Because Healthy Food Shouldn't Feel Like a Compromise
Counting calories and cutting entire food groups from your life aren't anybody's idea of fun, which is why Weight Watchers continues to be a leader in weight management. The company's current "SmartPoints" program assigns points to foods, with healthy fruits and vegetables using up no points and lean meats accounting for very few. Foods high in sugars and saturated fats use up more points. It's an easy system to work with: You have daily and weekly points totals, and you can eat anything you like as long as your total points stay within those limits. Pork tenderloin is exactly the kind of versatile, very lean protein the program emphasizes. These three recipes are easy and delicious, and they are a pleasant change from fish or chicken.
1. Marinated and Grilled Tenderloin: 4 SmartPoints
Slice the uncooked tenderloin on a long diagonal, as if it were a baguette, to give this small, round cut a big cooking surface. Marinate the pork for a few hours in white wine and olive oil with fresh herbs and spices, and then pat it dry and grill for a few minutes over high heat until it's done. Your actual hands-on prep time is minimal, and the finished pork will go beautifully with a crisp salad or a vegetable-centric grain pilaf.
2. Crock-Pot Balsamic Pork Tenderloin: 5 SmartPoints
Most recipes for pork tenderloin cook it quickly at high temperature, but you can also simmer it slowly in your Crock-Pot for a meal that's ready when you get home. Cover the tenderloin with a tangy and savory mix of balsamic vinegar, honey, soy and Worcestershire sauces and other seasonings to taste, with a splash of water to keep the flavors from being overpowering. Cook for 5 to 6 hours on low, and then slice thinly and serve over rice.
3. Roasted or Broiled Pork Tenderloin: 3 SmartPoints
This is about as quick and easy as roasted meats get. As a very small cut, pork tenderloin cooks in about 25 to 30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, or in about 10 minutes if you broil it. Just oil the pork lightly, rub it with your choice of ground spices or fresh herbs, and pop it into the oven. It's done when it reaches an internal temperature of 145F, with a hint of pink in the middle. Slice thinly, and serve with your choice of sides. If you opt to broil, stick with dried spices: Fresh herbs will burn.
Fred Decker is a trained chef, former restaurateur and prolific freelance writer, with a special interest in all things related to food and nutrition. His work has appeared online on major sites including Livestrong.com, WorkingMother.com and the websites of the Houston Chronicle and San Francisco Chronicle; and offline in Canada's Foodservice & Hospitality magazine and his local daily newspaper. He was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.