It’s day 2 of our Eat IN Challenge! And I’m not going to lie, I’m KILLING it. The Husband has been doing good, too. He hasn’t even tried to wiggle out of the commitment… yet!
For lunch I used some leftover steak from the night before to make a cheesesteak.
It was FANTASTIC!
Inspired by The American Heart Association’s seafood recipes, I made an awesome tilapia dish for dinner.
I was the only one who enjoyed my homemade balsamic salsa (plum tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil and parsley) but both boys ate at least some fish even though this was the initial reaction.
The Husband actually really enjoyed the whole meal. It was nice.
Anyway, today I thought I’d share some tips on how I prepare food at home a little lighter and healthier. Many of these I put into use today:
- Roast! Use a rack in the pan so the meat or poultry doesn’t sit in its own fat drippings. I just used this cooking technique on some chicken breasts the other day. Click here to see my recipe for Roasted Honey-Lemon-Pepper Chicken Breasts.
- Use “choice” or “select” grades of beef rather than “prime,” and pork labeled “loin” and “round” as they all generally have less fat. As for ground meats I try never to go below 85% and mostly stock up on 90% lean and up when it’s on sale.
- Trim visible fat off the edges of meats before cooking. I will admit I don’t do this as much with chicken anymore as I’m obsessed with crispy skin BUT I do trim fat off beef and pork cuts.
- Avoid using prepackaged seasoning mixes because they often contain a lot of salt. Use fresh herbs or make your own seasonings with spice cabinet basics. I have a “Roni Spice” I put on almost everything and my own taco seasoning is a big hit! For today’s dinner I used fresh garlic, dried basil, dried parsley, and garlic powder. These are all things I keep in my pantry and use over and over again.
- Non-stick cooking spray is your friend! You really don’t need as much oil as most recipes call for. I use a short spritz for everything from my morning eggs to sautéing onion or vegetables. Today I used it to cook the tilapia fillets on a grill pan.
- For recipes that call for a lot of eggs, replace a few with egg whites. The general rule of thumb is 2 egg whites for 1 egg yolk. When my kids were younger I would save the yolks and bulk up their egg dishes. Now we mostly eat whole eggs as a family.
- Make your own salad dressings! It’s really not that hard. My general rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice, a touch of honey and a pinch of salt and pepper. Then flavor with spices, mustards, herb, etc. Almost every salad I post on GreenLiteBites uses a quick homemade dressing — click here to check them out.
- Bulk up dishes with extra hidden vegetables! It’s’ not about being sneaky, it’s about using vegetables more as a base in dishes then a side. For example: Add diced zucchini and peppers to chili, chop up mushrooms to help stretch a ground beef or turkey dish, and my favorite, chopped greens in homemade fried rices or stews. It decreases calories while increasing serving size and it adds fabulous flavor! Tonight I added a handful of chopped baby spinach to our brown rice — the family is so used to it they didn’t even notice. For lunch I added onion and spinach to the leftover steak for my sandwhich. I’ve been doing it so long now it’s just second nature.
- Skip the mayo. Use mustard or, if you like creamy, avocado as a sandwich spread. Non-fat yogurt goes great in salads and dressings and a creamy soft cheese can really do the trick in something like tuna!
- When preparing convenience food items like cake mixes, boxed quick rices, noodles or stuffings skip the oil! For example: I have never, ever added the oil/butter called for on a box of Stove Top, Rice-A-Roni or Lipton Noodles. And for boxed cake mixes I never use the oil. I either replace it with applesauce or use the can of pumpkin trick. I don’t make these things as much as I used to but when I do I always skip the oil.
Have any tricks up your sleeve? Please share them in the comments. I’m always looking for new ideas!
Here’s my food journal for Day 2. Like I said… KILLING IT!
|Apple||Ate in the car on the way to the early class at the gym|
|Split a bowl of chocolate mini wheats and a 2 egg bacon bit omelet with the 3-year-old.||Today we kind of sat and ate together before rushing to the dentist!|
|Quinoa Salad With Swiss Chard and Radishes||Finished the last cup while working. I was HUNGRY after all the morning errands!|
|Cheesesteak made with leftover steak from last nights dinner, some onion, baby spinach and cheddar on a whole wheat hamburger bun with a side of carrots.||Lunch! Using leftovers is my favorite way to make lunch!|
|Blender Brownie||Click here to see my new favorite dessert!|
|Tilapia with a balsamic tomato salsa, brown rice and peas||Dinner.|
|Popcorn||Shared with the kids while we watched Scooby.|
|ALDI Coconut Ice Cream Bar||Dessert! recipe coming this week to GreenLiteBites!|
Full disclosure: The One Week Eat IN challenge is sponsored by the AHA. All opinions expressed are my own.