SmartPoints

4 Ingredient Baked Onion Chicken

I’m currently making my way through the depths of my pantry, and one ingredient I have on my list is Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix. I stocked up on it earlier this year when it was on sale and have made french onion dip with greek yogurt a few times, and have also used it with beef in the slow cooker. Until last week though, it never occurred to me to use it with chicken, and now that boneless, skinless chicken breast is on the Zero Points list with Weight Watchers Freestyle, I was especially excited to experiment!

This Baked Onion Chicken recipe is super simple to put together, but has so much flavor it’s hard to believe how easy it is. The entire recipe uses just 4 ingredients (5 if you count salt & pepper!) and has just 10 SmartPoints.5

The hardest part is coating the chicken, and if you make sure to let the extra egg wash drip off the chicken before adding it to the dry mix, as well as use a different utensil in the dry mix (again, so it stays dry) than you use for the egg wash, you should be good to go.

As it’s baking, the coating crisps up nicely so there’s good texture on the outside, while the center stays juicy and delicious.

I cut the chicken into strips and found the amount of coating to be just enough, especially if you ignore the last strip.

But feel free to cut into different shapes (chunks, thin sliced chicken breasts, chicken tenders, etc.) and adjust the ratios as you see fit. In any case, this dish should go over well with the whole family, and may just become part of your regular rotation.

Enjoy!

Print Recipe
4 Ingredient Baked Onion Chicken
This is a super simple, delicious way to change up your typical chicken recipe and make a dish that's so flavorful on it's own you don't need any dipping sauce! Serve over a salad, with oven baked fries, or with rice and veggies for a full meal. For those following Weight Watchers Freestyle, the full recipe has just 10 SmartPoints, so feel free to divide into however many servings you desire. Enjoy!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Servings
servings
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Servings
servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Get your coating station ready. First crush onion soup mix in the packet as best you can, then add to a shallow bowl with the bread crumbs, stirring until well combined. Add salt and pepper if desired. Then beat the eggs with a fork in a separate shallow bowl.
  3. One by one, coat the chicken strips! Take a piece of chicken and dip it in the egg mix, then let the excess drip off before dropping it into the bowl with of dry coating. Use a separate spoon to coat chicken in the dry mix, and then place the coated chicken on a lined baking sheet. Repeat process until all chicken strips are coated.
  4. Once oven is preheated, put the chicken in to bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping half way through. The chicken should be cooked through with a crispy coating while still juicy when you bite into it!
Recipe Notes
  • Options for tweaking this recipe include cutting the chicken into different shapes and adjusting the ratio of chicken to mix and baking time as appropriate; as well as using panko or seasoned breadcrumbs, and if you use seasoned, just omit the salt & pepper.
  • For coating the chicken, a fork in the egg wash and a spoon with the dry mix works best for me, plus making sure to let the excess egg wash drip off the chicken before adding it to the dry mix.

First Impressions: Weight Watchers Freestyle

Hey guys! Yesterday the new WW plan rolled out, Weight Watchers Freestyle, which is basically an extension of SmartPoints (SPs), with a few tweaks that I am pretty excited about. If you’re a WW member, everything will update on your weigh in day (and unfortunately they’ve freezed Weigh In Day changes this week while the new program rolls out, so you really do have to wait). Emily from Emily Bites wrote a great overview of the changes to the plan (and has had more time to digest, so her review is more thorough!), but I thought I’d share my take on the biggest program changes.

1.) Weight Watchers Freestyle adds a bunch of new zero point foods.

Previously, it was just fruits, veggies, and some random flavors (think salsa, vinegar, herbs, etc.) that made the cut of zero point foods. I remember when that change first came to be and we were all freaking out over bananas being zero points rather than 2 points. There were of course some doubters saying “How can they be zero points when they still have calories!?” and many of us came to realize it was never bananas that were making us fat in the first place. Now, in addition to all those “free” foods, they’ve added a bunch of lean protein options to the list, and here are the new additions I’m most excited about:

  • Eggs (including the yolk!!)
  • Beans (including black, refried, chickpeas, etc!!!)
  • Fish and Shellfish (including Sashimi!)
  • Tofu (any kind)
  • Nonfat Plain Yogurt (greek or regular)
  • Chicken Breast
  • Turkey
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Edamame

For someone like me who struggles with rules, these new additions are a very welcome change to the program, because it gives flexibility with what you can eat when you’re out of points for the day. Before, I may have chowed down on a copious amount of fruit while still not feeling satisfied because there wasn’t any protein, but now I can have a legit satisfying meal with ZERO SPs. Some meals I’m super excited about creating zero point versions of:

  • Egg Muffins (these ones are zero if you omit the cheese!)
  • Turkey Chili (Ground turkey, onion, bell peppers, beans, Rotel, chili seasonings, plus corn and black beans if I feel like it!!!)
  • White Bean Chicken Chili (Ground chicken, white beans, garlic, onion, seasonings)
  • Curried Chicken Salad (using chicken breast, grapes, onions, greek yogurt and curry powder)

2.) The Daily Points have adjusted (gone down) to account for the new Zero SmartPoint foods.

Mine went from 31 to 23. Losing 8 SPs made me cringe for a bit at first, but when I reframed my thinking to see it as a way to eat exactly the same amount as long as I included at least 8 SPs from the “new” zero point list, it made me feel a lot better about it. For example, looking at A Day of Eats: What 31 SmartPoints Looks Like, there are 4 SPs from the eggs in the morning, 3 SPs from the lean ground turkey bolognese (1 for oil), and 2 SPs from the salmon for dinner would take away 9 SPs from the daily total (and I also will probably switch to nonfat greek yogurt over the 2% because it’s just too tempting, which would take away another 2 SPs for 11 less for the day). And, like I noted above, it’s now pretty easy to come up with a zero SP meal that’s satisfying if I do run out of SPs for the day, so overall I’m feeling good about this change, too.

3.) We can now rollover up to 4 SmartPoints a day into our weekly points.

This, I love. And, I think it makes sense given how many foods are on the zero point list. It used to be that you had to eat all your daily points… or else! And considering many of the foods that satisfy did cost SPs, it made sense that this was the case. Now, I think there’s an opportunity to make the plan work for us even more, which is especially awesome given the time of year. Planning is one of the key things that makes anyone successful on Weight Watchers (or in life, really), and being able to carry points over may make some of us plan our weeks out a bit more when we know events, celebrations, and/or challenges are coming up.

Today is my very first day on Weight Watchers Freestyle, so I’m still learning the program and will see how these changes on paper play out in real life as I go. Overall, I’ve been really loving the SmartPoints program, and have been having a lot of success with it, but these changes make me even more excited about the program.

20 Best Healthy Aldi Finds (With SmartPoints & Calories)

I absolutely LOVE grocery shopping, which I know makes me pretty weird by some standards. That aside, Aldi is one of the grocery stores I’ve only recently discovered, and I’ve been going about once a month to stock up since the prices are so much less, though it’s a bit far from me to be my go-to grocery store. I put together a list of my top 20 healthy Aldi finds and have included SmartPoints and calories per serving below so you can look out for these items next time you go if you’re interested. Please let me know what other healthy items you’ve found at Aldi that I’ve left off this list in the comments. Enjoy!

SimplyNature Peanut Butter Powder with Cocoa (1 SP | 40 cals)
SimplyNature Green Pea Crisps (3 SP | 120 cals)
Earth Grown Veggie Burger (3 SP | 90 cals)
Friendly Farms Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (1 SP | 30 cals)
Fit&Active Shredded Cheese in Mozz (2 SP | 70 cals) Cheddar (3 SP | 90 cals) or Four Cheese Mexican Blend (3 SP | 90 cals)
Fit&Active Turkey Bacon (1 SP | 25 cals)
Fit&Active Fresh Ground Turkey (3 SP | 160 cals)
Fit&Active Fresh Ground Turkey (3 SP | 160 cals)
SimplyNature Free Range Chicken Broth (0 SPs | 5 cals)
SimplyNature Unsweetened Apple Sauce (0 SPs | 50 cals)
Little Salad Bar Layered Dip (2 SPs | 30 cals)
Never Any! Spinach & Feta Chicken Sausage (4 SP | 140 cals)
Never Any! Uncured Black Forest Ham (1 SP | 60 cals)
Appleton Farms Breakfast Ham Slices (1 SP | 60 cals)
Fit&Active Flatbread Multi-Grain with Flax (2 SP | 100 cals)
L’Oven Fresh Sandwich Skinnys (3 SP | 100 cals)
Rice Cakes in Lightly Salted (1 SP | 40 cals) or Caramel Corn (2 SP | 50 cals)
Milleville Rice Squares (3 SP | 100 cals)
Northern Catch Wild Alaska Pink Salmon (2 SP | 90 cals)
Souther Grove Pistachios (4 SP | 120 cals)

Two Weeks on SmartPoints: Takeaways & A Gain

I may have been stretching the truth when I said I was just looking to maintain this week after having such a big loss my first week following Weight Watchers’ SmartPoints. Truth be told, I was obviously hoping to lose again, so when I went in yesterday to step on the scale, I was pretty disappointed to see that I’d gained .8 pounds. I started to pout, but forced myself to stop when I looked down and saw that I’ve still lost 6 pounds total from the start, which averages to 3 pounds a week, aka more than I should get used to losing. And, before stepping on the scale, I’d walked in feeling pretty good about the week. So, rather than mope, I thought I’d share some takeaways from my first two weeks back on SmartPoints.

  1. Losing weight is hard! Even though I’m more familiar with this concept than I’d like to be, switching back into weight loss mode these past few weeks has reminded me just how hard it is. Every single day I’ve found myself having to make unexpected food-related decisions, like whether to take the free sample of fried chicken at the food truck (I did, and it was delicious for 1 SP which maybe should have been 2) or a treat from the tray that was passed around at a work meeting (I didn’t, and kept picturing everyone’s dirty hands all over them any time I considered going back on that). It’s just in your face all the time, and makes it much harder to stick with your plan than if there weren’t temptations at every turn.
  2. It really is a good idea to look up the SmartPoints value before I eat something, just so I know. Especially as I’m adjusting to the new system, seeing the high SP value of certain foods (ahem, anything with sugar) really makes me consider if it’s worth it when I do it on the front end.
  3. If I know I’m going to have something pretty point-y (see #2), adding it to the day before so it comes out of my weeklies instead of out of my dailies helps me stay on track. There’s something disheartening about seeing your daily SmartPoints dwindle, especially if you have a treat earlier in the day. I’ve found that even though it doesn’t make a difference except in my head, I’m able to stay on track after the “treat” better when it hasn’t blown my whole day of SmartPoints.
  4. Social gatherings and weekends are still my biggest challenges. I am really good and on track during the week, but having less structure on the weekends and alcohol during social gatherings, definitely makes it harder for me to stay on track. One thing I used to do that I’ve considered reintroducing, is dedicating my weeklies to the weekend in chunks. So, since I get 42 weeklies, I’d give myself 20 extra for Friday night (or Thursday night, or whichever other night I had something coming up) and 20 extra for Saturday, which made it feel like I still had some flexibility to indulge but gave me a good framework to limit myself. Again, just a mind trick, but whatever works, right?
  5. I don’t mind having the same few things for breakfast every day. I’ve found myself having the same two things for breakfast almost every day — either eggs or oatmeal — and I don’t get tired of it. I usually have hard boiled or fried eggs with veggies and toast, or steel cut oatmeal with cottage cheese and fruit, or with spinach, cheese, and egg for something savory. I look forward to those same things each morning and don’t mind having the same exact variation day after day.
  6. I do mind when it comes to lunch (and dinner). I’ve gone two days in a row having leftovers for lunch and can barely make it through the second day (third serving). I’m trying to overcome this without having to go crazy cooking by rotating what I’m having for lunch so I don’t have the same leftovers more than two days in a row. It seems to be working!
  7. “Free” fruits and veggies definitely makes me eat more of them than I would otherwise. Shifting into the SmartPoints budget mindset makes fruits and veggies being 0 SPs that much more appealing. I’ve found myself eating 2-3 servings of fruit and 4-6 servings of veggies most days, which is much more than I’d been having pre-recommitting to WW. I’ve been eating lots of frozen berries and bananas from the grocery store, plus honeycrisp apples, baby spinach, onions, cherry tomatoes, and broccoli from the farmer’s market.
  8. There’s something refreshing about seeing my renewed daily SmartPoints budget at the top of the WW app each morning. You always hear “everyday is a new day!” but those refreshed dailies really drive home that point, especially if I’ve gone a little overboard the day before.
  9. Even just weeks committed to a new regimen can make a big difference in how you feel. I’m sure there’s a bunch of factors contributing to this (see you Saturday, Antigua!), but I definitely feel GOOD and like I’ve had extra pep in my step these last couple weeks.

Since I leave for vacation on Saturday, I won’t weigh in again until I’m back from the trip. My plan is to enjoy my vacation and not be obsessive about WW or let it prevent me from enjoying myself, but I do want to try to be mindful about what I’m eating and make an effort to be active. In an ideal world, I’d see a loss on the scale, but I realize it’s pretty ambitious since I’ll be traveling, so I won’t beat myself up if that doesn’t happen. Onto the next!

Week One on SmartPoints

So you guys, I have to say, I’m really proud of myself. Something I’ve seriously struggled with in the past is how to balance losing weight with keeping up with my life. If I’m being “good” and recommitting to weight loss, I tend to shut myself away, avoid social situations, and honestly, get scared and overthink any hurdle that might come my way. I avoid going to happy hour or going out to dinner, and try to suggest doing something healthy like a workout for my social time, rather than making time for a workout earlier in the day, and letting my social time be, well, social.

This time around, I’m trying to be more reasonable and think long-term. Am I going to avoid going out to happy hour with friends forever? No. Am I only going to see my friends if I can convince them to join me for a workout? No. (Especially because my best girlfriends have fallen in love with SoulCycle and while I tried it once and liked it fine, I cannot bring myself to pay $33 per class without feeling sick at the thought.) Am I going to eat a small, well-portioned meal at home before meeting friends out for dinner and just order seltzer at the restaurant and seat myself as far away from the bread basket as possible? Nope.

IMG_3344

So, this last week, I took a looser approach to following SmartPoints and did the best I could, while still having a wonderful time with my friends, going out to eat much more than normal, and even taking a work trip to Boston. Last Thursday, one of my best friends from college who lives in NYC, Leah, came down to DC to visit for the weekend. Thursday night she came over and we ordered Mexican food. I ordered a healthy meal – chicken fajitas – for my main course, and even got queso and guac to share for starters. And I had chips and queso and guac, but I tried to be mindful while I was eating it. I made myself slow down a bit and stop before I overdid it, and even saved part of my fajitas for another day. In my past life, I would have fixated on avoiding the queso so bad that I am sure the stress alone would have added on several pounds.

Leah was around for the rest of the weekend, which included girls night Friday with wine at a friend’s place and dinner out at the Homestead (omg so good if you are local to DC) and brunch at The Republic on Saturday followed by some day drinking and snacking.

Cheers

We called it an early night Saturday and then I got back on track on Sunday. I went grocery shopping, planned out a few meals for the week (including Skinnytaste’s Banh Mi Rice Bowls which I hiiiiiiiighly recommend) and took my dog for a long walk.

Then, Monday I took a trip to Boston for the night for work and got back late Tuesday night, and again, normally this work trip would stress the hell out of me when I was first getting back on track. In my past weight loss attempts, I would have figured out how to fit in a workout, located a grocery store that I could get to easily once I got there, called my hotel ahead of time to ask for a refrigerator, overthought the meal options, and overly stressed myself out for a work trip I would have to take regardless of how it affected my weight loss efforts. Instead, I just took it for what it was and tried to be as healthy as I could with the options I had, drank plenty of water, and stayed on my feet a lot. I even met another best friend from college, Lindsay, for dinner on Monday night at Lincoln (SO GOOD!) and had a lobster roll for lunch during the work event on Tuesday.

Lobstah Roll

I hadn’t weighed myself at home once during the week since last week’s weight in, and with all the friend time, meals out, and travel, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect when I went to weigh in this morning. So imagine my pleasant surprise when I stepped back on the scale today and was down 3.4 pounds from last week! I honestly got giddy on the scale even though I still have a ways to go, and it made me feel confident that I can do this. Again.