Thursday, January 27, 2011

Week 3: Project Food Budget

Week 3 of The Reluctant Vegetarian's Project Food Budget

Goal: $100
Actual: $101.61 (plus $12 to finish up a few recipes from last week)

Ugh. What went wrong? Unfortunately, I couldn't find my Giant Eagle receipt but looked through my Trader Joe's receipt. Slightly less than half of my bill went to fruits and vegetables I eat raw as snacks and with meals, like sliced tomatoes and and salad greens and tons of fruit. I eat so much because I've gotten used to it on the WeightWatchers program. (See my note further on if you want a summary of the new WeightWatchers program introduced in November 2010--fruits and veggies are free!)

But, I don't feel so bad about spending a lot of money on fruit and veggies. They're good for my health!

In addition to the fruit and veggies, I got staples (flax seed was still on sale at GE! Thanks, Reluctant Vegetarian!) and made these recipes:
And will make these the rest of the week:
  • Chickpea Cutlets
  • Scrambled Tofu
  • Spinach Linguine with Basil-Cilantro Pesto and Artichokes
  • Potato and Kale Enchiladas with Roasted Chile Sauce
I'll also bake whole-wheat bread (which I calculated as saving me $16.34) and cook veg broth this weekend. Every recipe I made this week except for the brownies called for veg broth, so making my own is a great way to save money.

Wondering how everyone else did this week:

Note About WeightWatchers

In the WeightWatchers program, all fruits and most veggies are now "free," meaning you don't have to count them against your daily points food allowance. That's right: you can eat as many fruits and veggies as you like. The point is not to gorge on them but rather to use them as strategies to fill you up when you're hungry.

WeightWatchers' old system calculated Points values based on calories, fat, and fiber. It was too easy to choose a 100-calorie pack of Oreos over a 100-calorie handful of almonds.

WeightWatchers' new system doesn't look at calories at all. It looks at how your body processes food. The new PointsPlus calculation is based on fat and carbohydrates (what your body processes quickly) and fiber and protein (what takes more energy for your body to process while filling you up.)

I've seen this question a lot, "Won't you gain weight if you can eat unlimited fruits and veggies? They have calories, too." The answer is that fruits and veggies are so filling, it's very difficult to eat as much as you'd need to in order to gain weight.

I think it's a fantastic program. It forces people to examine their food choices and see how much better a banana (0 PointsPlus value) is than a soft pretzel (6 PointsPlus value). (The minimum daily allowance everyone gets on the program is 29.) Because nutritious foods are so low in PointsPlus values, WeightWatchers encourages you to eat nutritious foods. I think that's great!


  1. those changes to weight watchers make total sense. and it's about time that healthy foods were valued more than the "snack packs".