Monday, April 28, 2014

Fast Food, not FAT Food: It's Menu Plan Monday!

Good Monday!

For the next few weeks, I will be posting our dinner plans for fast, healthy meals. We are in the throes of ball season so I am focusing on foods I can fix fast or slow-cook so that we can do less eating out.  It is possible to provide a healthy, wholesome meal for your family in a short time frame.  

All meals this week will be accompanied by our lovely fresh vegetables from our CSA box. This week we got lots of greens, beets and parsnips, a rare treat in central Texas.


Lighter Baked Ziti (recipe here), Green salad, dressing. Prep the ziti the night before so you only have the baking to do. I use whole-wheat penne instead of ziti, I like the smaller pasta.

Meatball SubsI am using my Lean Meat Mix combined with my Meatball/Meatloaf add-ins to make a mighty batch of meatballs, meatloaf and salisbury steak. For meatball sandwiches: Heat meatballs in a small amount of marinara sauce (about 2 cups). Meanwhile, split hoagie rolls lengthwise.  Split an ounces of mozzarella cheese on each side of bread. Top with 5 meatballs, Close and wrap in foil. Place wrapped sandwiches on cookie sheet and heat at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. 

Sesame Ginger Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry

I will serve this simple stir fry with edamame and Better-for-You-Deviled-Eggs. I will also make seasoned spinach to go along. My kids love this recipe.  [Stir-fry: 370 kc, 7 g fat, 33 g protein, 42 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 1003 mg sodium] [ Deviled Eggs for 2 halves: 124 kc, 9g fat, 9 g protein, 1 gram carbs, 0 g fiber, 260 mg sodium]

Shrimp Souffle

This is a recipe from Family Circle back from 2003. I will be serving it with salad (with fresh dill) and fruit. [360 kc, 25 g fat, 22 g protein, 11 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber. 697 mg sodium]

Shepherd's Pie, aka Hamburger Pie

This is a family favorite. I use my lean meat mix and add extra green beans to boast the nutrient quotient.  It can also be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to bake; used instant or ready-made mashed potatoes to speed it up even more.  Since this is an all-inclusive recipe, my only side will be fresh fruit and possibly a salad.

As usual, I am linking up with for her Menu Plan MondayHave a wonderful week!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Liquids, Protein and a New Way Forward

Good Monday, friends!

I apologize for the "radio silence." On March 26th in the midst of a very busy day, I became very ill and was in terrible pain. I soon learned it was an attack of diverticulitis, not entirely unprecedented since I knew I was susceptible to it, but unexpected nonetheless. Long story shortened, I spent the next week on a clear liquid diet and am just finishing the course of two antibiotics and a "bland" diet. I feel great now, but it certainly did throw a wrench in the works.

One thing became abundantly clear to me: I do have will power. I have often accused myself of not having it because I struggle so to stay "in the box" with my eating plan. I can't have that excuse any more; it simply isn't true. In fact, I did learn a few things during the week of clear liquids:

  1. Drinking a lot of fluids really does help that "full factor."  During the entire week, I was only "stomach hungry" once.
  2. I am capable of following my plan 100% when I know there is a good reason for it.
  3. There is a good reason for my plan! Despite my "fit but fat" status, research shows that otherwise healthy people who are obese still have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and early death.
  4. I need to just put my big girl pants on and do whatever it takes to get this excess weight off once and for all.
Today I am cleared for both exercise and "normal" diet. What this means is that today I go back to my "physical readiness training" program of exercise. The long break made my feet feel better and since my cardiologist took me off warfarin after a nasty drug interaction with my antibiotics, I get my ibuprofen back too! It's been a long year of exercise without ibuprofen. It's a brand new day!

Food plan wise, I am going to try a protein week quick start, followed by a few weeks of getting most of my calories from protein and vegetables and strictly avoiding refined carbs (noodles, sugar) while still enjoying fruit in a limited way.  I realize this is a departure from my normal "whole foods, restricted calories" plan, but I got some advice from my doctor who thought this might be a good way to shake up my metabolism. It is pretty clear now that a regular "whole eating" plan is simply not going to work. This is not a "Paleo" plan nor a "Low-Carb" plan in the traditional sense. It's closest to a modified Dukan diet. I hope it works.

There are risks, of course. One risk is a lack of potassium; I am mitigating that by including enough higher potassium foods every day to make sure I get by full dose of this heart-guarding nutrient. I have a list of best foods (including sweet potatoes and beet greens). Another risk is ketosis; that's why I am only staying on the strictest form of low-carb for one week and then will be adding in more and more foods with carbs over the next many weeks, so that I will only be completely avoiding foods with refined flour and sugar. Naturally occurring sugars will be part of my plan. I will be writing more about this in weeks to come; sorry if it's a bit murky here.

That's the weight loss forecast from here. What's new in your world of "fight the fat?"