Wanna lose the weight? Try these out – NOW!
When I began my weight-loss journey three years ago, I found myself adrift in a sea of prepackaged meals and calorie-counted snacks. Lean Cuisine and 100-calorie-snack packs were the norm for so many of my dieting friends. And, without a doubt, they would provide some of the meals I would eat just out of pure convenience.
But I soon learned if I wanted this to be a lifestyle change, I would need to craft my own set of recipes that could be relied upon to provide a good amount of nutrition, yet require a minimal amount of prep-time in this time-sensitive life we all lead.
Even before preparing the meals, I made sure I knew how many calories I could afford to “spend” for the meal. If I went in knowing I could have a 700-calorie dinner, then I had a recipe for that. If I was a piggy earlier in the day and could only have a 350-calorie dinner, then I had a recipe for that. Flexibility was key, and I found the greater the recipe arsenal I had, then the less chance I had of becoming bored and reaching for the Big Mac.
Like anything, cooking requires time and effort. You want to lose that weight? Then be prepared to get intimate with your kitchen. Know its every nook and cranny. Use the measuring cups! Workout with the whisk! Just get in there and don’t be afraid to create a mess.
Here are several simple recipes that got me through my weight-loss.
Oatmeal — It may not look like much food, but it’s loaded with fiber and only 200 calories. This will expand in your stomach and make you feel full quickly, thus keeping the hunger pangs at bay.
¼ cup oat bran
1 cup hot water
1 cup blueberries
1 tsp. Splenda
Place oat bran and water in a very large bowl. It’s important the bowl is super large, because the oats will expand and could spill over into the microwave. Microwave on high for two minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from microwave and stir well. Add blueberries and Splenda and enjoy. It may not look like much food, but it’s loaded with fiber and only 200 calories. This will expand in your stomach and make you feel full quickly, thus keeping the hunger pangs at bay.
Chocolate peanut butter and banana smoothie – This is a real treat. It’s a bit higher in calories than your average dieting breakfast, but this was always my go-to, protein-packed breakfast after an early-morning workout. For weight-lifters, this is a perfect blend of high-protein and complex carbohydrates. It’s about 350 calories, so it will sustain you until lunch!
1 cup chocolate soy milk
1 ripe banana
1 TBSP peanut butter
Six to eight ice cubes
1 tsp. Splenda
Place the soy milk in a blender, followed by the remaining ingredients. Blend until thick and smooth. This makes one generous serving.
Turkey Spinach Burgers – One night I didn’t know what to make for dinner. I had all of these ingredients within reach and it just kind of came together. The practice of using portabella mushroom caps as the “roll” is something I’ve done many times before to wonderful effect. One huge burger with all the fixins will run you about 500 calories, but it’s well worth it.
4 portabella mushroom caps, stems removed
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 lb. lean ground turkey
½ cup fat-free chicken stock or broth
1 clove garlic, minced
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained in a clean dish cloth
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 TBSP olive oil
One tomato, cut into four thick slices
4 oz. of fresh mozzarella, cut into four slices
In a large zipped baggie, place mushroom caps, vinegar, oil, and salt and pepper. Close baggie and let marinate for 15-20 minutes . While marinating, mix the ground turkey, chicken stock, garlic, and spinach until well blended. Add ½ tsp of salt and pepper. Form into four patties. After mushrooms have finished marinating, place them in a hot fry pan and cook them three minutes on each side. Remove from fry pan and set on a baking sheet, bottom side up. In same fry pan, place a TBSP of olive oil. Cook the turkey burgers in the fry pan, roughly 5 minutes per side, or until done. Turn on your oven’s broiler. Place one burger on each of the mushroom caps, then a slice of tomato, followed by a slice of mozzarella. Place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is brown and bubbly. Take out and serve immediately with a fresh tossed salad.
Eating healthfully doesn’t have to be a chore. Taking time to plan is the most important. Just a few minutes a day and a simple look through your fridge can yield tasty and healthy results. Stick around. I’ll have some more great recipes to help you take off the weight in 2012.