Food and Weight: An Ongoing Journey

Taking Back Your Power (Foods)!

Posted on: November 14, 2012

So, I promised that I would write about power foods.  Power foods are, according to Weight Watchers, those foods that  “are determined by both their ability to be filling (provide eating satisfaction, which keeps you full longer) and their impact on health (how their sugar, odium, saturated fat, total fat, and/or fiber content stack up against that of similar foods).”*

Weight Watchers has established the following guidelines for their Power Foods:

  • Fruits
    • All fresh, frozen, or canned without extra sugar
    • Fruit canned in its own juice (drained)
    • Fruit Salad – mixed fruits with no added sugar
  • Vegetables
    • Most fresh, frozen or canned without added sugar or oil
    • Potatoes – white, red, sweet
  • Whole grains
    • Brown and wild rices
    • Hot cereals, cooked without added sugar, dried fruits, or nuts
      • 100% bran
      • Cream of rice
      • Cream of wheat
      • Grits
      • Oatmeal
      • Pasta, whole-wheat or other whole grain varieties
      • Popcorn, air-popped or 94% fat-free microwave popped
      • Whole-grain, ready-to-eat cereals — without added sugar, dried fruits, or nuts, and with 4g fiber or more per serving
      • Whole grains, such as:
        • Barley
        • Buckwheat
        • Bulgur
        • Cornmeal (polenta)
        • Whole-wheat couscous
        • Quinoa
  • Non-Fat Dairy & Dairy Substitutes
    • Fat-free cheeses, including fat-free cottage cheese
    • Fat-free milk and beverages made with fat-free milk, such as
      • Cappuccino or latte, as long as it’s sugar-free
    • Yogurt, fat-free, plain or flavored  with artificial sweetener
    • Fat-free sour cream
    • Unflavored fat-free soy cheese
    • Unflavored soy milk and soy yogurt
  • Lean Proteins
    • Beef, chicken, lamb, pork, turkey, veal – lean, trimmed, all skin removed
    • Dried beans, including canned black, canellini, kidney, refried, and white
    • Dried peas, including black-eyed peas and split peas
    • Eggs, whole, whites, and fat-free substitute
    • Game meats, including buffalo, ostrich, and venison
    • Lentils
    • Meat substitutes, including tofu and some vegetarian burgers
    • Most fish and shellfish — fresh, frozen, and canned in water
    • Organ meats from beef, lamb, pork, and veal
  • Other
    • Breads:
      • Light English muffins
      • Light hot dog and hamburger rolls
      • Reduced-calorie (light) breads
    • Soups
      • Broth, onion, and some broth- and tomato-based vegetable soups
    • Desserts
      • Sugar-free gelatin**

Now, this does not mean that one must solely eat Power Foods in order to successfully lose weight.  What it does mean for most of us is that — if we include a good mix of power foods among what we consume each day — we are less likely to suffer dips in energy, or cravings for foods that might not be choices that support our goals.

What I have also found is that using these foods has enabled me to move away from an animal protein-centered diet to a more varied, flexatarian approach to food, including more whole grains, vegetables, and fruit, and using animal proteins as just one more ingredient in a dish, rather than the focus of all my dishes.  Given that most health professionals are now of the opinion that vegetables should take up the largest portion of our plates, this is not a bad turn, at least not in my opinion.

For me, the key to eating better, and utilizing power foods more, is to think “outside the box.”  If I’m having a three-bean chili, I may put it over quinoa or couscous (instead of rice), and top it with fat-free sour cream, and fat-free shredded cheese.  I might make an omelette with the leftover collard greens from last night’s dinner.  I might even mix some sunflower seeds or flax seeds into a tuna salad for a little crunch.  Really, how you utilize power foods is only limited by how far out of your comfort zone you are willing to step.

At meeting lat week, one member noted that since she knew nothing about whole grains, she had — several months prior — determined to try one new grain each month, giving her ample time to test ways to use each grain and incorporate it into her cooking.  Her reasoning was that you need to try something at least 21 times in order to determine how you best like, and can best use, it.

So, I have, as always, a couple of questions:  What power foods outside of your comfort zone are you willing to try this month?  How do you think utilizing power foods will benefit you (no matter what program you are on, or if you aren’t on a program at all)?  Are you committed enough to your weight loss program to be willing to learn to eat foods you might not have enjoyed (or even heard of) in the past?  What recipes can you come up with incorporating power foods (and are you willing to share them here, since I love trying new things)?


*  P. 105, Weight Watchers Points Plus 2012 Pocket Guide

**  Pp. 106-111, Weight Watchers Points Plus 2012 Pocket Guide


2 Responses to "Taking Back Your Power (Foods)!"

Reblogged this on Annette J Dunlea Irish Author's Literary Blog.

Hi Annette! Welcome to my little corner of the food world!

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