Pina favorite meals, snacks, & treats 2011

Pina favorite meals, snacks, and treats 2011 – January 27, 2012

I’ve had several people ask about some of our favorite meals and how I plan our menus. We have found in the last few months many things that work for us and many things that don’t. I’m going to share some key meals that we have regularly and then some key snacks & treats that are must haves in the Pina household. Remember how I told you guys awhile back that I am a self proclaimed foodie. Well that definitely comes into play with my meal planning because I’m always thinking about something new to try and staying creative. My husband is a full time seminary student and works a part time job & due to my continued health issues I am laid off and will probably remain that way for a little while. What that means to our meals is that we eat at home 99% of the time. We only eat out one meal every week to save money and it will usually be a meal of no more than $30 including tip, aka. not an expensive restaurant & usually one that provides their nutritional info online.

As I begin to think about what we may want to eat for the week I usually find that categorizing the meals really helps me. I create a basic menu and then write out the grocery list. I try to include at least two of what Weight Watcher’s calls “Power Foods” into each of our three meals per day. Power foods are things like: fruit, veggies, low fat proteins, high fiber breads, rice or pasta or grains. Prioritizing Power Foods helps ensure the high nutritional value of our meals.

*Note* I mentioned in “Finding the path….to adequate sleep & water intake” we really only drink water these days. We typically drink about 32 oz of water with each meal. Rarely will we use a sugar free mix-in with the water when we want something different or sweet. Neither of us likes drinking our calories.

Here are some common favorite meals in the Pina household…

Breakfasts:

-Sugar Free Instant Oatmeal (any flavor) cooked with ½ cup of 1% milk & an orange

-Sara Lee 90 Calorie English Muffin with 1 Tbsp of peanut butter & a banana

-2 pcs of Nature’s Own Raisin Bread toasted with spray butter & an apple (Adrian checked a bunch of brands and this has the least amount of fat & carbs, or for WW it has the least amount of points plus value.

-2 pcs of 35 calorie wheat bread toasted with 1 Tbsp of peanut butter & 1 Tbsp of Jam (any flavor) & fresh strawberries

-Deep chocolate Vitalicious* VitaMuffin Vitatop & a banana (these are found in the freezer section near the breakfast items but for the best price order them online)

Lunches:

Lunch will often incorporate left over’s from dinner or if I make a big pot of soup we will eat on that at lunch for a few days. If not here are some of our favorite lunches

-Pita Pizzas made with a whole wheat pita, 2 Tbsp Oscar Mayer bacon bits, loads of veggies, 1/3 cup of part skim mozzarella on each half of the pita, ½ cup of tomato pasta sauce + some kind of fruit. This is at least a twice a week meal in our household. We love to get that yummy cheesy indulgence without all the extra calories from normal pizza. We even tried BBQ Chicken this week and it was delish!

-2 Oscar Mayer 98% fat free hot dogs with ketchup, mustard, & chopped onion + Potato Straws & some kind of fruit (occasionally we’ll do these with low fat canned turkey chili & a Tbsp of 2% cheddar cheese)

-2 black bean tostadas made by baking white corn tortillas until crisp in the oven. Then I take fat free canned whole black beans and crush them with a fork and add a clove or two of grated garlic. Mix in finely diced onion and spread mixture over crisp tortillas. Top with 1/3 cup part skim mozzarella & bake until cheese is melted. Serve with ½ cup of salsa and 2 Tbsp of light sour cream + some kind of fruit (Even my meat loving husband adores this dish!)

-Some kind of sandwich made with 35 calorie bread (photo above). We like BLT’s (bake bacon crisp in oven, pat off most of the fat, & weigh out 2 oz. on the food scale), turkey or ham lunch meat, tuna or chicken salad made with Hellman’s Olive Oil Mayo. Key on each of these is fresh tomato, lettuce, and pickles (with lunchmeat). + some kind of fruit of course and possibly Apple Straws.

Dinners:

-Meatloaf – I use either 1 ¼ lbs of raw extra super lean ground turkey or ground beef (no more than 5% fat), 1 egg, ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs, ½ cup finely chopped onion, 1 tsp dill, 2 Tbsp Italian seasoning, 1 tsp garlic salt. Form into a log and liberally top with ketchup. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour. I use this same recipe and fill green bell peppers for stuffed peppers. I serve this with 6 oz of boiled potatoes & at least 1 cup of steamed broccoli (I seriously can’t get enough broccoli).

-Ground turkey tacos – 1 ¼ lb extra super lean ground turkey, 1 cup of diced onion, 1 Tbsp ground cumin, 1 Tbsp oregano, 1 Tbsp garlic powder, 1 tsp garlic salt. Cook this mixture until meat is fully cooked & then add 1 package of taco seasoning & 1 can of Rotel. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed. Did you notice there is no oil needed in this recipe? We eat these on white corn tortillas that have been warmed on the stove, 1/3 cup part skim mozzarella, tons of salsa, and 2 Tbsp of light sour cream.

-Grilled chicken parmesan – Clean, trim & fillet (cut in half length wise so that it is thin) 2 large boneless skinless chicken breast. Season the raw meat with 1 tsp of garlic salt & 1 tsp Italian seasoning. Add 1 tsp of olive oil to hot pan and cook chicken about 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through. We serve this with ½ cup of warmed tomato pasta sauce (I love Classico’s Sweet Tomato & Basil) and 1/3 cup of part skim mozzarella cheese. This can be served with a side of baked spaghetti squash or 2 oz of angel hair pasta. Super simple, fast & yummy!

-Roasted pork tenderloin – Pork tenderloin either pre-seasoned by the store or seasoned with garlic salt & ground pepper, or a variety of seasoning packets from the grocery store. Placed on roasting pan in pre-heated 350* oven for 30 -45 minutes depending on how large the loin is. We serve this with Rice-A-Roni or roasted potatoes & steamed cauliflower or sautéed zucchini.

-Baked egg plant parmesan – peel & slice egg plant ½ inch thick, wash in egg whites and dredge in bread crumb mixture. Bread crumb mixture is ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs, ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, 1 Tbsp garlic salt, 2 Tbsp Italian herbs. Spray cookie sheet and bake breaded egg plant pieces at 400* for 20 – 25 minutes flipping once in between. Egg plant should be crisp on each side. Next form the dish by placing one layer of egg plant into sprayed baking dish, then top with 2/3 cup of tomato pasta sauce and 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese. Then repeat layer of egg plant, layer of sauce, layer of cheese. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes until cheese is melted. Super Yummy! Yes my meat loving husband adores this dish!

Snacks & Treats:

Bananas, grapes, pineapple, apples, pears, strawberries, blackberries – always fresh & we eat between 3-4 fruits each per day

Light Yogurt (especially light banana pudding yogurt with a sliced banana and light whipped cream – super yummy)

Light String Cheese

Baby carrots, sliced apples, or celery stalks with 1 Tbsp of peanut butter (everything is good with peanut butter)

Fat free tortilla with 1 Tbsp of peanut butter & a banana (also good for breakfast) the best brand I have found hands down is called La Banderita in the northern states & Ole in Texas but they are the same company. You would NEVER be able to tell this is fat free they taste amazing!

-Potato, Apple, or Veggie Straws by Sensible Portions. This is the best thing that has happened to us in a long time as far as snacks go. These are so good especially on days when we are craving something salty & crunchy. They are SOOOOOOOO good! You find them usually right above the rice cakes.

-Jolly Time Healthy Pop Butter Popcorn 97% fat free *not because it has WW logo on it but we tried a BUNCH of different brands and like the flavor of this one best!

-Vitalicious* VitaMuffin Vitatops & VitaCakes (there are tons of flavors available online and they taste SO much better than the Fiber One products in our opinion – see image of Vitatops above) This Fudgy Chocolate cake satisfies my chocolate craving any day and it is only 1 WW pointsplus!

-Rainbow sherbet ½ cups. Pre-portioned makes it so easy and limits me from over scooping 🙂

-Vanilla ice cream ½ cups

-Sugar free Fudgsicle fudge bars. Yummy only 1 WW points plus and I eat one everyday 🙂 You would seriously never been able to tell these are sugar free so they are great for kids.

-Sweet Delites ice cream bars. These are a brand new find for us actually today. I am already in love and one bar is ZERO WW points plus. Also really good if you have kids.

-Ice cream sandwiches – this is my husband favorite daily indulgence

Yes I know its winter but we love our frozen treats 🙂

So these are some of the meals and items that we have tried and really like. Using our plan and being creative we can feel good about what we are putting into our bodies and don’t have to feel left out or deprived. Our meals are always evolving and change often. I’ll keep you posted on all my yummy discoveries!

Questions for you….

1. What are some of your favorite meals?

2. What are some of your favorite healthy snacks?

3. Was there anything interesting here that you might try at home?

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