Have you started the new year vowing to lose 10 pounds or eat less junk and more real food? If you’ve made these resolutions hoping to slim down in 2013, you’re not alone. Just this week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie openly discussed his stuggles with weight. Genetics plays a part in obesity, but lifestyle habits such as what we eat and how much we move matters greatly.
Focus on nourishment & sustainability
Food is nourishment for our body. Although we gain great pleasure from eating a good meal, our focus also needs to be on the nutritive value of the foods we eat. To lose weight, we need to consume foods that offer more nutrients than calories. These type of foods are called “nutrient dense” and include whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein. We can easily gain weight when we eat too many foods that provide more calories than nutrients (i.e. calorie dense). Examples of calorie-dense foods include chips, cakes, cookies, sodas and fried foods. In addition to extra calories, calorie-dense foods can also add unnecessary artificial colors, dyes, flavors, preservatives, sweeteners and other additives to your diet.
Try different time-saving techniques
It’s easy to rely on processed convenience foods when you spend so much time working, however the real time-saving strategy is to select recipes with simple ingredients that require minimal preparation. These meals can serve as sustenance when you are at work and when you are at home. Start by choosing a few simple recipes that appeal to your taste buds and work schedule. To ensure you are making a meal that will support your weight loss, look for recipes that only use what I call “one-ingredient ingredients.” For example, recipes that use natural, unprocessed ingredients like cauliflower, garlic, onions, kale, red peppers, whole wheat bread and flours, leeks, and a variety of spices and herbs.
Healthy cooking methods such as sautéing, broiling, baking and stewing can save time in the kitchen and maximize the nutrients retained in food.
Consider adding these Quinoa Mac and Cheese recipe (and the Quick Meatloaf) to your menu this week.
BAKED QUINOA MAC and CHEESE
Not your ordinary macaroni and cheese — but just as delicious! A modern twist on an old family classic.
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium leek, chopped
1/3 cup red pepper, diced
1/3 cup yellow pepper, diced
1/3 cup tomato, diced
1 ½ cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 ½ teaspoon seasoning salt
2 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ cups water
1 ½ cups vegetable broth (or chicken)
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, unbleached
½ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups 1 percent milk (or milk of choice)
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (8 ounces)
1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add leek, red and yellow peppers. Sauté 5 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and the leeks are translucent. Add tomatoes and sauté an additional 2 minutes.
Add quinoa, seasoning salt (I like Lawhorn’s Signature Seasoning) and garlic. Cook, uncovered, 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add water and broth. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat 20 minutes or until most liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
Spread the quinoa mixture evenly in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish coated with olive oil.
Pour hot cheese sauce evenly over quinoa mixture. Mix well. Sprinkle with Panko whole wheat breadcrumbs.
Preheat oven to. Bake, uncovered, for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until center is set and top is golden.
To make cheese sauce:
Heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour, dry mustard and pepper. Stir to mix.
Add milk. Boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes or until mixture becomes thick and bubbly.
Remove from heat. Stir in cheese until melted.
Sautéed mushrooms, carrots, onions, garlic and whole-wheat breadcrumbs add layers of flavor and nutrients to this American comfort-food staple. Leftovers, if there are any, make a delicious hearty sandwich the next day.
1 pound extra lean ground beef sirloin or chuck
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
8 ounces portabella mushrooms, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely shredded
1 large celery stalk, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan & Romano cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)
1 cup fresh whole wheat bread crumbs, finely ground (see note)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Heat olive oil in heavy-bottom skillet over medium-low heat.
Sauté onions, mushrooms, carrots and celery in olive oil for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and the onions are translucent. Add garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes longer. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the vegetables to cool.
Place the ground sirloin into a large mixing bowl. Add cheese, egg, salt and pepper. Use clean hands (or a fork) to mix the liquid and seasonings into the meat. Add the breadcrumbs and continue to mix.
Add the cooled vegetables. Continue using your hands to gently work the ingredients into the meat until well combined.
Transfer the meatloaf mixture into a lightly greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Use your hands to shape the meat into a loaf.
Place meatloaf in a preheated oven and bake on 350°F, uncovered, for 1 hour until cooked through and a thermometer inserted into center registers 160°F.
Remove the pan from the oven. Drain any excess fat and allow meatloaf to rest 10 minutes before serving.
To make homemade breadcrumbs: Put two slices of whole-wheat bread (the ends work great) in a blender or food processor. Pulse into coarse crumbs. Spread the crumbs onto a baking sheet. Bake at 300°F for about 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool.
A healthier tomorrow starts with what you eat today!