are done, I then head to the water bubbler and refill my Weight Watchers mg and my plastic water bottle (which I put Crystal Light flavoring in).  This routine pretty much ensures I get in over a gallon of water a day (this being outside of what I drink at home and out of work). I find getting in a ton of water in at work is far easier Monday-Friday and Saturday-Sunday I definitely have to remind myself to drink more.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Emerald Cocoa Roast Almonds – Dark Chocolate

I have heard about the amazingness that is Emerald’s flavored roasted almonds but I was having the hardest time finding them (because I was initially looking for the multiple serving containers). I finally stumbled upon flavored 100 calorie packs at a grocery store so I grabbed the Emerald Cocoa Roast Almonds – Dark Chocolate. I picked them up because I was trying to find healthier snacking alternatives.

I have to admit I was surprised with the amount of almonds in the package. I think part of that was due to the general “myth” that nuts are good for you but you only get like 3 nuts for so many calories/points. Each almond is coated in a really delicious dark chocolate coating (not chocolate-chocolate, but a dark chocolate cocoa powder) which give that nice chocolaty flavor that satisfies, yet leaves you not looking for more. They’re perfect paired alongside a yogurt, and even an apple.

A serving is one of the 100 calorie packs, which are 100 calories or 3 points plus values.

DiGiorno Pizzeria! Italian Style Meat Trio Pizza

DiGiorno has been one of my favorite frozen pizza brands for along time. Although before they came out with their Pizzeria! line I hadn’t purchased their products in a while.  The nutrition information and serving size were a deterrent although the Pizzeria! line truly made having delicious frozen pizza a lot easier. DiGiorno Pizzeria! Italian Style Meat Trio Pizza is one of the last Pizzeria! edition pizzas that I hadn’t tried (outside of the cheese).

A couple weeks ago when my brother and sister-in-law were over and I needed a quick dinner option, so I popped this pizza in the oven.

The pizza itself has a classic mildly fluffy pizza crust which is a step below rising crust and a few steps above thin crust. It’s paired up against a delicious sauce- that is bold, flavorful and overall just a perfect pizza sauce. The pie is generously topped with a blend of sausage, pepperoni and genoa salami. It’s definitely a meat lover pizza fans ideal frozen pizza. This was a hit with all and will definitely be a choice I will repurchase in the future.

A serving is ¼ of the pizza, which is 380 calories or 10 points plus values.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Relearning a Lesson in Resisting Temptation

I've learned recently that I haven’t been dealing with temptation well. I think this goes hand in hand with the fact that I've been kind of floating around in the abyss of losing/gaining/maintaining and haven't really put much thought into it. There are times where I have boldly turned something down because it wasn't worth it to me, but there have been other times where I've just gone along with the crowd merely because.

Its instances like that ... that after a while they add up and they start to make you frayed at the edges. I've never given up on myself, but I have been rather lax in regards to my eating and exercise regimen. Granted, my physical level isn't where it used to be due to dealing with a shoulder injury as well as dealing with the abdominal issues I have to keep in the back of my mind due to the numerous hernia surgeries and general surgeries I have had. I push myself while exercising but I’ve learned to be mindful of my body and if something doesn’t feel right (and not because it’s new) but if it straight up HURTS relax a little. But my eating is something that I control, no one else does ... although I have been letting outside influences sway my judgment and food choices.

I haven’t gotten the weight I gained from a switch in medication off and that just goes to show what I’m doing isn’t working. And going up and down on top of that initial gain is making me feel so sluggish, bloated and icky. So it’s time for the craziness and the madness to end.

During my Weight Watchers meeting on Thursday the topic was surrounding on the question “Is it Worth It?” There was a page inside the weekly that showed a flow chart surrounding the general functions that go on in life where we can have to make a decision if something is worth it to us or not. Birthday parties, work celebrations, holidays, etc. There's always a means for food, for celebration and food pushers trying to get you to eat the dish they “prepared specifically for you”. At one time I had a backup plan for all parties - 1) bring something with me if it was an event food can be brought to, 2) plan as much as possible, 3) plan for an indulgence that I knew I may want and 4) be aware, be conscious and be in the moment.  Lately those plans have gone somewhat out the window and I've what I call “willy-nillied it”. And willy-nillying things just aren’t working anymore.

The meeting topic and the general conversation from the members in my meeting really got me thinking. But what really struck me was a fellow member saying something along the lines of "People bring junk into work all the time and it's not worth it to me if it's not the junk I like.” & “Why eat a cookie, just because it's a cookie? Have a cookie if it's your favorite, you want it and you plan for it." It struck me because I've been finding I've been in that that it's a cookie, eat it mindset and it's not helping me. It's pushing me AWAY from my goal and not bringing me closer to it.

Why eat something that isn't worth it just for the sake of eating it? It's madness! And it is so much easier on my mind and my body if I say no the first time. A bad day can quickly turn into a bad week ... then possibly a bad month. It can spiral and spiral quickly at that. At the end of the day I need to realize that it's food. Food is everywhere. Food will ALWAYS be everywhere. But I need to decide beforehand what is worth it to eat, what isn't and plan accordingly for the things I WANT. Food should be an enjoyable experience because if I'm satisfied with what I'm eating, I won't go back.  That's the key to this whole game: satisfaction. Eating "just because" doesn't satisfy but eating something that I truly want does satisfy and I can have a small piece or a serving size and I'm happy and content.

And I needed this meeting to help switch that light bulb off on my head. It's gone off in years prior but sometimes we truly need to change the light bulb after it's started to flicker.

I don't look at this lesson as a failure, because nothing in life is a failure. Everything happens for a reason and everything happens designed to help us learn a lesson from it. I've learned that I strive with structure, I strive when I allow myself to have a treat that I REALLY want, but when I give myself too much slack I can sometimes take advantage of it because the old habits have a chance to start to creep back. I've also relearned that I'm a priority and that I need to make sure that I'm consciously aware of all situations I put myself in. If it's not jotted down in my tracker, it shouldn't be going anywhere near my mouth. Because if you bite it, you write it and sometimes I've honestly forgot or pulled a "oh I'll do it later" and when later rolls around it's so far gone from my memory that I can't even tell you that I did have the item.

So after this mind awakening Thursday meeting ….I arrived to work Friday morning with my meals and snacks for the day packed in my lunch bag (I’m still getting used to my new routine as I’d been unemployed before this position). My dinner was pre-tracked and ready for me to cook when I got home. But I received an e-mail at 8am saying "I feel like pizza today pizza will be brought in for lunch for everyone." My immediate reaction was semi-panic. NOOO!! I planned my day already! Pizza isn't part of that day! If this happened last week I probably would’ve put my lunch bag back in the fridge and had the pizza. But this week I felt mindfully strong, but I was also aware of how less than stellar I was feeling.

So, what did I do during lunch when there were 8 boxes of pizza sitting behind me? I ate my lunch as I planned and felt proud of myself for resisting temptation. The pizza my coworkers walked by with didn't even sway me, or plant a seed in my head that said “have a smaller slice.” I stuck to my guns and I happily enjoyed my hamburger with salad and for dessert some watermelon and pineapple. I felt good. I felt proud. And I was truly on cloud 9 because it was what I needed to feel to know that I can resist temptation!  And what makes this that much more of a feat? A tray of coconut walnut brownies were brought in after the pizza ... and those brownies were set down RIGHT in front of me ... and I didn't even bat an eye at them.

Talk about one big hour’s worth of Non-Scale Victories!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Skinnygirl Banana Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Nutrition Bar

I had been on the lookout for these new Skinnygirl Banana Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Nutrition Bars but continued to come up empty handed … that being because I was looking in the wrong section! Incase you’re on the lookout for these … they will be in the healthcare nutrition supplement section of Target. I’m not positive if these are sold elsewhere, but I’ve only purchased them at Target stores.

I enjoy snack bars but sometimes I am on the lookout for a bar that’s going to give me a little more bang for my buck (meaning nutrition and protein wise).  I haven’t tried any Skinny Girl products in the past so I wasn’t necessarily drawn to the brand itself … but I was drawn to the flavor of the bar. I’ll be honest; I’m a sucker for banana flavored items, particularly banana oatmeal. After cracking the bar open I have to say … this bar is what I would describe as “money.” It’s flavorful – oatmeal banana and the dark chocolate is smooth, slightly sweet and really brings the whole thing together and knocks it out of the park. I’m not the biggest dark chocolate fan but it accompanies all flavorings fabulously. Definitely a fan and these get 2 thumbs up from me.

These are slightly pricey, yet comparable in line with other nutrition/protein bars on the market. They sell for $5.99 a box at Target.

A serving is 150 calories and 4 points plus values.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Target Haul: New Swim Suit!

Years ago when I walked into a clothing store at the end of winter/beginning of spring and would sigh. Swimsuits? Get out of here! Living in New England spring can be sprung, but it can still snow the next day. The weather was never really an issue for me, but it was the fact when I was overweight I never wanted to be caught dead in a swimsuit. I never wanted to go ANYWHERE near the water (and not just because I can’t swim) because I never wanted to face the reality that I was extremely overweight. I didn’t want people to look at me and whisper things … I just didn’t want to be uncomfortable. So for years, I wore big baggy stretch waist shorts and big ole t-shirts. I was covered up as much as possible so I could “hide myself”.

As I started to lose weight I began to develop self confidence. I started to love myself and best of all I started to not care what other people thought about me. I’ve put in a lot of work to feel and physically look the way I do today …  so I’m gonna do whatever it takes to make me feel happy/proud. Last year I bought myself my first 2-piece bathing suit. It was a tankini with a pair of matching black shorts.

About a week or so ago, I was walking through Target and noticed these striped blue and white tankini tops and I was instantly attracted to it. Unfortunately they didn’t have my size in the blue and white so I opted for the red and white. It’s very “sailor-ish” and I absolutely LOVE it. I found a pair of matching bottoms which are very tight blue shorts. Definitely something last year I probably would’ve shied away from even looking at. But this year it went right into my cart, with me to checkout and home with me to tuck away for summer …or perhaps for my trip to Florida at the end of the month!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Trader Joe’s Grilled Chicken Strips with Teriyaki Sauce

I have been trying to find this particular teriyaki chicken at Trader Joe’s, but had come up empty handed for a long time ... that is until a couple weeks ago when I got my hands on this! The Trader Joe’s Grilled Chicken Strips with Teriyaki Sauce is sold in the refrigerated/prepared food section of Trader Joe’s.

I have tried some of the other various flavors of marinated chicken strips/breast … but this has to be my favorite so far. I’m a fan of teriyaki flavoring in general and this is just a winner because the flavors there and it’s noticeable.  Admittedly if you’re not a fan of teriyaki flavor (that slightly sweet barbecued flavor) then you wouldn’t find this enjoyable. The chicken is of good quality and is real chicken … none of that rib meat stuff that can be seen in other prepared/frozen chicken selections at the grocery store. There is not much else to say about this dish other than its absolutely delicious! The chicken is grilled to perfection, without tasting burnt or too “smoky”. The chicken is moist, juicy, and above all flavorful. The teriyaki flavoring is perfect and not too tangy or sweet. It is one of the best flavored prepared teriyaki chickens I have had … and I enjoyed it so much I had it for lunch for 3-days in a row.

A serving (3 ounces) is 120 calories or 3 points plus values.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Edy’s Slow Churned Coffee & Cookies Delight

tends to be my “go to” brand of choice when it comes to ice cream in half gallon containers. I noticed a new limited edition bakery treats flavor so I picked up the Edy’s Slow Churned Coffee & Cookies Delight.

I’m a big coffee fan … that is coffee the beverage, but I am known to enjoy an occasional coffee flavored ice cream. The flavor just struck my fancy, particularly with the description “coffee light ice cream with chocolaty covered cookie pieces”. Admittedly I had a “coffee and cookies?!” moment and I found it to be a match made in dessert heaven. Taste wise, it’s very much a coffee flavored ice cream … so if you’re not a fan of coffee or coffee ice cream, then this won’t be satisfying. The chocolaty covered cookie pieces aren’t as prominent in the ice cream as I’ve seen pretzels/cookies in other flavors. My final verdict? It is a good ice cream, you certainly get the bang for your calorie buck  and it satisfies the sweet tooth… but it’s not the best ice cream I’ve ever had. It’s decent, but not mind blowing fabulous.

A ½ cup serving is 110 calories or 3 points plus values.