One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident


10 of My Favorite Ways to Prepare Food Lighter and Healthier at Home

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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.



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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. 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. 
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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! 
  10. 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!

What Why
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. 

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There are 14 comments so far.


    March 25, 2014

    Day 2…pork chops with a big green salad and asparagus topped with some feta. 4yo ate everything except the asparagus. Usually she likes it but todayewe did the 2 bite rule and called it a day.


    March 26, 2014

    We’re killing it too. Dinner was baked chicken breasts, mixed vegetables and mashed potatoes. Only took 40 min from start to finish. I’m planning on crock pot chili for tomorrow since we have swim lessons in the PM.


    March 26, 2014

    I’m participating in the challenge…but the boyfriend is not. He has two days a week where he and “the boys” meet for “guy” discussion without us propper ladies around. But I’m still going strong and not even noticing!


    March 26, 2014

    Day2: Dinner was home made Idlies with Spicy Tilapia Fish curry. This combination is a favorite in my household.


    March 26, 2014

    Day 2 was pretty easy for me because of all of the snow (!!!) outside, I had zero desire to go out :)

    Miss Melanie

    March 26, 2014

    We are doing great this week so far, but we had already cut back to eating out only once a week for financial reasons since I cut back my work schedule… I haven’t exactly told the hubby no eating out at all this week. He is probably going to freak out. :)


    March 26, 2014

    Doing well! I love the challenge of looking in the fridge and seeing what I can pull together to make a healthy meal. Love those leftovers.


    March 26, 2014

    That salsa looks amazing, it’s like bruschetta!


      March 26, 2014

      It was SO easy too!

    Michele Tews

    March 26, 2014

    So far so good here too! Made a lean pot roast for dinner last night, used leftover bits in a mixed veggie salad for lunch today. Eating fruit for dessert:) Thanks for keeping us moving Roni!!

    marie galtier

    March 28, 2014

    I’m trucking along, too! Thanks for the reminder to use fresh herbs–I’m going to make sure to snip some basil from my garden for today’s lunch salad.


    March 29, 2014

    We had baked fried chicken and string beans. No complaints!


    March 30, 2014

    I love balsamic vinegar. It is the only way I eat greens anymore. Eating in hasn’t been bad at all. One of my favorite spreads is mashed avocado & fresh salsa. Just mix together and put on top of salads, wraps, burgers or whatever else you can think of.


    March 31, 2014

    I love your ten tips! I’m trying to use them more myself. The one tip that I have is ditch the non-stick cooking spray. The idea behind using it is great but the stuff is nothing but chemicals: Instead I use a pump spritzer that I fill with olive oil (or any other oil for that matter). I got mine from Pampered Chef but I’m sure there are other ones out there (probably cheaper too). This way I’m skipping the fat and the chemicals too!