Sunday, January 13, 2013
A lot of times, people talk about being on a "diet" and how healthy food just doesn't taste as good. And people are misled. We are a society that relies heavily on sauces. We put gravy on our meat, mashed potatoes, veggies, even sausage gravy on biscuits.
Now personally, I don't care for biscuits w/ gravy. I tried it, but it wasn't something i'd pick if i was having breakfast somewhere. My perfect breakfast is an egg white omelet, with onions, spinach, red peppers, mushrooms, ham and fat free feta. Mostly veggies, a little bit of meat, and the feta adds a creaminess that's amazing.
And everyone will admit, they've have broccoli or cauliflower with cheese sauce. Even Green Giant makes frozen veg with cheese sauce. And fish with a lemon butter sauce sounds lovely. But these sauces aren't ideal: a lot of people make cheese sauce with velveeta (which i don't eat at all - i refuse to buy any cheese that isn't in the refrigerated section)
So recently, I decided to take advantage of the sale on winter veggies and make roasted veggies to accompany a roast. And it was fantastic. I had adapted it from a recipe in a cookbook, since I didn't lemon peel and wanted to add different veggies. So I took 2 red potatoes, two zucchini, 2-3 yellow squash, 2-3 carrots and half a red onion. I sliced the potatoes thin because they take so long to cook and put them in water to remove some of the starch. Then I cut the other veggies. Put them in a big bowl and tossed them with salt, pepper and some good quality Spanish hojiblanca olive oil that is usually reserved for salads. Roasted in the oven at 350. Then took them out, mixed lemon juice with balsamic vinegar and tossed with the veggies before serving. AMAZING!
I made them again last night for some friends who came over for dinner and they loved them. The "worst" thing in the batch is the olive oil which isn't really bad for you in the first place, hence the quotes. it's one of the healthier oils you can use. I only use other oils when baking is involved (meaning i can't use applesauce or make it healthy) or when olive oil would change the flavor (Chinese/Indian). We had paired the veggies with a balsamic, garlic & rosemary marinated pork tenderloin. You've got the carbs from the potatoes, the rest is veggies, and pork tenderloin is lean.
I have become a major fan of lemon and balsamic. They are fantastic "sauces" you can add to foods but don't have a high sodium content. My bottle of balsamic has 0mg sodium in 1TBSP, 5calories and 2g sugar. Great flavor, very little calories. For more than 2 years, I've stopped putting butter on my broccoli. I put lemon and fresh ground pepper. I get the tartness and ton of flavor without any fat.
Even comfort food like pancakes can be good. If you want to use a box mix, I love the Fiber one brand. Add cinnamon and a diced apple and voila, you've incorporated fruit and fiber into your breakfast. But this is where most people falter, the syrup. A lot of people use the generic syrup. 200 calories in 1, yes ONE tbsp. Maple syrup, you need FOUR tbsp to get to 200 calories. I don't know about anyone else, but I can't use that much. I use about 2 tbsp for 3 pancakes. It's got 1/4 of the calories and is all natural. Downside: it's expensive. A bottle of maple syrup can cost $8+. The cheap syrup, $2. You use considerably less with maple syrup, but if you have a large family, you may not see the savings.
A cheaper alternative to maple is honey. If I stay in a hotel with breakfast, I put honey on my pancakes. My fave way to eat apple is to top it with some honey. Ideally it's better to eat the apple by itself, but if 1TBSP of honey gets you to eat fruit, then do it. You'll get a lot more benefits from the apple then if you hadn't eaten it.
Healthy food can taste amazing; it's just figuring out what you like taste wise and then trying to incorporate it into foods . A marinade of balsamic and garlic is easy, cheap, and tasty. Or maybe using mrs dash with some olive oil for a marinade. I've never tried it but who knows, it may work. I've kinda digressed this blog entry into making healthy substitutions for food, but that's my program. But maybe, if someone is still reading this, they've gotten inspired to make some healthy substitutions in their life.