Soaking your vegetables in melted butter and/or cheese? I found if I added my raw or frozen veggies with rice or noodles just before they were finished cooking, I was able to first reduce the butter and finally omit it all together. Even my six year-old grandson loves some whole wheat pasta, fresh broccoli stirred together with sauteed diced onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Do I still love broccoli buried in processed cheese sauce – I can honestly say I do not. But the best way I've found to incorporate vegetables into my meals is with a stir-fry. Here's a great tofu and broccoli recipe.
Need cookies? Chips? Cookies? Chips? Try pretzel rods dipped in dark chocolate and rolled in crushed walnuts or sprinkles. Or how about salted almonds, some dark chocolate chips and raisins (or dried cranberries) and satisfy both cravings at the same time. Again, serving sizes are key ... even healthy food can be high calorie and even high fat if you’re not careful. I find it’s best to note the serving size and put that amount in a very small container so it appears to be overflowing ... somehow I feel like I’m indulging if I have more food and less container ... make sense?
Want chips and dip? Try carrots sliced to a coin-shape or sticks, zucchini rounds, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, either slice in rounds or sticks, peppers, fresh broccoli and/or cauliflower and bring on a good low fat dressing or hummus. Watch your serving size on the dips, even hummus is only two tablespoons, but that should be enough if you plan it right.
Need a microwave popcorn fix? Do you love the movie theater double buttered version? Honestly, there’s nothing to compare but I’ll give you three options ... 1.) Switch to air-popped, lightly salted popcorn, 2.) Eat the movie theater double buttered version but only have a true serving size (about 1-1/2 cups) or less - no seconds, or my choice 3.) Skip popcorn all together because options 1 and 2 are just plain too difficult for me!
I’m pretty good about drinking low calorie drinks, if you’re not, well .........stop it! You know water is the best thing to drink, don’t you? I hate to drink water unless I’m really, really thirsty - which is rarely. I do like filtered water over crushed ice with a twist of fresh lime and a straw. But, I’m more likely to down a bottle of Propel, or some diet, caffeine-free soda, like Canada Dry ginger ale ... but I only allow myself one soda a day, 2 bottles of Propel and one lovely glass of red wine before dinner. The rest of the time I drink water. Oh, I forgot to mention the volumes of herb tea I drink, from my breakfast green tea to my Sleepytime tea at bedtime with peach orchard, rooibos, peppermint, and fennel teas throughout the day. Sometimes I even ice the herb teas ... a refreshing treat!
So there it is ... we’re back to making choices! Remember the days when you could order a quarter-pounder with cheese, fries and a Coke and thinking nothing of it? Hmmm ... I do. Now that I’m a flexitarian I have learned a lot about myself and the food I eat.