Saturday, December 26, 2015

Weight Watchers - Veggie Side Dishes

It is always a challenge to get enough fruits and especially veggies into my daily meals, and when you have small children, it becomes even more difficult.  Here is a list of things you might try (and as I have written them down, I realized that I need to keep that list handy, also).

Okra & tomatoes - 0 points - Try this even if you don't like okra.  Combine raw or frozen okra and 1 can of diced tomatoes.  Microwave or boil until okra is tender.  It is even better if you fry a piece of bacon - 1 point - and some diced onion in the pot before adding the okra and tomatoes.  I guarantee that there isn't even a trace of okra's characteristic sliminess.

Stir fried veggies - 2 points with 2 teaspoons of oil - (mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, carrots, snow peas, green onions, zucchini, etc.) Cut everything into  pieces or strips and stir fry in a little oil until tender, starting with the veggies that take longest to cook (peppers, carrots, broccoli) and then adding the rest.  When done, sprinkle with soy sauce. A good way to use small amounts of raw veggies, or buy the frozen stir fry mix. To make this a meal, add some protein if you like and serve over cauliflower rice.

Cauliflower rice - 0 points. Separate raw cauliflower into individual florets and pulse in a food processor briefly just until it looks like rice (or grate it).  I usually heat mine in a dry skillet, stir frying it just until hot.  You can also microwave it briefly.  When used as a base for stir fry, stroganoff, etc. you can't tell the difference.  It also freezes well (uncooked) - I do a whole head at a time and put the extra in a baggie in the freezer.  You can also try Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Rice (I use olive oil instead of the coconut oil called for in the recipe).

Crudites - 0 points. whatever raw veggies your family likes, such as baby carrots, grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, raw broccoli or cauliflower florets, etc.  Adding a dip is a bonus, but will add Weight Watcher points.

Kale salad - 3 points.  Go light on the dressing and add-ins, the veggie part is free of points. Available at most grocery stores in the package salad section, this is a great change of pace.  It comes complete with poppy seed dressing as well as cranberries and pumpkin seeds.  If the veggie part gets a little past its prime, stir fry it and serve it hot.

Cole Slaw - 2 points with 1 tablespoon cole slaw dressing. (Reduced fat is same points as regular, probably because of the added sugar). Shred cabbage or buy the slaw mix in the produce section, and add cole slaw dressing. If you mix it up 30 minutes or an hour before serving, the cabbage softens a bit and the flavors meld.

Salad Bar - 0 points. Set out some greens, torn into pieces, and a variety of veggies such as diced or grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, sliced or diced raw mushrooms, sliced or diced peppers, raw broccoli or cauliflower, etc.  Sliced or diced apples, strawberries, or other fruit, craisins, chopped hard boiled egg, nuts, sunflower or pumpkin seeds (points depend on amount added) make it even more interesting.  Provide a variety of salad dressings (2 points for 2 tablespoons reduced fat).  Let everyone build their own salad.

Fruit salad or just plain sliced or diced fruit - 0 points.  Not really a veggie, but a great side dish and it doesn't need a dressing (which would add Weight Watchers points).  The other bonus is that kids usually love it.

Roasted veggies - 0 points if using a spray of Pam instead of oil, although I like the taste better with a little olive oil - 1 point per teaspoon. Do a combination of your favorite veggies or try some you don't particularly like but know you should eat.  They have a completely different taste.

Oven-baked French fries - 6 points (medium potato + 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil). These are really easy and I actually prefer the taste of them to the traditional deep-fried ones.  Try this with sweet potatoes, also.

Grow-your-own sprouts - 0 points. it is really easy to grow your own sprouts and they are great on a sandwich or salad.  The thing I like best about growing my own is using a variety of seed mixes, not just plain alfalfa.

Here are some links to previous posts in this series:

Weight Watchers, Week One
Weight Watchers, Week Two
12 Last Minute Meals
Weight Watchers, Week Three

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