Thursday, December 30, 2010

The New Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers has been one of the most popular plans followed by dieters for almost 15 years.  Recently, Weight Watchers has redesigned their weight-loss plan, based on research on how the body metabolizes different types of foods.  Under their previous plan, Weight Watchers are given an individualized allowance of points depending on age, gender, height and current weight.  Food items were given a specific point value, which was based on total calories and adjusted for fat content and fiber. 

The new "PointsPlus" plan assigns point values to foods based on their protein, fat, carbs and fiber.  While the overall design is the same, with the message being to not "go over" on your total points, people are now given a higher number of points.  This can be confusing, particularly to those who are familiar with and have been following a Weight Watchers plan for years.  According to the NY Times article, on the previous plan the average member was allowed 22 points, whereas on the new plan the average point value is 31.  Ultimately, "bad" food choices are still taking up a higher portion of total points, which discourages dieters from consuming these foods.

For more information on the new PointsPlus program, check out the WW website (

I'll still argue that Weight Watchers is probably the best "diet" out there, promoting increased consumption of fruits, vegetables and high-fiber foods, while discouraging highly processed items.  Isn't that the message we health-conscious people are always pushing!?

Whether you're following a structured diet plan or just striving to eat healthier and feel well, Watching your Weight is always a good idea! :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Holiday Recipe Makeover-Spinach Artichoke Dip

Dips are always a big hit at holiday dinner parties, and one of my all time favorites is spinach artichoke dip!  The name can be misleading however, because in addition to healthy spinach and artichokes, it is packed with high-fat cream cheese and sour cream.  I recently came across this "lightened up" version in Cooking Light, and had to make it for the party we hosted this weekend!  It turned out just as creamy and delicious, with less total calories and fat. 

Yield: 5 1/2 cups (serving size: 1/4 cup dip and about 6 chips)


  • 2  cups  (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/2  cup  fat-free sour cream
  • 1/4  cup  (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 3  garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1  (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1  (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1  (8-ounce) block fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2  (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
  • 1  (13.5-ounce) package baked tortilla chips (about 16 cups)


Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, sour cream, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and next 6 ingredients (through spinach) in a large bowl; stir until well blended. Spoon mixture into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Serve with tortilla chips.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Jingle All The Way!

This past Sunday my dad and I ran the Jingle Bell 5K Run/Walk in support of the Arthritis Foundation.  It was a cold, miserable and rainy day with a small turnout (undoubtedly due to the weather).  We each raised over $100 for a good cause, so in the end it was worth it!  I ran in 28:40, which I am happy with given how terrible I felt the entire run, getting pelted by cold rain! Happy Holidays and Happy Running! :)

Jingle Bell Jog, Dec. 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Holiday Food Gifts

If you're on a budget but still need some gifts for family, friends or co-workers, why not give the gift of food!? Get creative and use glass jars or festive foil to wrap your goodies.  Here are a few ideas for healthy holiday goodies to share with all:

-Granola (mix together dried fruit, oats, nuts, cinnamon and a little honey!)
-Homemade Jam or Jelly (try this recipe for Pomegranate)
-Fresh Tomato or Pesto Sauce  (red & green!)
-Soup in a Jar (here's a recipe for a healthy bean soup!)
-Oatmeal Cookie Mix

There will be more healthy holiday recipe ideas to come! Enjoy! :)