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A Fatty Favorite Turned Functional Food

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I have always loved cheese! My family even occasionally likes to torment me with stories of how I used to raid their fridges for cheese and cookie dough when I was little. So it's not surprise that I'd LOVE grilled cheese sandwiches, right?

Until recently though, this was always a fatty undertaking for me, to the point that I stopped making them to avoid all of the calories and fat and sodium I felt I was getting. But it wasn't the sandwich that was the problem. It was me, and my lack of portion control. Until recently I was like most people who never really paid much attention to the suggested serving sizes on packaging. I'd just eat or use however much I felt I needed to enjoy my meal. That meant that whenever I cooked with butter or margarine or vegetable spread (we've been using Smart Balance for a few years now), I just slathered on a guestimated amount heedless of the serving size suggestion. I also used to make 2 sandwiches each time, without fail. So of course one of my all-time favorite sandwiches ended up being way fattier than what I needed.

This morning though, I faced a problem. I ran out of my blend of juiced fruits & veggies and am substituting low-sodium V8 juice until I can go shopping for fruits & veggies again. But the V8 is WAY lower in calories than my juiced fruits & veggies (I tend to use higher-calorie but also high-nutrient fruits & veggies like avocado, edamame, bananas, pomegranate juice etc.). So for the past 2 days I've been substituting, I haven' been meeting my calorie goals. Yesterday's total was less than 800! And while I wasn't necessarily hungry, I did feel less energized throughout the day. So this morning I wanted to find a way to add in more calories without being too unhealthy. After reading a few recipe ideas for grilled cheese sandwiches here on SP, I decided to take a look at what's the the fridge to see if I could make it work.

And you know what, I did! I stuck to the serving size for Smart Balance (which proved to be MORE than enough when I spread it directly on the bread before frying), and used 2 pieces of cheese. I had my sandwich with 8 oz. of low-sodium V8 juice, my multi-vitamin, kelp supplement and 3 full glasses of water. My breakfast totals were just fine: 430 calories, 38 carbs, 25g of fat and 18g of protein. I know based on the way I eat that my other meals throughout the day will be lower, so I know already that I'll be within my recommended ranges for fat and carbs.

Turns out this combo may be a great pre-workout meal! I've gotten enough carbs and good fat to perk up my energy level. Then I'll enjoy a meal replacement shake and perhaps some oatmeal to recover after.

I used SP's Recipe Calculator to help figure out all of my totals for the sandwich (turns out you can make a tasty one for less than 400 calories). I've always struggled with how to calculate calories for things I make at home, so the Recipe Calculator is a GREAT tool to help. The next time I pick up my fruits & veggies for juicing, I'll use it so that I know exactly what I'm getting out of juicing instead of just estimating! Either way, I'm so happy now that there's a way to include the grilled cheese sandwiches I so love without overdoing it!

Have you tried SP's Recipe Calculator yet? Will you be using it as you prepare your Thanksgiving meal?
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