Back in January, when I first started with Weight Watchers, I sat through the introductory talk where they tried to explain to me the importance of what they call “power foods.” Power Foods are “high energy density” foods that have high nutrient content and help satisfy your hunger with relatively lower calories compared to how full you feel after you eat them. In this program, power foods are things like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean protein items. I’ll be honest here and share that I didn’t fully pay attention early on, and had a vague image in my mind of the 1990’s Power Rangers (Go, Go, Power Rangers) and promptly ignored their guidance. Instead, I only focused on staying within my points (I get 40) and kept eating the same kinds of foods that I always ate.
A few weeks later, when my weight loss was less than a half a pound a week for several weigh-ins, I was pretty upset. I was going to the meetings, I was staying within my points, and I was hungry most of the time, which didn’t feel good. But only 0.2 pounds lost? What in the heck was I doing wrong? I had to sort this all out and luckily, after the meeting, the leader was willing to review my food diary for that week. “Hmmm..low cal bread…100 calorie crackers…pasta…white rice…sugar free cookies…” she read out loud as she reviewed my food choices. “You really like those carbs.” I must have had a blank look on my face, so she explained that it was more than just how many points (calories) you eat, that WHAT you eat is just as important. “You need to eat more protein and fiber, and less carbohydrates and fat.” She then patiently reminded me about the power food list and pointed out the low fat protein choices.
Eating more protein has been challenging to me. My natural food choices and likes and dislikes did not include many protein choices. Here are the foods I added easily to my daily diet:
- Hard boiled Eggs
- Greek Yogurt (much higher in protein than regular yogurt btw)
- Low fat cheese (Mozzarella is my personal choice)
- Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts
Another good source of low fat protein is Tofu. Yuck! I could never understand how anyone ate tofu. It was like rubber to me. I struggled with the consistency, and the lack of flavor. And I didn’t know what do with it, how to cook with it and so I avoided it. But now that I needed to focus on adding more protein, I decided to give it a try. After a little research, I discovered that there are several types of tofu: Silken, Tub or Brick. Tub tofu comes in different thickness or consistencies and is packed in water. Brick tofu is very very firm and can be sliced, crumbled and can even be grilled. But so far, silken tofu is my favorite. It is soft, and a little “runny”. It looks like very very thick sour cream. It has very little flavor, and when mixed with fruit, it makes an awesome smoothie. And for it’s calorie count, it packs a lot of protein in your diet in a good way.
When first making my new protein smoothies, I made a few mistakes along the way. After seeing once of those blender commercials where they show how the high powered blender can make anything taste good, I decided to blend up the following:
- Flash frozen, no sugar added cherries
- 6 ounces of Silken Tofu
- Splash of Soy Milk
- Two handfuls of raw spinach leaves (yes– that’s right–raw spinach!
I have no idea what I was thinking. It was green, it was thick and it tasted like cow feed. UGGHH! Do not make that smoothie.
My next attempt was much, much better:
- 1 cup of flash frozen fruit (your choice) without added sugar
- 6 ounces Silken Tofu
- 1 cup ice cubes
- 1/2 water (as needed to help blender chop ice)
- Three packets of artificial sweetener (I prefer Truvia)
Blend this up and you will not be sorry. I really like this in the evening, after dinner, for my dessert. It fills my tummy, and keeps me away from snacking on other less healthy things. And the fresh fruit flavors cannot be beat.
The best news is that once I finally followed the nutritional advice and upped my protein, I had much better weight loss results at the scale. And I am very rarely feeling those hunger pangs I experienced with my high carbohydrate diet. Give tofu a try and blend yourself thin!
Nutritional Information (with flash frozen no sugar added cherries): Calories: 141 Fat: 6g cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 2mg Total Carb: 21g Dietary Fiber: 2g Protein: 8g
Holly is the mother of three grown daughters, and has recently embarked on her own journey of weight loss and healthy living. Convinced that the key to her success is smart, but manageable, eating choices, she is now a regular columnist for The Frugal Flambe- you can catch her posts every Friday right here! Join her every week as she shares her triumphs and successes, and maybe a couple of stumbles along the way. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be horrible- Holly can do it, and so can you.
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