I gained some weight over the past few months. You can blame a decent amount of it on stress. So now, while I normally try to cook more and make large amounts of healthy entrees that I can divide up into portions for the week, I’ve got too much else going on at the moment to really care about that. Microwave diet meals to the rescue! These have made it SO easy for me to get a tasty and filling breakfast, lunch, and dinner, not to mention snacks, while easily tracking the number of calories I’m taking in. One downside is that microwave meals, like many processed and packaged foods, *may* contain a lot of sodium. So read your labels carefully if you are concerned about that.
Here are some of the things I’ve been gnawing on lately:
Jimmy Dean D-lights. Start your day with a classic breakfast sandwich or scramble – the lowest calorie sandwich will only dock you 210.
Lean Pockets breakfast sandwiches. I don’t get these often because 1) it’s too easy to eat two or three of them in one sitting and 2) I always burn my entire mouth with the melted cheese that leaks out. In fact I burned my hand at work the other day when some hot lava cheddar oozed onto it.
Healthy Choice. This brand has reinvented itself over the years and has all kinds of steamed meals, microwave meals, and soups.
Weight Watchers Smart Ones. Smart Ones makes, above and beyond, my favorite ice cream “diet” treat ever. Go get one of their sundae packs. NOMMMMM. I just ate a 150-calorie bowl of Smart Ones mint ice cream with hot fudge sauce swirls and mini chocolate chips, sitting on top of a crumbly brownie layer. There are several other varieties. I seriously die and go to chocolate/ice cream heaven with these.
Kashi meals. These microwave meals cost more than the others, or at least in my neck of the woods they do, but they are worth it for their inventive take on the “zap it and eat it” meal. My favorite is the Mayan Harvest Bake.
Lean Cuisine. My current favorite brand overall … perhaps due to their Delicious Rewards program, in which codes found inside the box can be entered for 20 points a piece. Points add up quickly and get you various cute and useful rewards from their seasonal catalog (lunch totes, kitchen gadgets, salt and pepper shakers, things like that). There are tons and tons of varieties, so it will be hard not to find something you don’t like. I bring home everything from pizzas to paninis to pasta. My favorites this week are the Butternut Squash Ravioli and the Chicken in Peanut Sauce. Lean Cuisine also has a new line of snacks, like pita bread with spinach-artichoke dip and Thai-inspired spicy egg rolls, and I think each is right at 200 calories. And, they recently introduced a small line of vegetarian dishes – there are currently just four choices in this line, but if you dig them, be sure to keep buying them so they’ll make more! (There are additional vegeterian dishes in the “regular” line.)
Breakstone’s Cottage Doubles. These 100-calorie containers include a serving of lowfat cottage cheese and a side serving of a fruit sauce, in flavors such as Apple Cinnamon, Peach, Pineapple, and Strawberry. A great way to get some protein and calcium in a filling snack.
String cheese. You can get lowfat string cheese sticks at 80 calories a pop. A quick and easy snack that’s great on its own, or paired with a few whole-grain crackers.
100-calorie packs. I love these, but they are still junk food and not super filling, so I tend not to buy them as much. You can probably buy your own regular-size bag and portion it out yourself for far less money, if you think you have the self-control not to eat it all in one sitting. (Guess who doesn’t? This chick)
Green bell peppers and Mrs. Dash. Just chop up the peppers, then toss them in a bag, sprinkle with Mrs. Dash, and shake around.
I’m trying to flex my writing muscles more since I let them get so out of shape and National Novel Writing Month is coming up again … so stay tuned for more stuff.