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10 Ways to Make Your Favorite Foods Healthier

There are so many reasons to try to make your favorite foods healthier. When I was on Weight Watchers, I didn’t really want to give up my comfort foods, so I was always looking for ways to make them healthier, but still taste great (or at least good!) And you may have favorites that your kids (or significant other) love…but you need to get more veggies into them so you perhaps tweak a few things here and there – hoping they won’t really notice. 🙂

  1. Don’t be afraid to substitute with low- to no-fat choices when making a meal. But remember, it might fail! For example, I was able to substitute lower-fat salad dressing when making my crock pot chicken recipe; but when I tried using a no-fat broth, it totally failed. (My husband wouldn’t even eat it – and he eats anything!) The lower-fat salad dressing didn’t taste as good, but it was still okay.
  2. Leave the non-healthy ingredients out. If the recipe can still stand on its own without the ingredient, don’t hesitate to leave it out. You can still make it available for others in a small bowl off to the side though. Another crock pot recipe of mine is the Burger Soup. It calls for Parmesan Cheese. Luckily, I’ve left it out of the recipe by accident before, so I knew that it still tastes really good. And cheese is something that’s really easy to put on after-the-fact.
  3. Don’t put as much of the non-healthy ingredient in. In that same Burger Soup recipe, I’ve put about 1/2 as much cheese in as is called for – and no one noticed the difference!
  4. Add more veggies. I know there are books out there with recipes for hidden veggies, but if you want your kids to grow up thinking veggies are okay, you might want to just go ahead and let them know they’re in there. One night while making a Pasta Bake, my daughter requested carrots in it. (You could have knocked me over with a feather!) She was right – it was delicious, and a great way to get more veggies into my kids.
  5. Use Salsa. As an alternative to chips and dip, use salsa and nacho chips. Salsa has no points! Salsa is also great for cooking. It adds a lot of flavor (and veggies!) to chicken (crock pot chicken ole is a favorite at my house), and other veggies. My kids actually ate cauliflower when it was sauteed in salsa!
  6. Salad sometimes only SOUNDS healthy. Sure – lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and the like are SUPER healthy. Add in that blue cheese dressing (or mounds of ranch dressing) and it’s not so healthy any more. I once read that the best way to use dressing is to ask for it on the side and then dip your fork in right before each bite. You don’t eat so much of it then.
  7. Use less salt. This one is a bit of an obvious one, but oh so hard for me. I really love my salt! Perhaps I should try some of those salt substitutes out there. (Are those really healthier?)
  8. Surf the internet. Seriously. If you have a favorite recipe that you know is drenched with non-healthiness, surf around the internet to see if someone has come up with a healthier version.
  9. Eat less of one of your non-healthy meals. I’ve found if I deprive myself of the “good stuff” – I end up gorging on it at some point anyway…which is so much less healthy than if I’d just given in and had a taste or smaller helping. I’ve read that if you use smaller plates, you’ll actually eat less as well.
  10. Always serve your meal with fruits and veggies. Not only are these fillers and help spread the meat portion out, but they’re less expensive as well!

My husband wanted to add his own tip: Never eat anything green, it might be spoiled meat…but that didn’t make my top 10 😉

I know some of these just serve as reminders, but I hope it was at least a little bit helpful!

Disclaimer: I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and WeightWatchers SmartOnes blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Recipe: Crock Pot Beef Stew

As you may or may not know, I’ve been using Weight Watchers for the past few weeks to try to get back to a healthier weight. (Click to see today’s Ladies of Loserville post.) I haven’t been going crazy, but I have been counting all of my points (damn those donuts are costly!), and trying to choose healthier alternatives (pay no attention to that donut remark 😉 ).

For the past two weeks, after entering my weight into their system, I get the following message:

Please note: You’re probably excited to be losing weight, but you’re losing faster than is recommended. Although it’s normal to lose over 2 lbs in 1 week, if you lose more than an average of 2 lbs per week over a 4-week period, this could pose health risks, such as heart irregularities, anemia or loss of muscle mass. Please slow your weight loss; your doctor can help you do this if you’re not sure how.

Uh. LAST week’s result was over 2 pounds, but none of the other weeks have been. This week’s was 1.4.  So why the message this week? I know, I know…it says average. But STILL. And HELL YA I’m excited to lose the weight, but I’m also not crazy 😉

Anyway…on to the good stuff!

Crock Pot Beef Stew

6 points a serving


  • 10 small New Potatoes, halved
  • 12 small white onions, peeled
  • 30 baby carrots (1/2 lb)
  • 1 1/2 lbs beef stew meat
  • 2 C. beef broth plus 1/2 C. water
  • 2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp onion salt
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp parsley
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsp cold water


  1. Place potatoes, onions, and carrots into crock pot.
  2. Add Beef.
  3. In a small bowl, combine broth with water, 3 salts, parsley, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.
  4. Pour over meat and veggies.
  5. Cover and cook on low 6 hours.
  6. In small bowl, combine cornstarch and water.
  7. Stir into mixture.
  8. Cover and cook on high 15 -20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Recipe: Crock Pot Burger Soup

Mike picked on me for posting a recipe last week, but I’m going to do it again anyway *grin*

As another companion to my Ladies of Loserville post, I’m sharing my Burger Soup recipe. Like the Chicken Ole’, this one can be done in the crock pot or in a frying pan. I’ll include directions for both.

I have to say that Mike and I *love* this recipe. I make it at least once a week. You can use rice or pasta for either version…but the best way – in my opinion – is to use the rice in the crock pot version and pasta in the frying pan version. If I calculated correctly, one serving is 6 points. If you don’t add the cheese, it’s only 4 points.


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. basil
  • 1 envelope dry onion soup
  • 3 Cups beef broth + water – boiling. (I use 1 can and then fill the rest with water, then pop into the microwave for 3 minutes)
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 C. sliced carrots
  • 1 C. cooked rice OR pasta (cooked and drained if in crock pot, dry if in frying pan – I use the curly, hollow pasta, Cellentani)
  • 1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Crock Pot Instructions:

  1. Crumble beef into crock pot.
  2. Add spices.
  3. Mix in water, tomato sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.
  4. Add carrots.
  5. Cover and cook on low 6 – 8 hours.
  6. Turn to high heat and add rice or pasta and Parmesan cheese.
  7. Cover and cook 10 – 15 minutes.

Frying Pan Instructions:

  1. Brown and drain the beef.
  2. Add everything else.
  3. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Recipe: Chicken Ole’

As a companion to my Ladies of Loserville post, I’m sharing my Chicken Ole’ recipe. Okay…so it’s not really my recipe. A very good friend made it for me one day, and I adapted it for my crock pot. I’ll include directions for both versions.

I love this recipe because it’s super easy and tastes SO good! And one serving – if I calculated correctly – is equal to 4 WW points. Mike and I ate this dish long before I decided to join Weight Watchers – so it’s not diet food! I was just super excited to see that it’s one of the better meals for me 🙂

Chicken Ole’


  • 4 Chicken Breast halves (which would be 2 chicken breasts, but I’ve found they come in halves) – boneless, skinless
  • 2 jars of salsa (I use Green Mountain Gringo – THE best salsa!)
  • 1 Lime
  • Some squirts of mustard


  1. Place the chicken in the bottom of the crock pot.
  2. Dump the salsa on top.
  3. Cut the lime in half, squirt the juice of both halves on top of the salsa.
  4. Squirt the mustard in and stir into the salsa (leaving the chicken on the bottom).
  5. Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours.

If you don’t have a crock pot, cube the chicken and then put everything into a frying pan and let it simmer until the chicken is cooked all the way through.

Serve over rice. (1 cup of white rice is another 4 WW points. But add a salad with no-fat dressing and this is an entire meal for 8 points!)

I Must Be Crazy

An in-real-life friend and blogger buddie, Goddess, has thrown down the gauntlet. She’s challenged fellow bloggers to join her in “searching for the wagon” – losing some weight.  I’ve decided that I need to do just that and will be joining her. Goddess even set up a new blog for us to complain about track things. I’ll also try to be brave and keep updates going here – but I’ll mostly be tracking over there. Let’s just suffice it to say that I’m starting out at large.

Why crazy, you ask? Because I’ve joined the online version of Weight Watchers at prime foodie time. Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. Not to mention all that Halloween candy that we can’t let the KIDS eat… *sigh* This is going to take a *lot* of will power…I’m totally a meat and potatoes kinda gal. Although, I do really like WW’s zero point soup…

Poor Mike. I hope I don’t get too grumpy  🙂 And I hope he doesn’t mind some of my WW recipes…

Keep your fingers crossed for me! And here’s to hoping that I don’t chew through my desk.