Healthy Junk Food Replacements while on Weight Watchers

They say that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. And this maxim is so true, especially with lifelong journeys such as healthy eating. So what does it look like to take that “one step”?

Perhaps it’s keeping a water bottle in your purse, filled with lemon water to keep you hydrated and refreshed throughout your day.

Perhaps it’s looking into the wildly popular InstaPot and seeing if it could help streamline preparation of homemade meals for your busy week.

Healthy Junk Food Replacements

Smart Junk Food Replacements

And perhaps it’s deciding to tackle one stumbling block of a food after another, and seeking replacements of poor quality, high calorie foods with high quality, high nutrient foods instead. One by one, when we upgrade our go-to foods in this way, our whole diet improves in an incremental yet powerful way.

Here are some ideas about how to make this happen and experience success on Weight Watchers or any diet!

Sugar

Sugar is the bane of all our good eating intentions, is it not? High in calories and disastrous to our dental health, immunity, and mental acuity, sugar is easily at the top of the list to replace. Some excellent sweet replacements to use in moderation:

  • Raw Honey, high in probiotics, helpful to digestion, and can help alleviate allergies if bought locally.
  • Maple syrup, high in calcium, potassium, and iron.
  • Blackstrap molasses, nutrient rich in iron, calcium, Vitamin B6, magnesium, and potassium.
  • Rapadura, or unrefined raw sugar cane, contains potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.
  • Stevia and Lo Han Guo, both plant extracts with no sugar content. 

Chocolate

Chocolate is just too good to give up completely, in my opinion! And really, it’s unnecessary to do this, as there are so many healthy options to enjoy the rich, irreplaceable taste of chocolate. New treats to try as healthy replacements:

  • Carob. A versatile chocolate replacement high in calcium and other vitamins and minerals, carob is a worthy addition to a healthy Weight Watchers diet.
  • Cacao. Nibs are fun and satisfying as a snack, sprinkled on oatmeal, integrated into trail mix, or ground with coffee beans before brewing. Cacao powder is a seamless substitute for the more processed cocoa powder.
  • Dark chocolate, a few squares here and there. In general, the less sugar and more cocoa in a product, the better.
  • Homemade hot chocolate. Here’s a recipe for a healthy, ready-to-go mix. And here is my favorite, made by mixing the following:
    • 1 Tablespoon raw cacao powder
    • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
    • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
    • pinch of ground nutmeg
    • pinch of sea salt
    • tiny pinch of cayenne
    • 12 oz hot water
    • 4 oz raw cream
    • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Coffee

You may already be cutting down your coffee intake, switching to decaf, or opting for cream but no sugar in your daily coffee routine. These are all good steps, but did you know that there are a couple healthy replacements for your morning joe available as well?

  • Dandelion coffee, sold by Dandy Blend in an easy-to-use instant powder consisting of dandelion root, chicory, barley, rye, and sugar cane, this beverage is sugar-free, gluten-free, and beautifully silky and rich.
  • Red Rooibos tea, a caffeine free option that is richer like black tea and is terrific with honey and milk. Lots of benefits, too!

Soda

  • Club soda or seltzer water, with the addition of a splash of juice, can easily replace soda and other carbonated  beverages. You can also make your own carbonated water with a Soda Stream. Avoid tonic water, whether regular or diet, as it contains either high fructose corn syrup or harmful artificial sweeteners.
  • Kombucha, bubbly and refreshing, is also a fantastic substitute for soda. A wonderful addition to your repertoire of beverages, kombucha provides probiotics and a satisfyingly crisp, carbonated taste that’s in our genes to crave.

Wine

  • Cense, Weight Watchers’ recently debuted light wine, is a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, with a removable label if you’d like to be discreet while bringing it to a party.
  • Clean cocktails, utilizing fruit juice such as cranberry juice, seltzer water, etc.

Chips and French Fries

If reaching for a bag of salty, fatty potato chips or a sleeve of French fries is a vice you’d like to change, a fantastic replacement is homemade chips using virtually any veggie. 

Think about it – chips are simple. Usually consisting of thinly sliced potatoes, oil, and salt at its most basic, the chip can be easily transformed into a health food by changing up the veggies and using healthy fats rather than canola, soybean, or vegetable oils.

Tantalizing recipes gathered at SheKnows gives us over a dozen options, including beets, carrots, zucchini, eggplant, sweet potatoes, and more. Time to maximize those Zero Point vegetables on the new Freestyle program!

What Healthy Replacement Foods are You Trying in the New Year?

New Year’s Weight Watchers Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions . . . whether they make you cringe or give you a burst of energy, the time for making New Year’s resolutions is here!

I have a friend who made a resolution this past year to start running and cut sugar from her life. Not only was she able to work hard, persevere, and succeed at both goals, but she reached the 1000-mile mark earlier this month.

Wow! What an inspiration. Now just how do I incorporate the kind of drive, gumption, and will power (or is it simply habits, routine, and positivity?) to make a new year’s resolution like this stick?

New Year's Weight Watchers Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions Worth Keeping

With the new year just around the bend, have you been reflecting on the successes and challenges you’ve faced this past year? Resolutions kept and those fallen by the wayside? And what, for you and you alone, is a new year’s resolution worth keeping?

Perhaps you’ve already decided that this is the time to get serious about your health, with weight loss as your focus.

So many of us make New Year’s resolutions in a move toward better health. But that’s so vague; how do we keep momentum and drive when we just don’t feel like being healthy?

Here are some tried and true ideas to make and keep meaningful health goals in the New Year . . . or anytime!

Create New Habits and Routines

  • Change the way you speak about your food choices. “I’m not doing sugar right now” is much more empowering and positive than “I can’t have sugar.”
  • Create positive visual reminders of your goal. Find an inspiring quote and stick it on your mirror. Place a photo of a friend or celebrity who is pursuing health on the fridge.  Or you can even set out a bowl of fresh fruit on your kitchen table to remind you to grab a healthy snack. Anything personal to you that will positively support your healthy living goals!
  • Make tangible, measurable daily goals. Walking three times around the park after work, journaling one page before bed, making a healthy lunch for yourself every evening while preparing dinner. These things are easy to visualize yourself doing and plan, and thus are actually doable!

Stay Accountable with Friends

  • Tell your world through social media, email, or even starting a blog about your New Year’s resolutions.
  • Enlist a friend to call you weekly, run with you, swap homemade broth for homemade bread, or attend Weight Watchers meetings with you.
  • Buddy up to an acquaintance you know who has already succeeded in a similar goal. Ask them for specific advice about creating healthy habits, decreasing temptations, and streamlining healthy decisions.

Fun Ways to Celebrate your Resolutions’ Progress

  • Thermometer: check out this inspiring couple and their Dave Ramsey-signed debt thermometer that helped chart and celebrate progress toward paying off over $100,000!
  • Paper chain: cut out long rectangular pieces of paper from magazines, construction paper, or scrap paper. Link them together in a chain with tape and hang in a prominent place. The links could represent pounds to lose, miles to bike, or anything unique to you. Then, each time a pound or mile is achieved, snip off a link!
  • Calendar: use colorful pens or stickers to mark off each day on the calendar you stick with a particular goal.
  • Healthy Treat: indulge in three squares of dark chocolate, a dandelion coffee, a homemade fruit smoothie, or another healthy treat food of choice each week you meet your goals!
  • Gratitude Journal: keep a notebook and pen propped against your coffee pot, in your purse, or on your car’s dashboard. Throughout your day, intentionally take note of all the good things in your life. You can celebrate specific goals met, encouragement from a friend, a delicious, healthy new dish you discovered, or even the ability to rise, take in the morning sunshine, and get out for a walk.

Making New Year’s Resolutions Stick with Weight Watchers

I’ve found Weight Watchers to really fit my criteria for staying true to healthy, positive changes. Measurable goals, clear guidelines for healthy weight loss, a supportive community, accountability, flexibility with the new Freestyle program . . . the list goes on.

Whatever your personal goals this coming year, I encourage you to take action, make them bonafide New Year’s resolutions, and go for it!

Weight Watchers Freestyle Program

Happy (almost) 2018, my Weight Watchers friends! New changes are coming as I mentioned in my former blog post: the Weight Watchers Freestyle Program, promised to be simpler, more beneficial, and more true to life. So what’s the Freestyle Program all about?

What is the New Weight Watchers Freestyle Program?

Freestyle is the latest incarnation of the Weight Watchers program, an ever-improving organization with nutrition and member success at its heart. Each participant is given a certain number of SmartPoints based on four factors (gender, age, height, and weight). Armed with these points, participants shop and plan their meals accordingly, budgeting their points for the day. In this way, members can expect to lose a healthy 1-2 pounds per week.

How is the Freestyle Program Different?

Here are some of Freestyle’s positive changes promoting choice, flexibility, and FREEdom (hence the Freestyle name!):

  • Expanded list of Zero Point foods
  • Many foods decreased in SmartPoints; none increased
  • Rollover Points
  • Participants’ daily points will be recalibrated and often lowered
  • Fresh encouragement and resources for getting active

Weight Watchers has kept their time-tested SmartPoints system, but now it is promised to be even easier to implement in everyday life, beginning with more Zero Point foods.

Over 200 Zero Points Foods in Weight Watchers Freestyle

All your favorite whole foods from the old list, now expanded to include a larger variety of healthy choices. And they may be foods you wouldn’t expect! Hello unlimited seafood, chicken, eggs, non-fat yogurt, beans, corn, fruits, veggies, and so much more. 

Foods on the Zero Points list form the foundation of lifelong healthy eating, so it makes sense that these get a free pass. We should all be making the shift toward choosing more vegetables, fish, chicken, and fruit, and no point counting is a terrific incentive.

Grilled salmon garnished with lemon juice and sea salt . . . an enormous egg and red bell pepper omelet . . . sautéed chicken breast with snap peas and curry . . . all these dishes and any others you create are available to you without needing to track any of them. So put away your scale and enjoy!

On the Freestyle program, the Zero Points Foods are truly free. You have the freedom to enjoy as many and as much as you like, with the goal of feeling happily satisfied.

Rollover Points for Flexibility in Your Week

Based on current nutritional science, the SmartPoints system assigns every food a value that makes it both easier and more meaningful than counting calories. With both sensible, steady weight loss as the goal and every food and drink still on the menu, it’s a win-win.

Now enter even more flexibility into the SmartPoints system with Rollover Points.

When it comes to eating, most of us have a day-to-day routine that gets happily interrupted with dates, girls’ nights out, weekend barbeques, Sunday potlucks . . . and the list goes on!

But not to fear – Rollovers give you the flexibility to use fewer SmartPoints one day and roll over up to four into your weekly budget for a day when you need them.   

So if your Daily SmartPoints Budget is 28 and you only use 24 on a particular day, you’ll be notified that evening that you have four extra SmartPoints (the maximum allotted) added to your weekly budget. Hooray! This gives you the reigns to eat leaner one day and relax a bit the next, all with the same goals and same fantastic weight loss record shared by Weight Watchers participants.

And really, this mentality best reflects real life, doesn’t it? You’ll still lose weight and have added peace of mind, much thanks to Rollover Points.

On weigh-in days, SmartPoints are reset, so it’s important to remember that rollovers last for one week only. And if you’d prefer your Weekly Bank not reflect SmartPoints rollovers, you can simply opt out in Settings.

Freestyle Activity and Physical Fitness

We all probably know that healthy eating coupled with physical activity is a winning combination to losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight thereafter.

But how to start exercising? How to choose activity that really makes a difference in my weight goals and a routine that fits with my lifestyle?

If you’re not already hitting the gym or climbing mountains on the weekend, there are new resources when joining Weight Watchers that will help get you motivated to begin a routine that works for you. After all, finding meaningful, enjoyable activity and incorporating it successfully into your lifestyle is how healthy habits are formed.

And if you’re already movin’ and shakin’, Weight Watchers Freestyle will further assist you in setting measurable goals and discover new challenges to keep you motivated and making progress.

It sounds like, despite the challenges of working with fewer daily SmartPoints, overall the Weight Watchers Freestyle is full of positive change. Let’s embrace it! 

How to Get Started with the Freestyle Program

Ready to get started? Go ahead and use my referral link here to get a $10 gift card, the latest Weight Watchers promotion.