Have you ever noticed that the non-stop weight-loss ads begin well before New Year's Eve? Let's face it, all those holiday goodies might have added a few pounds to your waistline, but that doesn't mean you don't cringe a little when hearing the word “diet.” No one enjoys trying to lose weight, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as you might think. Rather than going on one of the latest fad crash diets, if you make small, incremental changes in the way you eat, you’ll lose weight without really even thinking about it.
Start by making small substitutions to include healthier ingredients in your diet, such as olive oil mayonnaise instead of regular, or cooking with extra virgin olive oil, or even cooking spray, instead of butter. Try switching out half your recipe’s amount of mayo for Greek yogurt – you won’t even notice, but your waistline will!
Bulking up on vegetables will help fill you up and leave less room for fatty ingredients. While you can simply add more servings of veggies to your plate, another idea is to mix them into your food. For instance, riced cauliflower, found in the freezer section at your local grocery store, can be substituted for rice in most any dish. It also works great to add to chili – the cauliflower takes on the flavors of the meat and by the time it cooks, you’ll have a hard time distinguishing it from the meat in your dish.
Riced cauliflower also makes a tasty pizza crust. For a regular-sized pizza pan, take two bags riced cauliflower, and pulse in a food processor with two teaspoons dry Italian seasoning, one teaspoon minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Place in a bowl and mix in two eggs, ¼ cup flour and ¼ cup fresh parmesan cheese. Coat your pan with cooking spray, then press the cauliflower mixture across the pan to become the crust. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 15 minutes or until crust is golden. Top with your favorite pizza ingredients and bake again to melt your cheese.
Fiber is key to helping you feel full. Canned pumpkin puree has seven grams of fiber and can be used in a lot of different ways. Add some to your chili, pasta sauce or even use it as a dip for fruit by combining half a can of pumpkin with 8 ounces of whipped topping and one packet vanilla pudding. Season with a little pumpkin pie spice and enjoy!
It is possible to lighten up your food without sacrificing flavor. Just experiment until you create the new dishes that you love. After all, a new you for 2019 doesn’t have to be hungry. Happy cooking, everyone!
Hidden Veggie Chili
• One pound 90 percent lean ground beef
• One pound ground turkey
• One small onion, diced
• 16 ounces frozen riced cauliflower
• 16 ounce can red kidney beans, drained
• 1 tablespoon chili seasoning
• 1-2 teaspoons garlic salt
• 32 ounce can tomato sauce
• 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
In a large Dutch oven, start ground beef cooking first, then add ground turkey. Cook over medium, mixing well, breaking meat up as it cooks. Add onion and cook until translucent. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Next add the riced cauliflower, beans, chili seasoning, garlic salt, tomato sauce and parsley. Once all ingredients are combined, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
• One small onion, diced
• 8 ounces diced tomatoes
• 2 carrots, minced
• One tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 8 ounce can pumpkin puree
• 2 cups milk
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• ½ teaspoon dried parsley
• Salt and pepper to taste
In stockpot, drizzle olive oil in bottom, then add onion and carrot. Cook over medium heat until tender. Stir in tomatoes, without draining. Sprinkle with salt. When fully combined, add pumpkin, milk, garlic and parsley. Stir well then reduce heat to medium-low to prevent boiling. Simmer at least 20 minutes to allow ingredients to meld. Serve with crusty bread and feta cheese. NOTE: This recipe makes a great pasta sauce as well – just reduce the milk to one cup.