What Should I Have For Lunch??

A friend of mind posted on Facebook the other day asking for healthy lunch suggestions. I too am usually wracking my brain with what to make for lunch, because I can never figure out what I want. So, this inspired me to come up with a list of healthy and easy lunch options you can take with you on the go. I’ve scoured my favorite food websites for healthy, quick, and mostly cheap lunches that will hopefully make your life much easier, and tastier.

Here it is…

Pasta, Tuna (or chicken), and Roasted Pepper Salad
Sweet Potato-Peanut Bisque
Curried Red Lentil Soup
Turkey, Corn, and Sun-Dried Tomato Wrap
Spaghetti Frittata
Couscous Salad With Chickpeas and Tomatoes
Little Italy Chicken Pitas With Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
Peanut Chicken Soba Noodle Salad

And finally, a few tips:

- When making dinner, cook a little extra to take with you the next day.
- Always have healthy staples on hand, such as fresh veggies, cut up fruit, whole-grain bread, turkey slices, light cheeses, and a variety of condiments. This way you won’t find yourself in a bind in the morning.
- Decide the night before what you’re going to make for lunch the next day, so that you don’t end up in a last-minute rush. Prep ahead if you can.
- Bring healthy snacks with you as well for the inevitable 4:00 slump.

If you have a favorite lunch, please share it with us!

Even More Ways To Slash Holiday Calories In Half

So, last week I wrote out a list of popular high-calorie holiday foods and easy ways to cut down on some of those calories while still getting to indulge in them. I’m a big believer in not depriving yourself, because when you ignore what you really want it doesn’t go away, you just end up eating too much of everything else, and then that nagging craving just comes back stronger.

I said this about Thanksgiving and I’ll say it about Christmas too, give yourself permission to eat that day and not worry too much. I know, not the advice that magazines and most nutritionists would give you. But take it from me, someone who has tried all sorts of diets – if you’re just honest with yourself about eating more than normal, you won’t have the guilt later when you eat too much, and honestly, it’s just one day, not 30. You can start fresh tomorrow. Set yourself up for success, not failure. It’s when we make promises to ourselves that we can’t keep that we overindulge and then beat ourselves up about it.

That being said, I’m going to finish off that list of foods that I started last week, so that you can still indulge in the things you love, and still save a few hundred calories, without feeling like you’re depriving yourself.

Green Bean Casserole – I was never such a fan of this one, but I know a lot of people are. A 1 cup serving can pack 110 calories. Not too bad compared other holiday side dishes, but you can still cut down on the amount of calories, so that you can enjoy more of some of the other things on the table. Top the green beans off with lower-fat mushroom soup, and caramelize your own onions instead of using store-bought fried onions.

Bread Stuffing – A 1/2 cup serving has at least 180 calories, and lets face it, the stuffing is one of the best parts, so you know you’re going back for seconds. Skip the butter and use chicken broth to moisten the bread. Use whole-wheat bread instead of white, and cook the stuffing separate from the bird, so that it doesn’t accumulate all the fatty drippings.

Pumpkin Pie – Mmmm! We all know that the only reason we eat dinner is to get to the dessert. An average slice of pumpkin pie will cost you about 320 calories. Instead of using heavy cream use reduced-fat evaporated milk and save about 87 calories.

Before I go, I’ll leave you with an awesome appetizer that looks beautiful, is healthy, and tastes awesome too.

Tuna Tartar Wrapped In Cucumber (adapted from Recipe Rehab With Tanya Zuckerbrot)
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 3/4 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sriracha (Asian chili sauce)
- 8 ounces fresh, sushi-grade tuna, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 avocado, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch dice
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh chives, plus 1-inch pieces for garnish
- 2 seedless cucumbers, peeled

1. Using a knife or a mandolin, slice the cucumbers lengthwise as thinly as possible.
2. Mix mayonnaise, soy sauce and sriracha together in a small bowl.
3. Add tuna, avocado and chives, and gently combine with a fork.
4. Spoon 1 tablespoon tuna tartar on the end of the cucumber slice. Roll up and place a toothpick through the middle to secure the filling. Garnish with chives and serve.

This recipe serves 12, and per serving there’s only 56 calories, 2.5 g carbohydrate, 1.25 g fiber, 5 g protein, and 3 g total fat.

Un-fried Sweet Potato Latkes

After much experimentation I finally figured out how to make healthier latkes that actually hold their form. Instead of making them with regular baking potatoes I made them with sweet potatoes, which gives them a great sweet and savory taste. They are super yummy, and super easy. Here’s what you’ll need…

- 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
- 3 shallots
- 1/4 C. flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3-4 egg whites (start with 3 and add another if you need it)
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line two baking sheets with foil. Spray with Pam.
2. Peel the sweet potatoes and shallots and grate both in a food processor or box grater.
3. Place grated potatoes and shallots in a cheese cloth or clean towel and squeeze out all the liquid.
4. Place in a bowl and mix in the rest of the ingredients. Start with 3 egg whites and add a 4th if the mixture isn’t bound enough.
5. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Once warm, take a dab of olive oil on a paper towel and just wipe across the pan’s surface, so that it’s just greased. You don’t need a ton of oil for these babies!

6. Drop spoonfuls of the potato mixture onto the skillet to form 2 1/2″ latkes. “Fry” for a few minutes until the bottom of the latke turns golden and it feels set. Flip and repeat on the other side. In the meantime, line a plate with a sheet of paper towel and place the cooked latkes onto the paper towel (although you won’t really need it, being as how these latkes won’t be greasy).

7. Once all the latkes are cooked through, place them on the greased baking sheets.

8. Bake for about 5-7 minutes until latkes feel set.

9. Transfer to a plate and serve with all-natural applesauce!

Recipe yields about 12 latkes (unless you’re Martha Stewart and measuring them with a ruler and they’re all the exact same size…). Here are the stats for 4 latkes: 195 calories, 5g fat, 34g carbs, 4g fiber, 4g protein. Not bad, considering that the typical latke has 264 calories, and 13.8g of fat (and that’s for just 1!).

If you try these please let us all know how you liked them!

Put Your Hands Up And Step Away From The Third Bowl of Mac N Cheese!

Just like bears, when winter rolls around we go into a sort of hibernation. When the days get shorter and colder we bundle up in our warm jammies and cuddle up on the couch with comfort foods. And then, just when the warm weather starts to wake us up out of our winter food coma we wonder how our once loose jammies got so snug. Then the inevitable frantic race to lose the weight before summer begins. As you know, I’m not one for crash dieting or any sort of crazy “slim down for summer” programs, so spare yourself the trouble, put down the third bowl of mac ‘n cheese and try experimenting with winter squash (I know, not as glamorous as mac ‘n cheese, but nevertheless, I promise, yummy!).

Here’s why squash is awesome: There’s more than 10 types of winter squash to choose from (butternut, delicata, acorn, pumpkin, and spaghetti squash just to name a few…) and they’re awesome choices if you want something warm, sweet, and filling. They’re high in fiber and water, which means you’ll feel fuller quicker and can eat more without the copious amounts of calories (just lay low on the butter and brown sugar). And they’re a great source of potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, beta carotene, and Omega 3′s.

Try this awesome Mashed Maple Squash recipe from Eatingwell.com.

**Update**

My mom just emailed some interesting and very helpful info for cooking with maple syrup! This isn’t surprising to me in the least, because if there’s anyone who knows everything it’s her. Want to know the definition of “sesquipedalian”? She knows! Or, need an idea of how to make a diorama on bees that would make Martha Stewart swoon with delight? Yup, she knows that too! Thanks Mommy! (Yes, I’m an adult that still calls my mom “mommy”.)

You may want to share this with your ‘people’. After reading a story (with one of my classes) on maple syrup tapping in Vermont, I discovered the following:

Grade A – derived from the first of the season sap ‘drippings’ of the tree

lighter in color and sweeter

Grade B- derived from a later in the season sap

darker in color and more robust and hearty – best for vegetables, meats and
dishes not of the dessert variety

While both are sweet, the B is heartier. One tends to need less of it, hence, less calories. It is also advisable to mix the grade B with a bit of hot water to thin it out and make it go further on veggies, chicken, etc., Most will not know the difference. I, for one, am going to use only grade B from now on. If I do see a deficiency in sweetness, I will add a bit of Splenda. Even if thinned out with a bit of water, the B is still thick enough to nicely glaze whatever you intend it to glaze.