Mother's Day meal ideas and recipes from Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers knows that Mother’s Day celebrations are more often than not centered on a meal, whether it is breakfast, brunch or dinner.

The weight loss giant is ready with delicious recipes to prepare if you are doing the cooking. If you are the one being celebrated, suggest the cook look at the them to get an idea of what you may like.

Does Mom work out, run or bike to get her exercise? Join her for some outdoor activity that gives you time together.

There is data that mother-daughter workouts over a period of time provide bonding, a feeling of confidence and provide encouragement to keep on the activity track.

"We found that the parent/child team provided a solid social support system for each other, making a real difference in long-term adherence to an exercise routine," explains Lynda Ransdell, PhD, FACSM, one of the authors of a study Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

For those relationships that are difficult or strained, there is at least one noted author who believes that exercising together offers a common interest that can be shared.

Weight Watchers spoke with Paula Caplan, PhD who authored the book “Don’t Blame Mother: Mending the Mother-Daughter Relationship. Dr. Caplan.

If you are taking the more traditional route and a meal is how you are celebrating, Weight Watchers has ideas for dishes that fit the bill and won’t leave anyone feeling guilty for consuming them.

One sample menu includes a veggie frittata, stuffed pepper with quinoa, a mixed greens salad and even a dessert recipe for lemon bars. The key to enjoying desert is to limit yourself to one serving. Each of the recipes below yield more than that.

Recipe for the lemon bars: 1 1/3 cup(s) all-purpose flour, 5 Tbsp packed light brown sugar, 8 Tbsp regular butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, 4 large eggs, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 1 1/2 cups sugar divided, 3/4 cup lemon juice, 2 tsp. lemon zest.

Preparation: To make crust, mix flour and light brown sugar using a food processor until fully incorporated. Toss butter into flour mixture and pulse to combine using short bursts of power until butter is cut into tiny pea-sized pieces and dough appears lumpy. Sprinkle crust mixture onto an ungreased 13 X 9 X 2-inch baking pan as evenly as possible; press down with a spatula to create a packed surface. Place crust in middle of oven and bake until golden, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make lemon topping, beat eggs in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until well blended. Add vanilla extract and 3/4 cup of powdered sugar; mix well. Add lemon juice and remaining powdered sugar; mix until powdered sugar is completely dissolved and then add zest.

As soon as crust is finished, remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Immediately pour lemon mixture over hot crust. Bake completely, about 30 minutes; cool, and cut into 24 bars. Yields 1 bar per serving.

If cooking it all ahead of time is required, try preparing a mozzarella, pepper and pesto sandwich with chilled asparagus, potato salad and for desert, blondies.

Recipe for blondies: 2 spray(s) cooking spray, 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour, 10 Tbsp whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp, 1 1/2 cup(s) uncooked old fashioned oats, do not use instant, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup(s) sugar, 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened, 1 large egg, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 cup apple juice or cider, 2/3 cup(s) white chocolate chips, or butterscotch chips, chopped.

Preparation: Preheat oven to 375ºF. Coat a 15- x 10 1/2-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine both flours, oats, baking soda and salt; stir to blend and set aside.

In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream both sugars and butter until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Alternating in batches, add a little flour-oat mixture and then apple juice to bowl; beat after each addition. When all the dry and wet ingredients are well-blended, fold in chips.

Turn batter into prepared baking dish; smooth top in an even layer. Bake until top is lightly golden, about 18 to 22 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for about 10 to 15 minutes. Cut into 24 pieces and remove to wire rack to cool completely. Yields 1 piece per serving.

All recipes are courtesy of Weight Watchers, International. Some are available through the company's website, its cookbooks or at their meeting locations..

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons, from a Mrs. Fields recipe

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