Saturday, May 31, 2014

Trader Joe's Three Layer Hummus

I grew up in an area where there is a pretty strong Mediterranean presence. Mediterranean foods have been a staple in my "diet" from a young age. Growing up I always had traditional hummus ... and it wasn't until my 20's that I stepped outside the proverbial box and tried flavored hummuses.

Within the last year I've been trying the different flavored hummus varieties available at Trader Joe's. Deciding it was time to try something new I picked up a container of the Trader Joe's Three Layer Hummus and I am so glad I did (I've repurchased it twice already).  The hummus is a unique blend of three hummus flavors, which create quite a worldly experience on the taste buds.

The bottom layer is zesty cilantro hummus, the middle layer is your traditional hummus and the top layer is the classic roasted red pepper hummus. Admittedly the thing that caused me from being hesitant to purchase this for so long was the zesty cilantro hummus. Cilantro is one of those flavor categories that I'm not the biggest fan of ... but the cilantro flavor isn't overwhelming and the mild zip that the zesty portion provides is delightful. The mildly spicy cilantro hummus paired against the traditional helps bring it down a notch, more than likely due to the natural creaminess of it. The roasted red pepper is a nice blanket over the flavors, which ties them all together so well.

I've enjoyed this hummus so much, I've been incorporating it into any dish/snack I can. One of my favorite ways to have this hummus is on a sandwich alongside either deli chicken or boiled ham. It’s also a fabulous addition alongside a salad with grilled chicken or even a hamburger.  The only downside is this hummus (as well as almost all products from Trader Joe's) it doesn't have a very long shelf life, but if you're able to eat it before the expiration date it's well worth the money.

A serving is 2 tablespoons, which is 30 calories or 1 points plus values.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Keebler S'Mores Peanut Butter

I ran into the grocery store on my lunch break one day and while trying to get in and out, a yellow package caught my attention. Since yellow is my favorite color, I turned to see whatever it might be ... and that's when the new Keebler S'Mores Peanut Butter cookies jumped into my shopping cart.  Admittedly they ended up in there before I even had a chance to look at the nutrition facts.

Storing them away in the cabinet, I finally pulled them out a couple weeks ago to give them a try. Each package contains 8 cookies, which are a little larger than your average cookie. They're lighter in texture and in between a crunchy and soft texture. The middle of the cookie is filled with a very light and airy peanut butter. The combination of cookie, peanut butter and chocolate is a bit reminiscent of a s'mores but truthfully not a dead ringer for the simple dessert.  These are very sweet ... and I found a single cookie was merely all I could handle.

If you're not a peanut butter cookie fan, there is also an original flavor available - where instead of peanut butter it's a marshmallow (fluff/crème) in the center.

Each cookie is 130 calories or 3 points plus values.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Al Fresco Gourmet Chicken Grillers Sweet Italian Style Patties

Al Fresco is one of those brands that I continue to purchase and repurchase. The brand has made it easy and a no-brainer when it comes to purchasing packaged sausage product at the grocery store. Needless to say when I spotted some new Al Fresco Gourmet Chicken Grillers in Sweet Italian Style Patties in the grocery store freezer section, I had to pick up a box.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect ... but I thought perhaps it'd be like their refrigerated, raw sausage patties just in a convenient frozen variety.  I haven't tried the raw variety, but I can say these are very much like a frozen hamburger patty, just a chicken sausage version. Since these are Sweet Italian, there isn't a big bold flavor associated with it ... just that classic Sweet Italian flavor that makes these mild on the spectrum of flavor. Although for those with adventurous taste palettes, there is a buffalo & bleu cheese and a caramelized onion variety available.

I simply take a few patties out of the freezer and pop them onto a non-stick frying pan. Cooking on each side defrosts them, cooks them through and leaves them juicy and delicious. I have yet to try these outside on the gas grill but I'd recommend throwing these on the grill frozen as they may begin to fall apart and/or stick if put on defrosted.

So far, I’ve really enjoyed these. They’re a nice change up from your average hamburger or even turkey burger. They’re also a great way to change up breakfast by tossing one of these patties, cut up and incorporating it either into an omelet or even with scrambled eggs.

Each patty is 140 calories or 4 points plus (or you can have 2 patties for 280 calories or 7 points plus values).

Evol Lean & Fit Egg White Kale, Roasted Tomato & Goat Cheese Multi-Grain Flatbread

While shopping at the wonderland that is Target I noticed a new product in their grocery freezer shelves. I've tried a few of Evol brand products and have been pleased with them so far ... so I decided to give the Evol Lean & Fit Egg White Kale, Roasted Tomato & Goat Cheese breakfast sandwich a try.

I admit I was hesitant at first because I was thinking ... I'm not the biggest fan of kale and goat cheese can be overwhelming. But I "bit the bullet" so to speak and picked up a sandwich to give it a go. After heating it up and taking a bite ... I have to say I'm pretty glad I did.  The flavors in this sandwich blend together wonderfully and make it a delicious taste bud awakening sandwich.

There's no need for added salt, pepper, ketchup (if you're into that sort of thing) or hot sauce ... it's perfectly delightful on its own.  The kale is mild and not overwhelming; the goat cheese gives it that cheesy flavor without being too zippy and the tomato helps bring it home. Not only is it delicious, it's convenient. A trip into the microwave, the hardest part is eating it without scalding your mouth.

Each sandwich is 160 calories or 4 points plus values.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Trader Joe’s Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Making a quick Trader Joe’s run to pick up only a few things … I spotted a new delicious looking pie in the baked goods section.  After that discovery, and a quick check of the nutrition facts Trader Joe’s Strawberry Rhubarb Pie entered my shopping basket to come with me to the checkout.

Admittedly I have never had strawberry rhubarb pie in the past. Growing up my family always had the staple apple, pumpkin and the occasional blueberry pies.  The look of the pie was swaying enough … and after having a slice, I have to say it’s a winning pie. If this pie were in a pie contest, I’d give it the first place ribbon. It’s got a deliciously, soft, flaky crust. The filling has noticeable pieces of strawberry and rhubarb in it. It’s mildly sweet … sweet enough to enjoy and find refreshing, but not so sweet it’s a turnoff.  I find the pie itself is delicious and in its own way refreshing. It’s particularly refreshing after having set a slice in the refrigerator to get nice and cool.

If you dissect your food as you eat it, the color of the rhubarb pieces in the pie may possibly make you weary (they come across as lightly brown/grayish) … but if you remind yourself it’s rhubarb then it makes it easier. I found this to be an exceptional pie and those who shared a slice with me, were equally pleased.

The pie is $6.99 and well worth every penny. I want to say this is a new seasonal treat as this is the first time I have seen it at my local Trader Joe’s.

Each serving (1/6th of the pie) is 170 calories or 5 points plus values.

Trader Joe's S'Mores Frozen Sandwiches

I'm a frequent shopper of Trader Joe's ... and there are many products I see from time to time but have passed up for one reason or another. Evidently I had a very soft spot in my heart this past weekend because I finally picked up a box of the Trader Joe's S'Mores Frozen Sandwiches.

What sold me on these ice cream sandwiches was not only the picture on the box, but the description: "Graham crackers with marshmallow-chocolate swirl gelato & milk chocolate flakes." Heaven! S'mores are one the most genius desserts known to man (and so simple!) … plus ice cream always finds a way into my heart from time to time.  Ideally a combination of the two, I felt would be a match to write books about.

I took a sandwich out of the freezer for dessert one day and passed a sandwich around to everyone who wanted one. Unfortunately ... these just didn't do anything for me.  The marshmallow flavor wasn't really there for me. The chocolate was, in every bite, and the graham cracker was slightly there ... but this just didn't scream "s'mores" to me.  It was evident it was gelato as it wasn’t isn’t as hard as traditional ice cream … but it was just a bit of a miss and not worth the calories/points associated with them.  The general consensus around these throughout the house was that they're alright ... but nothing to brag about. Personally, I find Skinny Cow's are tastier than these.  I wasn't a fan ... and I certainly won't be repurchasing these.

Each ice cream sandwich is 250 calories or 7 points plus values.

Funley's Super Crackers Pizza N' Stuff

 I'm always on the lookout for a snack that's going to satisfy a craving (whether it's for a particular flavor or even a crunch) so when I spotted these Funley's Super Crackers in Pizza N' Stuff I decided to pick up a box. Something that looks like a Cheez-It, has pizza in the name and was only 90 calories ... I felt I hit a gold mine.

I was in the mood for something lower in points (for those of us following Weight Watchers) so I grabbed a bag to enjoy. I ate a few crisps and was completely ... grossed out. The crackers had no real flavor to them. Pizza? What pizza? These reminded me of flavorless Cheese Nips/Cheez-Its that are burnt. There was no cheddar flavor, no sauce, no pizza, no nothing ... just a very distinct burnt cracker flavor to them.

I ended up passing the box off to my second cousins son who didn't mind the flavor. I've heard the stuffing flavor from this brand is good ... but I was not a fan of the pizza in the least bit. All in all, it was a bummer because if these were good they'd have been a perfect little snack to turn to when in need of a pizza-licious crunch. But ... alas, the quest shall continue.

Each pack is 90 calories or 2 points plus values.

Dannon Light & Fit Greek Citrus Blend

I have created a "strong bond" between myself and Dannon Light & Fit Greek Yogurt. So much that whenever I see a new flavor pop up on grocery store shelves, I have to give it a try ... even if the flavor is one that I may be slightly hesitant on. And then in walked ... Dannon Light & Fit Greek Citrus Blend yogurt.

I've tried key lime, orange and lemon Greek yogurts and have been pleasantly surprised. Granted, some of the flavors may not be my "holy grail" Greek yogurts but they're a nice switch up on the palette. So how bad could a citrus blend be? I was anticipating something between the lines of a slightly sweet key lime and a mildly sour lemon. What I ended up with was a complete ballpark away from what I imagined in my mind.

This yogurt is SO incredibly sour; my jaw was tightening as I was trying to eat it. It made my face pucker and I physically shuddered a time or two. It's sour ... and not a Greek yogurt tart, like chewing on a few lemons and limes sour. I enjoy a tart lemon beverage or dessert from time to time ... but I do have my limits on what is enjoyable and what is just painful. And this definitely ends up in the just painful category.

I disliked these so much the yogurt I was eating PLUS the 3 that were not open yet all found a new home in the garbage pale.  I'm not one who necessarily likes to waste food ... but I'm also not one to make people a guinea pig either. I find when you start a sentence off with "I didn't like these, perhaps you will..." makes people think you're secretly trying to poison them.

If you're brave, each container is 80 calories or 2 points plus values. As of now these are limited edition and only available at Target locations.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Switching things up: Paper tracking edition

A few days before I went away on vacation (the end of April) I decided to switch things up to help me be more honest with my tracking but also to shake things up. I’ve been an etools tracker my entire “Weight Watchers career”. I find it’s easy, it’s always accessible (from computer or my phone) and I was just what I got used to. Everyone has their own means of tracking that works for them and for a long time etools tracking was working for me. That is until I started to get a little lax with my meal planning and was eating the same thing more often than not. And also veering away from what I had planned to eat because my weekly “menu” isn’t as visible online. By that I mean I have to go through each day, individually, to see what I ate on a certain day … whereas I find on paper it’s a few flicks of the wrist and I can see my entire week ... my entire month.

Paper tracking was a little foreign to me at first. But that thought process only lasted 2 days … and then it was normal. I left my tracker out on the countertop while I was on vacation so if I wanted something to eat, I had to write it down first. Now that I’m home it’s on my desk while I’m home and when I leave or go to work it’s tucked away in my purse.  I am sticking to pre-tracking at a minimum my breakfast and lunch – typically I know what I’m having for dinner so I jot those down as well.

What I find I’ve been enjoying the most about paper tracking is it’s really made me more aware of my food choices. It’s made me think twice about if I want something because I have to go write it down first (because otherwise I’m one of those eat it and forget it because your brain ran off on a siesta people). I also like that it’s made my food menu more visible; which has also made looking back at my week a lot easier. This way I can see what I liked, what worked and what I may want to recreate another time.

It’s been about a month and I’m still paper tracking … I’ve really found something that I enjoy. Plus, switching things up from time to time never hurts!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Weight Watchers Greek Yogurt & Honey Smoothie

Back when Weight Watchers launched their new smoothie I waited a few weeks before picking it up. Why? Well, I had an inkling they were going to be going on sale … and they did. So after my meeting the new Weight Watchers Greek Yogurt & Honey Smoothie came home with me.

Initially I took a package with me on vacation. The house I stayed in didn’t have a blender … so I went ahead and just mixed the package up with some water, and mixed it up as best I could in a glass. When all appeared incorporated I added in some ice. Flavor wise these are really good! It really does taste JUST like honey flavored Greek yogurt but it’s not as bitter as the traditional dairy. I find this is creamier in consistency than some of the other smoothies available in store.

What I will say is … this is, in my opinion, one of those smoothie mixes that you have to throw in a blender with some ice. Otherwise I found there are some chunky bits of powder in there that turn goopy and don’t quite combine. It was too goopy for me to enjoy this way (texture issues) but it is amazing blended up with some ice.

Each smoothie is 100 calories or 2 points plus values.  They’re available for purchase at Weight Watchers locations.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Trader Joe’s Bambino Pizza Formaggio

Pizza is my favorite food. It’s also one of my favorite foods to test out – whether in the fresh or frozen variety.  Since frozen pizza tends to be the most convenient, I’m always scoping out the frozen pizza section of my local grocery stores. Trader Joe’s is no exception to this scoping out … so one day I spotted the Trader Joe’s Bambino Pizza Formaggio. Checking out the nutrition facts I was intrigued and decided to bring them home with me.

The pizzas themselves are what I’d call a personal pizza. They’re smaller than a pan pizza you’d get at say, Pizza Hut, but they’re about the same size as individual frozen pizzas that are sold by brands like Red Baron, etc. They’re a perfect little meal whether it be for lunch or dinner. I find paired alongside a salad it’s satisfying.

The crust is relatively thick – definitely not a pan pizza, but it’s an in-between (for comparative purposes about as thick, or even a little thicker than an Ellio’s frozen pizza slice).  The sauce is tasty and the cheesy is plentiful. I prefer mine with slightly crispy/browned cheese so I elected to leave it in the convection oven a minute or two longer.  What I like about these the most is they resemble a regular pizza pie and there is a bit of crust along the edge, which makes for easy holding if you’re feeling fancy and want to cut this into smaller slices.

I’m a big fan of these little bambino’s … so much that I picked up another box to replace the one I finished a couple Trader Joe’s trips away.  These also contain no artificial flavors or preservatives.

Each pizza is 250 calories or 6 points plus values.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Weight Watchers Aloha! Almond Bar Snack Bars

A few weeks ago I noticed Weight Watchers came out with a new (or rather a repackaged) snack bar. I picked it up because I knew I was going on vacation and I wanted a snack bar I could pack away in my carry on that wouldn’t take up much room, would satisfy me for a snack and would help steer me away from temptation while staying in a house on vacation.

The bars themselves are along the lines of a “Hawaiian treat”. There are almonds in the bar, while there are also piece of mangos, pineapple, papaya and coconut. The bars are moderate in size (meaning they’re not too big or too small), they’re soft, chewy, crunchy from the almonds, and moderately sweet. There’s a bit of a “glaze” that encases the bar making it a little sticky against your fingertips. I found they gave me the sweetness I was looking for, while they also gave me a crunch (which is always appreciated).

These are for sale at your local Weight Watchers location. They do range in price depending on if you purchase them on sale or not.

Each bar is 120 calories or 3 points plus values.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Trader Joe’s The Bagel Spinoza High Fiber Multigrain Bagels

I’ve always been a fan of bagels, but outside of every once in a while I try to stay away from them for the most part. I do partake in having bagel thins once in a while, but I find regular bagels are too high in points and not as filling to be considered “worth it”. That is until I heard about bagels sold at Trader Joe’s that were full-sized “regular” bagels but were nearly half the points. Those bagels are the Trader Joe’s The Bagel Spinoza High Fiber Multigrain Bagels.

At first I was a little skeptical. I was thinking … a regular, full-size bagel that’s not a quarter of the size, filling and not 8-10 points? The bagels are soft and fresh … so I grabbed a bag and brought them home. They’re not split, so after a quick slice with a knife, they toast up perfectly.

These are multigrain bagels, so they have that classic multigrain flavor. If you’re expecting these to be boldly flavorful, then you’re going to be disappointed … but you can dress these up any which way you please. I’ve enjoyed them with spray butter, with cream cheese topped with fruit preserve but my absolute favorite way has to be as a sandwich. My go-to sandwich for a few days was tomato, spicy brown mustard, crushed red hot peppers and krakus polish ham. The bagels are so filling, that even topped with just 2 ounces of deli meat it was filling and satisfying enough to serve as a dinner.

I will say, as with all breads at Trader Joe’s, if you’re not going to eat these quickly I’d highly suggest putting them in the freezer and defrosting a bagel before you’d like to have one. Otherwise, these will spoil quickly … for the most part the bagels will go bad on the date printed on the bag. From what I’ve seen with bread products at Trader Joe’s brand new packs of bread have a 5-7 day shelf life before spoiling.

Each bagel is 210 calories or 5 points plus values.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Smartfood Delight White Cheddar Popcorn

White cheddar popcorn is one of those traditional snacks I think everyone has had at least once, twice or a bajillion times in their lives. Before it became a “thing” of being health conscious, brands just weren’t into revamping long sold products to appease the masses. That is until the 2000’s rolled around and folks merely stopped buying certain things because it didn’t fit into what they felt as “worth it.” Smartfood popcorn was one of those items I just never felt worth it because 1) the serving size was minimal and 2) it certainly wasn’t worth the points/calories associated with it.

Now, with a release of a new additional to the line I introduce you to Smartfood Delight White Cheddar Popcorn. When I saw this on a brand new display at my local grocery store, I picked up a bag, calculated the points and happily inserted the bag into my shopping cart. Smartfood cheddar popcorn is, in my opinion, the crème de la crème of white cheddar popcorn. So to see a lower calorie version, it immediately caught my attention.

Upon opening the bag, I found it definitely had that classic scent that is known with Smartfood. After eating some, I found the white cheddar flavor was there but it wasn’t as prominent as with the original. That being most notably because the coating wasn’t as thick on the popcorn as it is with the original. My fingers weren’t coated in a thick white “film” after eating a full serving. The popcorn is delicious, plentiful, filling and it certainly hit the nail on the head when I wanted something cheesy as a snack.

A serving is a massive 1 ounce (roughly 3 ½ cups) which is 130 calories or 3 points plus values. Most definitely worth it.

Haul: Weighted Hula Hoop Haul

A few months ago I was sitting in my Weight Watchers meeting and we were talking about activities we enjoy that’ll help us get up and move more. Someone had mentioned she really enjoys doing circuits with her weighted hula hoop. Initially I was like “weighted hula hoop?” My leader was saying how she loved it as an activity because it really gets you moving and you get quite a workout without even truly realizing it.

I was hesitant at first because I know I’m not a good hula hooper. I have zero rhythm particularly because I have 2 left feet and I dance to the beat of a broken rusty drum. I looked them up online and found they were a bit pricey but decided if I bumped it into at my local Target or Wal-Mart I’d check them out and possibly pick them up – especially since it’s supposed to be good for your core and toning. A few months after that thought I was meandering around Marshall’s and I stumbled upon a weighted hula hoop in their clearance department (I later found it was the only one left in the entire store – even not on clearance). Pulling up weighted hula hoops in a quick Google search I found the price of the hoop was far less than any of the other ones available online and/or in any local stores.

The hoop itself is 2 pounds and it’s got some nice padding to it, to potentially avoid “bruising” that may happen from continuous hooping.  The weather hasn’t been the greatest but once it starts to get nicer out (potentially this week since I just got home from vacation) I’ll give this a shot outside.

Have any of you tried a weighted hula hoop? If so, how do you like it?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Trader Joe’s Chicken Gyoza Potstickers

If you’re a Chinese dumpling fan, then you will understand the love for those delicious filled, flavorful dumplings! Since I enjoy the dish itself I’m always on the lookout for a version that is available in my grocery store freezer. After trying a number of different brands, I decided to give the dumplings available at Trader Joe’s a shot. Out of the 3 flavors available I opted to go with the Trader Joe’s Chicken Gyoza Potstickers.

The potstickers are frozen and are recommended to be fried on all sides with a little bit of olive oil. Once seared it’s the directions to call to add a bit of water to the pan then cover to steam through. I found quickly (as I tried to eliminate the olive oil and just use non-stick cooking spray) that a bit of olive oil is necessary. The dough on the dumplings is quite thin and if there isn’t enough of an oil coating on the pan it will stick a bit and the dough itself will tear.

Overall the dumplings are delicious. Each dumpling is filled with a chicken and vegetable mix which is quite flavorful, even without the use of a gyoza dipping sauce.  The dumplings have a slightly crisp outside due to the frying but the inside is soft and moist.  I’d go out on the line and say these are one of THE best frozen potstickers I have tried. I will undoubtedly be picking up another package to tuck away in the freezer for future meals.

A serving is 7 potstickers, which is 200 calories or 5 points plus values.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Skinny Cow Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Sandwiches

I’m a huge fan of Skinny Cow ice cream. I had seen the Skinny Cow Snickerdoodle ice cream sandwiches for a long time now but had yet to pick it up until recently. And part of me is wondering what exactly I was waiting for…

I was truly wowed by the flavor of this ice cream sandwich because it tastes exactly like a snickerdoodle cookie when eaten together. It cures not only the itch for ice cream, but also the want for something sweet and snacky.  According to the box, the ice cream is listed as a “cinnamon low fat ice cream swirled between oatmeal cookie wafers”. The two flavor combinations together undoubtedly add up to Snickerdoodle. There is a nice warm cinnamon sugar flavor to the dessert which makes it all around delicious.  It’s perfect for a mid-afternoon snack, while it’s also great for a late evening after dinner dessert. Either way, I’m a big fan.

Each sandwich is 140 calories or 4 points plus values.

Trader Joe’s Chicken, Barley & Vegetable Soup

Poking around Trader Joe’s refrigerated food section I stopped at their mini soup section. It had been obnoxiously cold in my area (even in spring time) and I just wanted something to warm me up. Admittedly, I’m not the biggest soup fan … but it was just something I’d been wanting, so I picked it up.  For the first time I tried beef and barley soup a few months ago (my aunt had made it) and was pleasantly surprised at how delicious it was.

The fact that the soup listed barley on it is what truly caused me to pick the container up.  The fact that the container also states it’s a good source of fiber was another selling point. I guess the fact that I stand by and “believe in” Trader Joe’s products is why I assumed it couldn’t be all that bad … and I’m glad I made that assumption.  After popping the container in the microwave I let it heat through and I have to say … it was quite good. The broth was flavorful and the vegetable, barley and chicken were plentiful. The only downside was that some of the green beans were “stringy” meaning they were harder to chew and it involved picking some pieces out of bites … but that aside it was a good soup. I enjoyed it alongside a sandwich for dinner and I found it to be filling and delicious.

I don’t necessarily like premade or canned soups because I find they taste “off” but this is as close to homemade as one is going to get (at least in my opinion).

A serving is 1 cup for 100 calories or 2 points plus values OR you can have the entire container for 200 calories or 5 points plus values.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Learning to Avoid Temptations at Work

As I’ve mentioned before I started a new job last month. I had been unemployed and out of work for a while so it was definitely an adjustment to get used to a new routine. New routine as in prepping my breakfasts, lunches and snacks for the week, adjusting to working an 8-5pm shift, learning new processes at work, and in general trying to be prepared for the day since the kitchen would no longer be below me.

The first week of work was a breeze. No temptations presented themselves, which was calming since the first company I worked at would stock the kitchen with snacks (chips, cookies, pretzels, snack cake, etc). The second week I decided to bring some snacks into work since the folks training me snacked all day … and when I hear crunch, I want a crunch. I soon learned that having untracked snacks in my desk can be dangerous particularly when bored or generally tired from working all day.

There are also other temptations in the work place … but they come with a price tag. That being the 2 vending machines in my works lunch room. There’s a soda machine and there’s a snack machine which houses chips, candy bars and snack cakes. There is  at least 3 chips and 3 chocolate bars that I enjoy.

Admittedly, I’m a person who snacks when bored, tired, frustrated, etc., (it’s something I struggle with from time to time) and that vending machine does sometimes call my name. But how do I avoid it? Well … when I have my lunch I sit with my back to the vending machine. This way, if I’m not staring the machine down, the less likely I am going to feel the need to grab a quick bite. One other thing that helps is the fact that I usually do not carry cash with me. The vending machine takes coins and dollar bills only, so the easy accessibility with credit cards is not there.

There have been occasions where I’ve had cash on me and found myself standing in front of the machine contemplating my choice. But knowing and telling myself “Is this really worth it?” or “Do you have the points for this?” or “Why are you wanting this?” I can typically turn myself around and walk away from the temptation.

Now there are other outside factors which are out of my control which I cannot stash cash away for. This being when I come into work and an email is sent out before 8:30am saying a manager feels like pizza and he’s buying pizza for all. Or there are the monthly celebrations for birthdays of the month where cheesecake or cake is served. Its instances like these where I have to be mindful and make the choice whether I want to partake or not. Also whether it’s worth the added points (or if you could them – calories) for whatever is being served.

In most cases, it's not worth it ... but if it were to be, I'd gladly jot it down in my tracker and keep it moving.

Jell-O Rice Pudding Crème Brulee

While grocery shopping one day I decided to pick up a package of the Jell-O Rice Pudding Crème Brulee. I love homemade rice pudding and I’m a fan of good ole fashioned rice pudding. But the old fashioned stuff typically is loaded with a ton of sugar which can be overwhelming depending upon who’s made it.

Usually I reach for Kozy Shack sugar free rice pudding, but I was sold on the crème brulee flavoring. I had a cup for snack on its own and I found it to be merely alright. It had an obvious sugar free type flavoring to it – which I would say is due to the crème brulee flavoring. For some reason sugar free caramel products have a distinct flavor to me. It’s got a caramel flavoring to it, but it’s slightly chemically (but not repulsively) … if that makes sense at all. Since I’ve tried it, folks have shared that they like this best with a sprinkle of cinnamon and/or nutmeg on top of it … even alongside a piece of fresh fruit. I think it would be perfect with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a tablespoon of raisins.

A snack cup is 70 calorie or 2 points plus values.