What typically goes in soup? Well, let’s think… Potatoes, Carrots, Corn, Peas, Lima Beans, any kind of bean, rice, pasta…basically all high carb vegetables. What do you not see in soup that often? Low-carb veggies like Brocoli, Cauliflower, Spinach and Cabbage. Why not? Did someone make a rule? Are there only a few soup-approved veggies? NO! People just like their carbs. A high-carb meal is a high-calorie meal, so i decided to make a low-carb soup that would entertain my tastebuds without costing me a few miles of cardio to burn off. This soup is perfect for those nights I had a post-workout shake and don’t need a lot of calories, but still want a hot meal when I get home for the gym.
4 Quarts Vegetable Broth Base (I used Knorr Vegetable Mix)
1 Bag of Frozen Cauliflower (or 2 cups fresh)
2 Cups frozen chopped spinach
2 Cups chopped brocoli
2 1/2 Cups Ground Turkey (20 oz)
2 Chopped Zucchini
2 T Splenda/Stevia
2 T Hickory Liquid Smoke
Salt/Pepper to taste
Makes 25 Cups
59 Calories per Hearty Cup!
I entered everything into my LoseIt app. Here is the profile :)
When I want to enjoy a hot meal, but I don’t want a lot of whole food in my stomach, I go the soup route. The fluid fills me up, without putting a lot of whole food through my stomach. As a result, I eat fewer calories and my stomach flattens out. I headed to the kitchen, looked to see what I had and started creating. Here’s basically what I came up with.
Please note: I didn’t measure as I went. I was just shaking, dumping and stirring stuff in, using what I had in the pantry and doing what I do best – make stuff up as I go along. I tried to guestimate what I did after I realized I probably should share what was brewing – especially since it was SO yummy and only 107 calories a cup, 8.5gm protein, 15.6 carbs and 1.2g fat! :) Feel free to adjust the seasonings, water and lemon juice to fit your tastes. As for the 2 cans of soup. I often use a can of soup as a base for my pot-luck soups. You can use pretty much any vegetable soup as a base, or skip it altogether and just add more seasoning, diced tomatoes, bullion or powdered soup mix. :)
Tangy Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
DIET TIP: Scan food as you cook to track calories in your LoseIt app. Remember to adjust serving size to match the ENTIRE can or food product.
4 Chicken Breast pulled (boiled in lemon or lime juice, water, salt and seasonings)
(1-2 Cups of the broth from that soup can be used for the base)
1 1/2 Cup Yellow Corn (limit corn to limit calories)
1 Can Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 Can of Vegetable Beef Soup (that’s just what I happened to have)
3-4 Cans Water (depending on desired thickness)
2 Cans of Black Beans (dieters use 1 can)
1 Can of Diced Tomatoes
1 Can of Dices Green Chiles
1 Cup Yellow Rice (optional)
3 Tbsp Cumin
1 Tbsp Chili Powder
1/3 Cup Lime or lemon Juice
1/3 Cup Sonny’s Sweet BBQ Sauce (optional – gives a chipotle taste)
1 1/1 tsp Splenda or Stevia
Fresh Cilantro (to taste)
A few shakes of Red Pepper
Salt to taste
Should Make Approximately 23 1/2 Cups
Boil the chicken until the chicken falls apart. Chop it up, pull it apart and combine it with all other ingredients in a huge pot. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for a couple of hours. The longer it stews, the more flavor the chicken and veggies will have. Don’t do final tasting until it has cooked for a while. The taste of the broth will change as it adopts the flavors of the tomatoes, chicken, corn, black beans and green chiles. Once it has had a chance to simmer for a while, then you can determine if it needs more lemon or lime juice, or seasonings.
After I finished cooking it, I measured out (one cup at a time) into a tupperware container to find out how many cups it made. Add more chicken to increase protein, or decrease corn and beans to decrease carbs. You can add sliced avocado on top as a garnish if you want to increase fats. The key is finding out what your diet needs and making adjustments to fit your needs.
One cup makes a great snack. 1.5-2 cups is a filling meal!
Beef up the meal and protein by combining 1 cup of soup with 3 oz side of chicken for a 277 calories, 31g protein, 27gm carbs and 5g fat. (pie graph above shows the breakdown of nutrients)
DIET TIP: LOWER CALORIES EVEN MORE
Use 1 can of black beans (instead of 2), 3/4 cup of corn (instead of 1 1/2 cup) and no rice (instead of 1 cup), and you’ll reduce your calories to 78 calories per cup. (29 calories less – lower carb). Add broccoli to add more fiber and consistency with fewer calories.
It’s Dinner Time!
When we are in “diet mode”, salads are our first pick for supper. Since we try to minimize carbs, and predominately eat protein, greens and fats at night, salads make a perfect filling (and delicious) dinner. However, you can only eat a traditional Chef salad so much, so I’m always making new creations to entertain our taste buds. This is when I open the fridge up, see what I have and start brainstorming on what I can create based on what ingredients I have on hand.
My Salad Formula
After I see what I have to work with, I first choose my “style”. Then I pick my greens. To help me manage calories, I normally choose one sweet item (like Craisins, apple, pear, mandarin oranges, etc) and one fat (like goat cheese, avocado, nuts or olive oil). Then I add in “freebies”, the extras that don’t have a lot of calories like tomato, onions, cucumbers, seasonings, etc. Lastly, I top it with protein and choose a light dressing to toss everything in.
Last night, I was in the mood for Oriental! So here’s what I whipped together for Steve and I! I have to admit, I couldn’t get enough and was super sad when it was all gone! :)
2 Cups Shredded Cabbage
2 Cups Finely Chopped Kale
1 Can Low Sugar Mandarin Oranges (chopped up slightly)
1/2 Chopped Sweet Onion
2 Small Grilled Chicken Chopped (I smoked chicken rubbed in Curry & Seasonings)
1/3 Cup Cooked Quinoa
Kraft Asian Toasted Sesame Lite Dressing
1 Teaspoon Sesame Seeds
Almond Accents Sliced Almonds
In a small bowl, combine the cucumber, vinegar and about 1 teaspoon of splenda. Let the cucumber marinade while you mix the salad together. In one large bowl, toss together all the salad ingredients accept for the chicken and almonds. Divide the salad into 2 servings and top with chicken and the cucumber topping, sprinkling the almond accents on top for a nice added low-calorie crunch.
Is Your Salad Making You Fat?
As many of you know, I’m not a huge “recipe follower”. I own measuring cups and spoons but rarely use them. I like to start with a thought and build my creation as I go, with my mind (and tongue) as my only guide. With that said, I decided to make some Chili Sunday. Although I can’t tell you EXACTLY what I put in it (but, don’t fret, I will try!), I can tell you about a discovery I made that was a huge success – RED QUINOA!
I’ve been cooking with quinoa for a while now and have added to meatloaf, salads, burgers, rice and all kinds of stuff – so why not chili right? That’s what I was thinking!! My chili was becoming a little too soupy and I wanted to thicken it up a bit. As I started to think about what I wanted to add to it, quinoa popped in my head.
I cooked up 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water, and added the cooked quinoa to my huge pot of chili. It was AWESOME!! It blended with the ground turkey very well and gave it a great hearty consistency. Here’s (approximately) what I threw in the pot if you’d like to give it a try!
My Un-Recipe Turkey Quinoa Chili Recipe
- 2.5lbs of ground turkey
- 2 cans of Rotel diced tomatoes
- 1 can of tomato sauce
- 1 large can tomato paste
- One small onion
- 3 small sweet peppers (red, yellow & orange)
- 3 cans of medium chili beans
- 1 can of red kidney beans
- 1 cup of frozen fresh organic corn
- 1 cup uncooked red quinoa (cooked as directed prior to adding)
- 1/4-1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- A few shakes of your favorite hot sauce
- Brown Sugar or Stevia to sweeten (to taste – I used both)
- Cumin, Chili power, salt, pepper, garlic powder, red pepper, cayenne pepper & all that jazz. I did my own thing, but you could just use a chili seasoning pack to make it simple.
I cooked this chili nearly all day. I like to serve it the NEXT day! It’s just always SO more flavorful the next day!! Let all those seasonings soak in for a phenomenal chili! Top with light sour cream for a peace of heaven. Yes, I’m literally eating a bowl RIGHT NOW!!!! yummmmmmmmmm
DIET TIP: Track calories by adding ALL the ingredients up (I use the recipe builder in the LoseIT app, putting the total amount and weight of everything). Add how many servings it will serve (you can do this based on how many ounces or quarts your pot is, and divide it by cups so each cup is a set amount of calories so you can easily track each cup). Once you have the recipe in your app, you will always have the calories for that meal! If you are like me, you stick to the same favorite recipes anyway, so you won’t have to build too many recipes. If it seems too hard to track challenging recipes, stick to whole foods while you are dieting (a meat, a veggie, etc) until you get the swing of managing calories while cooking mutli-ingredient recipes like this one. Remember, just because you don’t know how many calories something is, doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Moderation is key – but in order to know how MUCH you can have, you need to know how MANY calories it has! :)
CLICK HERE for more information, recipes and nutrition tips on Quinoa!
I had some extra tuna in the pantry so I decided to make a cold tuna salad to make easy go-to snacks. As you probably know, it’s hard to eat on the go. You don’t always have a microwave handy, so it’s great to have a cold meal that’s travels easily. While protein bars are always nice to have on hand, sometimes you just want to eat real food. This is a great solution for dieters on the go.
Low-Fat Tuna Pasta Salad
3 5oz Cans of Tuna (I used 3 3oz cans & a 4.5 packet of lemon pepper tuna)
1 Box of Ronzoni Garden Delight Trio Pasta
2 Full Cups of Baby Spinach
1 Chopped Green Pepper
1 Chopped Small Sweet Red Onion
1/2 Box of Frozen Peas
2 Stalks of Celery
1/2 Cup Hellman’s Low Fat Mayo
1 TBS Lemon Juice
1 TBS White Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Stevia
1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
Freshly Ground Pepper
Cook the pasta for 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and run cold water over the pasta in the strainer. Throw the pasta in the bowl, add all the ingredients* and chill for serving.
* NOTE: You can leave out the spinach and mix it together when serving or eating, to keep it super fresh if you plan on eating it as left overs.
Makes 8 1-Cup Servings for meals or 16 1/2 Cup Servings for snacks. Serve over a bed of greens with balsamic vinegar to turn this into a wonderful salad and to make it even more filling. If you are watching calories, divide the salad into the desired serving sizes to help you manage calories easily.
Meal Size - Serving Size: 1 Cup
Snack Size - Serving Size: 1/2 Cup
DIET TIP: I hope seeing the nutritional value makes you realize how a tuna salad, which we could easily think is a “high-protein” meal, is not really that high in protein. This is a great snack or meal, but it’s more of a balanced meal – but it’s not truly a high protein meal. If you want to make this salad even lower in calories and higher in protein, use less pasta and more spinach and tuna. :)
Sometimes you just want a nice cool crisp pasta salad to munch on that isn’t loaded with calories. Yesterday was one of those days, so I whipped this little creation together and it came out super yummy!
Box of Rotini Whole Grain Pasta
1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 1/2 Cup Sliced Cherry Tomatoes
1 Cup of Chopped Scallions
1 Chopped Green Pepper
28 Slices of Turkey Pepperoni (14 slices per serving)
1/3 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 Teaspoon of Minced Garlic
Salt & Cracked Pepper (to taste)
Balsamic Vinegar Glaze
Boil the pasta as directed. Drain the pasta and let it cool. Add all the cold ingredients and chill for nibbling later! Drizzle with the balsamic glaze and serve! I added diced grilled chicken (seen here in this pic)! YUM!
There’s just something fun about grilling out on a holiday. The aroma blankets the neighborhood and gives a home a festive atmosphere with each whiff – but grilling out isn’t always healthy. While most people are grilling high-calorie hot dogs and hamburgers, and serving it with potato chips, baked beans and potato salad, you could be grilling up healthier options.
First, there’s the meat. Trade regular beef burgers for homemade turkey burgers. If you buy pre-made burgers, look at the fat content. Most of the time it’s crazy high. I prefer buying lean ground turkey meat and making my own turkey burgers. They not only have less fat, but I can make mine more flavorful. (Try my Spicy Turkey Burger & Mexican Slaw recipe!)
Even if you have kids coming over, watch out for high-cal hot dogs. Either skip the wieners altogether, or look for healthier options with just meat and spices without all the crap (and fat), like Applegate Farms Uncured Beef Hot Dog. (Click here for more dog options). Or, stick to whole meat like grilled chicken, pork or fish instead of doing burgers and hot dogs since they require bread – which is just more unnecessary calories.
As for the sides, leave the potato chips and dip at the grocery story and forget the traditional BBQ sides like cole slaw, baked beans and potato salad, which are loaded with fat and sugar. Instead, go for grilled veggies for tons of flavor without the guilt. They are tasty hot or cold – and a heck of a lot better for you!
10 Healthy Veggie Grillers
1. Grilled Asparagus: Toss asparagus in Olive Oil, Garlic and Sea Salt and place directly on the grill or on a sheet of tin foil.
2. Lemon Cabbage: Slice cabbage into 8 large wedges (using the core to keep the wedges together). Put the wedges in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain the water and brush equal parts lemon juice and olive oil on wedges of cabbage. Sprinkle with seas salt, a dust of garlic powder and wrap in tin foil. Cook until they are soft and golden grown on the sides.
3. Cilantro Corn: Mix corn, diced onion, red pepper, cilantro, lime juice, sea salt and a little olive oil. Wrap in tin foil or grill loose on a non-stick griddle pan, until kernels are slightly charred.
4. Teriyaki Mushrooms: Wrap mushrooms in a tin foil, keeping the top open, but ready to close. Add teriyaki marinade and a little olive oil. Close the tin foil and cook until they are tender.
5. Curried Brussels Sprouts: Boil brussels sprouts for 2-3 minutes. Drain, and lightly coat the brussels spouts in olive oil. Dust with curry powder and sea salt. Wrap tightly in tin foil. Cook until tender to the core.
6. Grilled Eggplant: Slice eggplant in large slices and coat with lemon juice and olive oil. Grill straight on the grill, or on tin foil.
7. Potato Wedges: If whole potatoes take too long to cook for your liking, cut your potatoes in large wedges and grill in light olive oil and sea salt. Spice them up by adding a sprinkle of parmesan and garlic powder over potato wedges toward the end of grilling. For sweet potato wedges, serve with a light sprinkle of powdered sugar and a drizzle of light maple syrup.
9. Green Beans: Toss green beans in soy sauce, olive oil & fresh minced garlic and let sit for a couple of minutes while you prepare the grill. Lay beans in a tin foil packet (for more flavor) or place on an a grilling pan or grate.
10. Zucchini, Squash & Eggplant: Slice vegetables long-ways and coat in the marinade mixture in the video (below) and grill straight on the grill.
Great Veggie Grilling Tips from allrecipes.com
When you have chicken nearly every single day of your life, you crave change. Since red meat isn’t that healthy to eat too often, I turned to the “other white meat”, pork.
Yesterday I threw some boneless pork chops in my slow roaster to cook up some scrumptious garlic and parm chops – and OMG! They were not only super tasty, they practically fell apart they were so tender.
Garlic Parm Chops
6 Pork Chops
1/3 a stick of butter or margarine
1 finely sliced onion
1-2 tablespoons minced garlic (or garlic powder)
1 Packet of Instant Soup (onion or cream of chicken, optional)
1 Cup of Water
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Salt to taste
I mixed the water and the soup mix for the liquid base. Then I placed the pork chops and onion into a slow roaster. Lastly, I added the butter and all the seasonings on top.
I cooked it on 325 for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours. I stopped to taste it, and dusted more salt, onion powder (I would have added garlic powder, but i only had minced garlic) and parmesan on top. Then, I cooked it for a few more minutes allowing the flavors to settle in. The end result was pork chops that not only were tasty, but they practically fell apart when I picked them up. TOTALLY YUM!
It’s not quite as good as garlic and parmesan chicken wings, but it’s pretty darn close! Hmmm, that makes me think! I bet dipping it in blue cheese or ranch dressing would be good!! Forget I said that! Baaaad Bonnie! Baaaad! :)
Last night I posted a pic of this salad I made on instagram & facebook and you guys asked me for the recipe for the dressing. As always, I threw this recipe together last night without measuring anything – just making it up as I go. If I had to guess, it went a little like this…
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar (or champagne vinegar)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup hellmans 15 calorie light mayo
- 2 tablespoons honey mustard
- 2 tablespoons of Stevia (instead of honey)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- 4-5 dashes of cayenne pepper (optional)
Note: This morning I went online and looked at other recipes, just to compare what I did with mainstream recipes. Many recipes called for up to a CUP of honey (ouch on the calories) and up to a CUP of olive oil (double ouch!). I admit, 1/2 cup of olive oil would probably taste better, but is too many calories for me. That’s also why I add the mayo – to thicken it up and richen the taste up, which also helps the dressing stick to the salad better, so less waste.
Here’s what Steve said when he was done eating: “Do you know that roller coaster I really love at Sea World? It’s so fun I don’t want it to end and I’ll happily stand back in line to do it over and over. That’s how I feel about this salad.” So, I guess my lower-cal version did just fine! :)
- Grilled Southwest Chipotle Chicken
- Vidalia Onion
- Sliced Almond Accents
- (and I ended up sprinkling on a few Craisins just for Stevo)
Here’s a pic of Steve’s salad:
5oz Seasoned Ground Turkey
1 LaBanderita Low-Carb Tortilla (only 81 calories)
2 T Light Sour Cream
3 T Ariba’s Fire Roasted Mexican Chipotle Salsa
Kale Super Food Mix (salad greens)
Topped with Taco Bell’s Hot Sauce (it makes me feel like I’m cheating for some reason! ha!)
Need more carbs? Add 1/3 cup Quinoa for 74 more calories (total of 299 calories)
The key to success for me is to already have the main ingredients cooked up ready to go! I cooked this Sunday and have used it in various meals like this one! Personally, if I had more time (I was in a BIG hurry) I would have chopped fresh tomato, used a bunch of romaine lettuce and grilled onions and pepper. But I was in a rush, but it was so yummy and toootally satisfied my Mexican craving (which I get every other day!) ;)
Turkey Taco Meat:
2.5lbs ground turkey
Grilled Chopped Onion
1/4 cup lime juice
2 packets of taco seasoning
Beware of These Burrito Ingredients
Burritos can be super high in calories if you aren’t careful. Between the high calories wraps most restaurants use and the popular stuffings like rice, cheese and refried beans, many burritos can rack up the calories quick. I used Chipotle’s ingredients and calories as an example.
Tortillas (290 calories) O…M….G!
Cheese: (100 calories)
Rice: (170/white rice & 160/brown rice)
Beans: (120 calories for black or pinto beans)
Guacamole: (150 calories)
Sour Cream: (120 calories)
Corn Salsa: 80 calories (might not be worth it)
Fajita Veggies: 20 calories
Tomato Sals: 20 calories
Tomatillo Green Salsa: 40 calories
Tomatillo Red Salsa: 15 calories
Lettuce: 5 calories
Look how the calories add UP…
1,265 CALORIES: Chipotle Chicken burrito with rice, beans, fajita veggies, corn salsa, cheese, sour cream & guac. (turn it into a bowl and it’s 975 calories – better, but still super high)
785 CALORIES: Chipotle Chicken burrito with brown rice, no beans, salsa and sour cream. (a bowl is 495)
645 CALORIES: Chipotle Chicken burrito with only chicken, fajita veggies, lettuce, sour cream and salsa. (A bowl is only 355)
Healthy Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl:
Chicken, lettuce, fajita veggies, fresh tomato salsa, Tomatillo green salsa and guacamole (for healthy fats to help the meal stay with you longer). 400 calories, 37g protein
Just because you are dieting doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the foods you like. You just need to eat smart and make healthy choices – as well as eat the right portions. :)