Sunday, March 25, 2012

Diet Foods: Snacks and Extras

I keep forgetting to write this last post of my favorite diet foods.  These are snacks, sides, and extras.  Ok, I guess you gathered that from the title.  

One of my favorite snacks is Weight Watchers Mozzarella String Cheese.

These also come in a smoked flavor, but I haven't tried those since I love the regular mozzarella so much.  These are salty and fun to eat.  Each cheese stick has only 50 calories, 2.5 g fat, and no carbs.  Each one also has 6 g of protein, which will help you feel full and will help you meet your daily protein goal (which can be difficult for me unless I'm very intentional).

{I did try the Sargento Light String Cheese, and I really didn't like it as much as the Weight Watchers.  The Sargento version tastes more buttery (which some people might like; I didn't), and they don't tear into little strings.  Yes, I eat my string cheese like a kid.}

Another low carb and high protein snack is gelatin bites (these would hit more of a sweet/fruity craving).  We buy Kroger Brand Gel Bites.

I eat these when I'm still hungry at night but I've used up my carbs for the day.  I think the Black Cherry flavor tastes more like artificial sweetener, so I prefer the Strawberry flavor.  I think there's also an orange flavor.

I also eat Kroger Lite Yogurts for snacks or sometimes with a meal. 

I'm very picky about yogurt (not a huge fan), and the only kind I actually like is Yoplait Light Boston Creme Pie.  However, the Kroger Lite Yogurts have much fewer calories (most are 80 calories).  Since I think they taste like artificial sweetener, I usually throw in a handful of grapes for some natural sweetness and a different texture.  I like the vanilla flavor and the strawberry banana flavor, but again that's just me being picky.

I have found that I like to combine certain foods in order to make the "diet" foods more tolerable (like the yogurt and grapes).  Another combo I like is Low Fat Cottage Cheese and Kiwi.

I grew up sprinkling sugar on my cottage cheese, so I don't always love eating it plain.  I do like cottage cheese with fruit, like peaches or pineapple.  I think the low fat version tastes just as good as regular, and it's a nice compromise between fat-free and regular.  

My family has been on a kiwi kick for a couple of months now.  My kids love them, and they are a great fruit from a nutrition standpoint. You can buy them individually, but they tend to be under-ripe, too firm, and tart tasting.  Our grocery store carries them in a plastic container (6 per container), and they are perfect.  Every kiwi is juicy and sweet.  It only takes a minute to cut the ends off, cut off the skin, and slice the fruit.  I love the sweetness they add to my cottage cheese, and I enjoy the crunchy little seeds for texture contrast. 

Another little grocery store find we love is Dried Cranberries.  There's a big difference between the Ocean Spray Craisins and the clear plastic containers found near the produce section. 

These cranberries (in the clear plastic containers) are so plump and chewy that they make the Craisins seem like nothing but dried cranberry skins.  Everyone in my family loves eating these plain as a snack.  I've also combined them with some pistachios for a salty & sweet snack (just watch portion size of pistachios).

I have found that adding toasted Sliced Almonds to various foods elevates them from boring to delicious. 

I measure my serving size to make sure I'm not overindulging on fats, and I toast them briefly in a dry skillet over medium/low heat (DO NOT walk away from them or they will burn!  Don't ask me how I know).  Toasting them makes a huge difference in flavor.  These are what make salads edible to me.  

I often eat Laughing Cow Light Cheeses for snacks or lunch. 

I eat one wedge with either one serving of Reduced Fat Wheat Thins or one serving of pretzels (twists or sticks).  With only 35 calories per wedge, and several flavors to choose from, these make a great snack.

You can make your own snack starting with Wonton Wrappers.  I get these at Walmart, and they are in a refrigerated shelving area near the produce. 

My sister introduced these to me and taught me how to bake them.  Start by lightly spraying a baking sheet with fat-free cooking spray.  Then lay out the wrappers in a grid, with edges touching.  For a salty snack, sprinkle shredded (not grated) Parmesan cheese over the wrappers.  For a sweet snack, sprinkle a cinnamon and sugar mixture over them.  Then lightly spray your cooking spray over the flavored wrappers, and use a pizza cutter to cut them into either smaller squares or triangles (depending on where you cut).  This is where it's nice to have them all lined up and touching.  Bake them at 350 until they are light/medium brown and bubbled (approximately 9 minutes).  Let cool.  They make a great crunchy snack, and have fewer calories and less fat than traditional chips. 

I love drinking Dr. Pepper and Cherry Coke.  When I started my diet (on January 1), I made a conscious effort to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.  But I still occasionally wanted a soda.  Each can of regular soda has approximately 250 calories, depending on the brand and flavor.  That's a lot when I'm sticking to my daily calorie budget!

I detest diet soda.  Gross.  But sometimes I need a little caffeine fix to get me through my day.  So I discovered Diet Cherry Coke and Cherry Coke Zero.

The cherry flavor makes it palatable for me, and each can still has zero calories.  I don't even know the difference between the Diet Coke and the Coke Zero.  I just know I can treat myself to a soda every now and then without guilt.

One last food I have to share is a recent discovery.  These are great as a side dish for lunch or dinner, but I admit I have eaten one as a snack when I just needed something fast and didn't feel like thinking too hard.  They are Green Giant Just for One Cauliflower and Cheese Sauce.

One package includes 4 individual trays/servings.  You just peel the top film back at one corner and microwave for a couple minutes.  Each serving has only 40 calories!  Keep in mind that I'm a girl who has trouble choking down veggies, and I actually enjoy the cauliflower with cheese sauce.  I haven't tried the broccoli version.  Because I really don't like broccoli.

These suggestions wrap up my list of favorite diet foods (for now!).  As I discover new favorites, I'll share those as well.  I've already heard from two people who have tried one of my favorites and liked them.  And both of those people are successfully losing weight!

After three months of eating healthy and working hard to lose weight, I'm growing a little weary of all my "usuals."  So please feel free to share any of your favorites with me!



  1. We love to snack on almonds too! This may not be relevant since we have such different opinions on veggies, but I do love the Just for One broccoli and cheese. I used to take them in my lunch all the time when I taught.

    I love to snack on fruit. For some weird reason, my sweet tooth is at its strongest when I finish working out. Since it seems counterproductive to grab cookie dough out of the freezer or a handful of girl scout cookies after a workout, I grab a cutie or a handful of grapes. Also, do you like smoothies? Jason's mom turned us on to Yoplait Smoothie (found in the freezer section by frozen fruit). We love smoothies, but never take the time to make them. These you just open the bag, dump the contents in the blender, add some milk and drink. Each smoothie is a full serving of fruit, but I'm not sure about calories/carbs/fiber...So proud of you girl and you look amazing!!

  2. Well, I LOVE chocolate, so to get in my chocolate fix, I have been snacking on Sugar Free Chocolate pudding. I put a Tbsp of Fat Free cool whip on top & crumble a pretzel on top...tastes like a piece of pie...yum!

    I also get those 100 Calorie almond packages & sprinkle in a few chocolate chips (I use dark chocolate). It gives me the chocolate fix I need, but the almonds keep me full longer.

    Have you tried the Smoked Flavor WW String cheese? It's one of our favorites. I'm gonna try the Green Giant veggie thing...I love broccoli & cauliflower. Thanks for your tips, Jessica!