Slimmed-Down Summer Recipes

It’s the season of barbeque and picnics, and at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we know most of our favorite summertime eats are brimming with saturated fat and cholesterol. As a solution, we’ve compiled our favorite recipes for healthy, waistline-friendly alternatives to the usual warm-weather menu items. Serve them proudly at your next cookout—they’re nutritious and delicious!

Trim Potato Salad:
3 med. potatoes
1/3 c. vegetable stock
1/4 c. low fat plain yogurt
3 tbsp. green pepper, minced
1 hardboiled egg (minus the yolk), chopped
1/3 c. onion, minced
1/4 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp. parsley flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook potatoes in skins and cut into bite size pieces (potato skins have all the nutrients!). Allow chopped potatoes to cool until just warm. Add the remaining ingredients and toss lightly until well mixed. Chill and serve.

  • No-Pounder Beet Burgers: 1 1/4 cups cooked, cooled brown rice
    1 cup cooked brown or green lentils, cooled, drained well
    1 cup shredded beets
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    Fresh black pepper to taste
    1 teaspoon thyme
    1 teaspoon dill
    3 tablespoons very finely chopped onion
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
    1/2 cup very fine breadcrumbs
    Olive oil for the pan

Peel beets and shred with the shredder attachment of your food processor, and then change the attachment to a metal blade. Pulse the brown rice, shredded beets and lentils about 15 to 20 times, until the mixture comes together, but still has texture. It should look a lot like ground meat. Now transfer to a mixing bowl and add all the remaining ingredients. Use your hands to mix very well. Place the mixture in the fridge to chill for half an hour.

Preheat a cast iron pan over medium-high. Form the patties by taking a heaping 1/2-cup of mixture, and shaping it into burgers with your hands.

Pour a very thin layer of oil into the pan and cook patties for about 12 minutes, flipping occasionally. Burgers should be charred at the edges and heated through. Serve on a whole-wheat bun with all your favorite trappings.

  • Skinny Pasta Salad 1/2 lb. rotini (springs)
    2 lg. carrots, diced
    3 ribs celery, diced
    1 lg. red pepper, diced
    1 med. white onion, diced
    20 sliced black olives
    1 lg. cucumber, diced
    1 lg. tomato, diced
    Dill weed, black pepper, Mrs. Dash, basil
    1/2 bottle low fat Italian dressing (or more if needed)

Cook the pasta as per instructions on box, then chill. Chop all the vegetables and mix together.

Add dill, black pepper, and basil to taste (fresh is best). Add the chilled pasta, Italian dressing, and toss together. Chill and serve cold.

  • Low Fat Hot Dogs:The trim tip for this summer favorite is easy—simply make the switch from meat to meatless. Smart Dogs by Lightlife are fantastic hot dog substitutes without the mystery meat or saturated fat. In fact, each link has 0 grams of fat, 45 calories, and 8 grams of protein. All that nutrition and they still taste great! Grill these puppies, and top them off with a whole-wheat bun, diced onions, relish, ketchup, and you’ve got a new summer classic!

What is your favorite summer-time food?


Healthier Ways to Make Your Favorite Winter Comfort Foods

comfort foodsAh, winter comfort foods—is anything better than curling up in a blanket and eating your favorite?

However, many comfort foods, such as macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, and creamy stews and soups, are full of fat and calories we don’t need. Following are a few tips to reduce the fat and calories without sacrificing the taste and comfort you want.

Cut down the butter.

If a recipe calls for three tablespoons of butter, try using only two tablespoons (or less). Chances are you won’t notice a difference in taste. Using margarine presents its own problems, as most of them have hydrogenated oil you need to completely stay away from.

Try using lower-fat dairy products.

Instead of heavy cream, try using half-and-half, or use 2% milk instead of full-fat milk. Sour cream and cottage cheese come in low-fat varieties. You can find lower-fat cheeses, or use a smaller amount of high-quality cheese.

For some recipes, a lower-fat substitution might not work, but it’s certainly worth a try.

Reduce sugar by half.

While sugar doesn’t have that many calories, reducing it is always a good idea when trying to eat healthier. If you don’t like the taste with less sugar, try adding a little bit of honey.

Add more lean protein, fruit, and vegetables.

If you’re making a chicken potpie, use the leanest cuts of the chicken and add more vegetables. Try some broccoli, cauliflower, and beans.

Try pan-frying instead of deep-frying.

You’ll use less oil and have fewer calories. Try frying in olive oil or coconut oil for a change of taste. Taking the skin off will reduce fat, as will baking or oven-frying.

If all else fails, simply eat smaller portions, or make adjustments elsewhere in your diet.

If you can’t stand the way your mac ‘n cheese tastes with lower-fat substitutions, by all means, cook it the right way—just eat from a smaller bowl or plate. If you don’t want to do that, then plan your mac feast and eat less during the other meals of the day.

What do you do to reduce the fat and calories in your comfort foods?

Garden Your Way to a Happier and Healthier Life

gardeningSummer is the time of year for a variety of fruits and vegetables, and you can’t find healthier, fresher, or more delicious produce than what you grow yourself. Gardening has many benefits besides providing delicious, fresh food—it helps you relax, lose weight, save money, and stay strong as you get older.

Create a slimmer, healthier you.

Gardening is good strength training and cardiovascular exercise, and it reduces blood pressure, relieves stress, and improves flexibility. It helps you stay at a healthy weight, and some gardeners say their garden teaches them patience. The earlier you begin gardening, the more beneficial it becomes as you age. Researchers at Kansas State University found that older adults who garden have better hand strength than those who do not.

Relax and enjoy yourself.

People enjoy gardening because it puts them in tune with nature and relaxes them. It’s a favorite hobby, and they often spend hours tending their garden. Eating the food is a wonderful bonus, but the process of growing the garden is what they love.

Know what you’re eating.

When you grow food yourself, you control which fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides are used (if any). You know exactly what you’re eating because you bought the seeds and were there throughout the growth cycle. When you buy produce, you don’t know how it was grown or which chemicals were used.

Enjoy food at its freshest.

Having a garden means you can walk outside, pick your food, wash it, and eat it—or sit in your yard and enjoy it right off the bush or out of the ground. It’s at its peak of freshness and taste, and you receive the full benefit of its nutrients. When you buy your produce elsewhere, it’s at least a few days old, and as it ages, its nutrient load decreases.

Save money on groceries.

Whether you buy from the supermarket, health food store, or farmer’s market, fruit and vegetables are expensive. When you grow your own, you may spend a significant amount of money in tools to start, but in following years, all you need to buy are seeds, starter plants, and fertilizer. You can grow a full garden for what it costs for one trip to the store.

Gardening is therapeutic, rejuvenating, and allows you to not only save money on groceries, but also eat the healthiest food possible. In addition, you can cultivate a happier social life and have plenty of dinner parties with all the fruits and vegetables you grow!

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