I have to share my amazing new discovery, Fitlife Foods. I kept passing their location on N. Dale Mabry (just south of Bearss) on my way to Jenny Craig (yes, yours truly is a Jenny Craig member), so when I saw an ad I finally checked out their website. Fitlife Foods sells freshly prepared, ready-to-eat meals that are portion controlled, low in saturated fats, have a low glycemic index, and all kinds of other good-for-you stats (check them out here). I’m a Jenny Craig supporter, don’t get me wrong. As far as mass-market diets go, I think it’s the best (Consumer Reports agrees). But a recent check-up persuaded me I needed to be eating less refined flour and sugar, and Jenny Craig foods are prepared for a very broad market, meaning potatoes with several of their meals, plus not enough whole grains for my liking. I was already looking for other options when I saw an ad for Fitlife Foods.
At this point, you may be wondering why I don’t cook for myself. I’ll fill you in. First of all, I’m pretty busy. I work full-time and go to school part-time, which is like another full-time job when you add in all the time I spend studying, driving to campus, etc. Second, my hubby is not a fan of a lot of the healthier things I like to eat (veggies, beans, etc.). Cooking for two people is bad enough but cooking for one (and then cooking something else for another one) is a drag. Third, I really do need help in the portion control department. If I only have one helping of something available, I can’t overeat.
My first visit was Saturday afternoon. For myself I got the Tampa BBQ beef with mac & cheese ($8.45, medium), vegetable lo mein ($5.95, one size), and a bagel sandwich ($5.45). For Hubby I got the large mac & cheese ($2.95), chicken tacos ($6.45, one size), and pancakes ($3.65, one size). To share I got us a brownie ($1.45) and chocolate chip cookies ($1.95 for 2), plus I got a synergy fruit bar ($2.45) and a “NEWtrigrain” bar ($2.45).
Let me break it down for you: the food is delicious. And the portions are huge! I cannot figure out how they do it but the chefs there must be geniuses.
My BBQ beef was so tender, I couldn’t believe it. The sauce had dry mustard in it that gave it real tang and depth. The mac & cheese (which has a hidden veggie in it, cauliflower if I had to guess) was really good, just not salty enough for me, so I added a little and it was great. The bonus was that I accidentally picked up a medium (meant to get a small), so I had enough to split it in half and share with my mom. She really liked it, too.
The vegetable lo mein was excellent. I loved that they put in some cabbage and shredded carrots, versus relying on the old stir-fry stand-bys of broccoli and bell peppers. Instead of using lo mein noodles (which are very high in calories and fat) they use whole-grain fettucine. Very filling. I added some sriracha since I like things spicy and that really took it up a notch for me.
The bagel sandwich was the biggest surprise for me. I thought for sure it would be soggy from sitting for a few days but it really held up well. They use a whole-grain thin bagel and fill it with bacon (probably turkey bacon) and a 3:1 ratio of egg whites to whole eggs scrambled with broccoli, asparagus, and spinach. The bagel sandwich is served with salsa and an orange wedge.
The brownie was too good to only have 140 calories. I really don’t know how they do it. The NEWtrigrain bar was yummy and satisfying. I ate it before class on Tuesday about 6 pm with a cup of coffee and it kept me going until I got home and ate dinner about 9:15.
Last night I stopped in for a few more things. I haven’t tried them all but I want to comment on two things.
First, I got the small Tampa BBQ beef with mac & cheese ($6.95). The portion was so large (for 330 calories), I had trouble finishing it. Next time I’ll get a medium again and give half to my mom, or eat the other half later. Also, this batch of mac & cheese was saltier than the first batch I had, so taste before you salt.
Second, I just had the pancakes for the first time (330 calories). OH MY GOD. They are the best pancakes I’ve ever had. But I will warn you they aren’t for everyone, for two reasons: 1) they are very wheat-y (unlike what comes out of the Bisquick box), and 2) they have golden raisins in them. I’m not a regular raisin fan but I love golden raisins and they go perfectly with the texture and flavor of the pancakes for me. The pancakes are dusted with chopped pecan and served with syrup and an orange wedge. I ate a solid hour ago and I’m still full. They stick with you.
Fitlife food is so delicious and satisfying, it must be made by alchemists. I will still keep Jenny Craig food on-hand (it lasts a long time since it’s frozen and their chicken fajitas are the best!) but my new go-to meal source is Fitlife.