I’ve been super strict with myself this week and dropped a brilliant 3 pounds, taking me to a total loss of 9 pounds in the 3 weeks that i’ve been following Weight Watchers #stepintosummer.
Again the success is down to logging exactly what i’m eating plus being organised which brings me nicely on to this week’s challenge:
Challenge Four: Plan your meals in advance, even for the weekend!
Meal planning is something i’ve been doing for years, as a family cook this is key to survival! It’s the same if you’re trying to follow a diet because if you’ve planned and shopped for every meal it takes away temptation to reach for something that’ll get in the way of your weight loss.
I keep a list by the cooker of 7 meals for the week, and the fridge and cupboards contain those ingredients as that’s what i’ve shopped for at the supermarket. I’m working three days a week at the moment, so it’s even more crucial that I be this organised or chaos will ensue.
Breakfasts have been:
- Toast with fruit
- Greek yogurt with fruit
My lunches have all been salads along these lines:
- Marinated chicken slices with crunchy salad and toasted seeds
- Reduced fat prawn cocktail with shredded iceberg and grated carrot
- Feta cheese with baby spinach and beetroot
And dinners have been things like:
- Wholewheat pasta with home made tomato sauce with soya meat balls
- Ratouille with poached egg and wholegrain rice
On those work nights where i’ve been getting in after 7pm and the family have already eaten I’ve resorted to a few calorie counted ready meals served up with a hearty portion of salad/veg on the side. It’s not ideal, but I need to restock my freezer with a bit of batch cooking.
- Lots and lots of fruit – i’ve never eaten so much!
- Low calorie crisps like French Fries and Quaves
- And i’ve saved points for a glass of red wine of an evening in front of the TV.
This week’s recipe is another corker, especially as the sun has decided to come out and the BBQs are getting fired up! These huge fat burgers are as good as they look. Thick, juciy and packed with flavour. They’re easy to put together and don’t require any binding with egg, so the naked burgers on their own are only 4 points (as long as you’re using extra lean beef mince). I thought they might fall apart on the grill, but they held beautifully.
They’re spiced with cumin, coriander, red onion and garlic so have bags of flavour appeal. Not stereotypical diet food at all, so you can join in with the BBQ and not feel like you’re some freak eating a limp lettuce leaf in the corner coz you’re on a diet!
In terms of carbs, overdosing on bread is where diets tend to go wrong at BBQs. So the recipe uses Sandwich Thins for housing the burgers which are just 3 points a pop. We regularly eat these anyway coz the kids love them for sandwiches.
The recipe also includes potato wedges so it’s a very hearty weekend style meal. If you want to keep things lighter then leave out the bread or the potatoes – I don’t think you need both.
As Matthew doesn’t eat meat I get to keep all these tasty burgers for myself, and I’m freezing the surplus to have on different days. Perfect for restocking the freezer while i’m too busy to cook much from scratch during the week.
This last weekend I just had a burger with a sandwich thin, but during the week I plan on making the potato wedges. My approach is to cut up the potatoes into small cubes, spray with Fry Light and sprinkle with sea salt and paprika and oven bake. The potato goes further this way, meaning you don’t need as much and can cut right down on points.
The fresh tomato salsa is the final flourish of this meal, bursting with coriander, chilli, lime juice and spring onions it’s divine. There are no points involved with this side and i’ve now got a dish of it in the fridge to have with my meals all week. Result.
BBQ burgers and chunky wedges
14 Pro Points for the whole meal per person
4 Pro Points for a naked burger or 7 Pro Points if you whack it in a Sandwich Thin
For the burgers:
500g extra lean steak mince
1 small red onion, grated or very finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 garlic clove, crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lettuce leaves, to serve
4 Sandwich Thins, toasted, to serve
For the chunky wedges:
4 large potatoes, unpeeled, each cut into 8 wedges
1 tsp mixed dried herbs
Calorie controlled cooking spray
For the tomato salsa:
2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1/2 hot green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1/2 lime, juice only
1. If using a bbq, start by lighting it in order that the coals will be hot enough to cook on – usually about 15-20 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the mince, onion, oregano, ground cumin and coriander, garlic and plenty of seasoning. Divide the mixture into 4 and form into balls. Now flatten the balls, and make them square-ish and about the same size or slightly larger than the sandwich thins. Set aside.
3. For the chunky wedges, preheat the oven to 200C. Put the potatoes and dried herbs into a large bowl. Season well and spray with calorie controlled cooking spray. Toss everything together until evenly coated. Spread the wedges onto a non-stick baking tray and bake for 30-40 minutes, turning once or twice, until golden.
4. Meanwhile, for the tomato salsa, mix together the tomatoes, spring onions, chilli, coriander and lime juice to taste. Season and set aside until needed.
5. To cook the burgers, put on the bbq directly over the coals, and cook for 4-5 minutes each side, until the juices run clear. Toast the sandwich thins over the coals during the final couple of minutes’ cooking time.
6. Serve the burgers on the sandwich thins, with lettuce, tomato salsa and mustard, accompanied by potato wedges.
This week Weight Watchers are giving away these brilliant Lock & Lock food storage sets, which are ideal for storing leftovers in the fridge and freezer, or for taking home made food to work.
If you fancy winning a set then simply tweet about planning your meals on 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 for your chance to win Lock & Lock food storage sets
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.