Friday, January 6, 2012

Meal Planning 101

My biggest struggle is how to plan good, healthy meals that fit in well with Weight Watchers.  I have several WW cookbooks, but honestly I don't want to eat out of those three cookbooks every day.  Figuring out the PointsPlus values on your own recipes is no easy task.  Well, it's not that it's hard, it's just time consuming.  When I get recipes off of the internet sometimes they'll have the nutrition information so that makes it easy to use my WW PointsPlus Calculator to get the values for the meal.  Here's how to get the values for a recipe you like to make but have no nutrition information with it...

The recipe I'm going to use can be found here.  Stephanie O'Dea's Chicken Enchilada Chili.  One of our favorite, go to crockpot meals! 

Basically, what you want to do is figure out the PP value for each ingredient, not per serving, but for the entire recipe.  It looks like a lot of PP, but when you divide it down into servings it's obviously much more manageable!

1 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts) I figured up to be 24 PP
1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce (2 cans) is 9 PP
2 chopped celery stalks is 0 PP
2 14.5 oz cans of tomatoes is 4 PP
2 15 oz cans of kidney beans is 25 PP
The rest of the ingredients are 0 PP

The total for this entire recipe is 62 PointsPlus values.  If this was a casserole I could easily cut it into even servings and divide the 62 by that.  Unfortunately this is chili.  So the first time I divided it out into even serving sizes (I decided I wanted to make this into 6 servings).  Simple enough...62 divided by 6 is about 10 PointsPlus values.  I just make sure to divide the full meal out into servings before we sit down to eat.  I serve up two servings (one for hubby, one for me), then I put one serving in a container for the fridge for leftovers the next day, then the other three servings I put right into freezer bags and put them in the freezer for later. 

I serve cornbread to go along with this almost every time and here's the breakdown for that:

1 c cornmeal (12)
1 c flour (11)
2 Tbsp sugar (2)
1 c skim milk (2)
1 egg (2)
1/4 c vegetable oil (14)

Total:  43 PointsPlus values.

The square baking dish is easily cut into 9 even pieces of cornbread, which divided out to about 5 PointsPlus values per piece of cornbread (totally worth every bit of it!!).

So, when I know I'm making this meal for dinner, I know I need to allot 15 of my 29 daily PP values.  Easy enough!

Let me know if you have any questions!

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