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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
At night, I went off the Nutrisystem diet for one night so I could go out for dinner with someone special.
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.
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)