WW recipes for maintaining weight loss following the COVID lockdown

Spinach and ricotta stuffed mushrooms. Picture: Supplied
Spinach and ricotta stuffed mushrooms. Picture: Supplied

Weightwatchers phenomenon Anna Van Dyken lost 70 kilograms - half her body weight - in 2016, achieving her goal weight over a remarkable four-year journey. Fast-forward to 2021 and Anna has maintained her goal weight for five years.

Now she shares her tips and tricks for weight loss maintenance, as well as more than 90 new recipes for long-term success.

Weight Watchers started in 1963 in the United States; the first meeting attracted 400 people. The first Australian meeting was in 1969 in Sydney. Now, there are more than five million members world-wide.

How I've Kept the Weight Off, by Anna Van Dyken. Macmillan Australia, $39.99.

How I've Kept the Weight Off, by Anna Van Dyken. Macmillan Australia, $39.99.

The weight-loss program has recently rebranded itself as WW, focusing on wellness as well as weight loss.

"If you've started, or are planning to start your own wellness journey, always remember you are stronger than you think and more capable than you realise," she says.

"Take each day as it comes and try to find as much joy as you can."

And here are some delicious recipes to start with.

  • How I've Kept the Weight Off, by Anna Van Dyken. Macmillan Australia, $39.99.

Chocolate almond slice

Chocolate almond slice. Picture: Supplied

Chocolate almond slice. Picture: Supplied

I can confirm that this slice is absolutely delicious. Rich and naturally sweet, this is a treat for all chocolate lovers.

Ingredients

65g roasted almonds

45g gluten-free rice puffs cereal (see tip)

400g chopped pitted medjool dates

100g almond butter

2 tsp vanilla essence

70g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)

1 tsp sea salt flakes

Method

1. Lightly spray a 20cm square cake tin with oil. Line base and sides with baking paper.

2. Process almonds in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl with rice puffs.

3. Process dates in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add almond butter and vanilla and process to form a thick paste. Add to bowl with almonds and rice puffs. Mix with clean wet hands until well combined. Press evenly into tin.

4. Microwave chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl on High (100%) in 30 second bursts, stirring, until smooth and melted. Spread over slice and sprinkle with sea salt. Refrigerate for about three hours, or until slice is firm. Lift from tin and cut into 16 pieces.

Anna's tips:

To firm up the slice faster, place it in the freezer, instead of the fridge.

I use the Freedom Foods rice puffs cereal, but you can use any sweetened rice puffs cereal, such as rice bubbles. Just be sure not to use pure puffed rice, or you won't get that crispy, crunchy texture.

Best consumed within 2-3 days for maximum crunch.

Serves 16.

Berry breakfast bars

Berry breakfast bars. Picture: Supplied

Berry breakfast bars. Picture: Supplied

I love these bars for so many reasons. They're a great option when I'm on the move and are just as delicious warm and topped with yoghurt, or as a snack. They freeze well, reheat well and eat well. This is the ultimate staple on my weekly planner.

Ingredients

2 eggs, separated

100g quick oats

1 tsp baking powder

170g 99% fat-free plain yoghurt

2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

2 tsp pure maple syrup

2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk

1 tsp vanilla essence

160g mixed berries, roughly chopped

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

1. Preheat oven to 160C. Lightly spray six holes of a 12-hole (200ml capacity) mini loaf tray with oil and line with baking paper.

2. Lightly whisk egg whites in a bowl until just starting to foam. Set aside.

3. Combine all remaining ingredients and egg yolks in another large bowl. Gently fold through reserved egg whites (do not overmix). Spoon mixture evenly into paper-lined holes in tray.

4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean. Set aside in tray for five minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve.

Anna's tips:

Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days, or freeze for up to three months.

You can use fresh or frozen berries.

Makes 6.

Spinach and ricotta stuffed mushrooms

My delicious mushrooms are the perfect option for a light lunch, either served with a crispy side salad, or simply on their own. Omit the bacon and you have a vegetarian alternative, just as flavoursome.

Ingredients

6 large flat mushrooms, stalks removed

200g reduced-fat fresh ricotta cheese

20g grated parmesan cheese

1 egg

30g short-cut bacon, fat trimmed, finely chopped

40g baby spinach, finely chopped

3 green shallots, finely chopped

30g semi-dried tomatoes (not in oil), finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tsp Tuscan seasoning

2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

Method

1. Preheat oven 180C. Place mushrooms stalk-side-up on a baking paper-lined baking tray.

2. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Spoon evenly onto mushrooms, lightly spray with oil and cover with foil. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for a further 15-20 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Serve.

Anna's tip:

For the best result, use reduced-fat ricotta cheese from the fresh deli section in major supermarkets.

Makes 6.

Cheesy broccoli tuna pasta bake

Cheesy broccoli tuna pasta bake. Picture: Supplied

Cheesy broccoli tuna pasta bake. Picture: Supplied

My boys absolutely love tuna mornay and I'm a massive fan of mac 'n' cheese. So I've been inspired to combine the best of both worlds and create this delicious and simple fusion. Success.

Ingredients

250g elbow pasta

1 tsp garlic-infused olive oil

1 brown onion, finely chopped

125g cup mushrooms, sliced

125g broccoli, cut into small florets

1 tbsp dried mixed herbs

100g 99% fat-free plain yoghurt

185g can tuna in springwater, drained, flaked

3 eggs, lightly beaten

25g grated parmesan cheese

100g grated reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Cook pasta in a large deep pot of boiling, salted water, following packet instructions. Drain, rinse under cold water, drain well and return to pot.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook onion, mushrooms, broccoli and herbs for eight to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Season with salt and pepper and add to the pasta.

3. Add yoghurt, tuna, eggs, 20g parmesan and half the mozzarella to the pasta. Mix well to combine. Transfer to an ovenproof dish (2.5 litre capacity) and smooth top with a spatula. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan and mozzarella. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden.

Anna's tips:

Use a pastry brush to distribute olive oil evenly over the surface of frying pan.

Cover the dish with foil if the cheese browns too quickly during baking.

Serves 6.

This story Woman who lost 70kg shares tips and recipes for maintaining weight loss first appeared on The Canberra Times.

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