I love cooking, and one thing I’ve learned on my 6+ month journey with WW is that you can adjust all your favorite dishes to make them fit into your WW plan. I recently made some Senegalese Yassa Chicken from the WW Homecoming cookbook and it inspired me to share a few ways you can slightly tweak your favorite Black & African food recipes to make your dishes healthier!
I LOVE plantain. But a 1 1/2 cup serving of fried plantain is 4 points on the WW purple plan, which adds up when you eat a full plate as I do. Thankfully, the WW cookbook has a ginger plantain recipe that is — wait for it — BAKED. And 0 SmartPoints. By baking sliced plantain and then broiling them, you avoid all the oil that is absorbed by frying, but still end up with the crispy outside and sweet inside that makes plantain irresistible. The key though is to make sure your plantain is super ripe, to make sure it gets nice and brown.
Aside from plantain, white rice is probably my next biggest culinary downfall. I used to eat two full plates of white rice and stew for dinner several times a week growing up, which was like 8 times the serving size! Now, whenever I’m in the mood for rice, I switch it out with brown rice, even if it means mixing brown rice with white rice. While 1 serving (1 cup) of white rice is 6 SmartPoints, the same amount of brown rice is 0 points on the purple plan. Another way to lighten rice, as suggested in the WW Homecoming cookbook, is to mix it with cauliflower rice. I haven’t experimented that much with cauliflower rice, but this sounds like a promising switch-up!
Fried Chicken or Fish
I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like breaded, battered, and deep-fried chicken or catfish. It’s so yummy! But definitely not great for our health. Oven frying is an alternate way to get the same crisp without all of the oil, and all it requires is baking on a wire rack instead of in a baking tray (to allow the moisture to evaporate, which helps the meat/fish crisp up!). Another option is using an air fryer — though I don’t have one, I’ve seen a couple of really interesting takes online.
Baked Mac & Cheese
Although some people make mac & cheese on the stovetop, we all know the real deal is to make it with a bechamel sauce base made of butter, flour, and cream. But you can achieve the same creamy sauce consistency by using reduced fat cheeses like cheddar and Monterey Jack, and mixing it with softer cheeses like cream cheese and cottage cheese. I’m planning on making the 5 SmartPoint baked mac & cheese recipe from WW Homecoming sometime next week, and will be sure to share my results in stories!