Processed "diet food" is never great as the centerpiece of a healthy diet, of course (mine is 80% grilled chicken salads), but to stay on plan, I spend the other 20% on all kinds of cravings-indulgence foods. Between meal replacement bars, low-carb chocolates/desserts, and so on, I'm tired of wasting money and calories on bad diet food -- I want to discover the good stuff.
I'm guessing I'm not the only one who has found really fantastic products as well as really, really unexciting and wasteful ones. So I thought it was about time for a 100% personal opinion thread about the good, bad, and ugly in cravings-targeting diet foods -- the low-fat, low-carb, or high-protein versions of the foods we love that come not in smart, interesting recipes, but little plastic wrappers for $2 each.
I'll start us off with a few that I've tried just this week:
PB2. Dry peanut butter powder with oil removed; reconstitutes with water to be a fluffy whipped consistency, or mixes with milk or oatmeal to be just plain amazing. 50 cal for 2 Tbsp -- or 1/4 of normal PB, with calories from carb & protein. $4 at Netrition.
Suzie's Thin Cakes, all flavors, but especially Spelt/Flax and Quinoa/Sesame. Incredibly crunchy and satisfying for about 19 cal per large cracker. Perfect as a real, no-nonsense whole grain base for cottage cheese or open-faced sandwiches.
ChocoPerfection low-carb dark chocolate, 190 cal per huge bar, supposedly contain prebiotics that clean out candida and eliminate cravings -- not by satisfying them, but by curing carb addiction. No matter whether that's true or not, they are delicious. 1/10 of a bar (5g) satisfies my chocolate hankering for 20 calories.
Better N' Butter. Really high in carb and you can taste the vegetable glycerin. It's also really overprocessed. Not worth it for 100 cal per 2 Tbsp.
Zone Perfect bars (Fudge Graham) work for some people, but I found them sharply sweet, cravings-activating, and unsatisfying. Not worth the 210 calories or the $1.70 cost.
Full Bar: Taste absolutely terrible and have no real nutritional value. At 170 calories of mostly sugar, you might as well be eating real food anyway. On the other hand, they do work as advertised (I felt full an hour after eating just half of one). Could be a legitimate "aid" before risky meals (restaurants, for example).
03-02-2011, 12:48 AM
Hmm..my faves and worst diet products..
The ugly: Atkins Nutrition Bars..never liked em..its the texture..the flavour of some are okay..but the texture is grainy
Power bars: Said to be good for anyone..the cookies in cream taste good..but guess why? All sugar for the most part.
Russell Stovers no sugar added Toffee Bites: it might taste like toffee but it has an odd aftertaste to it.
Now for the good:
Atkins Coconut bar..delicious..like a chocolat macaroon..fills me up and tastes great
Ross Chocolate(white chocolate) Amazing white chocolate , cant even tell its not sugar gree
Atkins creamy chocolate shake: Hit the spot when my blood sugar got low..tastes like chocolate milk in my opinion
Russel Stover Caramal drops: Tastes like..caramilk bar in a drop with no sugar added..
Atkins Endulgence Penut Butter cups : Incredible is all i gotta say!
03-02-2011, 01:19 AM
The bad: Just about every Weight Watchers desserts I've tried.... YECH!
The Good (or at least, not THAT bad): Most Lean Cuisine dinners. I like 'em. :)
03-03-2011, 08:42 PM
Honestly I found that steering clear of processed food was a miracle cure for lots of cravings. The only things that I use regularly that I enjoy are Splenda to add a bit of sweet in cooked down fruits or quick pickles, Jello or generic sugar free chocolate pudding cups with a LARGE dollop of fat-free whipped topping (my favorite dessert), and shirataki noodles.
03-03-2011, 09:47 PM
There is a vegan version of an oreo made by a company called "late july" which is to die for, it's organic, no HFCS, all natural and vegan. my preteen will eat them so that should tell you how good they are. i find them in a high end but "normal" grocery store here, so i assume they are in WF and TJ and those type places. So good.
i second the atkins coconut bars, i don't eat them now, but used to. There is another atkins bar with nuts, caramel and chocolate, i thought it tasted just like a snickers! yum!
Also tofuti dairy free ice cream sandwiches. yes, my preteen will eat those too. Esp the chocolate chip mint. A treat!
03-04-2011, 10:13 AM
I love threads like these.
My most recent favorite "diet food" is KIND bars. They aren't low calorie or low fat, but they are great if you are looking for a bar. They are full of real food food that you can actually see and identify and are delicious. I bought a Bora Bora bar, that costs less ($1), looks the same, and has nearly identical ingredient lists, but I haven't tried it yet. Anyone try these?
I am on an almond kick. Just 100 calories of almonds is surprisingly satisfying.
2 squares of Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt. I know, I know, it is not a "diet food", but for me it is because it keeps me on track.
I am still on a search for a frozen, boxed dinner that tastes good. I eat one about once a week, but I have only found one that I liked enough to buy twice. The Marie Callendar's turkey is decent. It is in the regular line of products, but only 350 calories and is a good portion.
I bought some Jenny O Turkey burgers. I used to really like turkey burgers that I bought from Costco. I thought they were Jenny O brand, but I picked up a box, and they are obviously not the same turkey burgers I used to eat. They are a weird color, overprocessed, and mushy.
Trader Joe's salmon burgers. I love salmon, but I took one bite, spit it out, and threw it away. Alot of people love them. I think I overcooked it, maybe that was it, but it was so not good that I am not willing to try it again.
Special K Cracker Chips. They aren't awful, but I prefer to use my calories on Popchips.
03-04-2011, 12:08 PM
"Diet" foods that I really love:
-Morning Star Veggie Burgers, specifically the Black Bean Burgers and the California Turkey Burgers (both are veggie burgers). These are both so yummy!
-"Look Good, Feel Great" brand pure protein 100% whey protein powder (chocolate flavor). I've been through MANY protein powders and this one is the best tasting, I mix 1 heaping scoop with 1 cup skim milk and 1 cup cold water. Creamy and yummy and doesn't have that weird "protein powder" aftertaste. (although it does have that aftertaste a little if I mix it with all water)
-Luna bars. They are my favorite of the meal bars and my favorite flavor is the Peanut Butter Cookie one.
"Diet" foods that I hate:
-Morning Star Veggie Sausage (patties or links) both are just rubbery yuck!
-Arnold Sandwich Thins (bread rounds). I've seen a lot of people comment that they like these but I just can't get past the cardboard flavor.
-Pretty much any fat free or calorie free salad dressing. They are all so sickly sweet and chemical tasting! I gave up long ago and now only use a small dab of the regular full fat versions or plain oil & vinegar with some herbs sprinkled in.
03-04-2011, 04:49 PM
Most of the time, I don't eat pre-made frozen stuff, but some days you're just freakin' tired, y'know? For those days, I do have a couple of frozen meals and shortcut foods on hand. :)
The stuff I like:
Lean Cuisine's spinach-artichoke-chicken panini. It's not very big for the calories, but it's downright delicious. I did not know that frozen food could taste so good.
Lean Cuisine also makes 200-calorie servings of spring rolls in various flavors. The Thai chicken's fantastic. Again, surprising how tasty frozen food can be. These plus the panini and a salad feels like a splurge for 550 calories (higher than a usual meal for me, but not outrageous).
Anything from Skinny Cow. Ice cream isn't a big deal to me, but when I do have a jones for it, this is the kind I eat.
The stuff I loathe:
Reduced-fat cheese. I've yet to try a reduced-fat cheese that didn't seem as though the fat had been replaced with rubber. Cheese that turns into a chewy knob when you put it in your mouth is not cheese. I'll stick to half portions of real cheese, thank you.
Lean Cuisine's Philly cheese panini. All the stuff they did right with the spinach-artichoke version, they got wrong here. It tastes so smoky that it made me crave a cigarette, the meat was rubbery, and the cheese was a funky texture. This meal reminded me why I don't like frozen meals much.
Pepperidge Farm sandwich thins (I think that's what they're called, little smashed hockey pucks of bread?). I don't get the point of this food: "Would you like to enjoy almost all the calories of bread, but in a less satisfying form? Have we got the product for you!" Seriously don't know why I bought these, because they're only thirty calories lighter than two slices of my favorite whole wheat bread and less substantial. Also, these are too sweet.
03-05-2011, 02:05 PM
i dont know how i forgot my food for life sprouted grain items-these are a godsend for me-again my preteen eats them so they are good :) they make flourless bread & noodles made out of sprouted grains. Thank goodness! bread & noodles without flour. LOVE IT. if you google food for life you will find their website ;) ~fm
03-05-2011, 03:55 PM
-Skinny Cow ice creams
-Vita Tops and Muffins
-Armstrong reduced fat cheddar (the best reduced fat cheese I've tried)
-Activia fat free yogurt - the only fat free yogurt with a creamy and wonderful texture
-Larabars - just dates, nuts, dried fruit and natural flavors
-Litehouse reduced fat/calorie dressings - find these in the cooler in the produce section. Only low fat/cal creamy dressings that are creamy and thick, rather than watery and bland.
-Coke Zero mini cans - great for those times when you need a cold, sweet, bubbly pick-me-up in the afternoon. Best diet pop I've tried.
-most reduced fat cheese - Armstrong is the exception, see above
-Weight Watchers desserts
-Weight Watchers bread/tortilla/bagel products
-Egg Beaters (whole egg version)
03-07-2011, 10:28 AM
I bought my kids Florida's Natural Nuggets for their lunches. I thought they were like fruity snacks, which I don't like, but they are more like a skittle-type texture, with an outer shell and chewy. They aren't exactly healthy, more like candy, but in a 50 calorie pouch. Perfect.
Also, I had bought a Bora Bora Coconut Almond bar because they were on sale half price for $1 versus 1.50 for a KIND bar. They were so good, that I went back and bought a full box.
And a third, I bought a Dark Chocolate Cherry KIND Bar and it was OMG good. Yum!
Trader Joes everything bagel. They are big, 210 calories, and have a different chewy texture that I really like.
03-07-2011, 10:35 AM
haven't tried most reduced fat cheeses, or fat free. fat free is ok. i like weight watchers mexican blend RF cheese as much as reg. cheese.
love skinny cow
i like the morningstar burgers that i've tried.
i love edy's slow churned icecream.
sometimes i like lean cuisine type of frozen dinners, but even if it tastes good, there's just never enough volume. i always have to add lots of extra veggies. which makes me feel like, i may as well just make the whole thing myself.
03-07-2011, 11:16 AM
- Horizon fate free organic milk. This stuff is so creamy and delicious that I find myself savoring milk and craving it isntead of just drinking it.
- Trader Joe's flax seed sprouted wheat lighter bread. Only 50 calories a slice, good amount of fiber and protein, and it tastes and feels like bread. It also doesn't cause any kind of craving for me, and I'm very carb sensitive.
- Think Thin bars- I've only tried the Lemon cream pie one, but it was really good. Lots of protein and no sugar.
- Jello Mousse temptations- YUM!
- Buitoni whole wheat ravioli- yuck. Just a weird texture. I love pasta and still threw out these leftovers because I just couldn't bring myself to eat it again.
- Jello sugar free cinnamon roll flavored pudding cups. Eew. The taste was just weird and the pudding somehow felt slimy. I like their chocolate, but these felt like they were made out of some kind of gross flavored melted plastic.