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Sunday Slow Cooker: Black Beans

Sunday Slow Cooker:  Black Beans

Black beans are a staple for me during summer months. I love serving them as a side dish, using them in all kinds of hearty salads, and throwing them in morning breakfast tacos which seems to be all I want to eat for breast on summer weekends. While it’s easy to reach for canned store bought beans, making your own at home is just as easy. Here is my simple recipe for slow cooker black beans. They don’t require any extra soaking and after about 8 hours, you’ll have creamy delicious black beans. One trick, when you want “cleaner” beans, like the kind that would come out of a can, just rinse and drain the homemade beans before using.

Slow Cooker Black Beans
Servings: 10
Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Nutritional Info: 140 calories, 1g of fat, 26g of carbohydrates, 6g of fiber, 9g of protein, 1g of sugar
Weight Watchers® PointsPlus®: 3 *

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* PointsPlus® calculated by Slender Kitchen; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

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Friday Five: Twenty Delicious Memorial Day Recipes

Friday Five: Twenty Delicious Memorial Day Recipes

With Memorial Day this weekend, I wanted to share some healthy recipes that work great for outdoor gatherings, time with family and friends, and hopefully nice weather. Since Memorial Day seems to mark the “unofficial” start of summer, I plan on getting outdoors and making the most of the three day weekend. What are your plans and more importantly, what’s on the menu?

Burgers

1. Black Olive and Feta Turkey Burgers, 180 calories, 4 PointsPlus®
2. Salmon Dill Burgers, 158 calories, 4 PointsPlus®
3. Black Bean and Eggplant Burgers, 168 calories, 4 PointsPlus®
4. Green Chile Turkey Burgers, 198 calories, 5 PointsPlus®
5. Zucchini Beef Burgers, 195 calories, 4 PointsPlus®
6. Asian Turkey Burgers with Creamy Sriracha Lime Sauce, 215 calories, 6 PointsPlus®

Get on the Grill

7. Grilled Lemon Herb Chicken Thighs, 261 calories, 6 PointsPlus®
8. Honey Chipotle Grilled Chicken, 225 calories, 6 PointsPlus®
9. Grilled Ribeyes with Chimichurri, 270 calories, 8 PointsPlus®
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* PointsPlus® calculated by Slender Kitchen; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

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Healthy Meal Planning Made Easy & Week 22 Meal Plan

Healthy Meal Planning Made Easy & Week 22 Meal Plan

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

Once a week, I am going to start sharing a tip, trick, or some interesting information about meal planning. I believe meal planning is critical to any long term and effective healthy living or weight loss goals. For me it was the single thing that finally made permanent weight loss achievable. The quote stood true, when I failed to plan, I failed, and I don’t want that to happen to others.

Additionally, I believe that meal planning is a skill that takes time to master and we can all use some help! When I first started meal planning it took up countless hours pouring over recipes, calculating nutritional info and/or points, and creating elaborate calendars. It was painful. Anything I can do to ease that pain for someone else is a win-win in my book.

Finally, I hope by sharing meal planning strategies, it will help you find a system that works for you. Whether it’s using our meal plans, scratching one into your weekly planner, or creating your own meal planning system – I hope this feature inspires you to start planning at least a few meals every week. It will save you time, money, and it truly will help you reach your weight loss and healthy living goals. So with that, on to this week’s tip!

Meal Planning Made Easy: Back up Freezer Meals

Recently I have been asking family, friends, and readers some of their best tips for mastering meal planning and I absolutely fell in love with this tip.

Knowing that there will be one night weekly where I either don’t want to cook or don’t have time to cook, I always have 4 freezer meals ready to go for those nights. To keep my freezer stocked, each week I make sure to cook one (and only one!) recipe that I plan on doubling and freezing. Then that meal is labeled, dated, and placed in the freezer. Then during the week, I usually have 3-4 freezer meals to choose from depending on what we are in the mood for. The reason I limit my “freezer meals” to one weekly is that I find if I make extra of more than one dish, my freezer is quickly overflowing. Limiting the freezer to 3-4 back up meals at a time, keeps us from wasting food but also allows for some choice.”

Brilliant!

Ready to try this on your own? First decide how many freezer meals you are likely to eat every month. Is it once a week, twice a week, twice a month? Once you determine that amount, make sure to add those into your meal plans and adjust the portions accordingly. For example, if you wanted to eat a freezer meal twice a week, you would plan on doubling and freezing two recipes per week. Then in your meal plan, either write in your Freezer Meal if you know you have a busy night, or create a flexible schedule leaving out two meals following the example.

How do you use freezer meals in your meal plans? Slender Kitchen plans inlcude notes each week with ideas for recipes that are easy to double and freeze.

Love the idea of meal planning but don’t want to do all the work? Since I know that many people simply don’t have the time to create their own healthy meal plans, we provide delicious and healthy meal plans at Slender Kitchen.

Here are some highlights from this week’s healthy meal plans:

  • Slow Cooker Pepperoncini Beef (perfect for Memorial day gatherings!)
  • Pasta with Fresh Tomato (No Cook) Tomato sauce
  • Zucchini Noodle Shrimp Scampi (low carb plan)
  • Baked Strawberry Shortcake Oatmeal with Whipped Cream
  • Kale, Quinoa, and Cherry Salad
  • Crispy Buttermilk Chicken
  • Grilled Pork Chops with Peach Salsa and Couscous
  • Low Carb Lemon Pancakes
  • Spicy Chicken and Corn Tacos
  • Quick and Easy Hoisin Salmon
  • Apple and Cashew Muesli
  • Quinoa Salad Rolls (vegetarian plan)

Each healthy weekly meal plan comes full of delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The meal plans come in regular, vegetarian, and low carb options. All feature complete nutritional information, Weight Watchers PointsPlus®, and categorized shopping lists! There are also two bonus fallback recipes weekly and the option for either a complete meal plan or a Dinner Only plan. All that for less the cost of one cup of coffee per month with the yearly plan.

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Kale, Quinoa, and Cherry Salad

Kale, Quinoa, and Cherry Salad

Every year around this time, I begin to eat my weight in cherries. With such a short season, I take every chance I get to add cherries to what I am eating – smoothies, yogurt, cookies, cakes, salads – you name it, I have probably tried to add cherries to it. And that doesn’t even get at the amount I consume daily as a simple snack or dessert. So of course, when I was working on a new quinoa and kale salad last week, I had to add cherries. The salad itself is simple – quinoa, kale, cherries, scallions, and a simple lemon vinaigrette. Though it pains me to think about this day, blueberries or raspberries will work when cherry season ends.

Kale, Quinoa, and Cherry Salad
Servings: 4
Serving Size: 1.5 cups
Nutritional Info: 289 calories, 10g of fat, 44g of carbohydrates, 5g of fiber, 8g of protein
Weight Watchers® PointsPlus®: 7 *

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* PointsPlus® calculated by Slender Kitchen; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

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Egg White, Tomato, & Avocado Breakfast Sandwich

Egg White, Tomato, & Avocado Breakfast Sandwich

Recently a reader reached out asking for a quick way to make her favorite Panera Power Breakfast Sandwich at home. The Panera version starts with a sprouted bagel flat that is filled with egg whites, cheddar cheese, spinach, tomato, and avocado and clocks in at around 400 calories. Luckily it couldn’t be easier to make this at home. Since I normally aim to have around a 400 calorie breakfast with fruit and coffee, I knew I wanted to create a version that came in around 250-300 calories. To do that, I started with a light English muffin (a bagel thin, sprouted bread, or a sandwich thin would also work) and decided on quick microwave egg whites to make this achievable on the busiest mornings. From there, all you need is tomato, some fresh spinach, avocado, and the cheese. Easy, filling, and nutritious.

Egg White, Tomato, & Avocado Breakfast Sandwich
Servings: 1
Serving Size: 1 sandwich
Nutritional Info: 281 calories, 12.8g of fat, 34g of carbohydrates, 12.1g of fiber, 16.4g of protein
Weight Watchers® PointsPlus®: 7 *

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* PointsPlus® calculated by Slender Kitchen; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

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Zucchini and Ground Turkey Pizza Boats

Zucchini and Ground Turkey Pizza Boats

I have a deep love of turning any vegetable I can into pizza. It’s hard for anything to taste bad with marinara and cheese in my opinion. So when you combine zucchinis (which I already love), protein packed ground turkey, marinara, spices, and some melted cheese – you end up with the perfect low carb and low calorie lunch. Seriously at under 250 calories this is a great way to indulge without any of the guilt. Ground beef or vegetarian crumbles work great as well and this keep well in the fridge and freezer.

Zucchini and Ground Turkey Pizza Boats
Servings: 4
Serving Size: 2 zucchini boats
Nutritional Info: 245 calories, 11g of fat, 16g of carbohydrates, 4g of fiber, 20.6g of protein
Weight Watchers® PointsPlus®: 5 *

(more…)

* PointsPlus® calculated by Slender Kitchen; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

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