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Friday Five: Substitutes for Healthier Baking

Friday Five:  Substitutes for Healthier Baking

When I first started eating healthier, I quickly learned that the only way I was going to make it on the plan was to learn how to cook my favorite foods in a lower calorie way or find low calorie replacements. At the beginning, that meant lots of low calorie replacements (i.e. spending way to much money on prepackaged snacks and light desserts) until I started to learn how to lighten recipes on my own and really started to cook. So today I thought I would share a quick list of tips and tricks for baking to lighten up your favorites. What are your favorite ways to lighten up your favorite baking recipes?

1. To Replace Oil or Butter in Muffins, Breads, Light Cakes: The rule of thumb for replacing fats like butter or oil in muffins, breads, and light colored cakes (i.e. not chocolate) is to replace 1/3 of the fat with applesauce, mashed bananas, or pureed pumpkin. I find that most of the time I can actually replace half of the oil or fat and it still comes out great. I choose what replacement to use based on what I am cooking – applesauce will barely affect the flavor but the others may change the flavor slightly. You can also replace oil with plain or Greek non fat yogurt. The normal exchange if you use yogurt is for 1 cup of oil in a recipe, use 1/2 cup oil with 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp yogurt. I use yogurt and applesauce all the time and have a lot of success. When you replace just 1/2 cup of oil with applesauce you save more than 900 calories.


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Margherita Flatbread Pizza

Margherita Flatbread Pizza

Recently I have been receiving lots of questions about lunches. What to make? Quick lunches? Lunches to pack and take with you to work? If you are a member of the meal plans, you know my go-to lunches are reinvented versions of leftovers. Leftover chicken stuffed into a sweet potato with broccoli and cheese, leftover grilled veggies reimagined as a quesadilla, burritos, tacos, lettuce wraps, salad, you name it. Using leftovers for lunches is my favorite way to prepare for the week. However one of my other favorite lunches and a favorite in the Weight Watchers® crowd, our these simple flatbread pizzas. This is my favorite version – fresh tomatoes, basil, some mozzarella, and balsamic vinegar to top things off. It tastes indulgent and fresh but fits into most healthy eating plans.

Margherita Flatbread Pizza
Servings: 1
Serving Size: 1 pizza
Nutritional Info: 262 calories, 11g of fat, 25.7g carbohydrates, 11.6g dietary fiber, 26.8g of protein, 3.6g of sugar
Weight Watchers® PointsPlus®: 6 * (more…)

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

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Weight Loss Wednesday: Jamie Lost 48 Pounds!

Weight Loss Wednesday:  Jamie Lost 48 Pounds!

Name: Jamie
Height: 5’1″
Starting Weight: 180
Current Weight: 132
Pounds Lost: 48

How long did it take you to lose the weight? It’s been a journey up and down for roughly 4 years

Lightbulb Moment (When/why did you decide it was time to get serious about losing weight?): I had just gotten out of an extremely unhealthy relationship, right after high school graduation, and stood on a scale. I hadn’t stepped on a scale in years (since probably I was 15) and never saw many changes with myself physically in the mirror. I thought growing pant sizes and shirt sizes was normal – and part of growing. I thought it was normal to dislike pictures of yourself, and to try to “hide” your body. I was in awe at the number I saw. I always knew that when I went out to the bars guys seemed to not be as interested in me as my skinny friends, it was always hard for me to keep up with running in the sports clubs I had previously been in, and that I definitely had a different shape than others, however, seeing 180 lbs on the scale really sunk in.

How did you do it? I got a lot of my motivation from watching the contestants on biggest loser and finally read Jillian Michaels book “Making the Cut“. I started exercising 4-5 days a week (only being able to do cardio for 10 minutes at first!!) and slowly started to develop habits I had never had before. I stopped eating fast food and really found my love for cooking of fresh ingredients. I would walk every lunch hour and try to squeeze in physical activity everywhere I could, whether it be standing at my desk, using the stairs, or asking friends to do workout DVD’s with me.

What was the biggest challenge you faced? How did you overcome it? The biggest challenge I have found is life/health balance. I’m in my mid 20’s now and am constantly faced with social temptations (erhm – ALCOHOL lol) and have had a tough time with maintaining a healthy lifestyle and social life. I gained back roughly 20 or so pounds slowly over the span of 2 years (after losing 40 within the first year) and couldn’t find my way back. In October 2013 I finally decided I wanted control back and signed up for Weight Watchers. I have found with Weight Watchers I can have my drinks AND still lose weight – it’s just about portions and making decisions on what events are most important to indulge at!

What was the single thing that helped you most along the way, especially when things got tough? As of late – I have found my online social circles a HUGE help. I have been a part of Spark People Online, a Weight Watchers Facebook group, and of course – Instagram. Having people to talk to about similar struggles and feeling like you are being held accountable publicly by yourself has helped me stay on track and not lose sight of my goals.

How has your life changed since losing the weight? I found I now have more energy for life! I am less sleepy, I am more aware and alert of what goes into my body, and have just been overall happier :) I can dance longer when I go out with friends without being a sweaty mess, feel much more confident when I get dressed up or go to the beach, and am not CONSTANTLY trying to hide myself in photos – or cringing at the sight of ones that get taken of me.

Exercise routine: When at the gym – I try to do at LEAST 30 minutes of cardio. My latest thing has been to strap on my polar heart rate monitor and set a goal of calories I want to burn in that first 30 minutes. This pushes me to go as hard as possible and not just go through the motions on the treadmill, stairmill, or eliptical. I then do 20 minutes or so of strength training followed by core and stretching for the last 10.

Favorite breakfast: Steel cut oats. So fun and easy to transform into any flavor you’re craving.

Favorite grab and go snack: Bananas. They are 0pp on Weight Watchers, keep me full, and are easily portable!

Favorite quick dinner: Salads!! Whatever you are craving can be turned into one. Whether it is tacos, steak, greek, asian, etc. it can be easily (and quickly) chopped up and thrown in a bowl to whatever you are feeling like :)

Favorite healthy restaurant or fast food find: A go to fast food option for me is Wendy’s small salads with no cheese and grilled chicken. Fills me up, isn’t too pricy, and are really delcious!

Advice for someone just starting: Don’t worry about jumping into it and going 100% at the beginning. Take it slow. Make sure you change your core habits – not just your one week or one month plans. If it takes you months, or even years, to get to the goal you want – do not give up. Start with small steps like going for walks, changing what you eat for breakfast, or ensuring you pack meals to work! I remember one of my first goals was to never say “no” to something because I was feeling lazy. I made sure if dishes needed to be done, I did them – rather than telling myself I’d do it later. This mindset helped me in so many more ways than I could have ever imagined.

Anything else that you would like to share: Don’t do this journey for anyone but yourself, don’t get discouraged by only slight losses or even slight gains some weeks, don’t weigh yourself too often (it is all just a number) and just keep pushing forward! :)

Have your own weight loss story to share? Slender Kitchen wants to hear from you! Email [email protected] to learn more.

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Summer Salad with Balsamic Glaze

Summer Salad with Balsamic Glaze

Salads are one of my favorite summer meals. I like to pack them with veggies, fresh fruit, and either some leftover chicken, shrimp, steak, or quinoa. However, the real stunner in this recipe is the dressing. Ridiculously simple homemade balsamic glaze that in my humble opinion makes anything taste good. Literally you can drizzle this on anything and it miraculously tastes ten times better. So make up a bg container (or cheat and buy some at Trader Joe’s!) and make your next summer salad something really special.

Summer Salad with Balsamic Glaze
Servings: 2
Serving Size: 1/2 salad
Nutritional Info: 255 calories, 4.5g of fat, 18.2g carbohydrates, 3.7g dietary fiber, 37.3g of protein, 11.7g of sugar
Weight Watchers® PointsPlus®: 6 * (more…)

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

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Sunday Slow Cooker: Simple Slow Cooker Pork

Sunday Slow Cooker:  Simple Slow Cooker Pork

Slow cooked pork ranks up there as one of my favorite foods. Tender, delicious, packed with flavor, and low in calories when made with lean tendeloin – it’s easy, versatile, and so so tasty. This basic recipe makes a tasty pork dish all on it’s own but crisped up in the broiler and then tossed with barbecue or honey and orange, and you have a killer combination. Use leftovers in tacos, burritos, a simple ragu, salads, or sandwiches.

Simple Slow Cooker Pork
Servings: 6
Serving Size: 2/3 cup
Nutritional Info: 205 calories, 4.5g of fat, 1.7g carbohydrates, 0g dietary fiber, 33.3g of protein, 0g of sugar
Weight Watchers® PointsPlus®: 5 * (more…)

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

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Friday Five: Healthy Pancakes

Friday Five:  Healthy Pancakes

Tough week? Pancakes. Breakfast celebration? Pancakes. Lazy brunch? Pancakes. No time for dinner? Pancakes. Seriously pancakes are the the perfect comfort food for almost any occasion and can be whipped up so many different ways, there is always a recipe to suit how you are feeling. So jump in the kitchen and whip up a big batch this weekend.

Since we can never have enough recipes, please share your favorites in the comments!

1. Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes, 298 calories, 7 PointsPlus®

There is no better comfort food than classic banana chocolate chip pancakes.

2. Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes, 198 calories, 5 PointsPlus®

A peanut butter twist on the banana egg pancake that has been sweeping the internet this year. All you need are eggs, peanut butter, and a banana for this simple treat.

3. Oatmeal Pancakes, 258 calories, 6 PointsPlus®

These pancakes are packed with good for you ingredients and taste delicious. No one will know that they are made with oats, cottage cheese, and egg whites and pack 28 grams of protein.

4. Greek Yogurt and Flax Pancakes with Berries, 235 calories, 5 PointsPlus®

Low carb diets can enjoy pancakes too! This simple pancakes with flax and yogurt are packed with protein and fiber to keep you full all morning.

5. Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, 250 calories, 6 PointsPlus®

These pancakes are dressed to impress with creamy ricotta, tart lemon, and tangy sweet blueberries. Perfect when you want to fancy things up.

Looking for more? Check out these delicious pancake recipes.

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