One of the potential perils of Weight Watchers is the cost. For the most part, people have to pay a membership fee of around £20 a month (I'm exempt because I help out at the meetings and so I get it for free). This covers your weigh-in, the meeting afterwards and includes access to the online resources - recipes and ProPoints calculators and so forth. You also receive a lot of money-off vouchers in the post every month, which go towards some of the Weight Watchers products. Considering the amount of help you get, its really quite a reasonable price to pay.
However the cost doesn't stop there. A lot of the Weight Watchers friendly recipes out there are not cost-effective - particularly if you are a) cooking for one, and b) a poverty ridden student. Both of which I am. I mean, I could try to cook for my housemates sometimes but honestly its such hard work finding something that we will all eat, plus finding a time when we're all home to eat it. One of the best solutions is cooking in bulk and then freezing - alas, our pokey little student kitchen is not bless with masses of freezer space, particularly as I share a house with four boys who are very much of the 'whack it out of the freezer and into the oven' persuasion. Sometimes all these things make it really hard for me to resist the lure of 10p noodles in Asda (not really, those things are rank. But I do often find myself being drawn towards the cheap and convenient - and subsequently not Weight Watchers friendly food options.)
One of the hardest spots of the day to fill, for me at least, is lunch time. I tend to get stuck in the sandwich-bagel-pitta bread rut quite easily, so this week I am making a conscious effort to banish as many processed carbs as possible from my diet, and instead have made a delicious vegetable soup.
Now, one of the best things about soups - especially veggie soups - is that more or less anything goes. I used what I had to hand and it has come out lovely, but if you want to experiment then go for it. I wasn't following a particular recipe for this soup and following my gut (I'm sure there is a Fat Club related joke in there somewhere) hasn't done it any harm at all.
1 large or 1 and a half small onions
1 large carrot
Approximately 1/4 of a swede
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
250g tomato passata
1 tbsp tomato puree
Approximately 700ml vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
Dried chilli flakes (optional)
Garlic (I used granules)
Dried mixed italian herbs
1 tsp olive oil.
You will need
One large lidded saucepan
- Chop the onion, carrot, turnip, parsnip and swede into small chunks. Heat the oil over a low heat and then add the vegetables and fry for 5-10 minutes, or until just beginning to soften.
- Pour over the passata, tinned tomatoes and vegetable stock. Add a generous pinch of italian herbs, a sprinkle of chilli flakes and garlic granules, and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir thoroughly and bring to the boil. Then reduce the heat, put the lid on the pan and leave to simmer for 40 minutes to an hour, or until the vegetables are soft.
The only thing with any points in the recipe is the parsnip and olive oil, which has a grand total of 3 ProPoints - by my estimates the whole recipe makes upwards of 6 servings, so to all intents and purposes it is 0pts (if you're being super-strict you could point it at 1 per serving.) Serve with a slice of bread and low-fat spread for a ProPoints value of 3 and you're done! Its also freezable, so if you're one of the lucky ones who doesn't have to battle for freezer space you can divide it into portions and defrost it as you need it!
Let me know if you decide to give it a go! :)