Since I started Slimming World, there have been some foods that get discussed in group that I’ve heard about and thought “ugh, there’s no way I’m eating that“. Some of them are foods that I just don’t like recreated in a different format, and some are foods that just look or sound unpleasant, or have a reputation for being “diet food” and therefore automatically horrible. Here are a few Slimming World friendly foods that are quite nice. Really.
Quark – if you haven’t heard of it before, Quark is a fat free soft cheese made of skimmed milk. My mum doesn’t think highly of it, and I think she may be in a majority there, but I actually like it. No, it’s not as nice as full fat cream cheese, but I’d rather take the healthy option. And without wanting to put too fine a point on it, I have discovered that if I eat too much high fat food I end up with a dodgy stomach the next day! So what can you use Quark for? Well I think you can just use it as spreadable cheese, although I haven’t. It’s great mixed with a small amount of Blue Stilton or other crumbly blue cheese to make a dip for carrots/celery/cucumber/spoons – for best results mix well, cover and leave overnight to infuse. You can also use it in cooking, to make sauces – I had a lovely pasta a few weeks ago, which had various blanched veg including sugarsnap peas, baby sweetcorn and peppers and a sauce made of Quark, fat free fromage frais and lemon juice. I have also heard that you can use it to make low fat cheesecakes, but again it isn’t something I have tried yet.
Mushy Peas – I hate mushy peas. I really do. But one recipe that comes up over and over again in my SW group is mushy pea curry. Please bear with me, I know it sounds disgusting, and in all honesty I haven’t yet been able to bring myself to try it. But I’m told it’s very good, and it’s filled with what SW call speed foods – ie ones that keep you full for longer and with less calories, so I’m going to recommend it anyway! I have heard two different options for making mushy pea curry, one is easier than the other but both seem pretty simple. The first option is to mix one tin of mushy peas with one tin of chickpea dahl (the Asda and Aldi ones are both free on SW, you would need to check about any others), heat and serve. The other option is to fry a diced onion (and any other veg you might want to add) in Frylight until soft, add one tin of mushy peas and one tin of chopped tomatoes and mix well. Then add spices to taste (I usually use cumin, coriander, ginger, garlic, turmeric and garam masala). Simmer until thickened and serve with basmati rice.
Cottage Cheese – I am one of the few people in the world who will voluntarily eat cottage cheese and enjoy it. I’m not that keen on the plain one, which is the one listed as free on SW, but there are certain flavoured ones that are also free. I like Aldi’s pineapple one with crackers or salad (or even on its own!) and they also do a herby one which can be used for SW quiche (I’ll have to post the recipe for that another day as I don’t have it to hand). Cottage cheese tastes nice and it’s filling – you just need to get past how it looks I think!
Ryvita – Another food with a bit of a bad reputation as a “diet food”, I think it may stem back to the 80s, but I’m not sure. Ryvitas aren’t actually free on Slimming World, they are a Healthy Extra; I have three of the cracked black pepper ones with my pineapple cottage cheese and some tomatoes and cucumber and it is surprisingly filling. I think how many the HEx covers may depend on the type of Ryvita it is, you probably get more of the plain ones but I prefer the flavoured ones personally. You can also have a packet of Ryvita Minis as a HEx but I haven’t done that for a while – the chilli ones are really good though.
Scan Bran – Again, not something I have been able to bring myself to try, but there are some SWers who swear by it. I believe it is a rye-based cracker type thing, which you can top and eat (I think 6 scan brans is one HEx), but it seems to feature in a lot of SW recipes, for example SW Ferrero Rocher, which also uses Nutella. If you are following Slimming World, have a look on the website and you will find lots of different uses for Scan Bran (and not just as a coaster!) and it should also help to boost your weight loss.
Smash – I think I may have already done a post about Smash, if I haven’t then I definitely meant to. I don’t actually like mashed potato very much, but I am becoming a Smash convert. I don’t know about in other groups, but mine advocates the use of Smash in creating a lot of healthy versions of takeout food – it can be made into a dough-like consistency and used as a pizza base, or used in its dry form to make KFC-style coating for chicken pieces or to make onion rings.
As someone in my group said a few weeks ago, you really need to experiment to find new recipes. If you only use free foods, then your final product will also be free – and you don’t need to worry about the quantities you add to make the recipe taste good!