Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Delicious Dozen: My Favorite Healthy Products!

When you are trying to lose weight, every calorie counts. If you slather your sandwich with mayonnaise, or grate some cheese into your salad, or indulge in something sweet after dinner, those calories can add up and slow down your weight loss dramatically. But taste counts, too! We have to feel satisfied and not deprived. What to do?

Well, in my quest for a healthier lifestyle, I have found some products that have really made a difference in my life. What is life without a big bowl of pasta with Italian sausage once in awhile?? But wouldn't it be nice if you could have that AND stay within your calories AND get lots of nutrition? You can! There are lots of yummy alternatives for high fat, nutrition poor menus of the past. Here are some of my top picks, that I use regularly to improve the Yum Factor of my meals without feeling guilty!

1. Best Foods Reduced Fat Mayonnaise (known as "Hellman's" if you are back east). This stuff is fantastic! I use it on my sandwiches and in everything from chicken salad to spinach dip. Anything you would use mayo in, this works. And it has only 20 calories per Tablespoon! Yum.

2. Land O Lakes Light Butter with Canola Oil. Sometimes, you just want a little butter on your bread, or your corn or potatoes. This is a great option because it has half the fat and calories of butter or margarine, and contains healthy canola oil! And, it has the flavor of real butter because it is MADE with real butter!

3. Imitation Butter Flavor. Okay, so this is a fake "food." I don't know where it comes from. Maybe they have imitation cows they imagine they are milking to make their imitation butter and then wave the bottles over it to trap the flavor. But anyway, I think this stuff is basically calorie-free, so when you are baking, you can add a teaspoon or so of this to your fat free baked goods to add buttery taste. I love it in cornbread! I can have buttery tasting cornbread without the fat!

4. Kraft 2% cheeses. These are great! I am a cheese lover, and I am not willing to give up my cheese for anything. Besides, cheese is good for you! Protein, calcium... just too high in fat. The 2% cheeses are yummy and have a lot less fat than regular, but they are not rubbery and un-melty like the fat free cheeses can be. You can get these in pre-shredded bags, but I like to buy the 8-ounce blocks. I LOVE the sharp cheddar! I can have a little cheese on my salad, or on a taco, without all the fat.

5. Bird's Eye Steamfresh Veggies! What a great way to get your veggies in when you are in a hurry, or too tired to deal with washing, cutting, measuring, and cooking your veggies. They come in many varieties and have no added fats or anything. Just nice fresh veggies. They come in single serving packs, too. They can be pricey so watch for a sale or coupons and then stock up!

6. Foster Farms Lean Ground Turkey. I love this stuff. I buy tons of it and freeze it, and use it in any recipe that asks for ground beef. Turkey is MUCH healthier than beef! Less fat and calories as well,. I make turkey burgers by just mixing in some Italian seasonings and cooking the burger in a nonstick pan. Then I salt and pepper it, and wrap it in a big lettuce leaf with a little Best Foods Lowfat Mayo and a slice of avocado. heaven! You can fry it like ground beef and use it for tacos, soups, sloppy joes, whatever. If you want a beefy flavor just sprinkle in some beef bouillon granules. Makes great meatloaf, too.

7. I know you are wondering about that bowl of pasta and Italian sausage... well here you go! Foster Farms to the rescue again! Lean Turkey Italian sausages, in hot and mild! One of my favorite foods. Great cooked in a pot of spaghetti sauce, or cooked on low for hours in the crock pot with sliced sweet onions and green peppers. Mmmm, comfort food. Healthy and good! (If you can't find Foster Farms, try another brand, but in my experience Jennie-O leaves a lot to be desired. I love Foster Farms!) And for the pasta...

8. Barilla Plus Pastas. Oh my gosh! FINALLY something much healthier than white pasta, but SO much yummier than whole wheat pasta! My kids always complained about whole wheat pasta, but they love this! Tastes "normal," they say. Now you can have your spaghetti, penne, rotini, macaroni, or angel hair pasta and get 17g of protein, 7g of fiber, and 360mg of omega-3's in every serving!

9. Western Bagel Alternative Bagels have only 110 calories per bagel! And with 7g of fiber, this is a great addition to your daily menu. They come in plain, cinnamon, onion, and several other flavors. I found these at Wal-Mart! They are good for making a morning breakfast sandwich, with a couple of scrambled egg whites, a Kraft 2% singles cheese slice, and a piece of deli ham. Or, the cinnamon flavor bagels are great with a lowfat sweet cream cheese!

10. For those of you who hate the taste of green tea, here is a lifesaver. I hated green tea when I first tried it. But Bigelow Green Tea with Lemon is great! I like it iced or hot with just a drop of honey. It also comes in a Variety Pack with flavors like peach and mango. Comes in decaf, too. Drink 2 cups of green tea a day, and cut your risk of ovarian cancer in HALF.

11. Quaker Chocolatey Drizzle Mini Delights. When you need a crunch, and/or need a chocolate fix, this is it!!! I discovered these last week, and at only 90 calories per pack, they are a great little indulgence for those of us who crave the crunch once in awhile (and I don't mean carrot sticks). The chocolate drizzle is thick enough and tasty enough to be really satisfying. I love these things. And the rice cake parts are not overly sweet so they do not tend to make me want to binge on them like, say, a Little Debbie Swiss roll would.

12. And last but not least, a greatly overlooked little treat: Nestle Nips in Chocolate Parfait. Oh my gosh. These are so good. So rich. So sweet and tasty. They are a small, hard, individually wrapped candy. The outside is caramel, and inside is a chunk of real chocolate! A great little "dessert" for when you finish your meal and want something sweet. It takes you awhile to eat one of these, so by the time you finish it, it is often enough and I feel satisfied and like I had a great dessert! You suck on the hard caramel and soon the chocolate center starts to melt and ooze through... mmmm. Only 30 calories each. Look for a small box in the candy aisle!

So those are my delicious dozen! If you have favorite healthy food items of your own, feel free to leave suggestions in the comments section! I am always looking for new yummy stuff that won't mess up my weight loss.


Teale said...

I also love the mini rice cakes! Hershey's 100 cal chocolate wafer bars are great too! I prefer the healthy harvest brand of wheat pasta... never had this kind though, I'll have to give it a try! Feta cheese is something I like to put on salads b/c I dont use much, and it's like 80 cals for 1/4 c.... I only use a couple tsp, so not bad! Kraft light 3-cheese ranch is also a staple in my household! Hmm, I could go on and on... lol

Goaledgirl said...

Some of my favorite healthy foods are TLC bars from Kashi & pretty much anything else Kashi makes. They are ok on the calorie count but they are full of the all natural stuff that is better for us.

Something I love as a snack is a handful of baby carrots and a wedge of laughing cow cheese (light). 1 wedge is about 35 calories.

We also use ground turkey in place of ground beef most of the time. Turkey chili is one of family favorites. Our grocery store also sells turkey meatballs already cooked. For a quick dinner I make the Barilla pasta, a jar of organic past sauce (they have lots less sugar) and those meatballs.

Chubby Chick said...

What a great list! I'm going to have to try some of these items. Thanks for posting them!

Did you ever try the Fudgsicle Premium Fudge Bars? They are 100 calories of creamy, chocolatey heaven-on-a-stick. I tell everybody that. lol

I like the Fiber One bars, too. And I can't live without my 100 calorie packs of microwave popcorn!

Marshmallow said...

Damn, what a shame that all of those products aren't available in New Zealand :-(

Lauren said...

sadly none of those things are available in Korea. However I agree with goeledgirl on the kashi..mmmm. I love those nips. But my problem was eating a whole box at a time. Great post though, and when I get back to the states you know I'll be looking for them

honib1 said...

you so rock .. those are great ideas...i love the whole grain carmel rice cakes.. Fiber 1 bars in chocolate 9 grams fiber... the babybel cheeses (laughing cow) .. triscuits .. I am a fan of miracle whip light .. not big on regular mayo for some reason... PB2 peanut butter powder basically u add water too and you have delicous pb. you can find PB2 online at are some of my favs.. I love those steamr birdseyes packages too..

honib1 said...

ohh i almost forgot i love that pasta too.. i wish we had foster farms here.. i am going to look for western bagels at our walmart... thanks for the tip

Heather said...

oooo a lot of those are my favs as well! I love the barilla products, because they taste just like regualr pasta but are so much healthier. I love turkey bacon as well..mmm.