Food

MEAL SHAKEDOWN: TACOS

Tacos are the way to the heart, amirite? But it’s also a good way to eat excess calories and gain some unwanted fat! Let’s take one of our comfort foods: the taco, and see if we can make it more calorie friendly!

The Damage:

3 soft flour tacos – 255 calories

Chicken – 180 calories

Salsa – 20 calories

Cheese – 100 calories

Sour cream – 115 calories

Guacamole – 200 calories

Total: 850 calories

That’s not even counting if we were to have a side of rice and beans or any type of drink! This would make your meal well over 1000 calories.

How can we lower this calorie bomb? Let’s start with the shells. We can switch to soft corn tacos, or even take away the shell altogether and put them in romaine lettuce. All we need is a vehicle for the filling, so why not take away 255 calories altogether?

 

A good tip when ordering food is to choose ONE source of fat. On these tacos, we got three: cheese, sour cream AND guacamole. That’s fat overkill. You can choose which ever is your true love, but for the best nutritional bang for your buck, choose the plant source: avocados! Some restaurants add sour cream as a filler for their guacamole, so make sure to ask. If you want to skip the filler ask for diced avocado straight up!

Salsa is generally low in calories and full of veggies, so spice it up! Try chunky tomato salsa, salsa verde and hot varieties.

With these changes, we now have a more diet friendly meal:

Romaine lettuce – ~10 calories

Chicken – 180 calories

Salsa – 20 calories

Guacamole – 200 calories

Total: 410 calories

Much better! Now if you have the calories to spare, we can have room for double meat (more protein, which fills you up), or rice and beans as a side, or maybe even a margarita (you DO get a cheat meal at least once a week!).

Meal Shakedown: Macaroni & Cheese!

One of the ultimate comfort foods, stemming from those blue Kraft boxes, is macaroni and cheese. Warm, gooey, and cheesy are the flavor notes to hit. But what tends to happen is a huge bust to the calorie budget!

The real killer with mac and cheese is that no one, and I mean NO ONE, sticks to the serving size alloted on the box, which is only ½ cup. This tiny ½ cup portion has a whopping 180 calories and 50 grams of fat! Let’s do some quick math. Say you stick to a modest 1 cup portion, which probably isn’t going to keep you full since there’s no protein or vegetables added to this dish. That’s almost 400 calories and 100 grams of fat. Let’s say you’re filing a bowl to your heart’s desire and end up eating 2 cups worth. So, 720 calories and 200 grams of fat for a meal you will be physically stuffed from, but not satisfied. Are we doomed to say goodbye to our beloved mac and cheese forever? No way says I!

I’ve hinted at the problems in this childhood favorite. They are: lack of lean source of protein, lack of vegetables, too much fat. So our fixes will remedy these accordingly!

  1. Lack of Lean Protein

If you are only consuming mac and cheese for dinner, then you are likely to consume a ton of calories without feeling at all full. I recommend adding 4-6 ounces of a lean protein like baked chicken breast or ground turkey to your bowl. This will give the meal a much needed protein boost. Try to avoid fatty pieces of meat like steak or pork if you’re not also doctoring up the original recipe to lower the fat, because remember, the ½ cup serving already has 50 grams of fat, which may be close to your daily fat goal.

  1. Lack of Vegetables.
    The best way to control your meals is to fill your plate with vegetables! You can chop 1-2 cups of vegetables and add it to your ½ cup portion of pasta. This is an easy way to increase meal volume without adding a ton of calories. The best part is the cheese sauce, who cares if it’s covering a piece of enriched macaroni or a piece of broccoli.

If you’re really cutting calories or don’t have a ton of wiggle room if your daily goal, you can go a step further and totally cut out the carby pasta. You can add only vegetables, and focus on the cheesy goodness to soothe your craving, or you can try some of the varieties of low-calorie pasta available near the tofu section in your supermarket. These are refrigerated and bagged in liquid, which is highly recommended to be rinsed thoroughly before tossing in your cheese sauce.

There’s also protein pasta available, and pasta made from alternate sources. Trying to stay more plant-based but still need that mac and cheese goodness? Try pasta made from chickpea flour or black beans. If you want to stay super fresh, try spiralizing squash or potato and then giving it a rough chop (to more resemble the shorter pasta used in mac and cheese) and giving that a quick sautee. It’s a great way to get more vegetables in!

  1. Too Much Fat

I’d argue to say that the best part of this comfort food is the warm, ooey, gooey cheese sauce! If you do not want to compromise on this, I don’t blame you! Cut your calories by replacing all or some of the meal with vegetables and lean protein, and make a buttery, creamy cheese sauce to enjoy. If your true love is pasta, then I can understand why you’d opt to compromise a bit on the fatty cheese sauce. But have no fear, just because the fat is lower, does not mean that the flavor is inept.

Let’s take a card from our fellow vegans and choose a dairy free cheese sauce. This cheese sauce is surprisingly tasty, and it works for picky kids and husbands, too. The base is a mix of softened russet potatoes, carrots, vegan butter and nutritional yeast. It’s processed and thinned out with almond milk (unsweetened unflavored) and seasoned with salt, pepper and dijon mustard.

If the idea of vegetables as cheese sauce makes your inner child sad inside, then try this gold cheeze magic from Oh She Glows: 5 ingredient Cheeze Sauce http://ohsheglows.com/2011/08/18/quick-dirty-5-ingredient-vegan-cheeze-sauce-recipe-challenge/

If you’re wanting a cheesy flavor without cheese, the nutritional yeast is a game changer. The salt is recommended to mimic salty cheeses like parmesan and the pepper is a great compliment to any cheese sauce.

If you want the real stuff, just more calorie friendly, make your own cheese sauce with lower fat ingredients. Choose part skim milk shredded cheese, a small amount of butter, thin with almond milk or skim milk, let it melt and thicken up with your pasta of choice, and season with salt and pepper and maybe some pepper flakes. Add a cup of vegetables, a portion of lean protein, and don’t go back for seconds. Easy, simple, and lower in fat.

Posted by edibolic_2019

HOW TO EAT HEALTHIER WHEN YOU’RE BUSY

We live in a go-go-go society these days, rewarding those who work the longest and fastest. Unfortunately, we only have 24 hours each day. It seems like there’s never enough time to do it all! Add trying to start or maintain a healthy lifestyle, and it’s no wonder things start sliding into the “not a priority” pile. Often the first thing to go is eating healthy.

Who has time to scroll through Pinterest for meal ideas, create a meal plan, figure our how many calories you need, read the article on how much protein you really need, go wait in line at the grocery store, sit in traffic, lug all those bags inside and then cook? Then you have to add those calories into My Fitness Pal, figure out a macro cap, and still have time to exercise and live your life. the truth is, if you don’t have time to cook those protein pancakes you found on Instagram because you have to be at work at 5 am for a 10 hour shift, then you’re probably going to swing by Dunkin’ Donuts and grab a high calorie coffee drink and maybe a bagel, too.

It’s true that eating healthier when you’re short on time can be a bit of a challenge. If you just barely have enough time on your lunch break to eat, you’re likely not going to sit in your car with a calorie counter and figure out the most balanced option for your goals. The good news is that there ARE ways to fit healthy eating into your lifestyle. All it takes is a little planning and a little compromise — but it can be done! Here’s how:

  1. Compromise some variety. The easiest way to make life easier is to minimize your choices to cheat. Choose one breakfast you can grab and go each morning like overnight oats or a shake. If you have a few minutes, maybe you really love having your bacon and eggs each morning. Whatever you choose, that’s always your breakfast. You can do the same thing for lunch, too. Every lunch during the workweek, throw together a turkey wrap. Or a chicken salad. Some people like to cook dinner each night, so you can leave that open. Or maybe nights are your hectic time, in that case, make a list of 1-5 choices for easy to cook dinners and cycle through those options. Maybe three nights a week you choose steak and potatoes and three nights a week it’s chicken with broccoli. One night a week is pizza with a side salad.
    The trade-off: this way of eating is simplified to the point of being boring. You still have to make time to cook and plan these meals.
  2. Compromise some time. Whether you have chosen to simplify your meals to a few choices or if you still like the variety of different meals each day, another great way to make sure you eat healthy throughout the week is to spend a few hours every Sunday to cook in advance. This method of batch cooking can be very useful. Cook all your proteins for the week, then you will only need to change up the sides when it’s time for a meal. You can cook your veggies and carbs too if you set aside more time to meal plan. If you don’t like week old food, try cooking your meals every three days or twice a week.
    The trade-off: this will require organization and time on your part to create a meal plan, organize a shopping list, and skill in the kitchen to be more efficient. You’ll also need enough containers and ad space in the fridge to cook food this way.
  3. Invest in a meal prep service. If you don’t want to sacrifice time or taste, then give Edibolic Kitchen a try. We cook, package and deliver all meals to your door, from tasty protein packed breakfasts to delicious and balanced lunches and dinners. We have specials each week to prevent boredom with restaurant quality meals. We even assist with meal planning so no matter what your goal is, we can cook for you. On a budget? We can find the right solution for you. Everyone can afford to eat better. We even have the option to buy in bulk, which is extremely cost-effective. Check out our new menu and give us a call or email.
    The trade-off: you’ll be spending money on a service that can help you reach your goals. There might be a delivery fee. Your grocery bill will be smaller, and you don’t have to clean dirty dishes. Oh, and you will need to buy smaller pants.
Posted by edibolic_2019
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