I’m into my second week of taking part in the Weight Watchers #stepintosummer challenge, and drum roll….. I’ve lost five pounds! Very happy with that result, and long may it continue.
The secret? First and foremost i’ve been keeping a food diary, so i’m far more aware of how much i’m putting away. I’ve eaten fewer carbs, lower fat dairy, cut down portion sizes and if i’ve got the munchies I have a big drink of water and a piece of fruit. I found the only meals that have been rubbish are ones that i’ve not put much thought into. So this week’s challenge is perfect.
My approach to this challenge was to try a new recipe for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When you’re following a new diet you can get a bit bored after the first week, the key for me is to not get in a rut of eating the same ‘safe’ things and branch out a bit.
With Simple Start you have a list of foods that are unlimited to work with, so there’s no weighing and measuring unless you decide to switch to counting points. You can stock up on lean proteins, wholegrains, fruit, veg and low fat dairy – which gives you a bit more freedom to create your own meals.
Here’s my day of new recipes for you to try if you feel like joining me on this week’s challenge…
I’m definitely normally a tea and toast kind of girl first thing, so to turn that on its head I came up with a fruity smoothie that’s packed with fruit and slow-release energy giving oats. I used fruit out of the freezer, but you can use fresh or tinned too. My secret ingredient is 0% fat Greek Yogurt as it thickens the shake and lends a gorgeous freshness.
Strawberry and Pineapple Oat Breakfast Smoothie
4 Pro Points per serving
40g porridge oats
75g strawberries (fresh or frozen)
75g pineapple pieces (tinned, fresh or frozen)
120g 0% fat Greek Style Yogurt
150ml skimmed milk
1. Bung it all in a powerful blender and blitz until smooth and bubbly, pour into two glasses and breakfast is served.
I like to keep things fairly light at lunchtime, and love having lots of different things to nibble on to keep thing interesting. If you go for the deli board approach, it’s a feast for the eyes and feels like a treat.
In this recipe I’ve combined lean proteins of boiled egg and Parma ham with wholegrain rice cakes and got some moisture from the houmous and punchy flavour from the gherkins and smoked paprika.
Deli topped rice cakes
8 Pro Points per serving
3 x wholegrain rice cakes
60g reduced fat houmous
1 x boiled egg, sliced
1 x slice Parma ham, fat trimmed
pinch paprika to serve
Pile all the ingredients onto a chopping board and spread the houmous on the rice cakes then top with the remaining ingredients and snack away to your heart’s content.
And for the final meal of the day there’s a real treat in store with a recipe given to me to try by the Weight Watchers team. I need to talk to you about the potatoes to start with. So. Damn. Good.
They’re probably more faff than I’d normally tolerate, but it’s so worth the effort. They went down really well with the entire family and look posh enough to serve at a dinner party should you want a slightly different spin on a spud.
They’re basically new potatoes that have been sliced almost all the way through. You stick some thyme and/or rosemary in some of the gaps, season and spray with Fry Light and then bake. They taste incredible.
For the main dish itself I’ve used chicken mini fillets instead of pork loin steaks as the mushroom sauce works with either. It’s beautifully creamy as it has fat free Greek Yogurt in it and thanks to the mustard it’s packed to the rafters with flavour.
You really feel like you’ve had a proper hearty meal after you’ve sat down to this. The meat has a peppery heat, the sauce is genuinely creamy without being fattening and the potatoes and crisp greens are the perfect compliment to the dish. It’s another winner from Weight Watchers.
Pork Loin Steaks with Creamy Mushroom Sauce and Salt ‘n’ Thyme Potatoes
10 Pro Points per serving
12-16 large new potatoes
1-2 bushy sprigs thyme, torn into small sprigs
Calorie controlled cooking spray
For the creamy mushroom sauce:
2 shallots or half a small onion, finely chopped
200g chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced
2 tsp mustard powder
200ml beef stock from a cube
1 tbsp grainy mustard
6 tbsp 0% fat Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley (I used thyme leaves)
For the pork steaks:
2 tbsp crushed mixed peppercorns, especially pink and green peppercorns
4 pork steaks, visible fat removed (I used 3 chicken mini fillets per person instead)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Steamed baby vegetables, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Cut thin slices in the top of the potatoes, almost but not quite all the way through. Put the potatoes onto a baking tray and spray with calorie controlled cooking spray. Insert a sprig of thyme between one or two of the slices on each potato. Season, and bake for 40-50 minutes until tender and golden.
2. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and spray with calorie controlled cooking spray and add the shallots. Cook gently for about 5 minutes, adding a little water to the pan if they start to colour or stick.
3. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the mustard powder before stirring in the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender.
4. Remove from the heat and stir in the grainy mustard. Leave to stand for 2 or 3 minutes, then stir a little of the hot sauce into the yoghurt.
5. Add the yoghurt mixture and parsley to the mushroom sauce and season to taste, cover and set aside while you cook the pork steaks. If you need to reheat the sauce, take care not to boil or it might split.
6. Rub the crushed peppercorns into the pork steaks along with a little salt. The steaks can now either be cooked on a bbq, or ridged grill pan, or under a hot grill. Cook for 4-5 minutes each side, until just tender.
7. Serve immediately with the potatoes, mushroom sauce and steamed spring vegetables (eg baby carrots, leeks, courgettes, peas) or mixed salad.
For the second #StepIntoSummer challenge Weight Watchers are giving away a hamper full of Simple Start goodies to provide members with everything they need to kick-start their Simple Start journey.
For your chance to win a Simple Start food hamper courtesy of Weight Watchers, upload a picture of one of your challenge meals to Twitter using hashtag #StepIntoSummer’
Let us know how you’re getting on with this week’s challenge on Facebook by tagging @WeightWatchersUK and using hashtag #stepintosummer
Inspired to get back on the Weight Watchers Wagon? Check out Weight Watchers latest sign-up offers
Disclosure: I have been paid for the time spent creating this series of blog posts for Weight Watchers, as well as receiving deliveries of ingredients to make the recipes and a six month membership to Weight Watchers. All views are my own and it is a product I genuinely endorse having used it several times successfully in the past.