I’ve done several different diets, but keep coming back to the one that works for me—Weight Watchers. I’ve done South Beach several times as well, and have written enough hubs on that diet because I understand how and why it works. The premise of Weight Watchers is a simpler one. While South Beach mostly limits sugar and carbohydrates, Weight Watchers (the traditional WW point-counting, not the newer core plan that focuses on healthy options) mostly limits calories and emphasizes portion control. With all diets, you don’t always read about some of the tips from real people doing it. Well, here are some of mine, since I’m doing the Weight Watchers plan again, as I write this:
Breakfast options—3/4 cup of light cottage cheese is only 3 points and coupled with 6 oz. tomato juice, makes a surprisingly filling breakfast…..an egg sandwich made with 1 egg, light American cheese on a light English muffin is only 4 points and also very filling.
Lunch options—I have to admit I like those Stouffer’s Lean Cuisine meals…they taste way better than the Weight Watchers Smart Ones and they have the points count on the side of the box anyway. Granted, I don’t recommend eating processed food like this all the time, but you can’t beat the portion control aspect. I also like Campbell’s chicken & stars soup. A full can is only 2.5 points, and coupled with a few crackers makes a great lunch. You may have to fend off the sodium police with any of these lunch options, though…so if you’re watching your salt intake, be warned. Also try Ball Park fat free white meat turkey franks, which are 1 point each and if you find a 1-point bun, you can eat two of these for just 4 points. Progresso makes a line of WW approved soups that are between 0 and 1 point and taste really good.
Snack options—I don’t believe those who say an apple curbs hunger. For me, it makes me hungrier, and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. But still, an apple is only 1 point and coupled with a Babybel light cheese wheel (1 point), you’ve got a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. I also tend to eat those 100-calorie snack mixes and Weight Watchers cakes, because they help me stick to the plan without overdoing it. And those Hostess 100 calorie pack coffee cakes, because of the fiber count, are just 1 point per package. Skim milk is like 2 points for a cup and also makes a good snack (and for me is more filling than an apple). Dill pickles and carrot sticks are zero points so long as you don’t eat a pound of them. I’m not a huge fan of sugar-free yogurt, but many of these are 1-2 points as well and generally filling. Most jerky is low in calories and points as well. Nuts and full fat cheese, while mostly acceptable on South Beach, are high in points and almost not worth spending any of your daily allotment on.
Dinner options—If you want great recipes, buy that Weight Watchers book called “Take Out Tonight.” Almost everything in there is easy, delicious and in the 6-8 point range per serving. Of course, the WW subscription website also has great options, but nothing beats this particular book. I also like the option of a burger made with lean ground beef on an English muffin with ketchup, mustard and pickles….for 5 points. And you can even eat frozen French fries if you bake them in the oven and stick to a single serving, which is usually between 2 and 3 points. The key is to stick to the serving size. Heck, I think even a McDonald’s regular hamburger and small fries is something like 11 points in case you need that fix. Another good dinner is if you split a Totino’s cheese pizza (7 points) and pair that with a salad with fat free dressing or balsamic vinegar (0 points) and Progresso light WW approved soup (0 points) you have a filling meal that feels like you’re cheating.
Dessert options—You can’t really go wrong with any of the Weight Watchers ice-cream options, which are between 1 and 3 points. There are other brands of light ice-cream bars that are low in points, so review your options at the grocery store. Those sugar-free Jell-O pudding cups are also usually one point and I believe sugar-free gelatin is zero points. Most single pieces of chocolate are in the 1 point range, but the key is to have just one and savor it. Really, that’s the key to most of this diet plan.
Alcohol—Red wine or light beer is 2 points, but here is the best option if you like beer—Miller Genuine Draft 64 calories is only 1 point per 12 oz. How beautiful is that? I think we saw a Bud Select 55 calories in the store the other day as well that would also be in that 1 point range.
Work out—You can gain valuable points by working out, usually between 1-3 points per day depending on what you do. This is good for you anyway, but an added bonus to earn those points.
In summary, this is an easy diet to follow if you have good self-control with portions, because it allows you to eat really anything you want, within reason. But if you eat a lot of these high salt options I’ve outlined, be sure you’re drinking a lot of water. You should do that and work out anyway, but especially if you are eating lots of salt. Good luck!