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Archive for the Nutrisystem

Day 32 to 37 – Starting up Nutrisystem again

So, this week you could say I was half back on Nutrisystem and half not. I ate out quite a bit, but for the most part I tried to get back on the routine. Here’s how it went.

Day 32 (Mon, 5/11)
Breakfast: Apple Strudel Scone (6/10). Like the scone I had a few weeks ago it was a bit dry, but again, maybe that’s the way a scone is supposed to taste. It went down very well with English Breakfast tea that I brewed in my Keurig Coffee/Tea Maker. It was certainly one of the more sophisticated breakfasts I’ve had in a while. It was jolly good.

scone
Lunch: For lunch, I had planned on eating a cup of Black Bean Tortilla Soup, but my boss told us he was taking our team out for lunch. And so I ended up eating a LOT of buffalo wings. Really, really good buffalo wings. And also a steak (11/10).

Dinner: Dinner that night was leftover buffalo wings and steak. So much for getting back on the wagon…

Day 33 (Tue, 5/12)
Breakfast: Got back on the wagon with Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, and this time in my Keurig I brewed a cup of Lemon Zinger Herbal tea. The muffins had good flavor, but did have the density of hockey pucks. Still, again, they went down smooth with the tea. (6/10)

Lunch: One other thing they do in the office during Mother’s Day period is bring in a lot of munchies. And so I did a bad thing by munching on some snacks all morning. Bad snacks like cheetos, potato chips, and my ultimate weakness, SpongeBob Cheez-Its. And so by the time lunch rolled around, I had already eaten a bunch of snacks.

Dinner: For dinner that night, I took my sweetie to a thin-crust pizza place in my town. As bad as this sounds for the diet, the pizza was pretty healthy–one was a margherita pizza with fresh tomato sauce and basil, while the other was loaded with broccoli rabe.

Day 34 (Wed, 5/13)
Breakfast: Wednesday was the first day I was completely, completely back on the diet. For breakfast, I had Egg Frittata from the shelf-stable box. This is one of those “science experiment” Nutrisystem meals. It comes as powder in a pouch. You add water and stir, and then microwave it for 70 seconds, and then you keep microwaving it at 20-second intervals until the liquid is gone. I admit, I was amazed. I had made egg frittata from scratch before (it involved a whole carton of eggs), and this one tasted pretty authentic, with a cheesy flavor and bits of red bell pepper, mushrooms, and other things that made it yummy (9/10).

frittata mix
fritatta done
Lunch: For lunch, I had a Nutrisystem Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar (6/10). Like the other bars, pretty good taste and crunchy texture, I only knock off a point because I’m one of those odd ones don’t care for peanut butter in chocolate bars. I did eat more junk in lieu of a properly proportioned Nutrisystem snack, but kept it down to a minimum.

Dinner: For Dinner that night, I went to the shelf-stable box and had Beef and Noodles in Teriyaki Sauce (7/10). As you know the pattern by now, the food itself was not the most appetizing to look at (like all the others, it was basically chunks of food in a brown sauce). But the taste was pretty good, and there were nice sized chunks of chewy beef, water chestnuts, and baby corn.

teriyaki

Dessert: Another ice cream sandwich. Gotta love the ice cream sandwiches.
Day 35 (Thu, 5/14)
Breakfast:
Breakfast on Thursday was a mango.

Lunch: For lunch, I finally had the Black Bean Tortilla Soup from the shelf-stable box (6/10). It was one that came in the “instant noodles” type of cup, where you add hot water and let it steep for a few minutes. This was perhaps one of the nastiest looking of the dishes, it was just a gooey brown paste. But then again, maybe that’s what Black Bean Tortilla Soup is supposed to look like. The taste was pretty good. Distinctive taste of mashed up beans and crunchy bits of tortilla.

Dinner: I took my sweetie out for her birthday to Nobu in New York that night (it was the first time either of us had been). If you want to go on a diet, this is the place, because you are treated to about 30 bites of food for the same money you’d otherwise use to buy 50 Big Macs. I must say, the food was presented exceptionally, and the taste was fantastic. We got the Fresh Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno Shiromi Usuzukuri (octopus), the Rock Shrimp Tempura with Creamy Spicy Sauce, the Washu, and the Beef Broiled Black Cod with Miso (8/10). And afterwards, we went across the street for a $2.75 slice of pizza 🙂

nobunobunobunobunobu cod
(if you’re not reading the posts and just looking at the pictures, no this is not on the Nutrisystem plan!)

Day 36 (Fri, 5/15)
Breakfast: Friday’s breakfast was a Chocolate Chip Granola Bar (7/10). Not bad taste, and nice texture as all their bars go.

Lunch: For lunch, I fixed up from the frozen box another Toasted Ham and Cheese (the one that looks like a Pop-Tart). Still a winner.

Dinner: For Dinner that night, my g/f and I had to find somewhere quick to eat, and I was very, very quick to suggest McDonalds. We’ve only been going out for a little under two months, so I hope she wasn’t too weirded out when I started talking to my Quarter Pounder with Cheese, telling it how much I missed it (12/10).

Day 37 (Sat, 5/16)
Breakfast: Breakfast on Saturday morning was the “Scrambled Egg With Veggie Sausage Crumble” from the shelf-stable box (7/10). This is another one of those “chemistry experiment” meals, where I’d fill up the cup with 1/2 cup of water, pop it in the microwave, and behold, scrambled eggs magically appeared. Unlike the previous scrambled eggs, this one contained “veggie sausage crumble”. I’m not sure what this means, but I assume the little chewy bits are meant to simulate sausage but are made of vegetables. In any case, they didn’t have much taste, although they had decent texture.

egg powder

Lunch: Lunch was Beans and Ham soup (7/10), which came in the little tin. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from the name and the picture, but the taste was pretty good. It reminded me of eating baked beans, only the sauce was more subtle.

Dinner: For dinner tonight, I’m going to my brother’s house for a big birthday party we’re having for my nieces. I expect cake and a lot of good food. But I’ll keep it to one plate.

So, after a week of no Nutrisystem and another week with off-and-on Nutrisystem, I would have expected my weight to go up. But strangely (and happily), I’ve shot back down under the Mendoza line again. I’m at 197.8. I think it must be a combination of good eating habits (snacks notwithstanding), and the fact that the nice weather has gotten me exercising more. Let’s see if this continues.

I haven’t exercised on the Wii in a while, but that will change this coming week when I get EA Sports Active when it’s released. Look for a review coming soon.

Day 24 to 31 – Off Nutrisystem for a week

So, because I work for a company that sells flowers, every Mother’s Day at our company they will bring in good food for Mother’s Day week. The reason is that we tend to work crazy hours (it’s typical for me to work from 8 AM to 10 PM), and we need to stay focused on the task of getting flowers to Moms around the country.

So, from a weight gain perspective, this spells trouble in two ways. One, I tend to be very, very sedentary, sitting in a cubicle in front of a computer for hours at a time. Second, the food they bring in is good. Really good. We’re talking pizza, pasta, sushi, ribs, chicken, bagels, wings, paninis, sandwiches, and more. And no, I wasn’t about to eat stuff out of a cardboard box while all this food was flowing around me. So, I partook.

When I weighed myself on Mother’s Day (5/10), I knew I was going to gain weight, but it was just a question of how much. To my surprise, I gained only 2.4 pounds. Sure, it was a step backwards, but it was worth it 🙂 I wonder why I didn’t gain more weight, and I realized it was because Nutrisystem had taught me good habits, like not piling on food (as I would do in years past) and thinking twice before loading up on “bad carbs”.

Anyway, as of the day after Mother’s Day (5/11) , I am back on the wagon.

Day 19 to 23 – Last Nutrisystem Meals before taking a break

Day 19 (April 28)

Day 19 started with berries and multigrain flakes from the shelf-stable box. This was another of those breakfasts that were better than what you buy in the supermarket. The cereal had a rich berry flavor and crunchy flakes (9/10). The portion size was about 1/3 of what I’d normally put in my bowl if I were opening a huge box of cereal. But I was satisfied, so it was another good lesson in portion control.

For lunch, they had pizza at work, so I decided to forego the usual lunch, have a slice, and go back on the wagon. The snack that day was another chocolate brownie.

For dinner, I chose the macaroni and cheese in a cup from the shelf-stable package. I’d call this a 9/10. It was prepared like instant noodles again–just add water and stir. It was creamy, had good taste. The side vegetable that night was sauteed spinach and garlic again, and the dessert was the herb snack mix.

nutrisystem mac and cheeseDay 20 (April 29)

Breakfast on Day 20 was “Nutrifrosted crunch cereal”. This is the kind of cereal you’d find if a Kellogg’s truck turned over on the highway. It was a combination of something that looks liked “frosted flakes”, mixed with bran flakes, mixed with puffed cereal pieces that looked like rice krispies but was a bit more dense (I’m sure soy was involved again). I’d give it a 6/10, probably higher if not for the puffed pieces.

Lunch was Tomato and Corn Chowder in a can. It was thick and rich and had a great taste. (7/10)

Snack in the afternoon were pretzels, but I snacked on some Costco snack mix in the office too.

For dinner, I went to the freezer and chose the tender beef with portobello mushrooms. As with all the frozen entrees, the veggies were tender and fresh again, not like a TV dinner at all. It included carrots, green beans, potatoes. The beef was tender but it wasn’t as flavorful as I would have liked, and I couldn’t find the portobello mushrooms. (7/10).

nutrisystem beefSnack that night was “chocolate chocolate chip pudding” from the shelf-stable box. This came in as powder in a pouch, with instructions to add 1/2 cup cold water and stir. As a nice touch, they put real chocolate chips in. The texture was fine, but the taste was not very pleasant. (4/10)

nutrisystem chocolate puddingDay 21 (April 30)
Day 21 started with Nutricinnamon Squares cereal. It was like a combination of Cinnamon Chex and frosted flakes, and crunchy bits. Like the last cereal, it was pleasant tasting (7/10).

Lunch was chicken noodle soup. In a bit of bad discipline, I helped myself to CostCo snack mix again.

For dinner, I had chicken pasta parmesian (7/10). Like the other shelf-stable dinners, it was a lot like what you’d get in a can of Chef Boyardee. The star of the evening was the vegetable. I went to AllRecipes and made sauteed asparagus, which was very, very good, especially with the little crunchy bits of garlic. Of course it can be argued that anything with butter and garlic is going to be good.

asparagus and pastaSnack that night was a bag of “Nutrichocolates”. These were interesting little penny-shaped chocolate discs. The taste was pretty good taste, but not sure how healthy it was–reading the label, one package had 37% of the USRDA of saturated fat. I was going to joke that this was the one snack I found that didn’t have soy, but upon closer examination, I see it does have soy lechithin (an emulsifier).

Having been somewhat sedentary, I went on the Wii and did Golds Cardio for an hour.

Day 22 (5/1)

Breakfast on Day 22 was cereal again. This time, it was Nutriflakes in the built-in bowl again. Still loving that built-in bowl.

For lunch, I decided to go my own way again and have my own lunch. My dear coworker will from time to time give me her extra food 🙂

Dinner that night was from the frozen box–the Ravioli Formaggia. This one was easily a (10/10). It was incredible, restaurant-quality ravioli with fresh pasta and a texture as if the dough was just made. The ricotta filling was tasty, the very fresh tomato sauce perfectly seasoned.

ravioli and carrots

For the veggies, I prepared braised carrots from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. In a little bit of a crossover between another blog I write, IndoorGardener.Org, I decided to harvest some fresh parsley and use it in my recipe. Again, the vegetable was a star.

Day 23 (5/2)
For Day 23, I started with Two and A Half Pancakes from the shelf-stable box. Like the meatload review below, I’m going to bump the rating down a few notches just because I’m comparing it to something I make pretty well. The pancakes came as a powder which was mixed with water. The texture was fluffy enough, but the taste was a little off, and a little dry. Maybe it’s because it wasn’t loaded with eggs and butter like I usually make them, but they managed to make an amazing pancake with the frozen version, not so much with the shelf-stable version (6/10). Grapes and apple juice rounded out breakfast.

pancakes
From 5/3 to 5/10, I’m going to be off the Nutrisystem diet. This is because when I’m not writing this blog, I work at an online flower delivery company. We’re starting to ramp up for Mother’s Day which of course means two things. First, I am going to be working 12, 14, and up to 16-hour days at the office. This means no biking, no Wii…I’m pretty much going to be sedentary. Secondly, during the holidays, they will bring in very good food to the office. In a way, this will be my first test of eating in “the real world”. Stay tuned to see how I do!

Day 16 to 18: Starting to get the hang of the fruits and veggies thing…

So, one important part of the Nutrisystem diet I’ve been neglecting thus far has been the addition of fruits and vegetables, which is a crucial part of the diet. The pre-packaged foods have the right amount of “good carbs”, but the addition of fruits and vegetables are an important way to balance out the meal with vitamins, nutrients, and fiber. In a way, Nutrisystem is doing what our Moms used to do when we were kids–provide right-sized portions of meats, fruits, grains, and vegetables…something they once called a “balanced diet”. (In the 21st century, balanced diet seems to mean do we get the large sized Coke so we can finish off the large sized fries).

Day 16
On Day 16 (4/25), I reverted to a bad habit–I skipped breakfast. It wasn’t on purpose, I just had a busy morning. Not something I want to keep doing if I want to train my metabolism to get a little higher.

For lunch, I had a chicken enchilada from the frozen box. I have yet to taste anything from the NutriSystem Select plan that isn’t doggone delicious. The best way to describe the shape was that of a McDonald’s Apple Pie with chicken inside. The filling was a very tasty blend of chunks of chicken, cheese, chopped peppers, and a savory, ever so slightly spicy filling. Unlike traditional enchiladas, it wasn’t greasy or overly filling or fatty. This one was a 10/10.

chicken enchilada
That afternoon was a beautiful, beautiful day, so I decided to go biking (again, biking on a beautiful day in New York beats any Wii game there is). I went about 8 miles, and on the way back I stopped at the local H-Mart supermarket (which has among the best produce I’ve ever seen in a supermarket). This is where I stocked up on veggies and fruit. I bought a big package of grapes, a big bag of spinach, and a veggie tray containing beets, carrots, asparagus tips, and grape tomatoes. It’s always tricky buying produce as a single guy, because you have to time it so you can buy enough so it’ll last without having to go back to the supermarket, but not so much that it’ll go bad.

I got home and treated myself to another ice cream sandwich. It felt like I was cheating, but it was nice to know I wasn’t.

That night, I tried one of the things I’ve wanted to try since I got the shelf-stable box: the “Thick Crust Pizza”. This was one of those dinners that was fun to put together. For some reason it reminded me of the Easy Bake Oven I got my niece 🙂 I unwrapped the “deep dish crust” (which was actually more like a round matzo or a giant Pepperidge Farm water cracker), slathered on some tomato sauce, and topped with with their bag of cheese. It wasn’t exactly a Chicago Deep Dish pizza, but it tasted pretty good. The tomato sauce was thick, rich, and slightly sweet and tangy. The cheese didn’t quite melt as lavishly as the picture on the box, but it was still pretty good. 9/10.

nutrisystem thick crust pizza kit
nutrisystem thick crust pizza
nutrisystem thick crust pizza with spinach
I also cooked the first of my vegetables. I decided to cook the “sauteed spinach” in this great cookbooks I’m going to keep plugging, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. The recipe was a simple one: melt butter in a pan (I reduced the amount of butter), throw freshly sliced garlic into it, and then sautee the spinach until it’s wilted. I’m not sure if it’s because the recipe is so good or if it’s just that almost anything tossed in butter and garlic is going to taste good, but this came out great.

So overall, a very satisfying dinner. For dessert that night was a “strawberry shortcake bar” from the shelf-stable box. I have to admit this was pretty good too (8/10). It was a really, really chewy cookie middle (not quite shortcake), topped with a thin layer of strawberry jam, all inside a frosted coating.

nutrisystem strawberry shortcake bar
Day 17
For breakfast on Day 17 (4/26), I enjoyed the “lowfat granola cereal” packet in the shelf-stable box. The instructions say to use fat-free milk, but I just can’t get myself to get completely fat-free milk (it’s like drinking whiteout mixed with water). So I bought 1% milk instead. The cereal was sweet, crunchy, some of the freshest granola I’ve ever eaten, as good as anything you’ll find in a supermarket. 9/10

For lunch, I enjoyed a nice soup and added a handful of baby carrots and beets from the vegetable tray. The soup was very good, comparable to the best Campbell has to offer. By now, I’ve figured out that the soup needs 60 seconds at 50%, and then 10 seconds at full to really get hot.

nutrisystem soup with carrots and tomatoes
At night, I went off the Nutrisystem diet for one night so I could go out for dinner with someone special. 🙂

Day 18

Day 18 (4/27) started out with Nutrisystem bran flakes. What I love most about these is that they come in their own plastic bowl, old-school style. I poured my 1% milk into the bowl, and ate it up. It was odd having the bran without the raisins (which, as I thought about it, I could have added as part of the “fruit” portion of the meal), but the flakes were tasty nonetheless. Again, I’d say for some reason they seemed a bit “fresher” than what I usually get in the supermarket. (8/10)

For lunch, I microwaved the vegetable and beef soup. Another 8/10. It had a great flavor and was chock full of veggies like green beans, beans, carrots, potatoes, and corn.

The snack that day was a “Chocolatey Nougat Bar”. I have the feeling the mad scientists at Nutrisystem were going after a Snickers bar, but they fell a little flat. The chocolate and caramel were good, but the “nougat” (which I suspect may have contained a little soy) was dry and a little odd tasting. 4/10.

nutrisystem snickers bar close up
Dinner that night made up for it. I chose the “Cheese & Spinach Ravioli with Meat Sauce” from the shelf-stable box. The taste was excellent. There were two giant raviolis with thick pasta skin, and inside was a tasty filling of what I think was ricotta cheese and little pieces of spinach. It was in a tomato sauce with ground beef, mushroom and herbs. I sauteed another batch of spinach in butter and garlic, and added a handful of carrots and radishes to the meal. This is one I would do again (10/10)

nutrisystem ravioli and spinach
For snack that night were the soy pretzels. Still think they’re great, but admittedly, I’m starting to OD on soy.

Days 13 to 15: Fasta Fagoli, Chicken Pasta Primavera, and Roast Turkey Medallions

Day 13 (April 22) started out with Apple and Cinnamon Oatmeal. Just like the Maple Walnut Oatmeal from a few days ago, this one was pretty good–creamier and richer than standard Instant Oatmeal you get in the supermarket.

For the morning snack, I helped myself to another container of yogurt. I’m finding that this is the best option for my “dairy”. I love the taste, I can buy a ton of it at my local BJ’s, and I can store it in the fridge for a long time.

Lunch that day was Chicken and Barley Stew. This was one of those lunch meals from the shelf-stable box, coming in the plastic cup with the metal pull-off tab. I found that for all of these meals, the microwave instructions are way off. They do have a disclaimer saying that microwaves may vary, but I wish they’d give a few more instructions on how to tell if the meal is done. Anyway I did enjoy the taste of the stew. It had thick chunks of chicken and a great taste. It put me in the mind of Campbell’s Chunky Soup. 7/10.

For my snack that day, I had an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie. It was soft and chewy and tasted the way it was supposed to. 6/10.

For dinner that night, I went into the non-frozen box of shelf-stable meals again. I chose the box of pasta fagioli. Now, all my life I’ve heard of pasta fagioli, but I never had it. But I think this tasted pretty much the way it was supposed to taste. It had a rich tomato sauce, chunky tomatoes, beans, and a few carrots. Oh yeah, it also had something called “vegetarian sausage”. As unpleasant as that sounds, they did a pretty good job with it–I’m pretty sure soy was involved here too. The texture was chewy like sausage, and the flavor was infused with the taste of the sauce, which was pretty good. Another 7/10, although I think my review is helped a little by the fact that I was pretty hungry by the time I ate it.

For dessert that night, I had a Blueberry Lemon Bar. This was a treat. It was like a lemony cookie bar with blueberry jam on it, and all covered with a white frosted coating. The taste and texture were excellent. 8/10.

On April 23, I was running late for the office again. Like I said, it’s real convenient to grab food out of the box on the way out.

nutrisystem lunch grab For breakfast, I grabbed a granola bar, but silly me, I forgot to eat it. But it turned out for the best, as one of my co-workers brought in food (which was really good). So I took a little detour that morning.

By lunch, I was back. I had a plastic can of beef stew. Same deal with the other plastic cans–I had to put it in the microwave a little longer than the instructions said. I had a piping hot little bowl of beef stew that tasted surprisingly good. It had chewy beef, lots of potatoes and peas. 8/10.

For my snack, I had a peanut butter cookie. I gave this a 5/10, which probably would have been a 7/10 if I liked peanut butter cookies. Not that I hate them, but if I had chosen my own meals instead of having the “favorites” delivered to me, I probably would have chosen more salty snacks than cookies.

Dinner that night was from the non-frozen, shelf stable box again. It was Chicken Pasta Parmesan, with tomato sauce, white chicken meat, and curly pasta. Decent tasting. 7/10.

For a snack that night, I decided to have the oh-so-good Nacho crisps.

nutrisystem nacho crisps I gotta say, I wish I had some more bags of these.

On Day 15 (April 24), the day started with a “cranberry orange pastry”.

orange cranberry pastry I had these with a cup of lemon herbal tea from my Keurig. It was soft and fresh, with an orange taste and real dried cranberries. I’d call it a 6/10, it’d probably be a 7/10 but I generally don’t like orange pastries.

For lunch and my afternoon snack, it was another case of me running out the door. I grabbed a plastic can of pasta with beef and a chocolate chip cookie. The pasta with beef was, again, a lot like what you’d find in a can of Chef Boyardee. It had a decent taste (7/10). The cookie was good and chewy (8/10).

For dinner, I treated myself to one of the frozen meals that I’d been eyeing since the first day. Roast Turkey Medallions:

nutrisystem roast turkey medallionsThe vegetables were uncannily fresh, another success for the Nutrisystem/Schawns partnership. The carrots were crispy, the cauliflower tender, and the broccoli fresh. And the turkey was perfect–juicy with a great texture and the perfect consistency of turkey and gravy. (10/10).

To wrap up the day, I helped myself to another dessert from the frozen box. It’s the “fudge swirl sundae”. There’s delicious vanilla ice cream (fat free, but it’s impossible to tell), with real, rich fudge drizzled within it. It was extremely satisfying at the end of the day (10/10)

nutrisystem ice cream sundae

Days 10 to 12: Getting used to Nutrisystem

I have to say, my body is getting used to the Nutrisystem. There are times when I do get a little hungry, but then again I think a lot of that is because I don’t supplement the meals with fruits and vegetables these days (I haven’t had a chance to go to the market).

Day 10
So, on to the food. For breakfast on Day 10 (April 19), I had a breakfast scone from the shelf-stable box. It was dry, but I think scones are supposed to be dry. I decided to do the classy English thing, and brewed up some English Breakfast Tea to go with it using my Keurig coffee and tea maker. The combination of the tea and the scone made for a quick and really good meal. I finished the meal off with a yogurt and felt satisfied all morning. (7/10)

For lunch, I decided to go with something from the frozen box. The “Frozen Toasted Ham and Cheese”. This was the first Nutrisystem meal that didn’t have microwaving as an option, so I cooked it in the oven. I took it out of its individually wrapped package and found what looked a lot like a Pop Tart in shape and size. I popped it into the oven and out came this:

An oh-so-yummy ham and cheese pop tart I have to say, this was oh-so-yummy. The outer crust was made of wheat and grains and had a really interesting texture. Inside, there was melted American cheese and ham. It tasted like a really good ham and cheese sandwich. (8/10)

Something I noticed I’m doing lately is chewing my food better. I used to be a lot like my old dog Happy, who had the uncanny ability to inhale food before even chewing it. But because the portion sizes are smaller, I’m savoring each bite of the meal, knowing that if I wolf down the meal in 10 seconds, there’s less for me to enjoy. I’m not sure if it’s an official part of the Nutrisystem plan to train dieters in proper mastication, but it worked for me.

For my afternoon snack, I had honey mustard pretzed sticks from the shelf-stable box. As with all their snacks, it looks like these pretzels are soy based. This made them lighter than regular pretzels, and I ate them happily (6/10).

For dinner that night, I had the “Oriental Steak with Green Peppers and Noodles” from the shelf-stable box. beef noodles There’s something I’m noticing about these shelf-stable meals, and that’s that they all have sort of the same theme. They’re not the greatest things to look at out of the box, but once you heat them up, they’re generally not bad to eat. They all sort of have a “canned food” feel to them, so if you like Chunky Soup or Spaghettios, you’ll appreciate these meals more.

These oriental noodles, like a lot of these meals, had a thick sauce. The meat was surprisingly tender with a very satisfying texture. The noodles were a little disappointing…I like my Asian noodles stringy and chewy, but these were more like little strips of noodle. Still, it wasn’t bad. (6/10)

Day 11
On Day 11, I decided to be brave and get something called “Scrambled Eggs” out of the shelf-stable box. This was less a meal and more an amazing magic trick.

The “eggs” was nothing more than a yellow powder. The instructions said to add water and stir, and then stick it in a microwave for 30 seconds. I did this, and 30 seconds later instead of powder, the cup had a thick, yellow goo. Per the instructions, I stirred again and put it in the microsave. 30 seconds later, presto-chango–it looked like a giant clump of scrambled egg!

yellow powder, nothing up my sleeves the magical eggs

I was amazed. I broke up the scrambled eggs and added it to a dollop of smoked salmon (yes, still trying to finish it).

the final scrambled eggs and smoked salmonSome salt and pepper, and it was a great meal, and totally unexpected (6/10).

Day 11 was a Monday, so I had to grab stuff out of the box to bring to work. I admit, being someone who’s always in a rush, this is a feature of Nutrisystem that I love. As I’m running out the door, I just grab something marked “lunch” and something marked “snack”, and I’m off. No brown paper bags or putting together of sandwiches or reheating leftovers.

For lunch, I had the canned cheese tortellini, and I bought a salad at our company’s cafe, The tortellini (and most of their soups for lunch) comes in a plastic can that had a peel-off metal top. You microwave it for 60 seconds, and you’re done.

The tortellini tasted okay. Nothing to write home about (5/10).

For dinner that night, I had Meatloaf & Tomato Sauce with Mashed Potatoes from the shelf-stable box. Now, being somewhat of a meatloaf snob (I cook a very mean meatloaf in real life), I had great expectations for this one.

meatloaf and mashed potatoes
The presentation was interesting. I heated it and plopped it out of the plastic tray, and the mashed potatoes were on top of the meatloaf, in a tomato sauce.

This one was a little disappointing. The meatloaf and the tomato sauce really didn’t have much flavor. The mashed potatoes were pretty good. I’m giving it a 4/10, but again, 1-2 points may be because I’m a meatloaf afficianado.

So, after a day of mediocre-to-fair meals from the shelf-stable box, I decided to treat myself to something I had eyed since opening the frozen box.

Nutrisystem lets you eat...orange creamsicles?Yes, that is a real orange creamsicle. You can tell it’s fancy because instead of the word ‘cream’, it uses the word “creme” with an accent grave.

It looked like an orange creamsicle, and it tasted like an orange creamsicle. I didn’t expect it to be so creamy. I have no idea how this could be fat-free, but I won’t question it. (10/10)

an actual orange creamsicle from Nutrisystem Select
Day 12
On April 21, I decided to go with the frozen box for breakfast and lunch.

Breakfast was Nutrisystem Select pancakes. These were two pancakes that came frozen. Stick it in the microwave for one minute, add a tiny bit of maple syrup, and voila!

Nutrisystem Select Pancakes They were delicious, fluffy pancakes (9/10). I had some orange juice to go with it. This is a good example of how Nutrisystem helps with portion control. Before I started this diet, if I were to make pancakes, I’d mix up a huge amount of batter, and I’d stack them up five, six, seven, ten high. But now I realize I can be satisfied after two little pancakes. And yes, I’m still chewing the food more to savor it, which my digestive system is no doubt appreciative of.

For lunch, I went back to the frozen box and had the “vegetable pizza”. The box came with its own crisping tray, so I microwaved it. It tasted really good (9/10). The portion size was a bit smaller than I would have liked, but again, the point is to supplement it with fresh vegetables.

pizza
The afternoon dessert was a “double chocolate chocolate cookie” from the shelf-stable box. Not bad taste, but the texture was a little chalky (5/10).

For dinner that night, I went to a ball game in Philadelphia. And of course, when you go to a ball game in Philadelphia, you need to treat yourself to a Philly cheesesteak. So I did, following my practice of allowing myself to go off the diet food in special circumstances. Normally, I would have also gotten the fries, but I can see the good habits are forming, because if my mind, a cheesesteak was enough to keep me happy. And it was a great cheesesteak (and a great game).

For dessert that night, I had the soy pretzels. Same thoughts as before: interesting, and not bad to eat.

On the Wii front, I have somewhat fallen off the exercise bandwagon lately, but I did get a new game, Shawn White Snowboarding, which I’ll review soon.

Days 7 to 9 – Back on the Saddle

I’m still feeling my way around how to go about posting this blog. I figure I’ll just post every few days with reports of what I ate, how it tasted, and what exercise I got.
Day 7
On Day 7 (April 16), I took a day off work and went to Opening Day at the New Yankee Stadium. I also took a day off the diet. Since this is a diet and exercise blog, I won’t go into the game, but I will go into the food. It is amazing. They have Carl’s cheesesteaks, garlic fries, Carvel ice cream, Boar’s Head deli sandwiches, Famiglia pizzas, sushi and noodles, and of course, hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts and cracker jack.

And one more new food vendor which I found very, very interesting. Lobel’s calls themselves the “butcher to the stars”, and they have a stand with hand-cut steak sandwiches.

My friend and I stood on line for about 40 minutes as they were carving the meat off of the bones for the sandwich. They were even handing out the bones to people on the line to gnaw on.

lobels steak sandwiches lobel steak sandwiches at yankee stadium

So, why am I posting this on my diet and exercise blog? Well, because my philosophy about diet and exercise is not that your life has to end when you go on a diet. Sure, you can treat yourself, and if you do, just exercise a little bit more the next day. If you plan on being sedentary, then don’t treat yourself.

Anyway, after the steak sandwich (which indeed was one of the best sandwiches I’ve eaten in my life), it was back on the Nutrisystem diet.

That night I had the frozen Chicken Alfredo entree. Once again, it was outstanding, better than any TV dinner I’ve had. The chicken was tender, the carrots and broccoli crunchy, and the pasta

nutrisystem chicken alfredo
Overall, I’d rate the meal a 9 out of 10.

For dessert that night, I enjoyed a bag of Nacho Crisps from the non-frozen package of food. These were surprisingly good. They were crunchier than any regular potato chip or crisp I usually had. I’d compare the texture to a pork rind, but instead of deep fried fat, this was deep fried soy protein, tapioca, and cheese. As unappetizing as that might sound, it was very good. 10 out of 10.
At night, I exercised for 30 minutes with Gold’s Gym Cardio.

Day 8
For Day 8, I went completely back on the Nutrisystem food, going all non-frozen. The nice thing about the non-frozen food is that it’s very convenient to bring to the office. For breakfast, I grabbed a cranberry granola bar. A bit dry, but it tasted pretty good when washed down with a bottle of Fiji Water (6/10).
For lunch, I tried the “pasta parmesian with broccoli”. This was an interesting one. It comes in a cup, the same kind that you find ramen noodles in. It worked the same way–just add hot water, let it sit for a few minutes, and stir. I have to say the smell was quite unpleasant, and the noodles didn’t cook all the way. But it was edible, and it tasted okay (5/10).
For dinner, I tried the lasagna. Of all the non-frozen entrees I’ve had so far, this tasted the best so far. It tasted, well, like lasagna. You had the pasta, the ground beef, the ricotta cheese all piping hot and tasting pretty good (8/10).

nutrisystem lasagna

For dessert that night, I reached into the box and pulled out a bag of “pretzels”. They tasted more like saltines in a pretzel shape, but I have to admit they were quite tasty (7/10). Reading the ingredients, I saw they were made of soy, which seems to be a trend. Ah, those magical beans.

Day 9
For day 9, it was a beautiful day, so I decided to take the bike out and ride. I like using the Wii to exercise when I’m too tired to get out of the house on a weekday or when the weather outside isn’t great (which happens a lot here on the East Coast during the winter and summer months). But on those handfuls of days in the years when it’s absolutely gorgeous, I definitely try to get out.
Breakfast on Day 9 was from the frozen kit. A vegetable frittata strata. Now, I’ve cooked up frittatas in the past, but usually they required about 20 eggs. This frittata came in a cute little tin. It was definitely delicious. It had a slightly crispy top, and inside was a blend of puffed egg, herbs, and a balanced taste of spinach, peppers, zucchini, and of course parmesan cheese. A cup of yogurt and grapes completed breakfast. (9/10)
For lunch I had another frozen entree–the steak and cheese melt. Think “healthier version of a Hot Pocket”. This is anothe example of “it tastes better than it looks”–like all the other frozen entrees, it tasted really good (9/10).

nutrisystem frittata

Afternoon dessert was a white chocolate chunk cookie (7/10), and for dinner was chicken with dumplings from the non-frozen box, which reminded me of Chunky soup, but the dumplings were especially chunky, the way I like them (7/10). For dessert, I helped myself to another ice cream sandwich 🙂
I admit, there are times when I feel hungry. I think one of the problems is that I don’t supplement the meals with vegetables the way I’m supposed to. But I’ll be making a trip to H-Mart next week, and to BJ’s after that, so I should be stocked up after that. 

Day 4 to 6 – Not so successfully balancing the Nutrisystem diet with everyday dining

On Monday, I started the remainder week of trying to figure out how to balance Nutrisystem with my regular life. For breakfast, I started out with Maple Walnut Oatmeal for breakfast. It worked the same way as the instant oatmeal you’d find in the supermarket (just add hot water), but the oats did seem a different texture than the instant oatmeal. It also wasn’t as sweet, which actually made it taste better.

For lunch, I took my two wonderful co-workers out to lunch. One ordered ribs, while the other ordered a steak. I ordered a veggie burger. It was a delicious veggie burger though 🙂 But after lunch, I took them to McDonalds for some ice cream, and of course, I had to have some myself. too.

For dinner that night were Tacos. This was also from the “just add water” school. I was a little taken aback when I was told to open a package of dust and to add water.

But this is another case of having to throw your doubts to the wind. After thoroughly mixing up the mixture, I microwaved it and put it on the small taco shells Nutrisystem provided.

Believe it or not, it didn’t taste bad. Again, it wasn’t Wolfgang Puck’s, but it was definitely not unpleasant to eat. The beef and the contents of the taco were all dehydrated, and adding water brought it all back. The beef was surprisingly still pretty beefy.

For dessert that night I had BBQ Soy Chips and water.

The next day is when I really fell off the wagon. I flew to Tampa for a day trip, and my hosts treated me to a LOT of food. I’m talking a Grand Slam Breakfast at Denny’s, an all-you-can-eat buffet, and McDonalds for dinner. Pretty much the exact opposite of the Nutrisystem diet.

The next morning and afternoon, I flew back to New York, and I reverted to bad habits. I didn’t eat breakfast, and for lunch I had about the worst thing you could have: a bag of chips, a granola bar and a soda.

Not surprisingly, when I weighed in today, I had put back on 1.1 pounds. I’m actually amazed it wasn’t more. As disappointing as this setback was, one good thing is that it felt…weird to be reverting to bad habits. I recognized that I was eating larger-than-normal portions, I realized that I was not eating regular meals, and I recognized when my food (like the chips and soda) were chock-full of BAD carbs. As I continue the diet (the way it’s supposed to be done), I’m sure these things will be more and more foreign to me.

I jumped back on the wagon for dinner. I had a Nutrisystem BBQ Sauce Over Beef, Beans, and Rice (another regular, non-frozen entree). I see a trend among these non-frozen Nutrisystem dinners–they’re all not the most appetizing things to look at (especially out of the package), but they are surprisingly good tasting as long as you go in with no expectations. In this case, the barbeque sauce was tangy and pretty good tasting, the beef was tender, and the rice had soaked in another of the sauce to be really quite tasty.


I’m down to my last orange and grapes in the fridge, so I am due for a run to the market to get more vegetables and fruit. As for taking off that 1.1 pounds, I will be spending extra time on the Wii tonight.

Day 3 – Balancing the Nutrisystem diet with everyday dining

This week is going to be an interesting one, as I’ll be travelling out at lot (I’ve been working ridiculous hours at my day job, so I’m taking off a few days to unwind).

On Sunday, I started the morning with a Nutrisystem Apple Granola Bar and water, which was surprisingly good (I’m saying “surprisingly good” a lot). It was chewy and full of apple flavor, but not sickeningly sweet like those “snack bars” you buy in the supermarket.

I spent the day in the wonderful New York Botanical Gardens with a wonderful person :). We did a lot of walking around the Gardens but the time flew by, so I didn’t even realize I was getting exercise (exercise which, admittedly, at the end of the day still turns out to be much better than running alone through a virtual cartoon world). I’ve decided that I’m going to stick to the diet 90% of the time, which means that 10% of the time I can still eat regular food with friends from time to time.

But interestingly, I think Nutrisystem’s brilliant way of positive brainwashing is working wonders. When it came time to choose the food to eat, while I normally would have chosen a bag of chips or a high-sugar soda, I instinctively went with an egg salad sandwich on whole-grain bread, a bowl of soup and a Coke Zero. Read: low-glycemic choices. I think this is the secret to making the Nutrisystem diet stick–it’s not Nutrisystem giving you fish, but it’s teaching you to fish. When you learn instinctively to make the right food and portion choices, that’s when you really benefit.

Oh yes, the sandwich and soup were out of this world.

I didn’t “snack properly”, which I will definitely do on more “routine” days, but for dinner I had (from the non-frozen food choices) the Cajun Style Chicken and Sausace with Rice, along with the leftover, leftover broccoli from two days ago and 15 grapes 🙂 Okay, the picture doesn’t do it justice, but surprisingly the food tasted pretty good. It was very, very much like New Orleans Jamabalaya in the taste and consistency. I admit, there’s a part of me that’s still getting used to the fact that I’m cooking vacuum-packed food, but then again, if it’s good enough for NASA and the US Army, by gum it’s good enough for me.

For dessert, I had a rich, delicious chocolate brownie, again from the non-frozen food. I’m not sure how they keep it so moist and fresh in the package, but it certainly tasted like a brownie. I washed it down with some refreshing Fiji water.

So far so good. As for the rest of the week, I think Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday I’ll be on the normal routine, but on Tuesday I’m flying to Tampa to see a friend (who owes me a Cuban sandwich after I bet him the Phillies would win the World Series last year) and I’ll be in Yankee Stadium for the home opener on Tuesday. So while I won’t be breaking the diet, I will perhaps be bending it a little. 🙂

Day 2 – First taste of the Frozen Food

So, today I decided to try the Nutrisystem frozen option for the first time. It was admittedly difficult to choose where to start first, but I decided to go with the Garden Vegetable Omelette for breakfast. Again, I had to raid the fridge to find something to meet the categories of “fruit” and “protein”, so I decided to have 15 grapes (yes, you have to count them out), and a little bit of smoked salmon.

The omelette could be prepared in one of two ways: by steaming it in the package in a pot of boiling water, or by microwaving. Being on the lazy side, I went the nuclear option.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I got was an omlette that tasted, felt, smelled, and looked like a real omelette. Inside was a delicious mix of cheese, vegetables. For someone who hasn’t eaten breakfast before, this was certainly a treat inded.

For lunch, I decided to have the margherita pizza. I happen to have a pizza stone in the oven, so I preheated the oven to 425, and 10 minutes later, I had this.

It tasted like pizza, and it crunched like pizza. Had I had gotten a pizza from Ginos on the corner, I probably would have had two slices, and then a third, and then a fourth, and maybe a fifth. But in this case, the portion size was just fine, knowing that I had a snack waiting for me down the road.

Speaking of dessert, I decided to go for the peach crisp.

Okay, it doesn’t look all that appetizing. The peach slices are supposed to be covered in the batter, but somewhere down the road it seems to have gotten disassembled. But I have to say that it all still tasted pretty good. The peach slices were sweet, and the crumble part was crunchy and pretty good.

For dinner, I chose the Asian-style beef. You have the option of cooking it in the over or the microwave, and I chose the microwave again.

I was pretty shocked at how fresh things were. It was not like your typical TV dinner. The beef was tender, and the broccoli, red peppers, and water chestnuts were surprisingly crisp and fresh, something I hadn’t expected in a frozen dinner. It was all in a delicious sauce that was slightly sweet and tangy. For my serving of fruit, I had a glass of orange juice (although I should note they recommend fruit rather than fruit juice for the daily servings of fruit). I added some of the leftover broccoli from yesterday for my vegetable. Overall, this meal was an A.

Dessert tonight was an A+.

Yes, that’s a real ice cream sandwich that tastes just as good as anything you enjoyed in grade school.

For my exercise today, I spent about 30 minutes on Gold’s Cardio Workout again. While it’s fun, I have to say, so far I’m not too impressed with the workout level of this program. I’m hoping as I “unlock” new levels, I get access to much more rigorous workouts, but for now I feel I’m getting the same workout as I would if I was playing Guitar Hero. To try to salvage some workout, I did some hula hooping and running and step exercises with Wii Fit.

Anyway, the good news is, I’m back to 203.7 pounds now, so at least I’m heading back in the right direction!