Food, Friday Fluff, Sweet Machine

Friday fluff: Take back the (diet) food

Shapeling BlueRain points out that in my last post I was unfair to okara, the main ingredient in the Magical Diet Cookies. She notes:

Okara (as well as Shirataki mentioned in someone’s comment upthread) is a traditional food item in Japanese cuisine, and having it appropriated as “low-fat/low-cal miracle diet food” is offensive enough, but having it mocked here somehow makes it worse. Yes, there are cookies/crackers/biscuits made of okara, and they are quite yummy. They are NOT sold as diet cookies, but just plain snack-food.

I apologize for my ignorance and my assumption that okara was not yummy in sweets. Now I am really curious to try an okara-based treat (one that’s not advertising its own magical weight-loss-and-water-absorption powers, that is). More to the point, it made me wonder what other perfectly wonderful foods have been hijacked by diet industry hype (and how that relates to cultural appropriation: the “French,” the “Mediterranean,” the “Okinawa” lifestyles…). Let’s do an exercise in food positivity: what supposedly “diet” foods out there do you actually enjoy even — especially — when you’re not on a diet? What foods have we been taught are “good” as in moral are actually just “good” as in “I like it put this in my mouth”?

449 thoughts on “Friday fluff: Take back the (diet) food”

  1. Oh, so many! Cottage cheese on top of noodles was a comfort food for me when I was a kid – really great for when you’re sick or have an ‘off stomach.’ Now it’s sometimes a comfort food for a rainy too lazy to cook kind of scenario.

    Fresh grapefruits are really delicious too – but not when they’re all you eat!

  2. I don’t know if this counts, but I love vanilla Snackwell cookies. I don’t eat them cause they’re oh so good for me diet cookies, but because they’re tasty. I like to chase them with Double Stuff Oreos. ;-)

  3. Rice cakes! They are crunchy and delicious, and very nostalgic for me, as they were a very common snack food when I was little (my mom went through a phase of thinking she might be allergic to wheat; they’re also cheap).

    Lentils! I adore a good European-style brown lentil soup, or red lentils with butter and cumin. They’re like dried beans for people with no meal-planning-head skills ;-)

  4. I love grapefruit.
    As a kid, my mom would sometimes serve 1/2 a grapefruit as a first course before dinner, sprinkled with sugar. Maybe this was on nights when my dad wasn’t having dinner with us, so I had a special association. My mom would also use a grapefruit knife to cut the segments out of the half grapefruit for easy scooping at breakfast. I associate my mom most with breakfast, and I have been trying to make scrambled eggs for my little girl the way my mom made them for me. Wheat toast with margarine and scrambled eggs are my top comfort food.
    I now live far from where grapefruits are grown, so have a little guilt for buying them, but I’ve never really thought of them as diet food. (I’ve certainly never been on a grapefruit diet).

  5. I can’t tolerate it anymore, but cottage cheese (definitely not non-fat) sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar or eaten with canned pineapple. My life is so much better since I learned that I’m lactose intolerant, but there are things I miss. I know I could take enzyme tablets but I’m not organized enough to remember to have them with me when I eat.

  6. Ironicly the only reason I ever tried grapefruit was because my parents were on the grapefruit diet. It’s so very them too, they now have weird eating patterns about all the stuff they’ve dieted on. So now they don’t like carbs, so they can’t have real grapefruit so they have crystal lite grapefruit juice. EWWW.

    Also, wheat thins, which are probably not actually good for you or diety but they have wheat in the name. And Carrot sticks, with dip, NOM!

  7. Celery! It is yummy. Especially in soup or with peanut butter and raisins on it. I also second rice cakes, although it has been a while since I had any. And fruit in general is great when you’re not being coerced into having it instead of the less healthy-sounding dessert you really want.

  8. I love cottage cheese too, so yummy! I especially like to mix it with tuna, so double diet-foodiness, but oh so good.

    Also pineapple juice and tomato juice are some of my favourite juices now, even if I did run into them at first as a part of the stewardess diet a friend was on.

  9. Salads. I can remember the very first go-to item whenever I was on a diet grimly powering down a crap salad out of crap iceberg lettuce and crap Thousand Island dressing every day for dinner. I still won’t eat iceberg because it’s, yes, crap, but I will go to town on a mixed greens festival with goat cheese and goat cheese and other good non-goat cheese stuff in it (I’m on a goat cheese kick at the present). And seconding rice cakes – I love the crunch and the taste of them, particularly the caramel mini ones Quaker Oats makes. Those are a delight to me.

  10. Another one for cottage cheese — also yogurt! Lentil Soup is also a fave.

    My big one is Boca Burgers/chick’n patties. I am NOT a vegetarian (I have been known to make a bacon-cheese boca burger) but I love the things, and find them super convenient for work lunches.

    One “good” food I cannot stand, though, is broccoli. I’ve tried it and tried it, and the only time I can tolerate it is a good broccoli/cheese soup.

  11. Cottage cheese on Ryvita dark rye crispbreads. And grapefruit (pink or red, I’m not fond of white grapefruit).

    I always buy the “full fat” cottage cheese, though – the type that has (le gasp!) 4% fat.

  12. Fresh spinach. In salads, on sandwiches, whatever. Nom.

    Also, Hanna, I hadn’t thought of actually putting the tuna in the cottage cheese; must try it!

  13. Come to think of it, with all the crazy diets out there, is there really any food that isn’t a diet food on at least one?

  14. Um, Diet Coke. I love Diet Coke. It’s not precisely been hijacked by the diet industry–more like created by the diet industry–but I think of it as a real-life Frankenstein’s monster: brought into being by mad scientists, but still deserving of love.

  15. Raspberry vinagrette. I remember going the vinagrette route because it was so much ~lighter~ in fat than cream dressings, and then I realized that hey, I actually like the stuff! I love the sweet/sour combination and frutiness and how those flavours contrast with the slightly bitter taste and particular mouthfeel of dark, leafy greens. Add some walnuts and strawberries into the mixture and you have my perfect salad.

    Yogurt–but definitely not the nonfat kind, which tastes super sour and gives me a stomach ache. No, no, it must be full fat, possibly Greek style, with lots of honey in it. Also delicious: the kind with cream on top in maple flavour. Mmm.

  16. Agreed with all of the items above – cottage cheese, grapefruit, diet coke. But, at least with cottage cheese, I’ve been eating that as long as I can recall, even before or between diets.

    But these are just ingredients, that could – or could not – be included in diets. As for more specific diet foods – i.e., recipes that I first encountered while on a diet – there are 2 that I still make sometimes because I like them: the old WW vegetable soup (I make variations on this all the time, especially this time of year), and the South Beach egg souffle muffins. Yum!

  17. I love love love cruciferious vegetables – broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, you name it. (Last night I made roasted cauliflower with dinner and it was SO GOOD.) Thankfully I never did the cabbage soup diet, so my love of cabbage is unsullied by bad memories.

  18. My big one is Boca Burgers/chick’n patties. I am NOT a vegetarian (I have been known to make a bacon-cheese boca burger) but I love the things, and find them super convenient for work lunches.

    Yes. Gardenburger made a version for a while that was roasted veggie with mushrooms. Soooo yum. And easier to make at home than meat patties.

  19. Roasted veggies, esp. roasted garlic potatoes. And roasted chicken with a whole lemon inside (rolled hard on a counter to release juices then poked with a fork).

  20. Well, it seems this is finally the post that gets me to de-lurk after over a year of reading this blog. (side note: it’s not that I don’t love this site or the fabulous commentary, but my introversion extends to posting on sites) Anyway — a family favorite for me and my three sisters growing up was cottage cheese mixed with homemade applesauce. It sounds a little weird, and looks totally gross, but it tastes fantastic.

  21. Second on Diet Coke. I just like it better than regular Coke, it’s crisper, cleaner, and it’s my one dependancy. I mean, I drink coffee, too, but I’ve been able to give that up once in a while.

  22. Yogurt! I love yogurt and put it on and in everything – eat it for breakfast, drain it and use instead of sour cream, make cupcake glaze from it instead of cream cheese, mix herbs in it to dip vegetables in.

    I still thought the Sarah Haskin report on it was hilarious, though. “Yogurt! It’s kind of gross.”

  23. See, this is the kind of thing that I *really* love about this blog. (And I love a lot of things)

    I love that when a commenter brings up something that is a real issue with a post, the author owns it, apologizes, and makes a discussion out it. That is just awesome.

    I think you all are geniuses at community building.

  24. Plain yogurt with strawberries, blueberries, walnuts, and honey. Makes a good breakfast or dessert.

  25. A lot of the stuff that’s been mentioned – celery, yogurt, rice cakes, diet coke, veggies in general. I eat a lot of healthy choice and lean cuisine meals at work, but it’s not because I’m trying to lose weight – they’re on sale quite often and I’m cheap.

  26. I’d rather have a poached egg than a fried egg any day (just did, in fact!). Not because it’s low fat, but because the purity of the egg flavor is just so luscious.

    Oh, and I’ll second grapefruit. When it’s fresh, or when the juice is freshly squeezed, it’s so sweet and tart and lovely.

  27. Another vote for yogurt, btw.

    Although recently I got chastised by a former roommate for buying the yogurt “with a lot of fat in it.”

    It was like, thanks, dude, please stop ranking my food for me…

  28. Diet Coke. 50/50 cookies (they’re specifically made for diabetics and they donate half their proceeds to diabetes research, and more importantly for my non-diabetic ass, they are frickin’ delicious).

    Any and all fruit and vegetables, I guess, though I never really thought of them as Good Foods?

  29. Oh, and whoever said yogurt. Holy crap. La Yogurt Sugar-Free Low-Fat I Have No Idea But It Comes In The Blue Container and Is Peach-Flavoured. Or Stonyfield Farms all-natural yogurt with the cream on top!

    I personally find yogurt that’s a) not all-natural and b) not sugar-free to be almost inedible because of how sweet it is. So I always, always go for the sugar-free kind.

  30. I don’t eat land animals, which on my budget means a lot of vegetables. And I love vegetables! But it was so very hard to break out of the mindset of healthy= low cal. I think it was after reading an SP post about Al and salad that I realized that loads of butter/oil/cheese on a vegetable doesn’t negate its nutritional content and now I am such a happy little veg monster.

    But yes, more directly in answer to the question: steaming. Steamed foods, if done well and the right foods, are awesome. Sad that the diet people have made steamed food synonymous with fun-denying diet fare.

  31. I’ve been lurking on this blog over the past few weeks, but want to tell you that it’s been literally life-changing for me, and some of your entries here have actually brought me to tears. No exaggeration. Anyway, I had to comment because I was just working on a post in my own private blog about my 20 favorite foods and how I’m realizing it is OK to enjoy them because I like how they taste—because even though they might have been “morally” good foods, I would beat myself up over eating them because, heaven forbid, I was ENJOYING MYSELF. To save space, I’ll give you my top 5, no particular order.

    1. Seconding the person who said cottage cheese. But only the full fat kind. I was living with my grandmother for a few years not long ago and she used to comment on how much of it I would eat, and would come home with the fat-free or 2% kind because “it can’t be good to eat that much cottage cheese.” Which I find hilarious because cottage cheese is like, a diet staple.

    2. Lentils as well! I love lentils in just about anything. Soup, curries, om nom nom.

    3. Dill pickles.

    4. Raspberries. My mother in law has so many raspberry bushes in her backyard and the last time I was there I was given free reign to pluck as many off the bush as I wanted. Also, raspberry yogurt.

    5. Prunes. No, seriously. I can eat handfuls of them. My husband finds it terrifying.

  32. One of my favorite lunches is a can of tuna mixed up with a diced tomato and whatever other veggies are around (avocado is especially good.) Put in lidded bowl, add some kind of lubrication (dressing, olive oil, whatever) shake vigorously, eat.

    Every time I do this, I get asked if I’m going low carb. To which I laugh – A LOT – because I think life without carbs is not worth living.

  33. @Auds – Oh, I know! I hate overcooked vegetables and steaming or blanching are about the only ways I can get them how I like them. I don’t care about the health benefits, honestly. I just can’t stand mushy broccoli.

    Also – I hate broccoli tops. Bring on the stalks!

  34. Soups in general. They’re too often made in a miserly, watery way as a diet option when a good soup can be so delicious and filling. My packed lunch today was Indian-spiced lentil and shallot soup with sweetcorn and coconut milk. ENVY MY SOUP.

    And the idea of Diet Coke as Frankenstein’s monster made me giggle – thanks Starling! You are fast becoming “Shapeling Who Most Ought To Start A Blog Of Her Own” in my book.

  35. Agreed on Diet Coke. Crisp, chemically deliciousness. I’m also a fan of rice cakes, particularly the little quaker cheddar cheese ones, which I will seriously sometimes eat for breakfast as an alternative to cereal (I’m a savory person rather than a sweet person; I think this is the closest they come to breakfast cereals for us.)

    I don’t know if this counts, but Brussels sprouts are widely mocked and they are delicious. I’ll eat ’em like candy.

    I’m also fond of the Morningstar soy bacon. It tastes nothing like real bacon (which I also love), but it is delicious.

  36. Salads. I can remember whenever I was on a diet grimly powering down a crap salad out of crap iceberg lettuce and crap Thousand Island dressing every day for dinner. I still won’t eat iceberg because it’s, yes, crap, but I will go to town on a mixed greens festival with goat cheese.

    Oh, this exactly! I will probably never eat iceberg lettuce again in my life. It tastes like shit. Likewise, I will never ever ever again eat plain lettuce with plain boiled potatoes. *barf*

    But salads, yes! One of my favorites includes spinach, sliced mango, pistachios, goat cheese and orange-black pepper dressing. That salad is The Salad That Made Salads Work For Me Again.

    I also like rice cakes. They’re great with a bit of butter and aged cheese, or with peanut butter, or with just a pinch of salt. I also love rice crackers, but especially the ones with a peanut inside of them, which, of course, are strictly forbidden when you’re on a diet.

    Finally, I never thought of Boca Burgers as a diet food (but then, I only had access to them for one glorious semester), just as the best veggie burger ever. Mmm.

  37. the core 3 daily foods that I eat are cabbage, beans, and oatmeal. Which are things most people make “bleh” faces at. But I LIKE these foods and to me they’re delicious. If I don’t get my daily dose of shredded cabbage salad I get riotous.

  38. Low-fat milk (1%) would be my #1 choice. If I’m going to drink a glass of milk, 2% or full-fat milk just tastes too “thick” to me and also never seems to be as cold as 1%.

    I agree with yogurt, especially of the plain, Greek variety. It can be sweet or savory, and I am in control of how it tastes. It was awesome on my Taco Bell burrito last night!

    Lastly, “spray” butter. Not because you “use less” but because it’s a lot easier to get it onto corn-on-the-cob than regular butter is.

  39. Lettuce! I actually *like* iceberg lettuce, though it is apparently of the devil. I hate field greens with a fiery passion. They are bitter and not crunchy. A pox on them, I say.

    Spinach salad is also very tasty, once dressing and bacon are incorporated. I was startled to discover that I liked it.

    Zucchini, which I believe has been mentioned here before– never knew I liked zucchini, till I tried it tempura’d. Fried zucchini seems to be very popular in Georgia. (I’m still not messing with it unfried, though. I have texture issues.)

  40. Lettuce! I actually *like* iceberg lettuce, though it is apparently of the devil.

    Sometimes it’s hard to beat some iceberg lettuce which blue cheese dressing and some crumbled bacon, especially if you have sourdough bread to dip in the dressing. Mmmm.

  41. Oh! Wraps! And chicken (or tuna, or salmon) salad sandwiches made with 50/50 mayo/yogurt and lots of chopped veggies (red cabbage, scallions, carrots) in a pita pocket. YUM and filling and crunchy and DAMMIT, it’s a WW food.

  42. Oh! I thought the cookies were made of okra. (Which, actually, is okay in some contexts — I like pickled okra as a swizzle stick in a Bloody Mary — but not a good cookie ingredient, I think.)

    I like all vegetables, although I’m currently (with great despair) avoiding belladonnas because I think they may make me sleepy/headachey. My top picks are spinach and Brussels sprouts. I am huge into fresh fruit, I eat at least a couple pieces every day. I like very specific salads although they sometimes don’t agree with me. What else… cottage cheese and some yogurt (only coffee-flavored lowfat — NOT nonfat, ugh — with Grape-Nuts in). And Edy’s slow-churned lowfat ice cream or yogurt blends, especially French Silk ice cream and the vanilla/chocolate yogurt blend — I like those as much or more than regular ice cream. Orange sherbet, too, which is also billed as “lower-fat” or whatever. I also love nutrition bars — the good-tasting ones, like Luna bars — which are found in the diet aisle but which I find to be a really convenient way to not have to think about food but also not die.

    Also, one time SM and I were, um, drunk at college (hi Mom) and all we could find was rice cakes with peanut butter and they were the BEST THING IN THE WORLD.

    ETA: Ditto on skim milk, I was raised on it and the first time I drank whole milk I was confused and repulsed. I’ve grown to the point where I will tolerate 2% on cereal but I still only like to drink skim.

  43. So many people eat tuna with cottage cheese. Who knew? I serve my tuna in a big bowl alongside an equal-sized glob of cottage cheese, then scoop it all up with Triscuits. (Fire Roasted Tomato Triscuits being especially good, and if I’m using smokey-flavored tuna from the pouch, heaven.) Other favorite “diet” foods include: Special K Cinnamon-Pecan cereal with vanilla soy milk, The Original Garden Burger and a chicken-veggie grilled wrap that I used to make for lunch all the time when I was dieting. I take a Flat-Out wrap, layer on fresh spinach, roasted red peppers, sauteed onions & mushrooms, grilled chicken strips and shredded cheese, then fold over and grill on the George Foreman. Oh, and I drink Crystal Light by the quart – there’s always a pitcher in my fridge.

  44. I also snack of boiled japanese sweet potato. Try it, I swear it’s delicious beyond all reason. As for north american varieties of sweet potatoes…….no comment

  45. Oh and salmon! Dan jokes that I am part bear because if left to myself I would subsist on raw salmon and berries. Though I don’t like most seafood, especially cooked fish that isn’t salmon.

    Someone said lentils and I have to agree with that, and oatmeal, oh my god — oatmeal is probably the perfect food. Although for some reason the crowing about the health benefits of oatmeal just makes me feel kind of proud of oatmeal, instead of turning me off. Probably because they’re usually more about things like lowering cholesterol than about weight loss.

    Also, did anyone else eat pineapple with cottage cheese as a kid? Amazing combination. I suspect it was given to me as a diet food but I just really liked it.

  46. 5. Prunes. No, seriously. I can eat handfuls of them. My husband finds it terrifying.

    Prunes are de-LI-cious.

    Also, one time SM and I were, um, drunk at college (hi Mom) and all we could find was rice cakes with peanut butter and they were the BEST THING IN THE WORLD.

    My roommates and I got home once, hammered, and went through the freezer and pantry to find things to throw in a pot. When we were done, we checked it out and… ground beef, tomato sauce, onions, beans, spices — we’d invented chili!

  47. I love this thread. I eat a ton of “diet foods” because I like them and it really grates my cheese when people assume I’m doing it for weight loss purposes and then either commiserate that it’s not working or tell me to “buck up” because I’ll soon be skinny if I keep that up. Yuck. Since I’ve gotten ill recently I’ve been trying to really slam in as much nutrition as possible while simultaneously dealing with a stomach that simply does not want to keep anything down, so many “diet foods” are my best options.

    Those little foil juice box-like chocolate protein drinks that people use as meal replacement (not slim fast, but the super high protein ones)? Yeah, I love ’em. I drink several every day. I don’t know that they really taste good, but when something literally saves your life, makes you feel human again after feeling like a limp rag all day, well it tends to color one’s opinion of the taste.

    Green shakes… if you google it you’ll get nothing but weight loss, weight loss, weight loss, but what can I say, I love ’em. I mix water and spinach and some frozen fruit in a blender with some liquid vitamins and drink green sludge twice a day. Looks disgusting. Tastes like a mango daiquiri. What’s not to love?

    Grapefruit is also a fav of mine, but I prefer it mixed with some elderberry syrup and Absolute Ruby Red served on the rocks in a sugar rimmed glass. God I miss booze.

    Oh and this…

    Agreed on Diet Coke. Crisp, chemically deliciousness.


  48. Soy milk, oatmeal, and I have found that I really enjoy Acai berry juice mixes. Oh and Special K with strawberries, which I started eating years back as a “diet” thing, but find quite tasty.

  49. @Rebecca – what’s the difference? Totally honest question – I grew up in Louisiana with sweet potatoes and yams (and no, I can’t remember the difference between them) and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE both.

    Especially a baked sweet potato w/ butter and salt…mmm (and a little steamed spinach and maybe some parmesan…dammit, I’m hungry.)

    Anyway – please explain Japanese sweet potatoes to me – I’m curious.

    Thank you!

  50. I love and have always loved plain steamed broccoli. Only steamed enough to be tender, not to have no taste. But I never require any dressing or that nasty fake cheese sauce over it, just pure broccoli. Mmmmm…

  51. Also, did anyone else eat pineapple with cottage cheese as a kid? Amazing combination. I suspect it was given to me as a diet food but I just really liked it.

    Cottage cheese and pineapple, pears, peaches — my go to dinner for a long time was 1) super-large sub from White Hen with 1) can pears and 1) bucket cottage cheese. Because I’d get 2 meals out of it (and it was all available at White Hen, which was open at last call).

  52. But salads, yes! One of my favorites includes spinach, sliced mango, pistachios, goat cheese and orange-black pepper dressing. That salad is The Salad That Made Salads Work For Me Again.

    A variation I like to make is fresh spinach, thin sliced strawberries, thin sliced red onion, apple chunks (Pink Lady) or clementine pieces, pecan bits, and a tiny bit of fresh grated parmesan cheese. I also make a homemade dressing from olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, cracked pepper, lime juice, and brown sugar. Nom.

  53. @fillyjonk:

    I once played a game at a really upscale buffet called “How many different salmon dishes can I find to put on my plate?” (This is a very good game. Also, answer: 5) :) I’m like you, I adore salmon in all forms, but raw is wonderful.

  54. Ice milk. It’s halfway between ice cream and sorbet, and has a special yumminess of its own.

    Seconding jicama. Tasty crunchy sweetness.

    I’m going to have to try that rice cake tuna melt idea – it sounds delicious.

  55. Slim Fast bars. Do they even make them anymore? My grandma used to live on a steady diet of wine, Slim Fast bars, and danishes. And cigarettes. When I lived with her, there wasn’t much else in the house and I developed an insane addiction to those bars. THEY ARE SO GOOD. Especially the iced oatmeal raisin ones. OM NOM NOM.

  56. Rice cakes and apple butter is a winning combo. Haven’t had it in years, but now I need to get some next time I go shopping.

  57. @laura512 Japanese sweet potatoes are more dense and dry. You can boil them or use them in stews without them becoming overly mushy. They also retain more of their sugar when boiled/cooked so that you don’t have to add any sweetener to them. They are also good roasted on coals. I’m not sure about oven baked (I’ve only seen one oven in the 4 years I’ve lived in Japan) I think the north american variety is better mashed as it can make a nice creamy texture while the japanese sweet potato has a dense dry texture, like a chewy cookie.

  58. Oatmeal, my love! Never thought of that as diet food though, it is a childhood breakfast that dad made. He made it with milk, now when I make it myself I use water. Not for any kind of diet purposes, it’s just less gooey like that, which I like. And I drown it in butter before eating it anyway.

  59. Salad. I didn’t eat salad for the longest time because it was diet food, and then I did only because it was “good for me.” But we actually spice our salads, so they are SO much better. Dark leafy greens, olive oil, garlic salt, basil, oregano, a bit of parmesan cheese and caesar croutons = the yum.

  60. Rebecca – So the delicious nutty orange thinly-sliced thing inside the tempura batter at Yoshino in London is likely to be a Japanese sweet potato? I wasn’t quite sure whether it was sweet potato or pumpkin but oh wow, was it delicious.

  61. Adding my voice to the chorus of “Celery, yoghurt, grapefruit and salads – oh my!” I love all of these things so, so much.

    Also, I love those little chocolate covered caramel and nougat bars the Atkins Diet (*ptooie*) people sell. Do they still sell those? I got hooked on them way back when the OMG CARBS ARE TEH DEVIL storm passed through and I think I’d likely still eat them, though they’re not cheap and I havn’t bothered to look for them in a while.

  62. So I just remembered that when I was on a college meal plan, cottage cheese with canned peaches comprised half my diet, on account of it being reliably delicious dining hall food. Oh Shapelings, how you jar my memory.

  63. Oh gosh. Oatmeal is good, as are yogurt, cottage cheese, beets, whole-wheat bread (the kind from local bakeries that costs less than the mass-market stuff with the preservatives in it), apples, sweet potatoes, salads (unless they’re majority iceberg lettuce), Grape Nuts cereal, almonds, etc. I could keep going. I’m also not on a diet. I just think these things taste good.

  64. @MissPrism I’m not sure without being there with you to eat it. Both kabocha pumpkin and Japanese sweet potato are commonly done in tempura. I would just ask the waiter next time. You can often find both at an asian import store to make your own dishes from :)

    About cottage cheese: Here in Japan cottage cheese looks as thus

    and is similar in texture to ricotta. Very dry and dense. It’s really lovely stuff but expensive (you can see the price of 388 yen there. Minimum wage is 700 yen an hour) so it’s not considered a diet food generally, only a “gourmet luxury rich person food”

  65. OH!! OH!!! You guys just reminded me!! My mother-in-law lives in the Rio Grande Valley and I’m going down there next week and she has a grapefruit tree in her backyard and I THINK the grapefruits will finally be ripe and ooooooh!! Yay!!

    (Happy Grapefruit Dance)

  66. i make split pea soup without any ham or other meat. the recipe I originally found for it was advertising itself as lighter! less fat! I didn’t care so much. I just didn’t have any ham or bacon on hand that day. as it happens, i really liked it. It has carrots, onions, and celery in it, cooked in olive oil as the base, but also apples and honey. now I don’t make it with ham anymore.

  67. Thanks for the info, Rebecca!

    and i-geek, I am with you on the beets! Roast beet salad with goats cheese and baby spinach leaves and sliced apple yumyumyum.

  68. Not a food, but I like water. Crisp, clean, cold water. I don’t like coffee, and too much soda makes me, personally, feel yucky. So, water is usually my beverage of choice.

  69. I second (or third? or whatever?) Diet Coke. I especially like it when my throat is so dry it’s a little sore.

    This is kind of hard to admit, but I keep a little tub of powdered chocolate SlimFast on hand at all times. One tub might last me a year, but it comes in handy when I’m REALLY low on time, and REALLY hungry.

  70. @The14th Cylon – I like sodas and coffee and beer and such, but sometimes? I just want a damn glass of water. Or several of them. I’ve had people make a deal out of it and I don’t know why.

  71. Now that’s funny. I somehow missed the association of Okra as diet food. I’ve always eaten it dusted in corn-meal and deep fried. :)

  72. This thread just boggles the mind. The devil (diet industry) stole my salmon? Yogurt (though I pretty much never go for the low fat kind)? And a lot of other things on this thread that I just never ever considered to be “good” as in moral?

    I was raised on skimmed milk as well. These days I drink (in other words am totally addicted to) the 1.5% milk, and I feel like around here even that is looked at as “bad”, at least by the majority (who I’m pretty sure think the fat percentage is somewhat higher).

  73. I totally agree with everyone’s favorites, they are mine as well. My ‘go-to’ supper on the days that are just to long and full of work is Wendy’s plain baked potato and a caesar side salad. I bring it home, put it together on a plate (without the dressing, sour cream, etc) and add cottage cheese on top. There is something about the combination that seems emotionally comforting and yet makes my body feel better.

  74. TOFU!!!! it’s a wonderful food, and you can do SO much with it! soy is SO malleable and, as a vegetarian, is a great source of protein. i probably eat something tofu/soy-based at LEAST once a day.

  75. I actually like iceberg lettuce. I know it’s not as good for you as most other greens, but thinly chopped under some peanut noodles–perfect.

    Second the many for skim milk, even 1% weirds me out.

    Although on the topic of ruining perfectly good foods by branding them diet, Moosewood: New Classics have a soup they call “zero soup” and they even say it’s based off all those zero soups on weight loss programs. Not cool Moosewood! Do what you do best and keep celebrating vegetables for their taste!

  76. Plain steamed vegetables. I started cooking them that way when I was dieting, but I’ve realised I really love the way they taste. Especially broccoli. Mmm, now I want some steamed broccoli.

    I agree with others on salad, yogurt, grapefruit, and diet coke.

  77. oh man, i know it’s a FAT and therefore EVIL, but it’s been all hoopla’d up by the mediterranean diet proponents as the most virtuous of evils – olive oil! i use it in everything. my family’s italian and i never even tasted butter until i was in my teens because we’d use olive oil drizzled over bread or pasta (with garlic and chopped basil and parsley and OH MY GOODNESS i’m drooling right now thinking of it). it works beautifully in a lot of baking too but it’s best when you can really taste it – good olive oil is really fragrant and fruity and even a bit zesty, almost like peppercorns and citrus.

    it amuses me to hear people touting the health benefits of olive oil. um, yes, i’m sure it’s good for me (’cause it’s food, and i need food to live, hello!), but i eat it because it’s so damn tasty!

    (also it is awesome for your hair – mix a couple of tablespoons olive oil with the same amount of mayonnaise, squelch it in your hair, cover your head with plastic wrap or a shower cap and then wrap a towel on top. you’ll smell like a salad but after marinating for half an hour or so and then washing it out, your hair will be super conditioned and silky smooth!)

  78. The vegetarian sandwich or wrap option in a good bakery/deli, usually involving a HEAP of bean sprouts or cress, good cheese, maybe hummus. Every time I get it in a new group, someone asks if I’m vegetarian, and someone else comments I’m being ‘good’, but it’s SO YUMMY.

    I also love grapefruit, along with most other fruits, yogurt (though not anything with artificial sweetener like yo-plait light) and OATMEAL. I grew up in Scotland, oats are very important. Has anyone tried oatcakes? The crackers made out of pressed oats? Probably look like a joyless diet food, but they are so tasty with marg/butter and some sharp cheddar.

  79. Diet Coke! It’s like water! But bubbly and bitter!

    I also looove whole-wheat bread and bran muffins made with yogurt. Not exactly diet foods but definitely in the same realm of “food that’s supposed to be GOOD for you, and not TASTE good.” Patently untrue!

  80. Oh man. I have always been a weird eater. Here is the “diet” stuff that I love.

    1. Diet soda. Tastes better than regular to me. I know it’s like drinking toilet cleaner for my health, but I can’t stop.

    2. Cottage cheese on pasta with green onions. Yum.

    3. Mandarin oranges fresh or in lite or sugar free syrup. Obsessed.

    4. Celery in/on everything, cooked or not.

    5. Green pepper. Cooked or not, alone or accompanied.

    6. Home-made hummous.

    7. Dark fresh made wheat bread.

    8. Raw almonds.

    9. Fresh salsa (home-made)

    10. Salads loaded up with jalapeños, celery, green pepper, cherry tomatoes, etc.

    11. V8. I go through like 12 cans a week.

    12. And…Corona Light. I know it’s not even popular in Mexico. It’s just tasty.

  81. Rosemary, I was just thinking that Scottish food doesn’t get appropriated by the diet industry all that often – but I forgot about oatcakes! SO good with strong cheese or smoked fish.

  82. When I was in high school and college, I worked as a cashier at a Kmart, and I would often get a scoop of cottage cheese for 50 cents in the Kmart grill for a snack when I was on my 15-minute break. I think someone asked me if I was on diet every damn time.

    I can’t tolerate dairy foods anymore, and I sure miss cottage cheese. More than I miss ice cream.

    One thing I eat today that others consider dietetic is pretzels. There are always some in my house, and I eat a staggering quantity of pretzels on long car trips. Not long ago, a friend asked if I ate them because they’re low-fat. I stared at her, and said, no, I eat them because I like them. Apparently she only eats them as a low-fat substitute for potato chips. I’d rather have pretzels.

  83. Also: lentil salad, french style.

    Take your cooked, cold (firmish) brown or green lentils, mix with a teeny bit of raw onion, generous vinegar, generous olive oil and salt. Yum.

    I am so lazy that I try to find canned lentils to do this with.

  84. YOGURT. Leave my delicious velvety full-fat yogurt alone! Quit transmogrifying it into inedible, neon-colored sludge! *sob*

  85. Seconding rice cakes. Crispy, crunchy goodness in a little disk.

    And multigrain bread. It’s just so much more flavorful and more interestingly textured than your standard spongy white loaf. Rotella’s Italian Bread has a multigrain variety now that is just fabulous and not too expensive.

    I eat shredded wheat as a snack food, though since I get the strawberry frosted mini ones when I can find them I’m not sure how diety that is.

    It was during my flirtation with the South Beach Diet that I discovered just how much I love spinach, and also that I learned the myriad uses of ricotta cheese. I’ve started blending it into my cheesecakes.

    I was looking for ice cream sandwiches the other day and I ended up picking up a box of strawberry frozen yogurt sandwiched between granola disks instead. YUM. Blue Bunny Sedona is the name. In the item’s defense, nothing on the package screams diet… the “This Is Good For You” blurb only mentions probiotic cultures and calcium… but it was sitting in the midst of the “these are things you may allow yourself to eat with only minor self-flagellation” section of the freezer.

    In fact, I think I’m going to go have one now so I can take my mid-day supplements before my lunch gets here.

  86. I’m right there with you on the V-8, Gina! I’m on a major V-8 kick right now; I glug some every night when I get home from working out and it is DELICIOUS. Salty and vegetabl-y and tomato-y and YUM.

    After being forced to diet as a child I was so surprised to discover as an adult that I really do LIKE broccoli and celery and carrots — but only if they’re raw! Cooked, they’re ew for me (except for celery in stuffing and soups), but raw = NOMNOMNOM. Broccoli! I hated broccoli growing up! And now I buy it for myself and love it — how weird is the world. Ditto asparagus (grilled asparagus = best thing ever) and green beans and peas and roasted red peppers…

    *sigh* I love vegetables.

  87. I’ve loved salads since I was a wee one. One of my mom’s favorite stories of Electrokid is when I ordered a salad at Mickey D’s during a birthday party for one of my friends. Apparently all the other moms were giving her the hairy eyeball, as in “You health freak, what have you done to this poor child, that she doesn’t understand the joy of burgers and fries?”.

    Another “diet food” I’ve loved since childhood is yogurt. It’s sweet and creamy with enough tang to balance the sweetness, what’s not to love? The artifically sweetened kind is disgusting, though. Greek yogurt with honey and/or fresh fruit is my current favorite.

    Totally agreed on grapefruit. I was taking medication that doesn’t play well with grapefruit for years. Ever since my doctor gave me a new drug, I’ve been on a huge grapefruit kick. Reminds me of dieting and chocolate.

    Meringues marketed as diet food… sigh. Seeing them marketed as fat-free diet desserts seems like a sort of betrayal to me. Like marketing marshmallows as fat-free. These are yummy desserts that have always been fat-free, it’s the nature of the critter! Don’t go lumping them in with artificial diet crap!

  88. Cottage cheese with tomatoes.
    Many vegetables such as carrots, spinach, artichokes, celery, kale, squash, zucchini, bell peppers, onions, etc.
    I only eat whole wheat bread. White is disgusting to me.
    Skinless white-meat chicken. I can’t stand the skin or the dark meat.
    Apples with peanut butter.
    Hummus. Baked potatoes. BEANS.

    Diet coke!

  89. MMMMM! Pickles! I eat pickles like there is no tomorrow. Of course, I’m pregnant, so… Also, pepperoncinis.

  90. Oh, and I also drink diet soda almost exclusively. I love the taste and the experience of drinking soda so much that I’d be getting way more sugar than my body needs if I didn’t drink mainly diet. I feel that the health risks of artificial sweeteners have been badly exaggerated (the sugar lobby’s older than the diet lobby, yo) and get a huge boost from the “We’re all drinking diet soda but we’re still fat!” effect.

  91. I am known to be basically unctrollable whenever there’s blueberries or pomegranates nearby. Don’t know if they so much are ‘diet’ food, but in my country they are marketed as ‘will save your life and prevent breast cancer’.

    Also, I love beets and cabbage and pumpkin and all that tasy winter food – yum!

  92. Man, y’all are making me miss grapefruit. I love grapefruit, but I can’t eat it with the medication I’m on (or rather, I can, but I have to eat the same amount every day, and I don’t love grapefruit *that* much). But yes. Cottage cheese- sooo good. I like to mix it with a little raspberry jam. I also love lentils, and beets, and brussel sprouts, and cooked cabbage, and mmmmm, tofuuuuu. I have to be in a particular mood for salads- sometimes I can’t even handle the *suggestion* of a salad, because I’m vegetarian and in some situations, salad is all I can eat. And it’s usually sad iceburg lettuce with a pale pink tomato and some shredded carrots. But sometimes, a nice green salad with dried cranberries, raspberry vinagrette and goat cheese? guuuh.

    Moosewood: New Classics have a soup they call “zero soup” and they even say it’s based off all those zero soups on weight loss programs. Not cool Moosewood!

    D: That makes me sad.

  93. Cottage cheese with fruit, nom! Peaches, pineapple, berries, apricots, it’s all good.

    Grapefruit rocks my world. I particularly like it as juice in the summer. So refreshing.

    Spinach, broccoli…oh heck, pretty much any leafy or cruciferous veggie. Okay, I can’t stand asparagus, but it’s because I don’t like the flavor, not because of diet associations. Cabbage makes me smile a lot. So do Brussels sprouts and bean sprouts. Mmm…nutty and crunchy. So good.

    Salads. I love mine made with a base of either herbs and greens (the bitterer the better, in my book) or a lovely crisp Romaine. I won’t refuse a salad because there’s iceberg in it, but I wouldn’t cross the room, let alone the street, for iceberg. Fill up the salad with a hearty mix of veggies, well chosen fruit, nuts, cheese, possibly a bit of meat, and dress to taste. Homemade dressings, because that’s how I roll.

    I’ve recently rediscovered celery. I still don’t care for it on its own, but I’d forgotten how much it can add to a soup or stew. It’s amazing how a tiny bit of celery can round out the flavor and texture of a good soup. If that soup is lentil, so much the better. Lentils make me very happy.

    Fish has always been touted as diet food, but I don’t care. From sole to salmon, trout to tuna, I’m a happy camper with a plateful of something that swam when it was alive. Ina Garten has an amazing recipe for roast fish with roasted root veggies that is beyond delectable. I made it for a friend for dinner once and we sounded like we were recording the soundtrack for a lesbian porno flick. I don’t know what the neighbors thought, but we were in culinary heaven!

    Sorbet. It keeps getting advertised as a substitute for ice cream, but it’s its own thing and fabulous at what it does. Nothing clears the palate like sorbet. Few things are more refreshing on a really hot day.

    Oh, and a million times yes! to whoever mentioned Ryecrisp! I love it with a creamy, gooey, stinky cheese spread over the top. Or a good goat cheese. Yum. Add a handful of grapes or a few slices of crisp apple and it’s hard to imagine a more satisfying snack.

  94. I could eat brussels sprouts every day. I like to roast them with a tiny bit of olive oil and sea salt. I eat plain yogurt for breakfast almost every morning, and my favorite cereal is All Bran. I love mushroom sandwiches – like when a restaurant will replace a hamburger with a big mushroom cap as a vegetarian (and I’m not) option? I can’t get enough of those smoky, meaty mushrooms.

  95. This is such a good topic. Because of my lunch food choices I get comments all the time from coworkers like, ‘Oh, you must be dieting! You’re being so GOOD!’

    I LOVE raw veggies (dipped in blue cheese dressing)

    Prunes and Medjool Dates

    Oatmeal with fresh fruit and nuts in it

    Homemade vegetable soups

    Salads loaded with wonderful goodies

    All good stuff just for how it tastes, all health benefits aside. My workplace is diet talk central so I very often feel sad for my coworkers who lament their ‘lack of self control’ as they eat the 15th lean cuisine of that month. :(

  96. Skim milk! I’ve always loved skim milk!

    And cauliflower, steamed lightly, with a wee bit of butter and fresh pepper.

    And salmon, any way and as often as I can get it.

  97. Green smoothies are delicious, and make me feel full of energy. I blend a ton of baby spinach and some other green (collards are my favorite) with water, then add a banana, lots of frozen mixed fruit, and a bit of stevia, and blend the hell out of it. It is sooo yummy!

  98. Since this is fluff, please excuse the offthreadness, but yesterday there was a segment on Rachael Ray where a woman who calls herself ‘The hungry girl’ was approaching people in a grocery store and telling them off for how high calorie/fat their options were, and bullying them into swapping out for her miracle calorie/fat saver options. It was so infuriating I had to switch it off. Some of the people being approached seemed really offended, and I kept thinking about the possibility that she might pick someone to approach who was recovering from disordered eating – her whole approach was very blunt and fat-shaming (shaming the eating of fat, not having a fat body – everyone she approached looked average build or slimmer). One woman had butter & cream & real bacon in her cart, with plans to make an alfredo style sauce from scratch as a special treat. Yum. But this is of course UNACCEPTABLE, because you cannot eat any saturated fats EVAR.

    If I’m shopping to make tiramisu, or my mother’s new fave lemon posset (it’s made with heavy cream, lemons & a little sugar, that’s it), and some lady with a camera crew comes up to me trying to replace my mascarpone with lowfat cream cheese, or tells me to dump the ricotta and use cottage cheese, or sub dijonnaise for mayo…I would feel extremely threatened and invaded!

  99. Homemade hummus made with peanut butter instead of tahini. Great for dipping apples or carrots.

    Tofu/soy milk/frozen berry smoothies…especially on early summer mornings.

    Roasted brussel sprouts with garlic, olive oil and sea salt. These totally satisfy finger food cravings. . . especially paired with some tater tots. Gotta have a meal once in a while that does not require utensils.

    Man. I really did not bring a nice enough lunch today.

  100. ohh, yay for hummus and carrots (and/or bell peppers and/or your favorite vegetable)! Also, apple slices with a drizzle of honey and chopped walnuts is pretty good.
    Cottage cheese seems to be a favorite here too^^ I like it with honeydew melons (super good).

  101. TOFU!!!! it’s a wonderful food, and you can do SO much with it! soy is SO malleable and, as a vegetarian, is a great source of protein. i probably eat something tofu/soy-based at LEAST once a day.

    Oh man, I love tofu, especially the Japanese-style tofu cutlets. They’re denser than the usual grocery store type, and pretty versatile as a meat substitute. I like to dice one into 1″ squares, marinate the pieces in olive oil, pepper, and garlic, then pan-grill and mix it into spinach fettuccine.

    @Rosemary: ditto here. Give me hummus and sprouts over lukewarm lunch meat any day. Om nom nom. Especially if avocado is involved.

    (Sorry for being such a blabby noob; I just love love love cooking.)

  102. Oh, and I make a salad dressing with basalmic vinegar and real maple syrup. It’s fat-free, so it seems “diety”, but it’s so perfect over a salad with blue cheese crumbles, greens, apples and cashews.

  103. Crap, there is almost nothing left to say that hasn’t already been mentioned fifty thousand times. Water? Check. Broccoli? Check. Spinach? Check. Sliced-up raw munchie-veggies like celery and carrots and peppers? Check. Rice Cakes? Check. Full grain bread? Check. Olive oil? Check. On and on and on! Gah!

    Ok, there is one “diet” food that I prefer to the regular version. Dunkin’ Donuts low-fat blueberry muffins. They’re just moister and yummier than the original version. Oh, and I only like coffee with NO sugar. Sweetened coffee is pretty much undrinkable, to my taste buds. Tea, same thing. The only way I can take sweetened tea or coffee is if there’s alcohol in there, too, like tea with honey and lemon and a shot of whiskey or bourbon, or coffee with Bailey’s or Kahlua. Otherwise, NO SUGAR PLZ!!!

    Oh, and Samuel Adams Light Beer is really good, too. It’s the only light beer I’ve tried that tastes like actual beer.


  104. Alexandra Erin, re: diet soda

    I am the same way — I don’t drink coffee so all my caffeine is from soda. Lots and lots of soda. If I only drink regular I’m on a perpetual sugar high (which is fine until the inevitable crash). Now regular sodas taste thick and overly sweet to me.

  105. I’ve recently rediscovered celery. I still don’t care for it on its own, but I’d forgotten how much it can add to a soup or stew. It’s amazing how a tiny bit of celery can round out the flavor and texture of a good soup.

    For those of you with Trader Joe’s near you, here is a DELICIOUS soup, that is composed of all “diet-friendly” foods, that I don’t give a rat’s ass about — it’s just GREAT.

    For soup:
    1 box TJ’s Latin style black bean soup (shaken very well, and/or, cut open to scrape out the thickening liquid)
    1 pack TJ’s chicken andouille sausage, cut into coins
    1 can black beans, drained not rinsed
    3-4 stalks celery, cut into “u”s

    For toppings:
    raw white onion, finely chopped
    cilantro, finely chopped
    lime wedges
    queso fresco (crumbly mexican cheese — this you can’t get at TJ’s, but a lot of supermarkets carry it, and most latin groceries).

    Saute the sausage until brown. Add to pot. Sweat the celery for 3-4 minutes, until it suddenly REALLY smells like celery. Add to pot. Add beans and soup. Heat until heated through. Top (use NO MORE than 1 squeezed lime wedge).

  106. reading through this list is like reading my own diet. so funny to think that basic fruits and veggies are considered “diet” food when that’s what i’ve always reached for first.

  107. Twistie: “Sorbet. It keeps getting advertised as a substitute for ice cream, but it’s its own thing and fabulous at what it does. Nothing clears the palate like sorbet. Few things are more refreshing on a really hot day.”

    Yes. I of course don’t know where you live, but in Europe it’s not really an ice cream substitute – or maybe partially nowadays, and I’m sure some people do buy as diet food, but it can also be very delicate and is served at especially French restaurents in its own right. Also in some Arabic and Persian food places during the summer – it’s sooo god ;)

  108. A long time ago, when I was a kid, I did that stupid “cabbage soup” diet with my mom. I actually really enjoyed the cabbage soup itself – I still make it, sometimes.

    Also – water. Water is a big diet food – drink it to “kill” your hunger, et c. But I love water, I appreciate the clear taste of it, and I drink a lot of it.

  109. I work at a Japanese grocery store, so I get a lot of free Japanese food and I’m going to show some love for shirataki noodles.

    They rock. They’re like tofu, in the sense they absorb the flavors of whatever you’re cooking it in.

    Stirfry with peppers, green beans, spinach, fried tofu, etc sesame oil, mirin, sugar, soy sauce and green onions on top.


    Also I second soy milk. I make my own chai syrup at home and vanilla soy in that is heaven.

  110. I actually love grapefruit so much that I am sad I can’t have it on birth control. (Still not entirely sure why; anyone have any info on that?)

    Also, people always think I am on a diet because I adore salad but I hate salad dressing.

  111. My favorite salad, which I eat nearly daily, is a mountain of the “organic spring mix” pre-prepped greens, diced tomato, and black olives. With that particular combination, I don’t care if there’s dressing or not. Yum.

  112. Rosemary Riveter – ugh, that is horrible. Yes, heaven forbid people should be able to make food choices without unsolicited advice…

    Regarding reclaiming the deliciousness of “diet” food, can I add another voice for cottage cheese? It is awesome. Also, steamed or grilled vegetables with soy sauce, plain yoghurt, strong black coffee, raw tomatoes with salt and vegetable soup (especially with beans).

  113. @Slythwolf – there’s something in grapefruit that affects how your body absorbs/processes many medications. The most common effect is that it can make a medication build up in your system, effectively increasing the dosage you’re exposed to, I think that’s more the case with pain meds and antidepressants. I think with the pill it may actually interfere with it’s function.

  114. Oatmeal! When we go out for breakfast, I always puzzle the waitress by ordering oatmeal, full-fat sausage, and fruit. Apparently it’s incomprehensible that someone would order oatmeal (or fruit) because they like it, rather than because they’re trying desperately not to give in to the siren song of bacon and Belgian waffles. It’s funny watching the waitress try to process it in her head–frequently I get asked to repeat myself because they’re sure they haven’t heard right.

  115. I somehow missed the association of Okra as diet food.

    See, I’m not the only one who was confused!

  116. I also got addicted to Diet Coke (and other forms of diet pop, like Fresca) and don’t like the regular pops.

    Interesting tidbit from working with biologists: one of them suggested the Phenylalanine in aspartame is mildly (psychologically) habit forming because it provides a ‘lift’. Phenylalanine is an amino acid that is used in the production of the tyrosine->dopomine->norephinephrine hormones.

    Which means it can work as a (very) mild antidepressant.

    As for ‘diet’ foods, I grew up eating engevita (nutritional) yeast for a variety of dietary reasons. I have it on feedback from everyone I’ve ever met that it’s disgusting and smells like a B-complex multivitamin, but I love it, especially sprinkled on English Muffins slathered in butter.

  117. This doesn’t totally count as a food, but stevia! I don’t really like using honey or sugar in my tea (sometimes it digests badly and makes me a little ill, sometimes it makes my teeth hurt, and I just don’t like the flavor it gives to tea). I’ve been using it since before it got adopted into the mainstream, when you could only get it in health food stores, and every time I see the Truvia commercials I feel a little robbed. Because it’s not about diet, it’s about a sweetener that’s actually good for your teeth!

  118. So much love for cottage cheese here. This makes me obscenely happy. I don’t know why, but I think I have never met anyone that loves cottage cheese outside of my family. Tuna and cottage cheese? Bring it. Also, fruit and cottage cheese. Also, pasta with marinara sauce and cottage cheese. Mmm.

    Other things I love: Any kind of fruit, wheat thins, avocado, whole wheat bread, rice, steamed veggies (especially steamed veg and rice), oatmeal, black beans, yogurt, salmon… I really could go on. Most of these (if not all) have been mentioned and I’m trying to think of something original but am failing.

  119. Thirded on the rye crisps! My husband and I just moved to Finland this fall, and rye crisps (which have their own shelf in the market) have become a daily staple for us, particularly with tomato cream cheese spread. Yum! We’ve also been eating a ton of beets, which I was always horrified by as a kid but now am so happy to have discovered are much tastier than I had imagined.

  120. Slythwolf – Grapefruit makes your body absorb medicines differently, if I remember correctly. I was told I couldn’t have it when I took blood thinners, which didn’t really bother me as I hate it. Sorry, y’all, I love it in juice blends but cannot eat it.

  121. I’m a huge fan of tofu as well! I simmer it in a frying pan with homemade teriyaki sauce, or add it to “fried” rice instead of eggs. I’m not vegetarian, I just enjoy the texture and versatility of tofu. I also love air-popped popcorn because I can add my own spices and flavorings. Also, I generally cannot get enough spinach, whether in salad or lightly wilted over fried eggs or ESPECIALLY in spanakopita! Mmmmm.

  122. Spinach.
    With maybe some balsamic vinager (NOT vinagrette, straight up shot of vinegar). A little cracked black pepper if I’m feeling frisky.

    This is the second time I’ve heard ‘Okinawa’ in a reference to a diet ever, and the first time was on someone else’s blog this morning (hey, it is pretty darn possible to eliminate most-all diet-talk from your life if you also eliminate all mass media from your presence!)

    So I Googled it and started reading the Wiki page and got about halfway down before the stupid voice in the back of my head started whispering “You should do this, you fat lazy bitch.”

    At which point I closed the tab, beat the voice until it was unconscious, and fed it through a woodchipper. Ah, Weight Watchers! You taught me so much about visualization!

  123. @Neely, I once heard the best comment on beets (I love them, too!):

    “when I was a kid, I hated beets, I thought they tasted like dirt. Now that I’m grown up, I love them, I think they taste earthy. Which I guess means that I still think they taste like dirt, but now I like it.”

  124. In my twenties I became lactose intolerant, and recently I became soy intolerant in the same vein (indigestion, gas). I grew up vegetarian eating tons of tofu, edemame, soy nuts, soy milk, etc – and I’m SO SAD about losing soy, because unlike milk, there’s no prepackaged enzyme to help me. But I especially miss tofu. Sigh.

    I suppose I should get on that calcium supplementation, eh?

  125. Ah, glop. That’s my #1 diet dish, but I’m still eating it ’cause I like it. I’m not an eater of veggies, so this gets them into me. I sautee onions, garlic, mushrooms and zucchini, sometimes a little tomato or celery, and some meat, usually chicken. This mix can go into anything: tortillas, risotto, plain rice, noodles, or (my favorite) box mac & cheese. The original idea was to keep close measure on the protein to carb ratio, but that’s way out the window now. I think it tastes better now that I’m not measuring or weighing it.

    I also love Special K. Cottage cheese with pineapple or peaches. I grew up eating it with honey. Weird, no? I have a recipe for a crustless quiche that’s to die for, even better since I’m using real ham instead of turkey ham and using full-fat cheese instead of that wax crap.

    Ah, blueberries. Aren’t they supposed to save us all? Who cares, they taste lovely.

    I had slow churn ice cream recently, with extreme skepticism. Wow, it’s good! Gotta get me some of that.

    Another diet holdover, although not food, is the fish oil capsules. The last dies *ahem*stopped me up*ahem* and the fish oil saved me. It still makes me feel good, when I remember to take it.

  126. What I find really funny is how many foods that are touted as special diet food,I was told to eat because I need to gain weight.

    Multi-whole-grain-bread (the real kind, not the stuff they sell in so many American supermarkets) is pretty common here, more so than wheat toast or the other uber-processed stuff.

    Muesli is often referd to as diet food, but I was told it would be the perfect breakfast for me, with hole milk and fresh fruit if possible. I think my supermarket has almost as many different kinds of muesli as it has other cereals.

    Yoghurt is something that, when I was a kid, was a common treat (usually either the kind with fruit in it or the natural one with honey added afterwards). Now, my doctor encouraged me to eat it as a snack whenever I feel like it.

    When I visited my aunt in the States, I got adicted to quaker Oats oatmeal, especially the one with the cinnamon and the one with dried apples.But sadly, it isnt sold here, and I have no idea how to make my own :-(

    Dried fruit in general can be tasty.

    Fresh fruit. During the cold times of the year, they taste especially good when cut up, drizzled with honey and put into the oven for a while (goes great with vanilla ice-cream).

    Applejuice with mineral water. Better than even pure water at stilling thirst, especially after a good workout.

    Those vitamin C tablets that you put into water and they turn into an orangy-soda. As a kid, I loved licking them until they had evaporated completely. They were deliciously sour and rendered your tongue slightly numb after a while.

    Well made salad with a really good dressing. I was told to eat it as often as possible.

    Rice. Vegetables with rice. Vegetables fullstop.

    Turkey. I like it better than almost any other meat and was told this was great.

    Isn’t it funny how what some people are told will make them lose weight, others are told to eat in order to gain it? Almost as if what you eat can not really influence your weight all that much at all. Huh.

  127. You know what I think is both lovely and sad about this thread? I realized that, at any given time, some or all of the foods and drinks that have been listed may or may not have been considered “diet foods.” To imagine that such a wide variety of appetites were at the mercy of the latest poorly designed and even more poorly reported scientific study about how something’s good or not good for you? I can’t do it anymore. FA FTW.

    I’m eating a Jack in the Box Southwest Chicken Salad. Someone said something about me being “good” and I said, “Oh yeah? Watch THIS,” and I cackled maniacally as I put ALL THE DRESSING ON. I think I got my point across, non?

  128. Anything green, the darker the better as they tend to be more tasty – sprouts and broccoli are real favourites. A couple of times a week I steam a bowlful of just green stuff and have it with gravy and cream of horseradish sauce as a late-night snack.

    And I’m with everyone who says cottage cheese. It’s fantastic with Jalapeno peppers or on a jacket potato with sweetcorn – really lovely texture with those little pads of curd. Mmmm.

  129. My sisters and I used to eat Carnation Breakfast Bars all the time because they were good. (I don’t think they still make them.)

    I’ve been eating Rye Triscuits a LOT lately, rather than salty stuff like popcorn or potato chips (both of which bother my digestive system a bit). Once upon a time I would’ve never considered substituting a cracker (a high fiber, low ingredients one at that) for dessert stuff like popcorn or potato chips, because of the whole “it’s not considered a bad food” thing. Thanks to intuitive eating, though, I don’t think about it much anymore.


  130. GreyLadyBast: YES on the Dunkin Donuts low-fat blueberry muffins. It seems like they make them with angel food cake instead of regular muffin mix or something – all I know is that they’re way better than the full-metal muffins.

  131. @Neely O’Hara – as a Finn, I have to aplaud your loving the rye crisps ;) If I ever moved to a country (meaning almost any other country) with less rye products available, I think rye bread would be one of the things I’d miss the most.

    And beets, I could go on forever about beets! My mom makes this awesome beet casserole, it’s like my most favourite food ever. I should really learn how to do it myself.

  132. Delurking here :)

    Stir fry- my stepmom’s from Sri Lanka and makes the most delicious spicy foods ever- I’m normally a pretty straight up beef/fried chicken girl, but she’s pretty much turned my life around, foodwise.

    Pot stickers- ridiculously low cal if you look it up- I think something like 250 calories for 8 of them, and I can eat those as an entire meal.

    Hummus- it may be ‘fat’ but it’s so good for you that I count it as a diet food.

    I’m definitely a diet coke girl, and I heard that to actually give you cancer you’d have to drink something like 81 cans a day. Which I cannot handle, anyways, so I’m not terribly worried. Regular coke just tastes like liquid cotton candy to me- way too sweet.

    And I agree with Robyn who said pickles- and I’m not pregnant. Love pickles so much.

  133. And a suggestion for all the cottage cheese lovers: put it in your tomato soup when serving, it’s lovely like that!

  134. A big, sweet, home grown tomato! My son and I will go out to the garden and eat them like apples. If you also grow sweet peppers and fresh basil, you have a summer full of deliciousness!

    My son will basically eat any vegetable or herb raw from the garden. When he was little I had to supervise him because he would pick the okra and eat it without washing the little spines off! Ouch! (He never complained, but he would scratch his lips until the “itch” wore off. LOL )

  135. Going to veer to the other side of this – but I don’t like glazed donuts. At all. Every time I turn down a donut, I get told how “good” I’m being or asked if I’m trying to lose weight. No, just don’t like glazed donuts and no I do not care if they’re Krispy Kreme, DO NOT WANT.

    An onion bagel with sun-dried tomato spread? Oh, mama.

  136. I really miss full fat yogurt with sugar. I remember as a teen in the 1980’s I’d take an 8 OZ OMG container of Breyers fruit on the bottom yogurt to school for lunch and it was not low fat/no fat/no sugar. I miss the texture and taste of it. It is SO hard to find regular old fruit flavored yogurt that isn’t “diet” altered in some way. I don’t like the texture, consistency or taste. And why are all yogurt containers getting smaller and smaller?

  137. I am actually a salad fanatic. I love discovering new salad combinations (like swiss chard-mandarin orange slices-black beans-peppercorn ranch.) I’m not sure my salads count as diet food, though, as I love dressing, and don’t skimp on the croutons & avocado slices, either!

  138. V8. I love love love V8. It tastes delicious, it’s a great pick-me-up, and it’s a reliable hangover cure. What’s not to like?

  139. OMG, cottage cheese! I loooves it! And yogurt, though we get the whole milk kind, with the cream on top. I put wheat germ on my yogurt, which I’m sure is some weird diet thing I picked up from my mom when I was little. And Dr. Prager veggie burgers, cause they are actually made of veggies. Started eating those cause they were served at my college, and I love them and was delighted to find that Trader Joe’s carries them. And grapefruit. And brown rice.

  140. Oh, and maybe not a diet food, but a “healthy” alternative — turkey hotdogs. Now, I like beef hotdogs just fine, but I sure like turkey ones too.

  141. @fillyjonk: What are belldonnas? All I get from Google is deadly nightshade, so, um? If it’s delicious and not poisonous, inquiring foodies want to know!

  142. @rowmyboat – Love brown rice. Actually prefer it to white rice (unless it’s going under red beans) but nobody else in my house likes it. Sigh.

  143. Arwen: Diet Coke is only mildly habit-forming?
    [looks from 2 liter bottle on desk to recycling bin, shakes head]

    Mary Sue: You and your visualizations ROCK.

    Everyone: I just got back from the grocery store, celery-yogurt-Diet-Coke-wheat-bread-fruit-etc in hand. I have a terrible time making lists or grocery shopping, and I usually wander around the aisles until I find something that sounds edible at the moment, but I actually came home with Real Food today! Yay!

  144. Zucchini, which I believe has been mentioned here before– never knew I liked zucchini, till I tried it tempura’d. Fried zucchini seems to be very popular in Georgia. (I’m still not messing with it unfried, though. I have texture issues.)

    Next time you make a chocolate cake, try grating some raw zucchini into the batter. Mmmmm. Moist.

    Most of what I consider “diet” food has been covered here — cottage cheese (I like it in a the well of a melon half or with tomato and black pepper), rice or popcorn cakes, Diet Coke (even as a kid, I didn’t really like regular sodas, since they made my teeth feel weird, and now they’re all made with HFCS instead of sugar anyhow, so they taste different), salads.

    I would add air-popped popcorn, which I ate a lot in college, though not really as a “diet” food, just a snack. She liked to put brewer’s yeast on the popcorn, which was kind of interesting and slightly cheesy. Though I haven’t owned an air popper in years.

    Also — I did the cabbage soup diet (lasted a day and a half). The soup’s actually quite good, since it’s really just a vegetable soup with cabbage. It can be bulked up with beans, meat, grains, whatever floats your boat.

  145. hequit: I really do LIKE broccoli and celery and carrots — but only if they’re raw! Cooked, they’re ew for me (except for celery in stuffing and soups), but raw = NOMNOMNOM.

    i totally agree! although i do like carrots cooked, but not the crazy sweetified version you get at some restaurants. just sauteed in a veggie grill or something. but, yah, broccoli turns from an awesome raw thing into stinky stinky death when it gets warmed up. pleh.

  146. OMG, who mentioned edamame? Who mentioned edamame!? I wanna eat edamame ’till I fall over! My friends ordered a dish of it when we all went out last weekend, and we all just sorta… descended upon it like vegetarian wolves. NOM. I was unaware that it was supposed to be “good” for you. Although… they’re beans. Maybe I’m overthinking it.

    Fish is also great. Salmon? Salmon is awesome. Grilled salmon! Baked salmon! Salmon sushi! I just wish it didn’t cost so darned much.

  147. @Jane – tomatoes – they’re related to nightshade, all botanical-like.

    And that would be the sum of what I retained from my college Botany class.

  148. I, too, love cottage cheese with pineapple. These days, I often scoop it up with potato chips. I also love iceberg lettuce. I like other lettuces, too, especially romaine, butter and red-leaf, but iceberg is my favorite.

    My father was recently told by his cardiologist to try a Mediterranean diet, and immediately hit the cookbooks looking for recipes from cuisines along the Mediterranean. Only, oopsie! – apparently that’s not what’s meant, but rather a quasi-pseudo-somewhat adaptation from which all the fatty, salty, heavy or too-foreign bits have been stripped. On the upside, our phone conversations through all this inspired me to try and make an experimental batch of salt-pickled lemons, which turn out to be scrumptious as seasoning in stews and soups.

  149. I’m gonna go a little nuts here….

    Almonds! They are great on ice cream, in salads (which I also love), oatmeal, cereal, or by the handfuls. Also, Sunflower seeds! Again on salads, but mostly a giant handful of them straight out of the jar. Such a small seed/nut, but oh so much flavor!

    Salmon could very well be the most perfect food. We get so much of it here in the summer (from fishing) that we pickle it! We fillet the fish and let it cure in salt for a couple of weeks, then soak it for 24 hours, then slice it and layer it in a jar with sliced onions and add a vinegar/brown sugar/pickling spice concoction and cap it. Let it sit for a week to absorb the spices and Voila~! Salmon year round! My refrigerator has 30 jars in it as I write this. It’s phenomenal!

  150. More love for cottage cheese and yogurt, but not the lowfat kinds. wellroundedtype2, I’ve been eating cottage cheese with pineapple since I was little, and while I don’t know where my mom first learned of the combination, she was definitely not on a diet or interested in putting her kids on a diet when I was growing up. We also regularly had pear halves with cheddar cheese grated on top. I always just thought it was a “fruit and cheese are tasty together” sort of thing.
    Especially when the cheese is not lowfat!

    Also: Cheerios. I don’t know that they’re “diet foods” so much as “marketed to take advantage of diet mentality,” but I have a box of multigrain cheerios right now that has a bunch of diet crap on the back, including the slogan “more grains, less you.” That makes me :-( but the cereal itself is so tasty!

  151. When I was a kid I loved really plain simple food: celery sticks, carrot sticks, a wedge of iceberg lettuce, plain cottage cheese, an apple, a banana, etc. And plain cereal — no milk no sugar.

    I like a lot more things now but I still really like those simple old things.

  152. I love cottage cheese and tuc biscuits together. Tuc are these salty, slightly crumbly crackers – dunno if you have them over the pond. It’s a really nice snack food. Bizarrely, I discovered I liked it back in my crazy diety days… it was the “allowed” meal on one day of that 7-day cabbage soup diet.

    And crsipbreads. And those really thick crispbread-style things… they’re round, and about an inch thick,\and they snap into a pile of crumbs if you breathe too hard near them Can’t remember the name.

    I’m of the opinion that most diet food is only yucky because of the psychology of punishment that goes with it. Also, because when you’re craving steak even the yummiest salad with houmus and toasted pumpkin seeds isn’t going to seem as nice.

  153. @Mary Sue
    With maybe some balsamic vinager (NOT vinagrette, straight up shot of vinegar). A little cracked black pepper if I’m feeling frisky.

    I luuurve balsamic vinegar. It must be the good stuff. Aged. Rich. Super tangy. Roa’s is the best I’ve found so far. I am not a huge fan of salad dressings that are oily. A little olive oil is ok sometimes, never ever anything creamy (hate hate hate mayo in all forms except, oddly, Bernaise).

    I was put off for years from ordering salads in restaurants, because I couldn’t stand the weird looks I got for ordering salad with just lemon or just vinegar, a diet coke, and… drum roll please… a big assed bacon cheese burger, rare. The cognitive dissonance was just too much for most wait staff and they couldn’t couldn’t couldn’t keep themselves from commenting on the strangeness of the combination. To me it was just what I liked the way I liked it, but to them it was clearly a sign of an imminent psychotic break.

  154. @Hepfat – I totally do the same thing with Carnation Instant Breakfast! I love that stuff. I grew up with it as an emergency-energy meal and never even thought of it as diet food until someone else asked about it. I was like nope, sometimes I just need to be able to chug my nutrients while I’m on the way out the door. Plus, it tastes like chocolate milk.

  155. Skim milk – I’m one of those adults who never lost the ability to drink milk straight, so I’ll have 12-16 ounces in a sitting. Yum!

    Iceberg lettuce – it doesn’t have a taste, so it’s just satisfying crunch.

    Salads in general

    Whole wheat “virtuous” versions of things like Ritz crackers (much tastier than the original)

    I can’t handle artificial sweeteners of any variety, so most packaged diet food is off the table. But I have a whole bunch of Weight Watchers or low-carb recipes that are actually marvelous as long as you use things like real butter and full-fat dairy.

  156. I LOVE raw veggies!

    Also salads. Even iceberg, it is so crunchy!

    I do NOT love tons of dressing and order my dressign on the side when eating out so I can control the amount, which makes people assume you’re on a diet.

    I also love salsa as a salad dressing, as a snack and with cottage cheese (which I too adore)

    I love spinach just about nay way you can make it, wilted with lemon juice is esp delicious.

    I love water and (real not fountain) unsweetened iced tea both, I dislike pop/soda in general and chai lattes are about the only sweetened thing I drink. Although I love most fruit juice.

    I also prefer pretzels to chips (they’re also very good dipped in ranch dressing).

    Campbells makes a soup, Chicken and Sausage Gumbo that I love and when I was on WW I used to eat it for lunch/dinner a lot. I noticed that they were offering a version of it in their “Healthy Choice” line. I compared the labels. IT IS THE EXACT SAME SOUP. The regular version is just low fat/cal etc enough that it ALSO qualifies as “diet”. This cracked me up and made me a lot mroe suspicious of foods labelled “healthy” and “diet”

    And lastly a WW recipe i love is a grilled cheese sandwhich, made with brie and apples. It is SO delicous!

  157. But I have a whole bunch of Weight Watchers or low-carb recipes that are actually marvelous as long as you use things like real butter and full-fat dairy.

    This may be the best thing I’ve read all day.

  158. Oatmeal (OMG perfect comfort food!), breakfast “shakes” (even when made by Slimfast), yogurt, and diet A&W root beer. I know that the shakes and root beer are products of the Weight-Diet Industrial Complex, but their origins aren’t their fault, and I find them tasty.

  159. Laura P – you’ve just reminded me that it’s been way too long since I’ve had Ryvitas. I know they do them in all kinds of wacky flavors now, but I don’t like seedy crackers, the fruit ones are weird and the plain ones, to me, always tasted like cardboard – but I used to love the dark rye ones. I remember they had a list of bullet points on the back of the packet as to why Ryvitas were so great, and one was ‘Each slice has two sides – DIMPLED for lots of butter or FLAT for slimmers.’ I was very firmly in the former camp, and yes, it had to be (OMG SATURATED DEATHFATZ!) real butter. They didn’t need anything else (although occasionally I tried their suggestion of having them with marmalade on for breakfast, but somehow I don’t think that was really aimed at the people eating them for weight loss purposes).

    FJ, I was a bear in a past life, I swear, because I’m a huge salmon freak. Never used to like gravadlax that much because of the texture, but it’s kind of grown on me. Can’t think of it as a diet food, though – I thought the health aspect of it was more to do with the whole omega-3s thing. Plus, my favorite way to eat it is with some variation on a Thai coconut milk and chilli sauce, which is extremely nommy but probably not on any diet.

    Also, I’m another one who only ever drinks diet soda because I find the regular stuff too sweet. The only exception is Lilt (which contains pineapple and grapefruit juices) – the pineapple, I think, just seems to do something in combination with aspartame that to me, tastes foul.

  160. Wow, there’s a lot to read, but I have to get this down while I’m thinking of it! I discovered steel-cut oatmeal awhile back and it kicks the other oatmeal’s butt! Add a little cream and some dried fruit and it’s so good! Also, add me to the list of rice/popcorn cake lovers. I normally just get the kind that are “butter” flavored and can eat a whole bag in one sitting. I’m such a texture eater. Speaking of popcorn I LOVE the 99% fat free popcorn. It’s still salty and buttery, but less heavy and I find the real buttered stuff makes my stomach hurt. I LOVE FRUIT. Of all kinds. Can’t get enough of it. I had starfruit in Ireland last summer. Delicious.

  161. @Leely, I have a late-70s WW cookbook I still use too, with what I think of as ‘back-substitutions.’ It’s got an especially good recipe for stuffed baked potatoes: bake, scoop, mix innards with cottage cheese, yoghurt and scallions, pepper and salt generously, top with grated cheddar, and pop back in the oven until hot through.

  162. Special K Red Berries with vanilla soy milk, om nom nom. And FJ’s comment reminded me that I have some delicious smoked salmon in my fridge about which I am thoroughly stoked. Chocolate peppermint Luna bars are the best ever. I’m not sure if they’re a seasonal flavor, but I have several boxes in my apartment (long story).

    Oh, and granola and smoothies with ground flaxseeds. My mom gave me a giant jar of flax meal a few months ago and “mentioned in passing” that her friend lost 10 pounds without even trying and omg isn’t that so awesome when she started eating 1-2 tablespoons of flax a day… little does she know I just like the taste and the Omega-3s and whatnot.

    Crystal Light lemonade and Diet Coke (separately, but sometimes even mixed together… mm, chemicals!), too.

    I just bought a bag of Brussels sprouts and am going to cook them for the first time ever soon! Also I’ve been eating a lot of whole artichokes lately (boiled in salted water, then dipped in melted butter, yum). And I love grapefruit juice, but only over ice because if it’s any warmer than “very cold” I find it far less delicious.

  163. Oh – thought of one more! I hate the whole 100-calorie pack marketing schtick. But I will buy the 100-calorie packs of microwave popcorn. A normal bag is just way too much damn popcorn. Nothing to do with calories, all to do with not wanting to waste half a bag of popcorn.

  164. I forgot (in my BOOK above!) I cannot eat most artificial sweeteners as they give me raging headaches, so this means I cannot eat a lot of the ice cream, yogurt, etc out there because even the non-diet products have started adding artificial sweeteners to their recipes to make them super sweet.

    This is sad cuz i love yogurt and ice cream!

  165. I love this thread! Maybe next Friday we can talk about the “evil, bad fatty” foods we all love (and freely eat without guilt)?

    I’m a huge fan of almond milk. I found out about it on a diet site because “it has half the calories of skim milk, omg!” But it’s delicious and nutritious and it doesn’t hurt my tummy like regular milk does.

  166. Cottage cheese is a diet food? Whoa, that’s a new one. I’m on the celery, cottage cheese bandwagon. :) They’re just yummy! Oh yeah, and rice cakes; crunchy and a little bit sweet and the ones that are flavoured like chips rock.

  167. Lightly salted rice cakes. Spinach. Grapefruit. Tomato juice. Vanilla yogurt – I prefer full-fat but most of the time it’s all I can do to find a kind with real sugar in it and I end up with low- or non-fat. (artificial sweeteners taste like chemicals. ew.) Peanut butter mixed into vanilla yogurt. Roasted potatoes. Hard-boiled eggs. Corn – I love the hell out of corn. Pasta. Ooh, someone said Dill pickles and raspberries. And prunes! Prunes are delicious. I got warned off of eating too many by my parents when I was little, though :P


    Also, soup is amazing. I love soup. I really want tortilla soup now.

  168. Oh boy. I love all fruits, fruit smoothies, et cetera– and my favorite meal might be steamed tofu and carrots with brown rice. These are just the foods I love to eat. But people at work think that I deserve some congressional gold medal for having a smoothie for lunch and go on the “oooh omigod you’re so healthy I should be healthy” thing, which drives me insane.

  169. I’m also going to give (plain, unsweetened) low-fat and non-fat yogurt a shoutout.

    I do love the full-fat stuff, but it’s often a little too rich for me for everyday use. I also find the low/no-fat kind tangier, much as I find some lower-fat sausage/kielbasa products (like Hillshire Farm turkey kielbasa) to be more highly spiced because there’s less fat to cut the spicing/tang.

    No-fat Greek yogurt is also very high in protein, so it’s one of my favorite post-workout treats, with honey and raspberries. The full-fat version makes a fantastic dessert with honey and slivered almonds, ground pistachios or pine nuts.

    Yogurt’s also a snap to make at home, so if you want to have sugar-sweetened, real-fruit yogurt without messing around with little containers or someone else’s idea of flavorings, you can make it yourself.

  170. OMG, people, someone introduced me to pickled okra a few summers ago. It is SO GOOD. I finally found it at my grocery store. It’s a little different in texture than regular pickles, which I also love.

  171. My diet (as in, what I eat on a daily basis, not weight-loss craziness) has gotten so weird in the last few years (pescetarian lactose-intolerant with difficulty digesting fatty stuff) that I don’t even remember what are classified as ‘diet foods’ anymore. However, I can add to the conversation here by saying I unashamedly love everything I eat now. If I don’t like it, I don’t eat it — end of story. This, my friends, is huge.

    Oh, weird fatty food fact: even though I can’t tolerate lots of fat, I feel better after eating full-fat potato chips than low-fat ones — *Boggle*

  172. My (male, not concerned with dieting ever) former coworker used to always buy those Lean Cuisine paninis, which I thought was strange for him so I asked him, “Tyler, why are you buying diet food? Doesn’t that taste like crap?” and he made me taste them. They’re like sandwich heaven! I recommend them to anyone who likes paninis (I like them AS MUCH AS a panini at my favorite cute little restaurant)

  173. I prefer whole wheat or multi-grain bread and rolls over white and I also still buy the South Beach cereal bars because I like the taste of them for a snack but that is about it.

    If I wouldn’t die of some horrid disease, I would never eat another vegetable in my life. Thank god for multi vitamins!

    This whole thread is making me feel like I should be eating better….
    I am pretty new to this and I still struggle with that. Intuitively I would eat nothing but M&M’s and pizza.

  174. Do ramen noodles count? I always think of them as student survival food because they’re so cheap, but I’ve been known to eat them as a snack, dry, out of the bag.

  175. @minervakoenig: I do that too! Something about the dry noodles just really made my day! I’m so happy to have found someone who gets it!!

  176. After reading about half the comments, I’m SO HUNGRY now. (The fact that it’s lunchtime probably helps.)

    Clearly, this means I need to go and treat myself. Yummy Italian restaurant next door lists penne con spinaci e pomidori. Pasta. Spinach. Tomatoes. Olive Oil. Ricotta. Garlic.

    The only way to make it better is to order chocolate mousse for dessert.

  177. @minervakoenig and SarahB – my daughter does this too. She dumps the seasoning packet on them, crunches them up in a ziploc bag and eats them like chips.

  178. @Laura512: Sometimes I would use the seasoning packet, but usually I just like the taste of the noodles. Like I said earlier, I a texture eater and the textures of food are more important to me than the actual flavor (though flavor is still important). Your daughter sounds like good people though. Good work!

  179. Granola bars. Hell, granola period. Rice cakes. Yogurt. Is cream cheese a diet food? Don’t care, it’s delicious. Grilled chicken breasts. Raisin Bran. Broccoli and other raw veggies. One of my mom’s favorite stories is a teacher who loathed her for half the year because I always brought raw veg, no dressing (I hate cream dressing) for lunch. She eventually confronted her about it and my mom frantically tried to explain that no, I really like it!

    And, this is a bit off topic, but I was saving it for FF. What do you do if you practice intuitive eating but you just don’t want to eat for days at a time? It’s really messing with my energy levels when all I want to eat is about a cup of mashed potatoes or a slice of toast a day. I’m not sick otherwise.

  180. @SarahBI’m a texture person too – part of why I prefer brown rice. And aw – thanks. I like her.

  181. arwen, i’m vegan and recently realized that soy makes me feel awful. it’s probably because i’ve eaten so much of it over the years. sooooo sad. tofu is so versatile and delicious, but i am just not willing to feel awful anymore, so i don’t eat it. also, i put nutritional yeast on EVERYTHING. it’s so good.

    i love vegetables. especially dark leafy greens like kale and collards and chard. i also love cabbage and raw sauerkraut. i have been eating lots of fresh pumpkin and squash and sweet potatoes lately. i’m lucky enough to work in the produce dept of a wonderful food co-op, so i have easy access to super-high-quality organic produce, and i get a nice discount. that helps with my vegetable addiction.

    and the fruits! oh, rio star grapefruit juiced with minneola tangelo is heavenly if you like to temper your sweet with some tart. red plums! pink lady apples! local honeycrisp apples! pears! avocados! raspberries! lemons and limes add so much flavor to everything, they are indispensable.

    chickpeas are my spirit legume. all other beans are also delicious to me. red lentils are the best! i love bulgur and brown rice and polenta and quinoa, too.

    anyone who likes veggie burgers but can’t deal with the soy should check out sunshine burgers. they are super delicious, but they don’t try to taste like meat the way most veggie burgers do. they are made with brown rice and sunflower seeds and various veggies and beans. the southwest flavor is my favorite. i like to crumble one of those on top of greens with salsa and chopped avocado. yum!

    i really like talking about food. yum.

  182. Frozen cherries, only ever so slightly thawed.

    Diet Pepsi–more of a chemical burn.

    Sour pickles!!!


  183. I loooove air-popped popcorn (air-popped because cleaning an oily pan is a pain, and microwave popcorn tastes like crap IMO). My favorite way to have it is with some flavored olive oil, salt, and parmesan cheese on it.

    Of course, I also like it prepared the same way but with balsamic vinegar in place of the flavored olive oil, so my tastes may be odd that way… (I tried a sherry vinegar instead one time and YUCK! But the balsamic is great.)

    And I make my own spaghetti sauce now using a recipe from the WW website. They call it “Spaghetti with Tomato-Meat Sauce.” I call it “yeah, that’s some delicious sauce there, who needs the spaghetti, let’s have this over a baked potato.” (I use a little more olive oil than the recipe calls for, but otherwise I make it according to the recipe–oh, except for the percent fat in the meat. Sometimes use ground turkey, other times ground beef, whatever’s cheap.)

    Other things I like have been covered above: cottage cheese, zucchini, lentils (though I hadn’t realized they were a diet food), grapefruit, rye crispbreads spread with soft cheese.

  184. This is super timely for me. Just yesterday I was watching my favorite cooking show, French Food at Home, and the theme of the show was that she needs to slim down. She made French ‘diet food’ and I was so disappointed.
    1. I watch this show because French food is delicious and I want to know how to make it! I don’t care about losing weight.
    2. All the food she made looked really good (poached chicken with spring veggies, salmon and veggies steamed in a bag, a pureed soup loaded with veggies) but now it seems kind of tainted to me. If she hadn’t mentioned the whole diet part, I totally would have made that soup today.
    This is my first comment, but I have been reading for a while. I’m not sure whether or not this episode would have bugged me, but Shapely Prose has definitely opened my eyes to how pervasive the diet culture is.
    And I’m know I’m totally not the first person to say this, but I. Love. Raw. Spinach.

  185. Cottage cheese with pepper on top, for sure… also, my mom once gave me a diet recipe for taco soup and it was delicious!! I make a very similar recipe in the fall and winter because the whole family loves it, it freezes well, and is tastiest when eaten sans-spoon, scooping with round yellow corn tortilla chips. :P

  186. I love zucchini. It’s absolutely delicious. Especially when kabobbed on the grill–and look! It’s not deep fried or fatty! Lol!

    I love fruits and vegetables. I’d easily be a vegetarian if I didn’t enjoy cheese burgers so much.

    I eat tomatoes like hand fruit, too.

  187. This thread reminded me of something:

    I’ve thought for some time that dieting and finances have a lot in common (at least, when you’re on a restricted budget with your money too). There’s the same sense of certain expenditures being allowed, others being “bad,” and the stress of trying to keep within certain tight levels. The main difference is that if you overdraw your account of dollars, they slap on a $30 overdraft fee, whereas if you overdraw your account of points (or whatever), you don’t get an additional 30 pounds slapped on. (Thank goodness for that, or a person would have to buy new clothes all the time!)

  188. Yogurt, although I prefer the 2% variety to non-fat, so maybe that doesn’t count. I make my own and then strain it into Greek yogurt and it’s wonderful. The diet yogurts are revolting, though.

    Lots of different veggies: broccoli, green beans (heaven!), potatoes, yams, various squashes. Oh, and beets. I started eating them about a year go and it was like ‘baby, where have you been all my life!’

    Just about any fruit, except grapefruit (flashbacks to compulsory grapefruit dieting when I was 12) and kiwi.

    For some reason I don’t care for salads. I think it’s because I find them hard to eat – all that gathering up on a fork and the anxiety of wondering if it’s all going to fall apart on the way to your mouth – ugh. In the privacy of my own home I will eat spinach with my hands though.

    I love the way different foods go in and out of vogue. I can’t keep up, and don’t want to, but I know a few people who do, and it never ceases to amaze me how otherwise intelligent people don’t notice the logical inconsistencies of ‘food morality.’ Back in the days when fat was the devil, fruit was a ‘good,’ but now that carbs are the devil I have had people tell me that WATERMELON is now ‘bad.’ Huh?? And, let’s see … dry toast used to be a diet staple, but now it has carbs, unless it’s made from that horrible cardboard low carb bread. I hear that nuts are now in, whereas during my diet heyday you would no more publicly admit to eating nuts than you would admit to peeing in the shower. *ahem*

  189. Does anyone else sing the song that goes:
    [famous fast-food restaurant] ain’t your kind of place
    Hamburgers in your face
    French fries between your toes
    Sour pickles up your nose
    Ketchup pouring down your back
    We want our money back
    Before we get a heart attack (a heart attack)
    The last time I was there
    They stole my underwear
    [famous fast-food restaurant] ain’t your kind of place.

  190. @Arwen, have you tried Beano for soy digestion? It is an enzyme that claims to help with soy as well as other beans and cruciform veggies.

    My own lactose intolerance is such that the BEST dairy for me is full-fat ice cream. With gelato, I don’t even need a pill! Skim milk, on the other hand, no way…

    Favorite “diet” food (also vegan “peasant”) food: lentils and brown rice, with chard or kale or mustard greens, lemon juice and spices.

  191. mcm – if what you want is pizza and m&ms, go with it. Most folks find themselves wanting a more varied diet before too long. And if you don’t, enjoy the pizza and m&m regimen and (depending on how you top your pizzas) maybe consider adding a multivitamin.

  192. Oh, if we’re gonna go Snackwells – the chocolate mint ones, placed in the freezer, are totally nom nom nom.

    I also love grapefruit, peeled, sectioned, and frozen.

    Huh. I’m detecting a theme, here. Could be cuz I used to live in Arizona.

    Bonus if the grapefruit were fresh off a neighbor’s tree – way better tasting and free.

  193. I really like legumes! I buy pounds upon pounds dried, and cook up a variety each week. My current favorites are chickpeas and great northern beans. Great northern beans have such a creamy delicious texture when cooked well. I’m currently at a very non-diet centric workplace, which is nice. To be honest, I cook the way I do because it’s cheap – dried beans and frozen veggies are a cheap way to make a well rounded vegetarian meal. I think one of the only vegetables I really dislike is parsnips, but maybe I’ve never had them cooked well.

    I also make my own yogurt from time to time, when we’re eating a lot of it (whole fat, plz) and I love rice cakes and oatmeal. Brown rice too, it’s got a really nice nutty flavor.

  194. Skim milk. I could drink a gallon of it a week (esp. since getting pregnant and now breastfeeding). For some reason I don’t like the mouthfeel of 1 or 2 % or whole (though only whole works for hot cocoa:). I like the icy cold slightly thin feel of skim milk–thirst quenching and delish.

    Also, skinny cow mint ice cream sandwiches. I love how the chocolate part and the mint ice cream part mush-smush together just right. Mmmmm.

  195. Ooh. The Trader Joe’s veggie masala burgers are moderately spicy and oh so yum.

    And I totally forgot about the WW taco soup recipe…seriously tasty.

  196. I nth the tofu-love. Also cabbage soup, although I didn’t realise it was diet food for many years – it was just one of those things my mom often made that was never quite the same each time, and we gobbled it up because each new variation was always tasty. And diet cola. I have tins of every flavour Slimfast has ever made, just about, because it is a life-saver on days when I come home so hungry it’s making me stupid. Also, President’s Choice Blue Menu frozen entrees (kindof like Lean Cuisine), especially the ricotta and spinach stuffed cannelloni. I like to pack them for lunch because they not only taste good, they make a good cold-pack for whatever else I bring (yoghurt ftw!)

  197. oh! and those of you who are lactose intolerant or vegan should try ice cream made with coconut milk, if you can find it. my favorite brand is luna & larry’s and it is unquestionably the best ice cream i have ever had. super creamy and delicious and not full of chemicals like most of the non-dairy ice creams. and it’s sweetened with agave! with is the best thing ever.

  198. @Brittany: Yeah, you’d be surprised how good Lean Cuisine frozen dinners are! Pffft, who cares if they’re “diet food”? Those Stouffers dudes have figured out how to freeze things and make ’em taste good when the microwave reconstitutes them. I love the cheese ravioli. And the carbonara pasta. And the ginger beef with broccoli. And the paninis, OMFG.

    @mcm: There’s no need to feel bad about not liking stuff! Me, I don’t like most kinds of raw fruit. I love a good strawberry, but can you FIND a good strawberry anywhere other than out in a field? Nooooooo, they’re all hard and sour and gross. I’m not fond of raw veg, either. Cottage cheese, urk no. Grapefruit, urk no. And so on and so on AND SO ON… hey, we gots our preferences. And that’s okay. And what’s wrong with pizza? There’s tomato sauce on pizza! That’s a vegetable! :D And you can PUT vegetables on a pizza! SCORE! (I love me some veggie pizza, and my manly-man-dudebro-all-meat buddies get confused at this.)

  199. Oh, and how could I have forgotten my favorite Greek yogurt? I love Greek Gods honey-flavored yogurt (full fat), I buy it at my co-op. Sweet and creamy and yum.

  200. Ok, I’ll admit to not reading all the comments on this post (although I wish I had the time within my lifetime to read this whole blog and all the comments, because there are so many important things said here,) so sorry if I’m echoing what’s already been said above, but THANK YOU so much for writing this post! The “hijacking” of so many wonderful foods by the diet industry is terrible, because it makes people associate these foods with self-deprivation, and can make it tough to eat them without those self-destructive thoughts crossing your brain. The pressure to diet ruins “bad” foods by making you think about their “badness,” and ruins “good” foods by making you think about their “goodness.”

  201. @Lampdevil – Here in Florida we get bushels of great strawberries in the stores that are amazing, but only during the Strawberry season and only if those are from Florida. Off-season strawberries are awful! My dad was on me last night about the type of fruits I eat and he kept insisting strawberries! They’re GREAT! I shot him down quick. I also love blueberries, but I’m very picky about them.

  202. Regarding Lean Cuisines: the romano bacon pasta, santa fe rice and beans, and deluxe cheddar potato ones are extremely tasty as frozen foods go, imo. The potato one is basically a baked potato covered with cheese and broccoli and bacon, chopped up into a convenient frozen format. And the Michelina’s diet cheese lasagna is soooo good and supercheap, too.

    Also, Fresca and Lipton diet citrus green tea make me wish that artificial sweeteners didn’t screw with my hypoglycemia.

  203. I have to ask…those cookies are supposedly water absorbing and high in fiber….should they come with a warning label that says “WARNING: WILL MAKE YOU POOP”?

  204. Broccoli is awesome (especially with butter and salt. NOM). I also like “low-fat” potato chips because they’re less greasy and taste more of potatoes to me.

  205. @Sarah B: Oh, Florida, how I love you! I visited earlier this year and our host always had fresh oranges and strawberries in the house and… and they were so good. T_T Also, all the humidity was really good for my skin. I think I should consider relocating.

    @Al: I don’t think I’d mind a “HAY THIS’LL MAKE YA POOP” indicator on the back of some foods. Sometimes, well, you really do want to know what foods WILL make you poop. It’s useful! Alas, some people are sensitive about the “poop” so it’d be more useful to say “promotes regularity!”

  206. @mcm – I know! I love him!

    Somebody up there said “salad bars” and I immediately thought “salad bars” = bars of salad and actually sat here for 30 seconds trying to figure out what on Earth THAT would taste like.

  207. Salad bars are so awesome! Yuo just can’t get that kind of variety of stuff in your salad at home. I stopped at a wild oats in California with my grandma once that had a salad bar I still remember fondly. It was amazing.

    Damnit, I want salad now.

  208. Lean Cuisine’s new bacon alfredo pizza is really tasty! As are the tortilla crusted fish, the roasted garlic and chicken pizza, and the swedish meatballs.

    And mmm…. ruby red grapfruit….

  209. Speaking of poop, I love the Kellogg’s high-fiber granola bars. They take some, um, getting used to, however, as my friend found out when he ate a whole one without knowing what they were.

  210. I had fresh blood oranges from someone’s backyard once. They were the greatest citrus fruit I’ve ever eaten and I’ve never seen them since then. So sad…

  211. I very much love:

    – steamed fish (with soy sauce and spinach)
    – leafy dark-greens with a splash of cider vinegar
    – cottage cheese, pineapple or no pineapple
    – celery if I’m in the mood
    – the salads at this one very expensive organic locally-sourced salad place down the street – I’ve been criticized by the health nuts at work for eating them with meat and cheese on, but SERIOUSLY, people, it’s SALAD.
    – broccoli, but only with cheese
    – Yoplait custard-style vanilla yogurt, which I think is fat-free but certainly does not taste like it is
    – those caramel-flavored rice cakes, which I can inhale a bag of in minutes
    – asparagus
    – massive amounts of silver-can Diet Coke, which tastes crisper than regular coke and has more caffeine (although that may be anecdotal).
    – tofu, especially stir-fried, although I’ll happily eat it raw because I love the texture

    Mmm. I think I’m going to have some tofu for lunch at the sushi place! And also some eel.

  212. @shiyaya – another daughter snack. She’ll eat frozen green beans – those real skinny ones – straight out of the bag, still frozen. I don’t think I’ve *cooked* frozen green beans in years, I just get them so she can have beansicles.

  213. I like the combination of cottage cheese and crackers for the taste, and I second ruby red grapefruit!

  214. Carrot juice is so, so good, either straight or half-and-half with oj. I love spicy v-8 but don’t drink it much cuz of salt/bp issues.

    Fillyjonk mentioned waaaay upthread that she was avoiding the belladonnas, which I could do only with extreme sadness. I have a tomato and eggplant addiction, and I love these items in just about every iteration I have found them.

    My boyfriend now regularly begs for me to make what he calls the “crack broccoli”:
    preheat oven to around 400, cut up a couple heads of broc, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and put em on a baking sheet for 20 minutes or so. Meanwhile, chop some garlic and mix with more olive oil and salt and pepper, sometimes I add some red pepper flakes but have to be careful since his tolerance for spice is way lower than mine. Drizzle the garlicky goodness over the broc and turn them, let them cook for another 10 min or so. Roasting in pretty high heat makes them crispy rather than soft/steamy: really wonderful!

  215. Put me down for cottage cheese as well! But only the full fat kind, the lowfat kind is too watery for me.

    I eat it on salads, like a salad dressing, for the extra burst of protein. I will admit I picked up this habit during my dieting years but now sometimes that’s all I crave. Yum!

    I also just like to eat it mixed with peas. That’s right. Cottage cheese and peas, in a bowl, mixed around and eating. It sort of makes me feel like a 4 year old, but in a good way.

    I’m a vegetarian, so the boca burgers, hummus, tofu and things are all in my regular every day diet. Tip for tofu: Cut into small cubes, stir fry in soy sauce and add just about a teaspoon of brown sugar toward the end of cooking. It caramelizes the soy sauce and makes the tofu brown better, so it gets crispy on the outside and is full of flavor.

    I LOVE bitter greens more than nearly anything in the world. In fact, I am super excited because my vegetable delivery came this week with fresh, local collards and mustard greens. I just par boil them and then sautee with good olive oil and garlic. I could seriously just eat plate after plate of them. Brussel sprouts too!

  216. I’m with Emma: Pomegranate is a superfood just by nature of its deliciousness, poetic associations, and Proustian evocations for me.

    The first time I had a pomegranate was in the Soviet Union as was, in a market in Samarkand. A local vendor seemed to be quite taken with my friend and me, who were obviously Western schoolgirls on a trip (the fuzzy teddy bear sweatshirts gave us away). He gave us a wedge of sesame halva and pomegranate each. I will forever remember eating that glorious sweet-bitter fruit in the winter sun in Samarkand. Gorgeous! I have loved them ever since.

    Also, they feature in the Song of Songs, which is Solomons’:

    “Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves. ”

    Pomegranates: much better as sexy metaphors and Soviet school trip sense memories than as virtuous diet food with magical antioxidant properties.

    Although, I suppose an upside is their popularity as magic diet food makes them more available and cheaper…

  217. I’m eating steamed carrots as we speak, so there’s one. Steamed vegetables in general are nommy. Romaine lettuce is the best ever, but I do like a lot of different types of salads. But I’m a fan of dressing, so I’m not sure if they count.
    I love fresh berries, it’s a shame that I live this far north and can only get them for like half a year. I burn my mouth regularly with lingonberry acid :) And I second Hanna, you don’t know bread until you’ve had Finnish full rye bread. It’s louded as very healthy because it’s very fibery (about 50-70%, I think) but it’s so good beause it’s so rich in taste.
    If I had to live with only one food forever, though? Cherry tomatoes. Or tomatoes in general. Juicy to the point of bursting, beautifully ripened in the sun to that lovely deep red colour… YUM!

  218. In honor of this thread, I am now enjoying salmon three ways: steamed salmon (cold), baked salmon (hot), and sushi.

    Life is good.

  219. The first time I had a pomegranate was in the Soviet Union as was, in a market in Samarkand. A local vendor seemed to be quite taken with my friend and me, who were obviously Western schoolgirls on a trip (the fuzzy teddy bear sweatshirts gave us away). He gave us a wedge of sesame halva and pomegranate each. I will forever remember eating that glorious sweet-bitter fruit in the winter sun in Samarkand.

    Oh my God, I want to go eat pomegranate in Samarkand.

  220. You know, I picked my foods for tonight’s dinner (had to go pick stuff up so I had to decide what I was making early in the day) purely based on what Mr. Twistie and I like to eat and what felt like a good fit for the day. Lo and behold, what have I chosen to make? A couple chicken breasts (skinless and boneless because of Mr. Twistie’s cholesterol count and fear of meat that looks like it lived before it died), brown rice, and roasted broccoli with garlic and a tiny sprinkle of parmesan.

    It occurred to me that this would have been a perfect diet meal once upon a time, but we’re going to eat it because everything on that menu is teh yum and makes us happy people.

    Oh, and aleks and AnthroK8, if you need an extra pair of pomegranate-loving hands to help you with that hold up, be sure and give me a call!

  221. Salad, pears, caramel rice cakes with peanut butter, baked or grilled trout, any grilled vegetable.
    For the past couple of days, I’ve eaten skinless chicken with spinach and brown rice for lunch. Add a little Jufran (Filipino banana sauce) and NOM!
    Oh, and, yeah, sushi and sashimi. LOVE!

  222. I love rice cakes, just the unflavored ones, or the white cheddar ones are fine with me. It’s more of a tactile thing than an actual food thing, I like crunching them and I like how they melt in your mouth if you just let em sit there. I think it’s an instinct thing, something in my lizard brain wants to crack some bones between my teeth.

    I also dig peanut butter without sweeteners in it. So far the best one is just peanuts, peanut oil, and salt. I tried a brand with just peanuts on the label and it tasted like dirt, so I’m guessing the salt and probably the roasting are important to avoiding that. With everyone having nut allergies and intolerances today you don’t hear as much about veggies with peanut butter on them as a diet food, but I still find them yummy. Not celery though, too stringy.

  223. Frozen yogurt! One of my fave deserts is chocolate frozen yogurt with frozen berries. I hardly ever eat it anymore, though, because I live with my parents, and I think they associate it with being “diet” ice cream. But I like it just the way it is!

  224. KCJones – maybe you could eat 10 times the amount just to prove it isnt a diet food? I’d try that till I burst a seam, sounds divine!

  225. Wow! This post has so many comments already, I’m sure I’m repeating at least 3 other people with my favorites.

    Broccoli – Best green veggie on earth. Yes, I put butter and salt on it. Sue me.

    Cucumbers – My first memorable pregnancy craving was for a cucumber. Again, with salt.

    Venison – I don’t know how many people call this a “diet” food, but it is very lean meat. And quite good in steak or ground form.

  226. Kristin – I have never cooked tofu before, but the way you cook it sounds so deliscious that I think I’ll get some next time I go to the store and try making it that way. Thanks!

  227. Lol I’m home alone right now and I don’t really need to go to the grocery store, but I’m getting all these great cooking ideas and may have to go soon…

  228. LEAN POCKETS!!! I love them! Whenever I work at a place that has a microwave, it’s what I usually bring. There’s one with feta cheese and artichoke, I think. It’s good.

  229. lilpocketninja – After a certain point, you just gotta eat anyway. Find something that feels at least moderately appealing and try to eat regularly, ie, at least 3x a day. I know, because when I first getting over my ED, I didn’t feel hungry a lot, but since I was (am) in recovery, I had to eat anyway. After a while, your sense of hunger will come back or you will need to see a doctor.

  230. Eucritta- ” These days, I often scoop it up with potato chips. ” hah. Me too. It’s actually a holdover from my first pregnancy when I found myself craving it. Turns out it’s pretty good.

  231. Another voice in favour of rice cakes. (Puffed rice cakes, that is, although mochi/ddeok are also stellar, but I don’t think they’re ever “diet food”.) Delicious, especially with peanut butter, honey, and/or banana!

  232. Cottage cheese but the best is Knutsen’s-so creamy, like eating sour cream but not too sour. Good straight as a dip or w/ketchup. I believe that Nixon also liked his with ketchup. Little baby carrots. Yogurt but no fake sugar. The stuff I make myself is best especially with maple syrup. I’m somewhat gluten intolerant and feel great with nearly no carbs, maybe some red taters with butter. Apples, especially right now. Found I like chicken best with no icky greasy skin unless it’s been battered or otherwise coated. My mother used to coat chicken with condensed milk and roll the pieces in crushed potato chips-yum!

  233. Lilah Morgan, alecks, and Twistie, I had never considered being a member of a pomegranate heist gang as a career option. But now that you mention it, I have to admit there’s a certain appeal…

    Just call me the masked Persephone!

  234. Thanks, guys. Now I’m starving! ;)

    Chalk me up as another person who loves both celery (apparently I have the bitter tastebuds? or don’t have the sensitivity to bitter? I love celery especially with some salt on it. I used to eat it with cream cheese but alas, no more cheese for me) and grapefruit. White only, though, please – I eat grapefruit because it’s sour! Possibly with a tiny bit of sugar sprinkled over the top.

    I used to love grapefruit juice and grape juice immensely but I can’t drink juice any more due to the hypoglycemia, which kind of sucks. Though I eat grapes all the time and will drive 45 minutes weekly to get my white grapefruit in winter (soon!).

    I hadn’t heard about grapefruit and birth control. I take BC at night though and eat the grapefruit with breakfast so hopefully that’s not a problem. :\

    Pickled beets are awesome, but mine are never as good as my Mom’s are. Humph.

    As for other diety foods? Broccoli and green beans. I’ve been eating the frozen versions for ages and never was thrilled with either. Then I finally sat down and hunted up some recipes and DAMN. Fresh green beans cooked for just 4 minutes, then drizzled with a tiny bit of olive oil and lemon juice? So much better than frozen. Or fry ’em with a little margarine, bacon and onions.

    I found a recipe for roasted broccoli similar to the one upthread (you coat the broccoli in olive oil, add a clove of garlic, salt and pepper and bake 10-15 minutes covered, then sprinkle some basil on top and pour some lemon juice on it) that changed my understanding of broccoli. Really sharp taste but yummy.

    Ashley OMG I used to eat Special K with gobs of sugar on it too! I never used milk on my cereal so that was my substitute.


  235. Ok, there are a ton of comments, so I’m skipping most of them to post – I’ll go back and read them all, I swear!

    I love fruit of all kinds, cottage cheese, yogurt, and salads. I will frequently order main dish salads in restaurants because I really like them (especially salads with fruit and interesting cheeses), but the experience has recently been complicated for me because I’m afraid everyone thinks I’m ordering one because I’m on a diet. It really bothers me to think that other people might think I’m dieting when I’ve just come to fat acceptance and am now anti-diet…I should bring a sign to restaurants that says “I’m not on a diet, I just like salads!”

    I also really like skim milk. What can I say? I was raised on it and now it’s the only milk that tastes right to me! I’ve recently started buying whole milk to cook with, but I still can’t drink it straight or have it with cereal…it just tastes horrible to me, warm and cloying. I have learned to appreciate it in lattes and hot chocolate, though.

  236. @Alexandra Erin – Ha, me too! I have not eaten a pomegranate ever since I read a book of Greek myths as a kid and determined that I too would not be tricked by Hades!

  237. Long-time lurker here, delurking now because this thread reminded me of something that really pissed me off while reading Michael Pollan’s list of “food rules” from his readers. I have such mixed feelings about him – his stance on sustainable agriculture (and his critiques of the food industry) seems pretty solid, but he also falls into fat fearmongering from time to time. This latest piece in the NY Times, where he asks readers to send in their “rules for eating,” is also problematic.

    In particular, one person writes, “Never eat something that is pretending to be something else; e.g., no ‘textured vegetable protein’ or veggie burgers (fake meat)…no turkey burgers”. As a former vegetarian (who’s still sometimes sketched out by eating bloody red meat), I *love* textured vegetable protein, turkey burgers, and all manner of veggie burgers, bacon, “chicken,” etc. I’ll never eat a regular hot dog when a veggie one is available.

  238. I have a major love for a handful of frozen foods that are branded as diet-related and points-marked. But I eat them because they are DELISH.

    (most obvious case – salmon, broccoli, potato with cheese sauce. so so good)

    I also quite like dark-chocolate-covered rice cakes. Because I like a bit of crunch, and I don’t like the sweet or the chocolate to be too strong. Some people would find this a weird choice for a non-diet snack food.

  239. @Emmy

    I think the strawberry shortcake Skinny Cows are just about as close to perfection as it gets! I wish the ice cream in them was a little tastier, but I just love the texture of the “graham cracker” sandwich part.

  240. Oh my God- I can’t read every comment because my stomach will eat itself. I will read it in full at home to help myself make a shopping list for the weekend.

    But I’m so glad to know that I’m not alone in a lot of my favorite, favorite foods, including:

    1) Plain yogurt. My mom always used to buy fat-free plain, so that’s just what I grew up eating and I LOVE it. I will eat it just as is, but then I started using different seasonings for it (cinnamon and nutmeg for sweet, and for savory, my mom buys this Israeli salad seasoning in a pyramid-shaped bottle that’s a combo of basil, oregano, mint, sunflower seeds, parsley… GAH). Then I discovered Greek yogurt, and I was in further yogurt heaven. I love Trader Joe’s Greek yogurt.
    2) Dill pickles. Famous New Age whackjob Edgar Cayce recommended eating a pickle a day for weight loss. If that’s true, I should be a toothpick by now, because I can and will eat an entire jar of pickles in one sitting. (That also goes for most pickled things, including pickled radishes, and my new favorite, pickled lemons.)
    3) Special K with berries. Or for that matter, any cereal with freeze-dried berries. Or just a bag of freeze-dried berries.
    4) Rainbow sherbet was a big childhood treat. I reserve it as a comfort food for especially regressive moments.
    5) I just finished my second Diet Coke today, but I can drink much, much more.
    6) Olive oil. I love drizzling it on bread and pasta. I tried drinking straight olive oil once, just because I love it that much. I was on the toilet for a full hour afterwards, though, so I don’t recommend that. /TMI
    7) Poached eggs. I think I’ve come up with every single possible way to eat poached eggs. Best one I’ve come up with so far combines several of the above: poached eggs on top of olive oil-drizzled toast with a scoopful of Greek yogurt and some basil and oregano. (Tomato too, if you like.)

    I have to go before I take a bite of the table.

  241. Ok, having read some more comments, I want to add:

    -salmon and many other fish
    -whole wheat breads (I really like the nutty taste)
    -brown rice (better texture)

  242. Lapidary (with the Klimt): I’m totally going to have to try that recipe. Reading all this thread I am coming to the epiphany that I really really need more roasted veggies in my life. Some of the best stuff I’ve ever had was diced sweet potato tossed with melted butter roasted till done and a little caramelly. That’s it, two ingredients, but OMFG. It doesn’t even have salt on it, but OMG it’s un-fucking-believable.

    I also really love brussels sprouts with browned butter.

    My mom used to make toast, then put cottage cheese on it, then pour maple syrup over the top as a ‘diet’ food. I haven’t had it in years (in fact I’m not sure I’ve ever had it myself) but I can remember the smell and it sounds really good.

    When my brother and I were little we used to have ‘carrot races’, which were to see which of us could eat a carrot stick the fastest. Somehow we never cheated either by just sticking the whole thing in our mouth, but would take a bite, chew thoroughly (if manically), swallow, take another bite, &c. I don’t know if the whole concept was originally a clever clever plan by my mom to get us to eat our veggies (my brother was a notoriously finicky eater, and as a kid couldn’t stand bread–he said it ‘tasted like a pillow’). Well, if it was, go you, Mom!

  243. Grapefruit, which when I was on paxil, wasn’t allowed to eat (it interacts with a lot of depression meds and can build up and cause liver toxicity) so once I went off them the idea of sitting down with a cold tangy grapefruit seemed so indulgent.

  244. Oh oh oh Linda–chocolate peppermint Luna Bars! NOM.

    Those are amazing. It’s funny- most of the other Luna Bars (the non-chocolate ones, at least) are too sweet or something, and I’ve had to spit them out rather than gag. But the chocolate ones are very yummy. Really, any chocolate-mint thing is yummy in my book.

    I’m eating low-fat yogurt right now (Wallaby Organic raspberry). I went through a period where I refused all dairy that wasn’t full-fat, but some of the low-fat ones are quite tasty, and the flavor variety is better. The Rachel’s Organic and Wallaby have really great flavors (the former has, for example, vanilla chai). YUM.

  245. I also really love brussels sprouts with browned butter.

    Have you tried roasting them in the oven? If not, halve the sprouts, toss ’em in some olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast at 375 F for about 30 minutes, stirring at the halfway point. They are divine.

  246. @Threnody: second that on the vension!! My dad (a very responsible hunter, I feel compelled to add) got a deer last year and shared part of the meat with me, so I had a venison chili dinner. I was cooking for 8, made enough for nearly twice that–and the pan just about got licked clean.

    Yes on just about all of it–why are fruits and vegetables considered “good” in the nasty diet sense of the word? And…um…wheatgrass juice. I actually really like it. Have been known to knock back a shot between bites of bacon and egg at breakfast, in fact. Mm, speaking of bacon, the tempeh Fakin’ Bacon isn’t bad, either.

  247. Oh… we don’t need no stinkin’ cookies… when we can use “Thinnerware”.

    Dinnerware that’s especially small so we won’t notice we’re eating less. And it also has secret markings on it to show us how much protein / carbs / veggies we should put on each plate.

    Because we’re not to be trusted to eat when hungry and stop when full.

  248. I don’t know if this counts, but my favorite restaurant is Real Food Daily – they serve strictly vegan/organic cuisine. They have two locations, one in Santa Monica, CA and the other in West Hollywood, CA. Eating their food makes me very happy! Go there if you are ever in L.A. sometime! I’m not even vegan, but I do love this restaurant. Just about anything they serve there is just crazy tasty. Yummmmm.

    Also, I love salmon, and fresh veggies such as broccoli, spinach and mixed greens with brown rice. Salads are wonderful (I don’t like iceberg though) and there aren’t many fruits that I don’t like.

  249. Brown rice (jasmine or basmati). I started eating it for “healthy” reasons – wanted more fiber, basically – and now it’s my staple because I just like the texture better than white rice. Also spinach – I’m indifferent to it’s healthiness, I just love it, especially raw. Most produce falls into this “eat it because it’s yummy, not because it’s healthy” category, actually, or did before people decided that carrots were going to give you diabetes.

    Oh, also oatmeal for breakfast on cold days. I don’t care whether it’s healthy or not, it’s just sort of warm and comforting.

    Actually here’s a question for the peanut gallery – was anyone else totally put off vegetables as a kid precisely because of the “eat them, they’re good for you” messages only to later discover their yumminess as an adult?

  250. Growing up my friends always found me so strange because I didn’t like chocolate, but ate so much fruit that my parents had to LIMIT my eating of them. If they weren’t looking I’d eat like nine oranges in one day. Because I loved them so much.

    A lot of food I hated when I was younger, because my mum is really bad at making vegetarian food. Lentil soup? Ewww. Broccoli? Ewww. Once I learned how to cook myself and figured out that lentil soup can be yummy, and that broccoli can be bought fresh and steamed, rather than taken from the freezer and boiled into mush, my eating habits became much better.

    Also, a whole new world opened to me when I learned that there are other spices in the world apart from salt, pepper and ketchup.

    I only like apples if I can eat them with peanutbutter, but I cannot stand peanutbutter with jelly, like the Americans eat it. I also cannot stand white bread, but prefer the whole wheat. Simply because it (usually) tastes better.

    I eat porridge with honey and blueberries at least once a day. If I don’t get my fruits and vegetables I get ridiculously cranky.

  251. My mom used to buy two set of ice cream over the summer, she’d buy the “Healthy Choice” or “SkinnyCow” brand stuff for herself, and the regular stuff for the kids, because she was always trying to diet.

    She was always so confused when she’d go to get a Healthy Choice fudgesicle and they’d be all gone, but the regular fudgesicles were still all there, and then she’d get mad at us, because those were the fudgesicles she’d bought for HER, and we had our own, RIGHT THERE.

    But the Healthy Choice ones taste SO MUCH BETTER than any other brand of fudgesicle I’ve ever had. They are so creamy and good. We ate them first because we absolutely preferred them.

    Eventually my mom stopped buying the regular brand and would just buy extras of the diet brand, lol.

    These days I don’t usually eat fudgesicles simply because I don’t think I’d be satisfied by the regular kind any more, and I don’t want to support the diet industry by giving them my money. It is a sadness.

  252. Also, one of my favorite recipes came from Cooking Light during my dieting days, but I still make it because it is awesome. Soba salad with chicken, cilantro, shredded carrots and a soy/chilli garlic/honey dressing.

  253. Oh man. I just remembered my big “heath” food shame. Bac-os. The fake soy bacon bits. I will eat them straight out of the jar plain. My mum buys them to put them on things and has to hide them because otherwise I’ll just eat them all.

    I think I have trouble getting enough salt, tbf.

  254. Kaia, I had a fruit limit as a kid too! Otherwise I would have cleaned the bowl. And dinner salad, too. Everyone else always took their share first, and I was given the whole rest of the bowl to polish. This habit still continues whenever I visit relatives :) My parents’ friends thought I was a really odd child.

  255. Nina permalink

    @Alexandra Erin – Ha, me too! I have not eaten a pomegranate ever since I read a book of Greek myths as a kid and determined that I too would not be tricked by Hades!

    He can wait.

  256. I see your pomegranetes (can I join the expedition?) and raise you pomelo. Why is pomelo so hard to find in the US? Also – I wonder if it might satisfy people’s grapefruit cravings somewhat without the unfortunate interactions with medication?

    Also tabbouleh. And wheat berries, especially when thrown into a pot of good lamb soup. Actually that’s a point – why has traditional Arab food never been repackaged as a miracle diet? It certainly fits the usual criteria. Maybe our diet overlords just couldn’t find a way to make it sufficiently tasteless.

  257. I’m a vegetarian because I love veggies and wanted an excuse not to eat meat (which I never enjoyed). It was my childhood dream to have just a plate full of potato and egg salad, garden salad and corn on the cob at a barbeque. I MADE IT HAPPEN PEOPLE.

    So take it as a given that I love all veggies. I love tofu. I love yoghurt. I love my eggs boiled not fried. I love soba noodles.

    The two most extremely-diet-like foods I love are sauteed cabbage with salt and pepper, and celery sticks dipped in cottage cheese. I get insane cravings for them. I also drink masses of green tea which is supposed to make you lose weight but definitely doesn’t for me (I’m a “normal” BMI but definitely not getting any smaller despite the litres of green tea I drink.)

    Also everyone should stop steaming their broccoli and cauliflower and start roasting it in the oven. You can never go back!

  258. @cassandrasays OH MY GOD, pomelo! My FAVOURITE fruit, I got addicted in China and I can’t find it here in Australia. And weirdly I hate pink grapefruit, but something about the dry acidity of the pomelo does it for me.

  259. I love spinach. In fact, my favorite breakfast is scrambled eggs and spinach. I started doing it while on Nutrisystem (2 years ago?) because I could use one real egg or a slice of cheese with the freeze-dried stuff and it knocked out a veggie requirement. But really, I’d rather have nothing else for breakfast. Spinach eggs, toast with butter, hazelnut coffee and some fruit = perfect weekend breakfast.

    I also really like peas, black beans, strawberries, cabbage, cottage cheese, spray butter, brussels sprouts, grilled salmon, brown rice, flavored rice cakes, fresh avocado, green tea, pomegranate juice, kiwi, clementine oranges, almonds, and Dr Pepper. Fresh produce is sort of a luxury to me because I live alone and don’t have much money and frozen food and canned food are cheaper and last longer.

  260. @Rachel – Is it possible to actually be addicted to green tea? I drink about 9 cups a day, average, plus bottled green tea (thank you Ito En for finally expanding to the US). Doesn’t make me lose weight either, though apparently they’ve moved on to pushing oolong as the miracle weight loss drink rather than green tea now.

  261. @cassandra says – I am also glad about Ito En. I went to college in Hawaii and I practically lived off Ito En Jasmine green tea and I was bereft once I came back to the mainland. Now if I really crave some I can find tiny bottles of it in Safeway so that’s nice.

  262. I have loved grapefruit since childhood– it was the exotic fruit we ate when visiting Auntie J. When I asked my mom if grapefruit only grew at Auntie J’s house, she said, no, but Auntie J. had grapefruit spoons and we didn’t. So when I was about 4, I asked for grapefruit spoons for Christmas.

    Also, I adore a stir fry of any of the following with liberal doses of ginger, garlic, and green onion: cabbage, celery, and/or mung bean sprouts.

  263. Most of those Pollan rules are pretty good, but it’s ironically amusing that “Don’t yuk someone else’s yum” follows immediately after the “don’t eat fakes” thing. Though if you convert that one to “don’t eat fakes as a substitute for the thing that you really want” I’d be down with that.

    I like my tea and coffee with no sugar, and either no milk or skim. I like plain soda with a squeeze of lime or lemon. And I like grapefruit, celery, cottage cheese, rye crispbreads, whole grainy breads, brown rice, and just about all fruit & veg & salad. And lean meats – I never much liked chicken with its skin or the fat on meat. (Unless the skin is crispy, then it’s OK. But soft – ewwww!)

    Rachael, check Asian grocers for the pomelo. I get mine from Saigon Grocer in Dickson (ACT). It’s not always in season, of course.

  264. After reading halfway through the comments, I had to make a trip to the store to buy cottage cheese and the makings for a salad. I haven’t eaten those for years because they’re diet food. And I like them!

    I add my vote to rice cakes, almond milk, and pickles, and want to add spaghetti squash. I love all squash, but the texture of spaghetti squash amuses me to no end. It wasn’t until my roommate refused to eat it that I realised it has weird diet connotations.

  265. A new one for me is pureed cauliflower as a “replacement” for mashed potatoes. I never really developed a taste for mashed potatoes — they were uncommon in my home growing up and then in the early days of being out on my own avoided due to hidden fats omg — so when I was heavily into low-carbing I didn’t bother to experiment with potato replacement schemes. Just the other day I ran across an otherwise tasty-looking recipe that incorporated cauliflower-as-potato; I gave it a shot and discovered I really really like pureed cauliflower. Who knew? Normally I think of cauliflower as broccoli’s unfortunate flavorless cousin.

    I’m going to have to refer back to this thread later for roasted broccoli and brussel sprout recipes.

  266. @Kimu, your comment made me LOL. I was presented with pureed cauliflower as ‘mashed potatoes’ once when having Thanksgiving with people on Atkins, and I’ve never gotten over the dismay.

    The darn thing is, I love cauliflower and would have loved the dish had it been presented as cauliflower. In fact I’ve eaten and tremendously enjoyed pureed cauliflower as pureed cauliflower. It just was a honking disappointment when my tongue was expecting potatoes, which I adore all to pieces and back again.

    Definitely try roasted broccoli and Brussels sprouts. They’re amazing and nutty and – to me – even more delicious roasted than any other way I can think of. Adding in some thin slivers of garlic before roasting makes the whole thing magical.

  267. Oh, and while we’re talking about roasting things, the best thing I ever did was to put some Brussels sprouts and shallots and whole garlic heads into some tinfoil, drizzle olive oil and kosher salt over them, and roast the packet in the oven for 45 minutes. It was the most wonderful, delicious, incredible…

  268. I like rice and oatmeal and all kinds of fruit. A good salad is a wonderful thing. Ilove grilled white meat chicken, and I love all kinds of fish, which are considered “good” meats, though I eat them in large portions.

    Grapefruit are meh, but I am spoiled as my grandparents used to bring back whole crates of them from the Rio Grande valley every year. A door to door fruit salesman (kind of shady guy) sold me a box of stuff that smelled the same (yes, there is a difference) and I knew right away where it was from. He cut one open for me so I could see how good they were, and I ate half right there. PEEL AND ALL. Which sort of shocked him, but I couldn’t HELP it. Because they are, when you get them right, just that sweet and flavorful. OMG. Store bought grapefruit, even organic, cannot touch this stuff, less than two days off the tree and never refrigerated. The guy also had oranges. Ummmmm!

  269. I eat Lean Cuisine a lot and then am annoyed at myself for giving anyone money for anything marketed as diet stuff. But dammit, I am in fact a lazy fatty (or at least, I’m an exhausted and poorly-organized fatty), and I really like having microwavable meals that 1. have some variety to them 2. taste like they are actually some sort of, you know, food 3. do not make me feel physically icky later.
    I’m pretty sure they’re not actually the most healthful food anyway since they still have SALT LIKE CRAZY. Mmm, salt.

  270. I love hearty, fiborus cereals with no sugar on them. Shredded Wheat, Wheaties, bran cereals, ect. It reminds me of being at my grandma’s house.

  271. CassandraSays: I think this may turn into less a pomegranate heist and more a search for El Pomegranato, the fabled city of pomegranates. I would like a hat with a light on the head, personally, for the expedition.

    And having just written that, I also associate pomegranates with Spain (apples of Granada, I guess is what I was thinking), which takes me back to last weeks fluff with Ferdinand and Isabella, which puts that association in the yeuchy “magical superfood” category, and not the poetic memory delicious category. I do not wish to love a colonial fruit!

    I too, like brown rice and wheat berries. And wild rice, all of which are lovely in salads with dried cranberries. Mmmmmm…

    And recently I have come to see the joy to be had in tofu. It is very yummy.

  272. Rice cakes, salad, yogurt, lots of “healthy foods” in addition to foods I think are healthy and conventional wisdom says are evil. Skyr, the nonfat, yogurt-like Icelandic miracle food! Which I cannot buy because I live on the wrong side of the Mississippi!

    As far as yogurt goes, my favorite is full-fat cream-top Brown Cow, which is a step removed from “diet-friendly” yogurt.

  273. @AnthroK – I do know how to use a sword, perhaps that will come in handy. Also while we’re at it let’s take a quick detour and pick up some Persian melon.

  274. also, because of Insomnia, I haven’t been able to have soda, but I love fountain sodas. carrots and ranch, sometimes oatmeal, and to be honest i love those diet bars a lot a lot.

  275. When I was in elementary school, my mother would always pack either half a green bell pepper or a third of a cucumber in my lunch (along with a sandwich, drink, and cookies). I still adore these foods, and I still get weird looks every time I eat them. *shrug*

  276. Kale. I love kale. Screw healthy/diet/whatever, I love the stuff. I love it with garlic and sundried tomatoes. I love it in curried cream sauce. I adore it in a sausage soup.

    I have loved Special K since I was a kid. I just thought it was really good…I didn’t realize my grandmother ate it for breakfast because it was diet food. That made me sad. But I still love it. I still eat it. I just ignore the diet ads/text on the back of the box.

    Grilled zucchini. Sauteed zucchini. And especially zucchini with eggs, like in Impossible Pie. I grow extra zucchini in the summer because I love it so much.

    Oh, and this cucumber tomato salad like the one made at a local restaurant – it’s just diced cucumbers and tomatoes, dressed lightly with oil and vinegar (not too much of either, just enough to enhance the flavors) and salt and pepper. Sometimes I throw in a little feta, sometimes some basil or green onions or chives, whatever’s around, but it’s mostly just cucumbers and tomatoes. And it is SO GOOD. Throw in some tuna and it’s a meal. (I love canned tuna, too, and that’s been touted as diet food.)

    The shirataki noodles mentioned in the previous post? Yeah, I love them too. They’re all about the texture, not the flavor. I use them in my Asian-inspired soups: chicken/shrimp broth, shrimp, whatever greens look good at the local Asian market, a can of straw mushrooms (or sliced shiitake mushrooms), green onions, and a package of shirataki noodles cut up into manageable lengths. Season with soy sauce, sesame oil, some sriracha (or bird peppers), garlic, ginger.

  277. Definately water. And salsa. I used to eat raw, red capsicum like apples. ooh and apples. and yoghurt with muesli and frozen blueberries. Bliss!

  278. Whole-grain bread. White bread is disgusting and insubstantial in comparison, and at my fattest and at my skinniest there’s never been any question but that I’d rather have whole grain.

    Reduced-fat Pringles are way better than normal Pringles. Mind you I heard a rumour that’s because the reduced-fat Pringles are the original recipe, and the ‘normal’ ones actually have extra fat.

    Probiotic yoghurt. Pooing may not make for polite table conversation but being able to do it is much better than the alternative.

    Here in northern Europe lovely thick vegetable soups are the go-to weight loss food for the less self-damaging types who diet. But I just eat them because they’re yummy.

  279. Off topic but I just got word that Pepsi pulled the AMP app:

    Thank you for contacting us with your thoughts about our recent AMP iPhone application.

    I can share with you that we have discontinued the app. After listening to a variety of audiences, including our consumers, we decided that this was the most appropriate thing to do.

    Thanks again for writing. Please know that we appreciate hearing your opinion.


    Consumer Relations


  280. I like those crappy powdered soups you add water to…virtually transparent and more or less just water with dust in but lovely. Reminds me of lunch with Grandma when I was little. We’d have crap soup together with cheap crappy white bread and then watch kds tv. Perfect.

  281. That’s great news!

    I am unoriginal, but also love grapefruit and pomegranates, as well as lentil anything.

    And I prefer to serve cannelini smash instead of mashed potatoes (drain and rinse can of cannelini beans. Stir over heat with a drizzle of olive oil and some chopped garlic until the beans are warm and mushy. Eat. Mourn the fact that you only made one can’s worth), because they are nommilicious.

    I can eat a bag of tomatoes in a sitting, too.

  282. There were lots of vegetables I thought I didn’t like when I was being criticised for eating anything ever – but it turns out that I like every vegetable ever except Brussel Sprouts! My absolute favourite food is Valencia oranges, which are only available for about three months of the year. Fortunately, they’re the three hottest (and for me most miserable) months, so there’s always oranges to get me through those terrible days.

  283. I have ambiguous feelings about (actual) diet food: naturally I don’t wish that people should be on diets, but personally I tend to prefer the low-fat or fat-free varieties of a lot of different foodstuffs. I like low-fat milk, yoghurt and cottage cheese much better than the full-fat ones, and the same goes for ice-cream. I like margarine much more than butter. And if I need to buy a ready-made meal, I much rather buy the light versions, as I simply don’t like the taste of the “normal” ones as much, and they leave me feeling over-full. Oh, and I prefer several low-fat snacks, especially crisps.

    Now, I don’t think the light versions are necessarily healthier (in many cases they’re not), and I certainly don’t eat them because I’m on a diet. I just like them more. So, I wish they will never disappear from the shops altogether. Not everyone has the same taste, and not everyone actually prefers butter or cream in their food, no matter how HAES and anti-dieting they may be.

    As far as “normal” food goes, I love the healthy stuff: vegetables, fruit, full-corn bread, yoghurt, tofu… all good!

  284. My best friend’s mum thought I was eating disordered as a teenager because I was obsessed with apples and diet coke. I still love them. I used to power through 10+ apples a day when I was living at home and didn’t have to pay for them, now I eat as many as I have the time/energy/money to keep in the house.

    And, oh my god diet coke. I don’t care about your artifical sweetener aspartame-kills-puppies whatever, I LOVE it. I’m so pleased I’m not alone in that. I try not to have too much because of the acid being bad for my teeth, but man, sometimes only diet coke will do. It is my happy drink.

    I also eat frozen peas and sweetcorn (peas particularly) WITH EVERYTHING, and will eat them in handfuls straight out of the freezer as a snack food. I am that person who has peas and a tin of pineapple chunks with a microwave pizza, because NOM.

    Brown rice is nommier than white rice also (I think because I was raised in it) and I add celery to most things. And my sister and I used to be like “What is this brussel sprouts-hating bullshit?” when we were we because they are GREAT and apparently all children are supposed to hate them? Nuh uh.

    I love pretty much all fruit and veg except aubergine. Oh god, aubergine. The food of satan himself. You know why it’s purple? SO YOU CAN NEVER EAT IT BY ACCIDENT. That’s your intelligent design, right there.

  285. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Mediterranean food! I just love it, especially Greek & Turkish food. When I heard of the “Mediterranean Diet,” first thought was, “Why do you have to feel like you’re on a ‘diet’ to eat this? Why not just eat it because it’s DELICIOUS??”

  286. This thread reminds me, does anyone know of a soda that tastes like Fresca yet is not diet? It used to be my Favorite Soda Ever, but at some point I seriously lost my taste for artificial sweeteners and now the aftertaste bothers me. I hadn’t even realized Fresca was a diet drink, so I had it after not being able to find it for ages and was Very Sad when it was no longer tasty.

    I suppose the obvious answer is to get some grapefruit juice and a bottle of seltzer…

  287. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Mediterranean food! I just love it, especially Greek & Turkish food. When I heard of the “Mediterranean Diet,” first thought was, “Why do you have to feel like you’re on a ‘diet’ to eat this? Why not just eat it because it’s DELICIOUS??”

  288. Perfect Oatmeal with the works at Starbucks. Roasted brussell sprouts. Steamed carrots. Apples. Jicama.

  289. Fresca is just grapefruit soda, isn’t it? Pompelmo is delicious, especially with gin. Unfortunately, it’s made by San Pellegrino, which is Nestlé.

  290. I love just about any kind of fruit, but someone said raspberries, and those are my favorite. There are raspberry bushes at my parents house, and when I was a kid, eating raspberries straight from the garden on cereal, or plain was one of my favorite things. I can’t bring myself to buy raspberries, and I’m never home during the summer now that I’m a “grown up”.

    And salads (romaine with blue cheese, dried cranberries, and vinaigrette is my fav).

    And Low-Fat Wheat Thins – they taste just the same as the regular ones to me, and I already get plenty of fat from say, the many delicious cheeses I like to put on said what thins.

    And I’d like to second Special-K (and I’ll raise you some “red berries”) – in college, when all the food in the dining hall looked gross, I’d eat Special-K Red Berries for dinner, or dessert. (PS- why the fuck do they call them “red berries” when they’re pretty clearly just dried strawberries?)

  291. Sarah–My Fresca cravings are also satisfied by Orangina, although the opposite is not necessarily true, and I will get the completely unsweetened white grapefruit juice cut with a lemon-lime soda, too. Works just as well. But the non-diet normal grapefruit sodas don’t work for me.

  292. Related – I mentioned on my blog once that I don’t often use butter, and I got treated to a short screed about how margarine really isn’t any better for you.

    I actually don’t use a lot of butter because I don’t like it on most of the things that people put butter on, but I suppose the unspoken assumption must be that anybody who is avoiding butter must be doing so because it’s “bad” (and by corollary, decadently delicious and deliciously decadent, something nobody would eschew as a matter of taste).

  293. @Sarah: Have you tried Squirt as a substitute for Fresca? I think it’s probably sweeter (haven’t had a Fresca since before they went off the market once upon a time, and had only had a few then, so my memories are a tidge fuzzy), but it might be worth a go. Another option you might try is Hansen’s. I know they have a grapefruit soda, and one of the things I like about Hansen’s is that they aren’t generally as sweet as most commercial sodas.

  294. Oh man, pretty much everything I eat is diet food, especially if you count the low-carb diets. I grew up vegetarian, and even though I eat some meat these days (often low-fat “diety” means like turkey or grilled chicken, because they’re yummy, although I also love me some pepperoni), I eat tofu and fake meats at least as often. I drink mineral water, coffee without sugar (because sugar in coffee tastes gross to me) and diet Pepsi, because the sugary kind is just to cloying. Love V8 juice. Don’t care for potato chips, but love hummus chips and veggie chips… plain yogurt, cottage cheese, pretty much every veggie in the world as long as it isn’t overcooked – this thread is making me so hungry. And of course I love salads, with balsamic vinegar and olive oil (or I just dunk toast in extra virgin olive oil… omnomnom and how that is a diet food, I just don’t understand). This stuff just tastes good – more complex flavors, more satisfying.

    Damn, if that “Hungry Girl” approached me in the grocery store, I would:
    a) tell her off good and proper
    b) complain to the management
    c) take my business elsewhere.

    Hear that, Wegmans? Don’t allow your shoppers to be harassed, or else!

  295. I thought Fresca didn’t have any sweetener in it to begin with? I would’ve noticed artificial sweeteners, since to me they taste bitter and give me terrible headaches. Then again, I haven’t had Fresca in something like 15 years so they could’ve changed the recipe since.

    This thread is making me so hungry, and I just had lunch! I echo the soup love–I finally taught myself how to make a good soup early last summer, and OMG. I was really sad when it got too hot to eat them, and now that it’s all dark and cold one of my solaces is that I can eat as much soup as I want because it’ll keep me warm! Homemade broth when I can make it, lots of bell pepper and onion and garlic and maybe some beans and maybe some chicken if I have it around–put in some cornmeal dumplings toward the end and it’s turned into my new favourite food.

    I remembered another thing I love that I originally tried because it was put forth as a ‘low fat and healthy’ ice cream substitute–frozen grapes. THEY ARE AMAZING. The grape flavour is all concentrated an they’re wonderfully sweet without being cloying, and the texture! They’re all icy but smooth, no crunchiness like with ice but no fluffiness like with ice cream, and they taste very, very cold. They’re absolutely perfect when I want something cold and sweet but creaminess would be gross. I can easily go through a bunch of frozen grapes in one sitting when I have that ‘want cold’ craving.

    Cath the Canberra Cook

    Though if you convert that one to “don’t eat fakes as a substitute for the thing that you really want” I’d be down with that.

    Yes, this. That’s one of the things that’s really helped me–if I eat a substitute for something I really want, it won’t make the craving for that thing go away and the substitute won’t taste anywhere near as good as it might otherwise.

    Take chocolate and carob. I don’t know if it is anymore, but when I was a kid and teenager carob was like the ‘healthy’ substitute for chocolate. It’s a totally CRAP substitute for chocolate, because it in no way replicates the taste or texture of actual chocolate. But on its own, carob for carob’s sake, I found it’s actually really tasty, with its own unique nuances.

    I tried telling this to a boyfriend’s mom back when I was a teenager and she looked at me as if I were nuts! Carob had been so tied in to being an unsatisfactory chocolate substitute that it had no existence or merits out side of that for her.

    I carried that with me for a long time, even though I didn’t apply it very widely until recently. And yeah, turns out it really does suck to learn to hate thing X I might otherwise like because it’s not thing Y that I’ve been told to substitute it for. Why keep limiting my choices that way?

  296. TURKEY BACON ILU. Although it’s actually more fattening than regular bacon. The serving size is just one slice less. Seriously.

    But a turkey bacon sandwich, with a glass or orange juice? NOM NOM NOM.

  297. I love Diet Pepsi and prefer it to regular Pepsi.

    Oatmeal – my husband makes it with chopped apples, walnuts & a teeny bit of maple syrup. Heaven!


    Multi-grain bread

    High-fiber cereal

    Salads, but they have to have lots of stuff in them like nuts, dried cranberries, croutons, etc.

  298. @Renatus: Soup can still be enjoyed in the warmer months! Just make a cold soup like gazpacho or cucumber yogurt.

    In fact, if you’d like I can pass on a fabulous hot weather soup. It’s just a simple cucumber soup, but it tastes like a perfect dill pickle. Actually, since there’s already been so much pickle love on this thread, I’m just going to go ahead and post it.


    for each serving, you will need:

    1 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped
    1 heaping Tblesp of plain yogurt (you won’t actually taste it, but it’s a necessity for the correct texture)
    plenty of salt, pepper to taste, and fresh dill, also to taste.

    Dump your ingredients into a food processor with the blade attachment or a good, strong blender. Start up your appliance and process until the mixture is sort of frappee’d. Serve very cold.

    One important note: since this is such a simple recipe, it lives or dies by the quality of ingredients used. Get the best, freshest cukes you can and don’t try to substitute dried dill. It just isn’t the same.

  299. I have a somewhat disturbing penchant for all things bitter and dark (or medium!) green–spinach, kale, collards, chard, dandelion greens, zomg BROCCOLI RABE, lima beans, brussels sprouts, etc etc. I don’t know if it’s a bizarre nutritional need or what, but I seriously crave the suckers.

    I like to take the greens and saute with some onion and olive oil, then pour a nice dose of basalmic or lemon juice over the top and chow down. The broccoli rabe gets topped with hot pepper flakes and parm.

    Also, I have a bizarre thing for blackstrap molasses (that’s a diet food, right?). Sooooo yummy on yogurt or oatmeal.

  300. Rice-cakes, low fat yogurt, iceberg lettuce (I know, I know), cherry tomatoes, Watermelon and again Diet Coke, Lucifer’s own beverage of choice.

  301. And to add, Special K. I have to eat this in secret though as my dog ADORES it and growls when I eat it and don’t share.

  302. @Twistie: Oh my, I can totally see that.

    I generally just do not get the point of replacing a food with a different food and pretending they’re the same thing. Especially when the replacement food is perfectly tasty in its own right. Although I do eat wheat-free pizzas and pancakes (since the usually kind will make me ill), so maybe I’m a big hypocrite.

  303. @Cath the Canberra:

    I agree that a lot of those “rules” Pollan lists are things that I try to do in my eating – especially if we change “don’t eat something pretending to be something else” to “just eat whatever it is that you’re craving, because you’ll be satisfied, and you’d probably end up eating it anyway”. I also like the readers’ suggestions about taking time for yourself while eating, or eating as a social event.

    What weirds me out about all this is that Pollan frames the issue as “rules” for eating, which seems to me a short step away from calling some foods “good” and other foods “bad.” Is it possible to label foods “good” or “bad” as regards environmental impact or social inequality (the “moral” organic CSA veggies versus, say, “evil” Big Agriculture-farmed pineapples shipped from a few thousand miles away), and yet not slide into calling them “good/bad” for your diet? Even Pollan doesn’t always seem aware of this distinction – part of his pitch seems to be that sustainable/local/mostly veggie eating isn’t just ethical for the planet – it’ll also make you thin!! It almost seems like Pollan and his ilk think that people won’t care about the very legitimate ethical issues surrounding food production (shipping, pesticides, support for local small businesses, etc), and so they hitch their wagon to the fake ethics of dieting.

  304. Oh, and I think I wasn’t dieting when “salmon” was a diet food. Growing up I was taught that tuna and salmon were “fatty” and therefore “bad”.

    (I’m sure the fact that grandma would bread and fry the salmon granddad caught had nothing to do with this. Also that her marinade for her cold-smoked salmon had LOTS of brown sugar ;)

  305. 1) Multigrain ANYTHING. The more grains, the better. I am amazed that white bread hasn’t fizzed out of existence on its own.
    2) A big amen to brown rice. Especially if you eat it with legumes (which I also love).
    3) Salad… my mom would take us to this pizza buffet place when I was little, and sometimes I would hit the salad bar so excitedly that I’d forget to get any pizza.
    4) Fresca FTW. Diet Pepsi is also wonderful.
    5) I love rice cakes. However, I could probably easily motor through most of a sleeve at once, which I suspect would offend the diet gurus.
    6) Any vegetable that’s not a mushroom or hot pepper. Any fruit that’s not papaya.
    7) Cottage cheese… I had no idea this was considered a diet food. But I am suddenly reminded that it’s been quite a long time since I’ve had it. I should remedy that immediately.
    8) Lean Pockets. I’m a teensie bit embarassed about that one, but oh well. I like what I like. (Philly Cheese Steak. Yum.)
    9) Skim milk… amen, amen, AMEN. And if you can get it fresh and local, the flavor is way richer but the texture is still light and doesn’t make you feel like you’re chugging heavy cream.

  306. Mmmm…grapefruit…raw cranberries…raw limes…i guess those aren’t all “diet” foods so much as weird foods to many, but I eat any citrus fruit raw in great bulk. It’s my only consolation about winter coming, really – lots and lots of fresh cranberries!

    Along the lines of actual labeled, marketed “diet food” – I love sugar free jello pudding because they have rice pudding. I’m sure it’s totally full of chemicals and whatnot, and normally I hate sugar-free foods because I can taste the Splenda, but for whatever reason I find these so delicious. And South Beach peanut butter cereal bars – I am embarrassed to eat them in public because I don’t want anyone to believe I’m on a diet! But they are so good and when I recently had a medical issue that prompted my doctor to tell me to eat more (gasp!) in the morning, I had to rethink my morning habits a little…and they’re actually really tasty and filling.

  307. @Twistie: Ooo. It’s like… a cucumber smoothie! I can totally get behind that. :D

    It reminds me that I like making something similar as a drink–some plain yogurt (1/4 c to 1/2 c depending), some juice of whatever kind, and some spices if I feel like it, all in a big glass and mixed well. It’s a sort of poor woman’s lassi (I like to use orange juice and ginger), and it can be sweet or savory. It’s great when I want something to supplement a meal and really don’t want to deal with the blender to make a smoothie.

  308. There are too many to mention, but I’ll echo other commentators and say that the apple-spice rice cakes with peanut butter are really good.

    Lauren- this is how I make my own packets of the Quaker Instant Oatmeal. (I live in the States, but it’s much cheaper to make my own than to buy the prepackaged kind.) :
    1. Measure out 1/3 cup of plain instant oatmeal and put it in a small ziploc bag.
    2. add flavorings to bag-
    2a. Apple Cinnamon will be about 2 Tbs. of dried apples, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and 1-2 tsp. brown sugar.
    2b. Blueberries and Cream will be around 2 Tbs. of dried blueberries, 1-2 tsp. white sugar, and around 1 Tbs. of non-dairy creamer (you can also use powdered milk, but it goes bad faster).
    3. Repeat until you run out of ingredients. Now whenever you want oatmeal you just have to grab a baggie, dump it in a bowl, and add hot water.

    If you don’t have instant oats where you live, take quick oats and run them through a food processor or blender- maybe 5-10 pulses.

  309. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who just plain doesn’t like full fat dairy. I don’t drink milk on its own, but I like milk in coffee and milky puddingy things, but I cannot eat heavy cream at all. People sometimes congratulate me on my diety compliance in coffee shops when I ask for low fat milk if all that’s out is half and half, but I’m not trying to be healthy, I just think half and half tastes awful. I don’t want my coffee to be creamy.

  310. And speaking of coffee shops and “diet” “healthy” foods, I much prefer bran muffins to the regular cakey kind. My favorite muffin in the world is the low-fat blueberry bran kind you get at Peet’s coffee.

    In general the more texture any sort of baked goods or grains have the more I like them. For anyone who lives in the Bay Area, Specialty’s chocolate chip oatmeal wheatgerm cookies are amazing, especially if you can get them fresh from the oven and still warm.

  311. Seconding (three-hundredth-ing?) the emotion that so many of these “diet” foods are just delicious and it’s a shame that people get put off them because of the Good For You associations. Fresh veg, fresh fish, whole grains, yogurt with fruit and/or nuts, rich dark balsamic vinegar over crunchy baby spinach! All of these things make life awesome.

    Here are some things that went from “moral” to “awesome” for me recently:
    -Flavored seltzer. My mom used to drink this when I was a kid and I thought it a piss-poor substitute for soda. Now I am an adult and hey, that film that forms on my teeth after drinking soda? I don’t enjoy it. I do enjoy cold bubbly water with some kind of fruity flavoring. Even better is seltzer that I flavor myself, though it takes a smidgen more time and effort. Hibiscus-infused seltzer is fruitily delicious, if you don’t mind getting the occasional flower in your mouth. I also like lemon squeezings, fresh mint from the windowsill, and crushed ginger in my seltzer. Vodka optional.

    -Thinking of hibiscus, herbal tea in general is a new thing for me. I have an association with herbal tea as a “zero calorie treat! naturally caffeine-free!” You know what? That’s false advertising, because what herbal tea is, is a flavor orgasm wrapped up in warm comfort. Herbal tea snobbery is IMO more fun than coffee snobbery because there are so many more different flavors to play with. My faves are not even herbs: the aforementioned hibiscus, chamomille, and rooibos. Also: I have loved raspberries since childhood, but who knew that raspberry leaves had a use of their own?

    -Millet. I could never get down with millet. I would treat it like quinoa and be disappointed when it refused to behave like quinoa. Millet was nasty. The hull would stay irritatingly firm even if I added extra water and boiled it again. I would keep trying, because it’s so Good For You tm, but eating it was a total chore. And then I tried toasting it before boiling. I understand how the toasting makes the flavor darker and nuttier, but I don’t understand how toasting magically changes the texture from gross to fluffy. I am going to make some for a party tomorrow, topped with creamy butternut squash, garlic, onion, sage, throw some diced apples in there, and eater’s choice of bleu or goat cheese. I am a Millet Convert.

    In closing, I buy/eat fewer packaged goods these days, but I remember Lean Pockets, and damn if they weren’t tastier than the non-diet Hot Pockets. That is all.

  312. *I would like to clarify that life *can* be awesome without fresh veg, fish, yogurt, balsamic, etc. It was not my intention to assign these foodstuffs as prereqs for awesomeness, just trying to express my enthusiasm for them.

  313. Seaweed…I loves me a good seaweed salad with mirin and sesame.
    Larabars too, They’re not quite as dietish as some of the foods listed here, but the cherry pie ones have been listed as a “healthy” alternative to pastry or something.

  314. I was shocked, SHOCKED! to discover that Crystal Light is diet food. I encountered it first as tripping food, when the folks I camped with used iodine tablets to purify drinking water, it had enough flavour to make the water drinkable. And it was tiny little waterproof packets- light!

    Now we pump water, and it tastes okay on its own. But Raspberry Ice and Tangerine Grapefruit are (in my head) perfect compliments to any food cooked on a single-burner camp stove.

  315. @Fnord Perfect i have an awesome medieval recipe for millet cooked in milk if you’re interested?

    I am btw seriously loving this post and attendant comments if people cant tell by my copious comments X)

  316. Has anyone tried the Lowfat Apple Caramel muffin at Dunkin Donuts?

    I have no idea what it is Low fat compared to….

    But damn! That is an awesome tasting muffin!

  317. I love a wide variety of food, so pretty much everything everyone has mentioned is yummy to me. Most favorite favorites: spinach, chickpeas, and grapefruit. Most strong exception to the general SP consensus: Diet soda – it makes me hork (even when it doesn’t contain aspartame, which I am allergic to)!

  318. In the beverage department:
    Hansen’s diet ginger ale: DAMN, that’s gingery. But not cloyingly sweet. Good stuff.

    I second the Diet Coke chemical crisperiffic comments.

    Trop50: this is some lower-sugar orange juice from Tropicana, using stevia. It’s not supposed to be low-acid, but it doesn’t make reflux kick in for me – and it’s much less cloying to me than the regular – supposedly-not-sweetened – OJ. How the hell does that work? I don’t know. But I like it. And it makes a pretty good screwdriver, too. Or mai tai.

    Bulgur. Undersung. LOVE IT. For that matter, barley’s pretty rockin’ too.

    Couscous. It’s yummy. It’s fast. It tastes great.

    Turkey Italian sausage. Better on pizzas at home than pork-based sausage, I find.

    Celery: better than chips on road trips – less expensive, you can strip all the strings out with your teeth and gnaw on it and entertain yourself for hours, and you don’t end up extra-super-thirsty and then having to pee every 20 minutes!

    Edamame. YUM. I cook a full bag (only frozen available in my area) and then take the leftovers to work and snack through the day.

  319. SimSabalim’s comment has reminded me we started eating spaghetti squash when I was on Weight Watchers. I’ve done WW twice, and I find it horribly amusing that the leaders etc will cheerfully try to sell you scales and measuring cups and recipe books, but will warn you in explicit terms not to buy the WW brand foodstuffs, because of all the salt.

    The second time I was on WW, the leader was someone who’d made a full-time job of it. Which was pretty funny now I think about. She’d started WW because her boyfriend made her, but now WW is her life and she has no boyfriend. Not quite what the program’s supposed to do, but hey. The important point is, she spent a lot of time searching out hints, tips, and tricks, and searching out nutritional information. I actually did learn a lot from her about eating a healthy, balanced diet containing a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. The only problem was the portions were too goddamn small.

    But yeah, she was the one who taught me how to cook spaghetti squash. She also had a recipe for vegetable “lasagna” which I need to make again. I’ve half forgotten the recipe, though. You roast eggplant, red pepper, and onion, and then layer it with ricotta and bake again. I think I’m forgetting something else in there, because that sounds like it would be dry as hell. Good stuff.

    I don’t drink Crystal Light any more because my husband can’t stand the aftertaste for artificial sweeteners, and at some point I started being able to taste it too, but back in college it was my posh drink, when I was rich or when Mom bought some treats for me. Most of the time I’d buy unsweetened koolaid and steal packages of nutrisweet from the dorm cafeteria.

    I can’t stand cottage cheese, which is weird because I love every other kind of cheese, but my mother used to have it for breakfast all the time, with canned pineapple. I’ll have to ask her if she ever tried it with tuna fish.

  320. When I was kid I loved Tab, Diet Coke, rice cakes, prunes and cottage cheese. The diet foods I especially like now are Crystal Light (the only diet drink I can stand now), mixed greens and spinach salads, vegetables of all kinds, fruit, Special K (although I have to eat like 3 bowls of it) and oatmeal with milk and raisins. I also used to drink Slim Fast shakes as a snack. I especially liked the strawberry and chocolate ones.

  321. My aunt makes THE BEST German cabbage coleslaw. It’s delicious and my mom actually fought my other aunt for the leftover bit last time we had a family gathering. Yes, it’s that good. And the longer it sits, the better it gets. Honestly, I dislike my aunt (for her racist, homophobic, shallow ideas), but I’ll keep her around for the ‘slaw. It’s not really a diet food (cabbage is, but not the slaw, really) but my aunt would rave about how the vinegar and cabbage helped her lose weight. *eyeroll*

    Also, granola bars…. ‘nough said.

  322. I encountered it first as tripping food

    *giggle* you and I seem to have different definitions of “tripping food.” ;)

    I love:
    Rice cakes with cottage cheese (here in Israel they have a cottage cheese with garlic chunks mmm…) or hummus
    Green shakes
    Grilled tofu
    Diet Coke and Crystal Light (I love the grapefruit flavor, actually)

    A suggestion for Shapelings who like oatmeal and coffee: my dad and I make our oatmeal WITH coffee subbed in for the water and/or milk and it’s incredibly delicious.

  323. Oatmeal made with coffee? That sounds simultaneously awesome and disgusting. I must try that tomorrow. Does the oatmeal taste coffee-ish? I’m not sure if I’d love that or hate it, which means I’ve *got* to try this.

  324. It does taste coffeeish, but in a way that really compliments the oatmeal, I think. But I also REALLY love coffee.

  325. I have been vegan for about 2 months, vegetarian for almost 2 years, and have been exploding with veggie delights.

    Recently we have been experimenting with all kinds of varieties of textured vegetable protein (TVP) in every way we can possibly imagine. Gah that stuff is so effing good. And lately, too, just making basic salads with romaine lettuce, lime juice, and cilantro (adding in whatever other salady thing is lying around) as well as making grilled stuffed burritos with lots of homemade pico de gallo.

    I just like to talk about foodz. So any excuse, I take it. :D And I must try the coffee-oatmeal. Just found a fantastico vegan oatmeal chocolate peanutbutter no-bake cookie recipe that is like cookie-crack.

  326. “I encountered it first as tripping food

    *giggle* you and I seem to have different definitions of “tripping food.” ;)”

    Sorry if I’m overposting, but this just made me LOL and then think about magic spaghetti, which I am just realizing is TOTALLY VEGAN

  327. Oh, also, I have to agree that rice cakes get a bad rap. They’re nice and crunchy, especially with some black bean, cheese, and salsa on top. Lovely!

  328. I didn’t start to like “diet” or “healthy” foods until I rejected the good/bad food dichotomy and this strange thing happened — I began to see foods’ actual merits rather than their association with suffering and judgment.

    Some foods that I really adore now: broccoli, carrots, whole grain bread with nuts and seeds, really good salads, raw almonds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, raw garlic, yogurt (non-candified version,) lentils, spinach, asparagus, brown rice, plain meat (i.e. without sauce)…

    It’s interesting to see my kids, who have grown up blissfully unaware of the practice of assigning moral value to food, innocently choose these kinds of foods just because they like them.

  329. spuffyduds – that poem is fantastic. (I’ve long had a Persephone archetype thing going on, although not quite in the conventional reading of the myth…your version has a lot more oomph.)

    It’s a long time since I’ve eaten a pomegranate. A workmate offered me a piece of hers one lunchtime, and another colleague walked in and stared at us…that was when we realized we had juice all over the place. We looked like we’d had some kind of horrific stapler accident.

    Oh yes…having the Presidents of the USA song on here in the background reminds me…probably not a diet food but what the heck, another fruit…donut peaches. I tried them for the first time in the US last year, and they’re even juicier and nommier than the normal kind.

  330. Baked Doritos. I’m not a fan of regular Doritos, but I enjoy the baked ones when I’m needing a fake orange cheez fix.

  331. Peaches! I found good peaches at the end of the summer for super cheap, and I ate nothing but peaches with cream and cinnamon sprinkled on top for like a week (ok the cream probably negates the “health food” aspect, but it was still peaches). I also adore pomegranates and pomegranate juice. Cranberry juice is great too, but I have to watch that or my digestive system starts complaining.

    Other fruit is good too — apples are a pretty common thing for me, and once I had a an assignment to avoid corn syrup for a week and discovered just how well apples go with a chunk of good sharp cheddar. Heaven.

    Baby spinach with strawberries, candied walnuts, feta, and vinaigrette is about my favorite salad ever. For an everyday salad, iceberg is okay but it has to be fresh (I actually rather liked with the southern wedge-style serving, where you pick it up with your fingers). I love romaine.

    My husband does Japanese food quite well, so I love the lighter foods: miso soup, good ramen, rice balls. Tempura and Kats are good too, but sometimes they’re just a bit too oily for me when done at home. I LOVE love love love good sushi.

    One of my favorite breakfast foods is granola mixed with yogurt, esp. if the granola has almonds. Yummy!

  332. I love celery with all my heart OMG. Also most vegetables, and I steam practically everything or maybe saute it in olive oil. Ack! Ack! Healthy food! — Or, you know, vegetables that taste like vegetables and not mush.

    My husband just bought a container of Slow Churned Half Fat (no flavor?) Moose Tracks (ice cream), which I haven’t tried yet. He didn’t buy it on purpose; he thought I’d like some Moose Tracks but didn’t read the packaging, like, at all. *sigh*

    Oh, and the 25% less sugar Quaker Granola Bars are basically standard granola bars where they left out 25% of the corn syrup. They taste and feel fine to me, which makes me think that they’re using 25% (ok, 33%) more corn syrup than they really need in the full-sugar version. (We also discovered that thanks to his lack of reading labels.)

  333. Tripping food = what you eat while on a canoe trip.

    I’m so hopelessly square. But then, I knew this after posting on my blog about my daughter eating Big Fatties – which are (obviously!) large chunks of apple.

  334. I’m curious about the flip side of which diet foods people still can’t stand even though they know intellectually they’re probably perfectly fine. I’ve never been able to bring myself to try cottage cheese, for instance – something about the texture weirds me the hell out, and I can only picture it on sad little plates with a piece of wilted lettuce and some canned fruit.

  335. @Rebecca V., I’ve sometimes roasted lengthwise slices of eggplant and used them as substitutes for noodles in lasagna. It’s not bad, and a good way to use up an excess of eggplant. What’s missing from your memory, I suspect, is a tomato-based sauce. I usually use bottled arabiatta sauce, unless I’ve also got an excess of tomatoes.

    Come to think of it, it should be possible to use sliced, roast summer squashes the same way … *eyes enormous bag of crooknecks in the fridge* …..

  336. Eggplant instead of lasagna noodles isn’t too far off from moussaka, though when I make that I adjust the spices, leave out the cheese, and top with bechamel sauce. But I would imagine it’s a sound dish either way.

  337. LilahMorgan, cottage cheese evokes nothing but WTF? from me. I don’t get, I don’t want to go near it, I have no comprehension. Lots of people I know say it’s lovely, and I’m sure it is to them, but never. Never never never. Rrgh.

  338. I’ve never been able to bring myself to try cottage cheese, for instance – something about the texture weirds me the hell out

    I’ve never liked cottage cheese either, since I was little. The texture never sat well with me initially, but then when I learned about yeast infections as a young teenager, the discharge was described as “resembling cottage cheese,” and I thought OKAY YEAH EW. Yuck- have never been able to shake that.

  339. Special K…my father told me the K was for my name so I’ve been eating it since I was a kid. I’m annoyed that it gets priced up as a diet food and that I have to read about the Special K diet on the back of every box. (Srsly, it’s a diet because they recommend eating what I consider extremely small portions, less than half the size I eat for one meal each day, for two meals a day. Of course you’ll probably lose weight that way. But you’ll also probably be unhappy and hungry all the time.)

  340. I’m curious about the flip side of which diet foods people still can’t stand even though they know intellectually they’re probably perfectly fine.

    I can’t abide meat analogues. Even when the flavor isn’t that bad, as with Soyrizo, the texture gives me the heebie-jeebies. The only veggie burgers I’ve ever liked were made mostly from chickpeas and beans, and really tasted more like extra-big, very mildly spiced falafel.

  341. Lentils! I love lentils. Lentils with rice, with just a little bit of cumin and oregano, lentil vegan burgers and even lentil soup. I’ve seen they’re the new “hip thing” but I’ve been eating them since I was a baby. Brown rice and whole grain bread as well, since I’m on grains

    I like dairy-free rice cakes as well, preferably with a small sprinkling of brown sugar or enough peanut butter to satiate my peanut butterholism.

    Corn flakes are another favorite of mine, with or without rice/hempmilk. Fruit of any type is preferable to cooked food to me. Give me a guava any day over cooked food. I also like stir-fries and almost all vegetables (eggplant is my only true hatred).

    Really anything that’s labeled as vegan I like as well. I’m a bit of a happy little garbage disposal. XD

  342. I’m curious about the flip side of which diet foods people still can’t stand even though they know intellectually they’re probably perfectly fine.

    I don’t know if this counts, but thanks to the various diets I’ve been on over my life I get sick at the mere idea of eating canned tuna or raw carrots. Occassionally I go back to carrots because I used to love them, but I find the only way I can eat them now is covered in Hummus or dip of some kind.

    But canned tuna…ick.

  343. Cottage cheese is really yummy with dried fruit: Calimyrna figs, mostly (the golden colored ones; tear the figs in half and put a spoonful of cottage cheese on each one) but in a pinch Mission figs or apricots will do.

  344. I’m curious about the flip side of which diet foods people still can’t stand even though they know intellectually they’re probably perfectly fine.

    I am incredibly picky about salads, and usually have to make them myself. I love salad when I do them, but it’s like I don’t trust the motives of your average restaurant “healthy” salad choice.

    Well, actually, I think that’s it: the restaurants who wouldn’t dream of marketing a choice as the ‘healthy’ option? They’re more trustworthy…

  345. Sarah B, I’m with you on the raw carrots; I will be surprised if I ever willingly eat another raw baby carrot again, dip or no. But I still love them cooked!

    And I tried spaghetti squash for the first time this evening thanks to this thread, with some parmesan cheese and butter; nom, and also highly entertaining.

  346. RE The flip side and foods you’ve never been able to eat since they were introduced to you as diet foods, I’m another one who can’t stand cottage cheese. In theory I suppose there’s nothing wrong with it, but the texture bothers me, and I associate it with this sort of painfully abstentious period my mother went through where she was clearly getting no pleasure out of food at all (ie. she was eating cottage cheese instead of the chedder, cheshire and double gloucester she really wanted). To me it looks and tastes like deprivation, basically, and I can’t seem to shake that mental association.

    Also seconding Arwen’s comments about salads and restaurants. Whenever restaurants offer salads as a “healthy option” they’re usually bland and boring. But the local Mexican place that offers a grilled beef salad with black beans, romaine and tons of fresh salsa? Yes please.

  347. I’m so (like 3 days) late to the thread, but am immensely grateful for SM’s acknowledgement of my concerns, and embarrassed that my little comment became a thread of it’s own! Thank you, thank you very much for this space, and the open, non-threatning discussions going on. There’s so much more I want to say but don’t know how to express it adequately here, so I’ll just say thank you again, and go back to lurking.

  348. I’ve sometimes roasted lengthwise slices of eggplant and used them as substitutes for noodles in lasagna. It’s not bad, and a good way to use up an excess of eggplant.

    I find this to be better than noodle lasagna if you fry the eggplant slices with parmesan breading on them. It is even better if you replace the breadcrumbs in the breading mixture with pecan-meal.

  349. @living400lbs: How odd. I wonder how I missed that? Wikipedia says they changed to aspertame in 1985, which was when I was a little kid… I guess I wasn’t good at reading labels when I was 15ish! I stopped drinking Fresca before I started having reactions to artificial sweeteners, so it seems that I just had no idea and my memories conflated ‘no sugar’ with ‘no sweeteners’. Thanks for setting me straight.

  350. Count me in on the Fresca, rice cakes, brussels sprouts, and lentils train. Mmmmmmm.

    I also love bran flakes with skim milk, which is odd because I HATE low-fat/fat-free dairy products in general. You know those little cream packets on the tables in restaurants? Yeah, I will drink those straight up. The worst is when I go out with my friend J, because she does the same thing and we end up fighting over them.

  351. And I tried spaghetti squash for the first time this evening thanks to this thread, with some parmesan cheese and butter; nom, and also highly entertaining.

    It’s also good with grilled chicken and alfredo sauce. And it is entertaining to scrape it out, isn’t it?

    *goes to add spaghetti squash to shopping list*

  352. I always assumed that “lite” pancake syrup was full of fake sweeteners, but it turns out that the only difference between it and real syrup is that the lite syrup is made with sugar syrup instead of corn. Who knew? I also found out through label reading that the “light and fit” brand of jam at my grocery store is surprisingly free of fake sweetener. They just use fruit, sugar and pectin. Their black currant jelly is so good I want to have its baby.

  353. I’m annoyed that it gets priced up as a diet food and that I have to read about the Special K diet on the back of every box. (Srsly, it’s a diet because they recommend eating what I consider extremely small portions, less than half the size I eat for one meal each day, for two meals a day. Of course you’ll probably lose weight that way. But you’ll also probably be unhappy and hungry all the time.)

    Fuck. Yes.

    I love the hell out of Special K. It’s the best cereal ever. I don’t even need milk, I’ll eat it dry out of the box.

    When I was a kid, I fell in love with rice cakes during my annual summer diet. (I was 9) I’d get two rice cakes, with the intention of eating them plain, and then promptly shmear them with Country Crock. So good.

  354. I am a vegetable lover – almost every one I’ve ever eaten, prepared in almost every way. Hell, as a kid when we had frozen veggies with dinner, i was the one who wanted everyone else’s lima beans. I don’t know where I get it from, because no one else in my family is like that. Oh man, and V8. I always forget how much I love it, and then I see someone drinking it and want to steal it from them. And pomegranates are great! I used to eat them all the time when I had trees. Now it’s just a couple per season (and I always make a disastrous mess trying to eat the ones from the store. The pith is so thin! I cut right into the seeds, oops).

    For people who miss cottage cheese but are lactose intolerant (as long as that’s actually the reason you can’t eat it anymore, not a dairy allergy), the dry curd pressed cottage cheese is very tasty. I used to love to crumble half a pack of it into a bowl, put blueberries and/or sliced bananas on it, and drizzle [a lot of] honey over the top of the whole thing for a delicious dessert.

    And I’ll second (third?) the people upthread who said that if you don’t buy commercial yogurt because of lactose or sweetener limitations/tastes, it is super easy to make it yourself. And then you can control the lactose content, the cultures, and the sweeteners and flavors yourself. Soy yogurt is even easier to make and is really tasty, if you like/tolerate soy. I am happy to share my very experienced yogurt-making advice with anyone who wants it!

    Wait, pickles are a diet food? I thought they were just… heaven food.

    Oh oh! Carob! I love it! And I also love chocolate. I just don’t think of carob as a substitute. It’s its own delicious fruity earthy beany thing. In fact, you know what sounds delicious? Brownies with carob chips.

  355. On the cottage cheese front: I love it, but one of my friends started eating it as a dip for nacho cheese Doritoes, and there I draw the line! Three or four others in our group of friends have gotten hooked on it as well. Since they’re neither pregnant nor stoned, I have no explaination.

  356. @JoGeek:

    Heh. I really like dumping half a bag of bisli (this Israeli snack food that which is sort of like a chip but more soy-y) into cottage cheese, so I can probably hand with your friends.

    When I evangelize this to other friends they invariably ask if I was drunk when I ate it.

  357. Ken’s Steakhouse low fat Caesar dressing. YUM! I cut up tomatoes, cucumbers, and green onions, toss in some crumbled feta, and then top it all with that dressing. Zesty and delicious!

  358. Oh, I forgot- prunes. Over Rosh Hashana my mom and I made this great dessert that was stewed prunes in a wine syrup- it was SO GOOD, barely sweet at all and almost like pudding. That definitely took away their usual connotation in a wonderful way.

  359. @Volcanista – please share your excellent yoghurt-making advice!

    Aside from that I have nothing to add – everyone pretty much covered it already! Although this thread has resulted in my having a mango smoothie for lunch today – om nom nom.

  360. I love nearly all fruits and vegetables, plus fish.

    I prefer the taste of low fat milk in my coffee. Not non-fat milk but 1% or 2% is perfect. Whole milk or half-and-half or cream just tastes wrong to me – it’s too greasy and overpowers the coffee. It’s very much an American custom to put cream in coffee and I see half-and-half as low-fat cream, rather than akin to milk. I used to live in the UK and semi-skimmed milk is standard in most cafes there so I guess that’s what I’m used to.

  361. Ooh, figs with cottage cheese, yes indeed. Fresh figs, roasted or grilled briefly, cottage cheese and honey!

    Someone mentioned water, which I totally forgot before. I drink lots of plain old water and people tell me I’m being “good”. Nope, just thirsty and that’s what I’d rather drink most of the time. And I hate artificial sweeteners. I won’t touch diet coke – or real coke or other colas. Way too sweet for me.

    @Lauredhel: I think Tiro is not on the Nestle list. Tiro pink grapefruit is my rare soft drink of choice.

  362. I seem to recall from my dieting days that pickles were okay to eat whenever – they were tagged a “free” food because the calorie content was so minimal. Like how it was cool to have as much mustard as you wanted because mustard was a “free” food.

  363. Oh yes carob! My boyfriend assures me that it’s even better fresh off the tree, which they grow ornamentally in the deserty sorts of places that carob grows. I’ll buy unsweetened carob chips just to snack on.

    Ooo…and it occurs to me, that might be a really good variation on mole sauce. It has that astringent thing going on that would be decadent on chicken with some cinnamon and pepper in it.

  364. Okay, instructions on how to make yogurt. You need to have a means of incubating it, which is the hardest part. That’s all an electric yogurt maker is doing, though, and you can rig something in your kitchen that accomplishes the same thing. Some ovens can be cracked open with the lightbulb on, and the bulb is hot enough to keep it in the right temperature range. I used to use a single electric burner on the countertop and a big pot as a water bath, with a candy thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature. You want it in the 100-110ºF range. Hotter will kill it, cooler will deactivate the cultures. You can probably go up to 115 without doing much damage (some yogurt makers operate that hot), but I’d keep it a little lower if you can.

    The real trick to good yogurt is the fat content. Use half-and-half if you’re in the U.S., for serious. If you’re overseas and the milk is microfiltered instead of pasteurized, whole milk is fatty enough to make a pretty good yogurt (plus you get some great flavors in the different seasons. The grass-grazing-season yogurt tasted all cheesy! In a good way!). But I don’t like going down to whole milk in the U.S., and certainly nothing lower-fat than that. It’s really disgusting — you might not realize just how much emulsifier and sweetener commercial yogurt makers have to use to make low-fat yogurt pallatable. And look for milk that is not ultra-pasteurized (no small task when you’re shopping for half-and-half in this country, so you might need to try a store like Whole Foods or a health food co-op or something). The other important part is the cultures. I like to use the Yogourmet freeze-dried packets, which sometimes health food stores will carry. If they don’t, you might be able to order them online. I would use two packets per quart, IIRC, and usually I made 2 quarts at a time. The yogurt keeps for 2-3 weeks in a normal fridge, but I never use old yogurt as my next starter, because it just doesn’t survive well enough to be good beyond a couple batches. In a pinch I would buy commercial yogurt with live cultures, if I could find something with minimal sweetener and high fat content, and then it was something like 4 T of yogurt per quart of milk as a starter? I think? Anyway, I like to use culture starters with acidophilus, thermophilis, and bulgaricus.

    Basic steps:
    1. Boil milk on the stove, stirring so it doesn’t stick or burn. Some people use a double boiler so they don’t have to stir so much. This step is a pain, but you can’t skip it, because this is where you kill the bacteria from the air/milk container/etc. that you don’t want growing. I tried skipping it once. ew.
    2. Let it cool back down to ~100º. You can speed this up in the fridge but it uses a lot of energy. This step is critically important — if it’s too hot you’ll kill the good bacteria.
    3. Skim the skin off the top if there is one, unless you’re the kind of person who likes that kind of thing, but I think it’s gross.
    4. Mix culture into a cup or two of the milk to make a paste, and then mix that into the entire batch so it ends up pretty well distributed. If you have some little clumps of culture it’s okay.
    5. Transfer to your incubator. Keep at ~100º-110º. You’ll have yogurt after a good 5 hours or so. Very low lactose content is reached after about 12 hours (though it’s probably not ever quite zero), and maximum culture count is between 24-30 hours. After 30 the cultures start to drop off so you’ll want to stop it. I’d wait to sweeten or flavor until after it’s done, particularly if you’re concerned about lactose content, because you might not want to upset the balance of what the bugs are eating.

    If you like yogurt cheese, you can layer some cheesecloth in a strainer or collander and let the finished yogurt drip for a while. It comes out like a yogurty sour cream. (You can also accomplish this by just using cream instead of half and half. It’s much more like a cheese that way.) With soy yogurt you’ll definitely want to drip it, because the fat content is much lower so it comes out watery and you need to filter off some of the whey. Soy yogurt needs less culture and less time – maybe 4-5 hours? – but you need to add some sugar or honey to start it off (1-2 T, I’d say) because the sugar content is too low for the bugs to live on otherwise. It’s tasty, though — really mild and nutty. Almond milk yogurt is also delicious.

  365. Volcanista, my mom makes yogurt at home using a plug-in heating pad (the same kind as you’d use for back pain, etc), and store-bought active culture yogurt for a starter. It’s yummy! Hers turns out runnier than store-bought American yogurt, and I stir in agave nectar to sweeten it. Sometimes I add nuts too.

    One of these days I’ll make my own instead of just eating hers up all the time. :-)

  366. If it’s runny, she might want to try a higher fat content. But if it’s separating a lot (and you don’t like decanting off the whey or mixing it back in), that’s usually more an issue of the kind of culture you’re using, IME.

  367. I don’t know what fat content is in the milk, though I think the yogurt starter is full-fat. It doesn’t separate, though–it’s consistent in its runniness. :-)

  368. I actually prefer reduced fat Triscuits to regular Triscuits if I’m having them with cheese. (And is there any other way to have them?) I don’t need my crackers to be super-oily if I’m basically topping them with (better-flavored) fat, and the regular triscuits will actually make my hands feel slightly oily.

  369. Also: I like the “30% less fat!” big green avocados better than the small, green-black avocados. The smaller ones are not as sweet and remind me of egg yolk. I like egg yolk, but I guess it’s somehow unnerving to me to eat a vegetable that tastes like egg yolk. (Not unnerving enough to keep me from eating the black kind if that’s the only kind available, though.)

  370. No, I mean the milk itself. Whole milk is a little runny, lower fat milk is even worse. That’s why I like half and half the best — the texture is just perfect!

    I am surprised to hear that avocados are considered diet food!

  371. Butternut squash. Fantastic in cake; nicer than carrot to my mind.

    I like 0% fat Greek yoghurt, but only the Total brand. I eat a medium-sized pot pretty much every day. I prefer it to the 2% one.

  372. Oh, and muesli. I sometimes eat a big bowl for dinner. Is that considered a “diet” food? I remember my dad mocking it as “rabbit food”, but it must be quite high-energy — oats and dried fruit and all that.

    Watercress soup! Lettuce soup! Yum. I eat all these diet things and I’ve never been on a diet…

  373. I am way late to this party, but I loooooove Acai berries/Acai juice/saying the word “Acai,” despite the recent weight-loss hype. Also, fresh-brewed iced green tea. Mmmm.

  374. Pickles, plain popcorn, cucumbers/carrots/jicama with lime juice and salt ( a traditional Mexican summer time/street treat), V8 juice, fruit, frozen grapes, seltzer with lime juice or bitters drops, angel food cake.

  375. As one of Mediterranean descent, raised on that food, I can honestly say that no one from my mothers region would ever consider it appropriation. On the contrary, they tend to LOVE feeding people their food; it’s part of the culture. You’ll offend us if we offer you food and you turn it down. Even I feel that offense, though I was raised in the states, when an Anglo friend says, “No thanks I just ate” It is not rational, but, cultural.
    The fact that the ingredients work together to improve or maintain good health is not a coincidence. Add Oregano to meat, it’s anti-bacterial properties are important. Eat greens with lemon and EVGO, the vit. C aids absorption of minerals and the Olive oil is good for heart, hair, skin, nails….etc, etc.
    Do you think of Democracy, philosophy, etc. as appropriation too?
    As a Greek -American, I’m curios.

    p.s. until recently (hello E.U. and U.S. influence) obesity was extremely rare in Greece.

  376. Not sure just how “diet” it might be, but…

    Plain yoghurt, not on its own, but mixed with things. I find it a bit to tart for my taste by itself, but mixed with salsa, topping a baked potato, or anywhere else a “normal” person might use sour cream? Perfect :) btw, I’ve never been on a diet in my life, being a young guy with one of the highest metabolisms I’ve ever seen, but that’s something I picked up from a Mormon friend who needed to find inventive ways to use food that was about to go bad.

  377. Sorry, hadn’t realized in my other 2 posts that I wasn’t the only Becky here. Name-changing now to avoid teh confuzions.

    @Jane: Belladonnas, which are relatives of deadly nightshade, include tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and potatoes. FJ, I’m so so sorry.

    “Diet” foods that I love love love (other people have covered most of them, so I’ll just hit the highlights):

    Fresh tomatoes


    Hummus, which I make out of pretty much whatever pulse or legume is handy — edamame hummus rocks, and my latest thing is purplehull pea hummus, which is a funny color but very creamy

    Sugar snap peas

    lightly steamed asparagus

    fruit (almost any, but I’m especially feeling the pomegranate love as the weather’s turning cool and the season is upon us)

    Plain yogurt, preferably home-made: on its own, with my mother-in-law’s red plum jam stirred in, with honey, in tzatziki (for those who prefer Greek yogurt, you can strain the regular stuff through cheesecloth)

    Frozen peas, frozen grapes, frozen bananas

    Roasted okra (people tend to assume I roast it for dietary reasons: I roast it
    because I’m too damn lazy to deep-fry it)

    Never managed to like celery; it makes my lips go numb. (Nothing else, just my lips.)

    And I feel kind of embarassed to like Diet Pepsi (also Diet Coke, but not as much), because it seems like such a stereotypical self-apologetic fat girl thing, but I do like it. (More specifically, I like the caffeine — I can’t stand coffee — and I like the absence of the yeast infections I get when I drink the regular stuff.)

  378. p.s. until recently (hello E.U. and U.S. influence) obesity was extremely rare in Greece.

    Oh really? Sources please.

  379. (hello E.U. and U.S. influence)

    Um… hi?

    @ T: Even if what you’re saying about “Greeks are fatter now OMG!” were actually true, what makes you automatically blame the EU and US influences? It occurs to me that older generations in Greece (and other cultures who suffered noticeable deprivation during and after both world wars), might actually have the nerve to still see fat babies and fat children as healthy.

  380. Like many others, the cottage cheese, but full-fat only (and small curds please. none of this “smooth and creamy” crap), with or without fresh fruit.

    raw veggies like carrots and celery and fennel and jicama, although I really don’t eat them enough.

    I can drink skim or lowfat milk interchangeably with fullfat; in fact usually prefer no more than 2% for drinking straight.

    Lately I’ve taken to Wasa crispbread, with or without some not-particularly-dietetic smoked salmon on top.

    every so often, something like plain boiled chicken over steamed rice, with maybe a bit of ginger or garlic puree or something.

    Generally though I must confess I do go for the fat, especially the dairy fat. Spinach, for instance, I love, but ideally creamed.

  381. oh, and I think Korean food like bibimbap is perhaps fairly good for one? particularly when it’s not got much meat in it, which it usually doesn’t? I had the most delicious version some weeks ago, with just about every form of veggie in both the mixture and in the kimchee on the side. Spinach with garlic, bean sprouts, little cubes of sweet potato, crunchy vegetables of some sort, black “hair vegetable” and/or seaweed, carrot slivers, spicy cabbage of course…with the rice and just enough protein via the egg and the beed slivers to pull it all together. So good! I wish that place were nearer to where I live…

  382. Lettuce! I actually *like* iceberg lettuce, though it is apparently of the devil. I hate field greens with a fiery passion. They are bitter and not crunchy. A pox on them, I say.


    of course iceberg really works best as a vehicle for creamy salad dressings, so there is that.

  383. I’m probably echoing someone else, but OMG EDAMAME NOMNOMNOM. We get these packages from Sam’s Club that have like 8 individual containers of them in it. They’re microwaveable and awesome, and if I make them when my son’s awake, I usually have to make two because he loves them too.

    Also, sushi. I guess it’s kind of diet, or whatever, but it’s SO DAMN GOOD. I could eat it for a month and not get tired of it, I think.

    I also drink diet soda (when I drink soda) because I’m trying to cut down my sugar; it makes me fatigued and I hurt more when I have too much sugar.

    Let’s see, what else. Oh, we get some sort of special butter, it tastes good and has some health benefits.

    OH! And I discovered these amazing little bags of frozen veggies that you can steam in-bag in the microwave, and they are AWESOME. I put some adobo on it (it’s a Mexican spice blend, delicious!) and again, I have to eat fast or my son will steal it all! Matter of fact, I was really proud last night, because we had chicken nuggets (that were actually pretty healthy; I picked them out and didn’t realize until we got home how few ingredients there are) and a steamed veggie blend, and he actually ignored the chicken after he tasted the veggies, and kept asking for more. And I’m also proud of me, because I didn’t tell him to eat them because they were good for him! I asked him if they were good and he said, “Mommy, beggies are AWESOME.” The steaming bags are the perfect size for two (I’m sure it says 4 servings, but WHATEVER), so we’re finally getting yummy veggies!

    Also, sugar snap peas. Raw or cooked, I don’t care, just gimme!

    Most stir-fries are delicious, and so easy. (Easy is important; I have limited use of my hands, some days less than others, so if food is to be made, it must be easy.)

    Spinach. But only raw; cooked is too slimy for me.

    Soy milk is also delicious, especially chocolate. It’s just too expensive to get for more than my husband, so the kidling and I tend to use the 2%.

    Oh, green tea! It’s supposed to be really good for you, but it’s really refreshing. I love it iced or hot, though I rarely have it hot, between my hands and chasing a two year old. :P

    Frozen fruit bars, too. One of the many things my husband has introduced me to; he likes eating “healthy” but he won’t sacrifice taste. And turkey bacon. He doesn’t eat pork, so we’re forever using turkey bacon and having turkey hot dogs, etc.

    Another favorite is miso soup! Especially with the seaweed and tofu in it. Very much a comfort food.

    I think I’ll make a journal entry from this. :)

  384. @Kitrona (and anyone else who likes green tea): I love it too, hot or cold; for cold green tea, I usually make refrigerator tea: 2 tea bags for every 3 cups of water & leave it in the fridge overnight. So much easier than making hot tea and chilling it, and so much cheaper than buying it in bottles.

  385. Did anyone mention grilled cheese (sometimes it just has to come with dill pickles) and tomato soup–Campbell’s, of course. This is my go-to comfort food! And you can’t use skim milk when you make the soup, either!

  386. BROCCOLI. I love broccoli so much. I substitute broccoli for french fries any time I’m getting a sandwich at a casual eating restaurant. My grandmother thinks it’s because I’m “such a good healthy eater” (she often expresses surprise at my continued fatness since I have an incredibly physical job & am vegetarian), but in reality it’s because I love the hell out of broccoli. So does my 3-year-old.

    Spinach too, but I love it most with bacon and bacon is The Ultimate Fatty Food, so maybe that’s out.

  387. Green tea. My mom always keeps a tea canister full of loose leaf green tea, and drinking it reminds me of my grandparents, and helps with paternal-homeland-homesickness.

    What else… Mangosteens. When the season comes along I can buy up to 10kg of them and have them as snacks over the course of a few days. Tropical fruits like rambutans, durians, lychees, longans and of course mangosteens are what I miss the most being in America.

    Salmon. My dad sends over these tinned salmon – I’m not sure how they are cooked, but they’re so good with rice, or mixed with some kewpie mayo and eaten on top of toast. Regular salmon – in soup, grilled, raw, all delicious <3


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