Tuesday, November 20, 2012

KalorieBox Review

First off I just have to confess that I didn't last very long as a pescatarian.  Since my husband can't eat fish it was really hard for us to have a meal together.  The good news is that I have significantly reduced my consumption of red meat.  I'm probably down to eating it once or twice a week at most.   I'm eating a lot more fish and poultry.  Now that I have that out of the way, on with the review.  
One of the perks of blogging is that occasionally people may offer you free products to review.  I officially received my first freebie.  The company KalorieBox offers a service where they ship you delicious low-calorie snacks to sample on a monthly basis.  They ship everywhere in the United States and Canada.  They sent me a box of snacks, and they were delicious.  The box they sent me contained a bottle of Hint water, Plentils crunchy lentil chips, 2 packages of Fit Frappe, 2 packages of Simply Snackin' Jerky, and a bottle of Stubb's Original Bar-B-Q Sauce.   
The Hint water is a refreshing, zero-calorie water that just has a hint of flavor.  The bottle they sent me was pomegranate-tangerine.  It's all natural with no sugar or artificial sweeteners.  Hint is a great alternative to soda or artificially sweetened beverages.  
When I first tried the Plentils I felt like they were just okay. However, I kept finding myself reaching back in the bag for more chips.  They totally grew on me, and I would definitely get them again.  Plentils are crunchy lentil chips that are gluten-free and free of the 8 common allergens (wheat, soy, tree nuts, egg, peanuts, shellfish, fish, and dairy).  They contain no artificial ingredients, no saturated fat, and no trans fat.  One package is only 100 calories.  

I'm probably the most excited about the Fit Frappe.  KalorieBox sent me two different flavors, Vanilla Latte and Mocha.  It comes in a powder form and you mix it with water.  A 16 oz. serving contains 20 g of protein and is only 130 calories.  It's gluten-free and full of vitamins and minerals.  It contains less than 1 g of sugar.  It also contains 5 g of fiber.  The Vanilla Latte didn't really taste like coffee so I added some instant espresso powder to it, and then it was quite good.  The Mocha was amazing.  It tasted just as good as an iced mocha from Starbucks.  I definitely recommend it.  I'm going to have to get more.

The Simply Snackin' jerky that came in my KalorieBox was 60 calories per serving.  I tried Teriyaki Dried Chicken Breast with Mangoes and Papaya and Teriyaki Dried Beef Sirloin with Pineapples.  I must tell you that I am not a big jerky fan.  However, this jerky was different.  It wasn't as tough as other jerky brands tend to be.  Also, it was almost kind of juicy for jerky if that makes any sense.

The second best item in the box was the Stubb's Original Bar-B-Q Sauce.  I live in Kansas City, and around here we take barbecue pretty seriously.  Stubb's is a Texas barbecue sauce, and Texans are serious about barbecue too.  This barbecue sauce was delicious!  The sauce is tangy, peppery, and has just the right amount of vinegar.  The best part is that it's only 30 calories for 2 tablespoons.  It would be great on pulled pork or leftover turkey..

I'd like to thank Michael from KalorieBox for asking me to review their service and for introducing me to these delicious low-calorie snacks.  I think the service is well worth the price.  I hadn't tried any of these products before, and I probably never would have heard of them if it wasn't for KalorieBox.
If you are interested in the service you can subscribe to one of 3 plans (monthly, 3 months, and 6 months). Plans start at $17/month for the 6 months, $21 for 3 months, and $25 for monthly. Once subscribed, they ship out your box on the 15th of each month. Each month, the box will contain a different set of low calorie options for you to try. And, for each box they send out, they donate a meal to a child in need. How nice is that!  For more information you can check out the How it Works page on their website (https://kaloriebox.com/HowitWorks) and FAQ Page (https://kaloriebox.com/FAQ). 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto with Balsamic Glaze

Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto with Balsamic Glaze

I am re-posting this link today because of a conversation I had with a checker at Trader Joe's (love that place!!!).  I made the recipe today minus the prosciutto, because I am trying to go pescatarian (boo!).  We shall see how long that lasts.  (Pssst!  I ate a piece of chicken last night.  Don't tell anyone.) 

My lovely, fellow blogger, Kelly at Eat Yourself Skinny was kind enough to let me guest post my asparagus recipe on her site a little over a year ago.  While you are redirected to her site you must check out all her awesome recipes.  She's a blogger after my own heart.  She even lists recipes by points for all of you WW enthusiasts. 

On to other news, I am continuing to work on my guidebook about what to eat when you eat out at chain restaurants.  I'm beginning to taste the end of this decade long two-year project.  God willing, I should have it done by December.  Don't worry!  Even though I am pretending to go going pescatarian I will have plenty of beef/pork/poultry options in the book.  I might go back to being a raging carnivore within a week, so don't hold me to the pescatarian thing.  I'll keep you posted.  In case you don't know what pescatarian means you can read all about it on Wikipedia.  I'm not trying the diet change to be pretentious or holier than thou.  I'm merely trying it, because it's considered a heart-healthier diet. 

I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives on Netflix, and it inspired me to reduce my meat intake.  I highly recommend watching it even if you are a carnivore that salivates at the mere mention of meat like Pavlov's dog salivates at the bell.  If you watch it and still want your meat, then I certainly won't blame you.  You'll get no judgement from me, because it will be a hot day in Antarctica before I give up cheese and eggs.  The video is still an interesting watch without being super preachy like some other documentaries concerning meat consumption.  In addition, it is loaded with scientific research.

This isn't really an animal rights kind of issue for me.  (Although I think it would be hilarious if animals had the right to vote or run for congress.  Oops!  Forgot it's a bunch of donkeys and elephants.  My bad.)  Even if I succeed at going pescatarian I'm never going to stop wearing leather.  Fish skin just isn't fashionable.  Eel skin is okay but kind of creepy.  I own four leather jackets, and I will continue to wear them with pride.  They match my leather handbags, belts, and shoes.  Plus one of the jackets makes me feel like Joan Jett.  That's one feisty, rock n' roll chick.  That never goes out of style.  I plan on wearing that jacket far past my prime.  Someone will have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands even if I live to be a hundred.  I hate to belabor the point, but I love that jacket. 

Now that I wouldn't shut up about the jacket I suppose I should show you a picture.  It's only fair.

While I'm on the subject of all things me, I must tell you that I have gone ginger.  That's right, I'm a redhead now.  It's more auburn than fire-engine or carrot top.  Bye, bye blondie.  Thanks to Dalton at Roca Salon for holding my hand through the transformation.  He is some sort of mad scientist genius with hair color.  No regrets, buddy!  I'll update my profile pics on all my social media when I get a chance.

Wishing everyone sunshine and happiness!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Almond Mocha Mocktail 120-Calories

I love a foo foo coffee drink in the morning, and I am always looking for ways to make it low-calorie without sacrificing taste.  I came up with this drink on the fly, and it was delicious. 


2 tsp. Instant Espresso
8 oz. Light Chocolate Soy Milk or Chocolate Almond Milk
2 Emerald Dark Chocolate Cocoa Roasted Almonds, Crushed, to rim the glass
1 tsp. Hershey's Chocolate Syrup, to rim the glass


Blend the instant espresso and chocolate milk in a blender or Magic Bullet. You may add ice cubes if you wish.

Crush the two almonds in a plastic bag using a rolling pin. Or blend in a spice blender.

Use the chocolate syrup to coat the rim of the glass.

Then dip the rim in the crushed almonds to garnish.

Serving Size: 1 Mocktail

Nutrition Info

  • Calories: 121.5
  • Fat: 2.9g
  • Carbohydrates: 19.6g
  • Protein: 3.7g  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bacon Avocado Egg Salad Recipe

Yesterday I had my friend, Kelli over for lunch.  We both love bacon and avocados so I decided to make a lightened up version of Bacon Avocado Egg Salad.  I served it on a Sara Lee 80-calorie wheat bun with mixed greens and a slice of tomato.  It was delicious!  


4 Large Hard-Boiled Eggs, chopped (I like Eggland's Best Hard-Cooked Peeled Eggs!)
2 Slices Center Cut Bacon, Cooked and Crumbled
1/2 Ripe Avocado, cubed or mashed
1 Tbsp. Reduced Fat Olive Oil Mayo
2 Tbsp. Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
1 Tbsp. Fresh Lime Juice
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper (optional)



Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Serve on low-calorie bun or a bed of mixed greens.

Serving Size: 1/2 recipe

Nutrition Info

  • Calories: 243.7
  • Fat: 17.2g
  • Carbohydrates: 5.5g
  • Protein: 14.0g

With the bun, greens, and tomato the sandwich is under 350 calories.

Monday, August 20, 2012

150-Calorie Morning Mocha Smoothie

Yesterday I was inspired by a recipe on Pinterest to come up with my own variation of a mocha smoothie.  The recipe that inspired me called for Starbucks Instant Iced Coffee, but I discovered that it is 50 calories per serving (from sugar) and also about twice the price of a jar of instant espresso.  For a mere $3.99 I picked up a jar of Medaglia D'Oro Instant Espresso Coffee.

The smoothie was just what I needed for a morning pick me up to get up and start writing.  I'm excited to tell you that I am getting very close to being finished with my guide book about low calorie eating.  It mostly covers what you can eat out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Plus it will include low-cal meals to prepare at home.  My intention is for the book to take the guess work out of calorie counting and enable readers to create easy meal plans.  I will be sure to let you know when it is finally available on Amazon so keep checking back.



1.5 Tsp. Instant Espresso Powder, dissolved in 1.5 oz. boiling water
6 Ice Cubes
8 oz. Chocolate Soy Milk Light
2 Tbsp. EAS AdvantEdge Protein Powder (Optional)



Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until frothy.

Serving Size: 1 Smoothie

Nutritional Info

  • Servings Per Recipe: 1
  • Calories: 146.7
  • Total Fat: 1.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 143.3 mg
  • Total Carbs: 21.3 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2.0 g
  • Protein: 9.7 g 

Calories per Ingredient

Here are the foods that were used for the nutrition calculations of this recipe. Skipping the optional protein powder shaves off 57 calories.

Calories per serving of 150-Calorie Morning Mocha Smoothie

90 calories of Chocolate Milk (SILK Light - SOY MILK), (1 serving)

57 calories of EAS Advant Edge Protein Powder, (2 tbsp)

0 calories of Medaglia D'oro Instant Espresso Coffee, (1.50 tsp)



Sunday, August 19, 2012

Low-Calorie at Olive Garden Plus Recipes!

Cheese Ravioli with Fresh Vegetables

I much prefer eating at local mom & pop restaurants when it comes to Italian.  In the Kansas City area there are some great, local Italian restaurants.  My favorites are Carmen's in Brookside and Garozzo's in Columbus Park.  I have to confess that when I eat at either restaurant my diet is at the bottom of my priority list.  My favorite dish is pesto ravioli with gorgonzola cream sauce.  I also love the house salad.  With that said, I realize a lot of people eat at Olive Garden since it's a national chain.  Fortunately they list their nutrition facts on the company website. 

Olive Garden Nutrition Facts

The key at Olive Garden is to either order an appetizer/soup, salad, and a breadstick or simply order the entrée without all the accoutrements.  Many of the entrees at Olive Garden break the 650-calorie budget that I generally allot for dinner.  I have listed the few entrees that actually hit the range.

Mussels di Napoli 180
Breadstick (with garlic-butter spread) 150
Stuffed Mushrooms 280

Soups & Salads
Chicken & Gnocchi (one serving) 250
Pasta e Fagioli (one serving) 130
Minestrone (one serving) 100
Zuppa Toscana (one serving) 170
Garden-Fresh Salad (one serving with dressing) 290
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad 610

Dinner Entrees
Linguine alla Marinara 430
Steak Toscano 590
Ravioli di Portobello 670
Cheese Ravioli with Marinara Sauce 660
Venetian Apricot Chicken 400
Mediterranean Grilled Chicken 670
Shrimp Mezzaluna 630
Capellini di Mare 650
Herb-Grilled Salmon 510
Seafood Brodetto 480
Parmesan Crusted Tilapia 590

Interestingly enough, the Olive Garden website also has numerous recipes that you can make at home.  I love that!  They don't list the calories per serving, but it's easier to lighten up a recipe at home.  Here are a few recipes that sparked my interest.  Yum!

Portobello Mushrooms with Mozzarella

Beef Filets in Balsamic Sauce

Cheese Ravioli with Fresh Vegetables

Creamy Polenta

White Bean Salad with Tomatoes and Crispy Pancetta

Green Beans with Tomato and Garlic

Asparagus with Lemon and Minced Onions

Angel Hair and Three Onion Soup

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Over 30 Protein Sources to Support Weight Training

As a personal trainer, one of the questions that often comes up with clients is "What are some good sources of protein?"  Protein bars and shakes are certainly a way to supplement your protein intake, but there are plenty of other sources.  I compiled a list of protein sources and their corresponding protein grams and calories.  This is certainly not an extensive, all-inclusive list.  Since I'm not a vegetarian, the list is decidedly biased towards carnivores. However, I did make an effort to include some vegan sources as well.  Please feel free to add on your favorite protein sources in the comments.

With a weight training program you need to increase your overall protein intake to support the repair of your muscle tissue.  How much you take in will depend greatly upon your individual goals.  The general answer according to the personal training manual put out by the American Council on Exercise is 1.2 to1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.  To determine your body weight in kilograms divide your weight in pounds by 2.2.  Then multiply that by 1.2 to 1.8.

The increase in protein should still be part of a well-balanced diet including healthy sources of carbohydrates and fat.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Operation Bikini Body

Bikini season is just around the corner now, and it is time to step up my game.  This was me 3 years ago and 22 pounds ago.  The pic is from my honeymoon.  Excuse the lack of make-up.  I didn't plan on ever showing this pic to anyone.  I'm not sure it is feasible for me to go back to that weight.  I look at the pic and think maybe I was too thin (gasp! is that possible?).  Either way, I desperately want to lose 10 lbs before I'll be caught in a two-piece again.  

Yesterday I did an hour on the elliptical until I reached 700 calories burned.  The first 30 minutes I did all at once.  The remaining 30 minutes I broke off into 10 minute increments and mixed weight training in between each increment for a total of an hour.  Yesterday evening I felt rundown so today I am taking a "recess" approach to my exercise regimen. 

Do you remember when we had recess in grade school?  We would have little breaks in the day to go play on the playground.  Then we would also have gym class.  We didn't have an aversion to sweat.  The thought that it was gross to get hot and sweaty had never occurred to us.  Maybe our culture is too afraid of getting stinky to get proper exercise.

My "recess" approach is that I am breaking off 20 minutes of the elliptical trainer three times a day.  Eventually I want to do 30 minutes three times a day.  I did my first 20 minutes this morning, and it actually seemed fun.  I'm going to do an additional 20 minutes this afternoon.  I'll mix in some in some upper body and ab exercises before doing an additional 20 minutes on the elliptical. 

After doing so much cardio yesterday I was craving carbs for dinner.  I tried Amy's Light & Lean Spinach Lasagna (only 250 calories with organic vegetables & pasta).  It was delicious!  I highly recommend it.  It was full of flavor and filling.  When I weighed in this morning I was down a couple pounds for the week.  Yay!  For breakfast I had my Starbucks Espresso Doubleshot (140 calories) and a slice of 45-calorie multi-grain toast with 1 tsp. of natural peanut butter (32 calories).  For lunch my husband and I ate at Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue here in Kansas City.  At first I wasn't too thrilled about the idea, but my husband said, "why don't you try the fish?"  I was sold.  I tried the Jack's Trout BBQ Lunch.  It is a half boneless Ruby Red Trout grilled with a sweet barbecue glaze.  I subbed in a loaded baked potato for the fries, and I only ate about a third of it (the third w/the bacon, cheddar, & sour cream. Shhhh!).  The trout was amazing.  If you don't live in the KC area, then you might try to grill this delicious fish at home. 

Barbequed Steelhead Trout Recipe

30 Recipes for Grilled Trout

If you would rather have it made for you (like me!), then try the grilled trout at Longhorn Steakhouse or Red Lobster.

Forgive me for the racy pic.  I needed the inspiration.  I hope my blog post inspires you to step up your workouts, too!  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Smarter Choices at Longhorn Steakhouse

There are several options for eating low-calorie at Longhorn.  You may start with one of the side salads and order soup as your main course.  You might opt for one of their lower-calorie entrée salads.  If you choose a protein-packed entrée, then stick with one of the leaner entrees that I have suggested.  Keep in mind that it comes with a salad and a side.  The lowest calorie salad is the mixed green side salad (110 calories) with fat-free ranch dressing (45 calories).  Skip the starchy sides and order green vegetables.  If you are craving the loaded baked potato (430 calories) or the sweet potato (370), then order it as your entrée.  Be strong and skip the bread loaf (510 calories) so that you don’t break the calorie bank.  Try not to go over 650 calories with your order combination.  There is nothing wrong with getting a box, because you have leftovers.  If you enjoy your meal, then you can enjoy it twice!

Chilled Shrimp Cocktail with Cocktail Sauce 190
French Onion Soup (bowl) 320
Ranch House Chili (bowl) 210
Shrimp & Lobster Chowder (bowl) 250
Loaded Baked Potato Soup (bowl, order as a meal.) 470

Dinner Entrees - Salads
Grilled Salmon Salad – Mixed Green with Fat-Free Ranch 605

Dinner Entrees – Legendary Steaks
Flo’s Fillet 7 oz. 450
Fire-Grilled Bone-in Sirloin 470
Flat Iron Steak 440
Flo’s Fillet & Lobster Tail (Calorie Splurge!) 500

Dinner Entrees – Seafood
Grilled Trout Topped with Shrimp & Lobster 490
Redrock Grilled Shrimp 130

Dinner Entrees - Flavorful Under 500
Flo’s Fillet 7 oz. 420
Renegade Sirloin 6 oz. 400
Sierra Chicken lighter portion 340
Grilled Fresh Rainbow Trout 380
Salmon 7 oz. 410

Ribs, Chops & More
Cowboy Pork Chops 400

Side Dishes
Fresh Seasonal Vegetables 90
Fresh Green Beans 36
Mixed Green Side Salad 110
Caesar Side Salad with Caesar Dressing 350
Fresh Steamed Asparagus 80
Steakhouse BLT Salad with Dressing 320
Strawberry Pecan Salad with Dressing 380

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Low-Calorie Dinner Options at Chili's

Chili’s Grill & Bar

Salads (Dressing included unless otherwise indicated.)
Caribbean Salad with Grilled Chicken 610
Caribbean Salad with Grilled Shrimp 590
House Salad No Dressing 150
Dressing, Honey Mustard No Fat 70
Dressing, Low Fat Ranch 80
Soups (without crackers)
Chicken Enchilada Bowl 380, Cup 190
Chili’s Terlingua Chili with Toppings Bowl 360, Cup 180
Loaded Baked Potato Soup Bowl 410, Cup 210
Southwest Chicken & Sausage Bowl 330, Cup 160
Lighter Choices (as served)
Classic Sirloin 260
Grilled Chicken Salad 420
Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Steamed Broccoli 610
Lighter Choice Grilled Salmon 480
Margarita Grilled Chicken 550
Not “Just” Sides
Black Beans 100
Black Bean Patty Only 200
Rice 190
Steamed Broccoli 80
Sweet Corn on the Cob with Butter 200

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Low-Cal Options at California Pizza Kitchen

I have blogged in the past about how I like the small frozen pizzas from California Pizza Kitchen.  Rather than repeat myself, this time I just want to cover low-cal options to order from CPK restaurants.  I went through the nutrition facts on the CPK website, and these are the options that I came up with.  I hope they have a restaurant in your neighborhood.

California Pizza Kitchen

Small Cravings
Spicy Chicken Tinga Quesadilla 510
Korean BBQ Steak Tacos 440
Asparagus & Arugula Salad 189
Mediterranean Plate 368
The Wedge Salad 278

Dynamite Shrimp 547
Lettuce Wraps with Chicken 543
Lettuce Wraps with Shrimp 527
Sesame Ginger Chicken Dumplings 465

Artichoke & Broccoli Soup Bowl 203, Cup 101
Sedona Tortilla Soup Bowl 500, Cup 273
Dakota Smashed Pea & Barley Soup Bowl 347, Cup 174

Half Salads (Fat-Free Vinaigrette available on request.  Calories reflect standard dressing.)
Chopped Half Salad, No Avocado 585
Carmelized Peach Half Salad 471
Camelized Peach Half Salad with Grilled Shrimp 567
Roasted Vegetable Half Salad 298
Roasted Vegetable Half Salad with Grilled Chicken Breast 536
Roasted Vegetable Half Salad with Grilled Shrimp 394
Roasted Vegetable Half Salad with Sauteed Salmon 528
Original Chopped Half Salad with Garbanzos 494
CPK Cobb Half Salad with Ranch Dressing 475
CPK Cobb Half Salad with Ranch Dressing & Beets 495
CPK Cobb Half Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing 508
Classic Caesar Half Salad 253
Classic Caesar Half Salad with Grilled Chicken Breast 490
Classic Caesar Half Salad with Grilled Shrimp 349
Classic Caesar Half Salad with Sauteed Salmon 482
Chinese Chicken Half Salad 331
Miso Shrimp Half Salad 437
Thai Crunch Half Salad, No Avocado 544
Field Greens Half Salad 402
Field Greens Half Salad with Gorgonzola 502
Field Greens Half Salad with Grilled Shrimp 498

If you cannot fathom going to California Pizza Kitchen without ordering pizza, then stick with eating only HALF of the thin crust pizza.  You can split it with a friend or take the rest home as leftovers.
Half Roasted Artichoke & Spinach Thin Crust Pizza 478
Half Roasted Artichoke & Spinach Thin Crust Pizza with Chicken 515
Half Pesto Chicken Thin Crust Pizza 518
Half Margherita Thin Crust Pizza 519
Half Four Seasons Thin Crust Pizza 497
Half Tricolore Salad Pizza 501

The pastas and sandwiches at CPK break the calorie bank so if you order from these menus only eat half your entrée and take the rest home.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Carrot Cake Protein Shake — From Colourful Palate

 I wanted to share with you this great post from my fellow blogger pal, Charissa.  Happy Easter!

Carrot Cake Protein Shake — Colourful Palate

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easy 150 Calorie Desserts

Betty Crocker Warm Delights Minis
I must admit I do not always crave dessert, but when I do have a sweet tooth I indulge it during my mid-afternoon snack.  I always save around 150 calories for my snack.  Normally I try to make a smart choice that offers a balance of carbs, fat, protein, and fiber.  However, every once in awhile that goes completely out the window to satisfy a craving.

There are several portion-controlled, low-calorie dessert options available at the grocery store.  The following is a list of some of my favorite options.  If your grocer doesn't carry a product on the list that interests you, then make a request!  Be sure to share your favorite low-cal desserts in the comments.

The Betty Crocker Minis are generally located in the baking aisle.  They are super easy to make.  You just follow the instructions and nuke 'em.

Betty Crocker Warm Delights Minis Molten Chocolate Cake 150  My Favorite!!!!

Betty Crocker Warm Delights Minis Molten Caramel Cake 150

Betty Crocker Warm Delights Minis Decadent Dark Chocolate 150

The Skinny Cow and Smart Ones desserts are generally available in the frozen ice cream/dessert section.

Skinny Cow Ice Cream Snack Cups, Assorted Flavors 150 to 170

Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches, Assorted Flavors 140 to 160

Skinny Cow Ice Cream Cones, Assorted Flavors 150

Skinny Cow Ice Cream Bars, Assorted Flavors 100

Skinny Cow Mini Fudge Pops 40

Smart Ones Smart Delights Brownie A La Mode 130

Smart Ones Smart Delights Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sundae 140

Smart Ones Smart Delights Chocolate Fudge Brownie Sundae 140

Smart Ones Smart Delights Key Lime Pie 150

Smart Ones Smart Delights Peanut Butter Cup Sundae 140

Smart Ones Smart Delights Strawberry Shortcake 120

Smart Ones Smart Delights Turtle Sundae 140

Friday, March 16, 2012

550 Calories & Under at Applebee's

As research for the book I am writing, I tried the Garlic Sirloin off the 550 Calorie & Under Menu at Applebee's last night for dinner.  I must say it was delicious.  However, one of my clients had warned me that he didn't really buy that those entrees are actually under 550 calories.  Now I can see why.  The caramelized onions underneath the steak were really greasy, delicious, but greasy.  I would also say that 7 oz. of steak is a hefty portion for someone on a diet regimen.  Applebee's claims in their nutrition facts that their 7 oz. House Sirloin is 250 calories.  However, I looked up  7 oz. of lean broiled sirloin on CalorieKing.com, and it showed that size portion would be 373 calories. Not cool.

I have a more positive take on the sides.  As you can see from my pic, the portions of the potatoes and the portabella mushroom with creamed spinach are small.  Kudos to Applebee's on that.  I'm persuaded to believe the sides were actually low-calorie.  The potatoes tasted more like butter than herbs, but at least there wasn't a large portion.  They tasted like they had been boiled, and they were not greasy with oil.

With my client's opinion in the back of my mind I saved roughly half the steak and onions.  After looking up the facts today I am glad that I did that.  You can see some of the remaining grease on the plate.

I would also like to point out that Applebee's does post the following disclaimer on their website:

"Variations in ingredients and preparation, as well as substitutions, will increase or decrease PointsPlus™ values and any stated nutritional values, such as calories."

Taking the nutrition facts posted on the Applebee's website with a grain of salt, here are the calories on their 550 calorie and under entrees:

Great Tasting & UNDER 550 Calories™ - includes sides
Asiago Peppercorn Steak 380
Signature Sirloin with Garlic Herb Shrimp 500
Grilled Dijon Chicken & Portobellos 470
Roasted Garlic Sirloin 450
Sizzling Asian Shrimp & Broccoli 470
Sizzling Chili Lime Chicken 470

Applebee's also has a Weight Watchers PointsPlus™ menu which features low-calorie entrees as well.  Personally I think they should just combine the two menus and tell us both the calories and the points.  The menu at the Applebee's I went to listed 550 calorie entrees and Weight Watcher's entrees on two totally separate pages.  It probably has something to do with their agreement with Weight Watchers.  It would be nice if both menus were on one page.  Anyway, here are the calories and points on those entrees:

WEIGHT WATCHERS® includes sides

Weight Watchers® Cabernet Mushroom Sirloin 460, 12 pts.
Weight Watchers® Creamy Parmesan Chicken 470, 12 pts.
Weight Watchers® Grilled Jalapeno-Lime Shrimp 300, 8 pts.

To sum up I would definitely order the Garlic Sirloin again.  It was delicious, and I appreciate that Applebee's is trying to offer some healthier options.  The next time I will probably skip the onions altogether.  They seemed to be the source of the grease.  Now if you will excuse me, there is a leftover steak with my name on it.  Lunch?  Yes, please!


P.S.  Happy St. Patrick's Day tomorrow! 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Freschetta, I want Pizza By the Slice Back!

In a previous post I said how awesome the Freschetta Pizza By the Slice was, and now they have discontinued it.  Go figure!  I sent in an inquiry to the company when I noticed it was removed from their website.  I am pleasantly surprised that someone actually did get back to me with the scoop.  For your entertainment here is the inquiry that I sent:

"What happened to the info about By the Slice on the website? Please don't tell me you have discontinued it!!! I loved the chicken, spinach, and mushroom slice. I loved that it was calorie controlled and portion controlled. I blogged about it on lowcalorieeating.com. If it didn't sell, then please think about promoting the calorie content to make it work. I would much rather eat a big flavorful slice than try to cut myself off after one serving of a large pizza. I would also rather have a slice of your pizza than a bland lean version that leaves me feeling deprived. Sara"

I realize the fact that I bothered to write to Freschetta about their product is an indicator that I either have way too much time on my hands or that their pizza was heavenly compared to the bland low-calorie pizzas I have been eating.  I am guessing it's both.

Michelle from Freschetta was kind enough to respond back to me and inform me that my comments would be passed onto the Marketing Team.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that they will come out with a new line of single portion pizzas that tout the calorie content.  It seems like a no-brainer.  However, in the meantime I am not going to hold my breath. 
The best way to have a delicious, easy low-calorie pizza is to make it yourself.  There are several different ways to go about this.  For the crust I would suggest using a 100-calorie English Muffin, Pita Bread, Flat-Out Flat Bread, or a single serving frozen crust.  I like to get Cascone's pizza sauce, but if you don't have it in your city you can use Pizza Quick or Contadina pizza sauce.  It keeps for quite awhile in the fridge.   

For the toppings I like to scour the salad bar at the grocery store for fresh toppings like spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, onions, grilled chicken, artichokes, and olives.  I like to top my pizza with Hormel Turkey Pepperoni or Original Pepperoni.  Hormel Original Pepperoni is 10 calories per slice.  To eliminate some of the grease I lay the pepperoni between two paper towels on a plate and nuke it in the microwave for a 15 to 20 seconds.  Dab the grease out of the paper towels.  Limit the pepperoni to 4 -5 slices (about 50 calories).  As far as cheese I would suggest limiting yourself to 1/4 cup of 2% Mozzarella or 5-Cheese Italian Blend.  It is very important to measure the cheese, because it is too easy to go overboard. 

Depending on your time-frame/resources you can either microwave the pizza or bake it until the cheese is melted.  I recommend baking your pizza.  It always creates a crispier crust.  The oven temperature depends on the type of crust you use, but a safe bet is 350 degrees.  Keep an eye on it, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the cheese melts.  If you want the cheese to turn a golden brown, then broil it on high for 1 minute at the very end.  Just don't walk away from the oven.  Even a matter of seconds under the broil can make a difference between golden brown and burnt.

If making your own pizza is just too much work, then the low-calorie versions from the grocer's freezer will have to suffice.  That's what I had to do today.  I was in a time crunch after writing my blog so I nuked a California Pizza Kitchen Small Margherita Pizza, 430 calories.

If you have a favorite frozen pizza or flat bread that's around 400 calories or less, then please post it to the comments.  A client told me the Archer Farms (at Target) flat bread pizzas are quite good and low-calorie friendly.  It's on my list of things to try next.

On a side note Freschetta has come out with new packaging that is more environmentally friendly, and I do applaud that.  I don't know when it will hit stores.  When it does I will check the calories.

about Sara

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On-site Personal Training & Nutrition Coaching in the Kansas City metropolitan area. I offer personal training at your home or work site. I also offer personalized online nutrition plans and corporate wellness programs. Contact me at saramoser@choicescoach.com with any questions.