I'm not a fan of commercial diet programs that entail lots of money to eat their food, but many provide one-on-one support and tight structure, which some dieters need for success. So admittedly they do work, at least to get the weight off initially. Weight Watchers is the grand poobah of diets (been around for 45 years!) and although the program currently teaches a "points" system, I like that it encourages the use of real food including whole grains, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and dairy. They sell an extensive line of packaged foods, but their website and free e-newsletter also contain a treasure of free healthful and easy recipes.
I recently sampled Weight Watchers new cheese line. No breakthroughs here, they taste and look similar to other cheese products, available in wedges, cream cheese, string cheese, slices and shreds. What's nice is that the whole line is reduced in calories and fat without tasting "diet," many contain fiber, and some have less sodium than comparable brands (overly salty flavor is my main gripe with cheese). I prepared a cream cheese spread based on a Weight Watchers recipe using their whipped cream cheese. Sooo scrumptious! It's got the 3 C's in texture: crunchy, chewy, creamy. The orange zest adds a bright sunny flavor, sure to perk you up in the early morn. This recipe is not only ideal for breakfast but as a satisfying snack for kids and is elegant enough to serve at a brunch or afternoon tea. Spread it on toasted 100 calorie sandwich thins or whole grain crackers. Feel free to reduce the amount of honey if you're not a sweets person, as the raisins also add sweetness. Note that I halved the recipe, which still made enough spread for 2-3 "thins" sandwiches.
Sweet Almond Orange Cream Cheese
8 oz whipped or regular reduced-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp orange zest
1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds
- Place cream cheese, raisins, honey and orange zest in a food processor; pulse until combined, scraping down sides if needed.
- Add almonds; pulse to combine.
- Refrigerate for an hour or more to allow flavors to combine.
- Toast the Thins Bread and spread with 1 tablespoon of cream cheese mixture on each side
*Want to try these new cheeses for free? Weight Watchers will send one FitMamaEats reader five free coupons for any of their cheese products. Just click on "Contact Me" and send me your name and email address. I'll randomly pick a winner on May 31!