The holiday season is all about giving, and you never want to show up to a party empty handed. The benefits are two fold: your host will love you, and you know you’ll have some lower calorie options you can stick to no matter what’s on the menu. Bring one of the following quick and easy, low calorie holiday recipes to your next get together and enjoy yourself, guilt-free.
Noshes and Nibbles
Appe-teasers are simple to prepare and simple to eat, making them great for informal cocktail parties. Look for recipes high in protein to keep you full for hours, like our gal Oprah’s favorite meatballs and stick to lower calorie variations of your favorite traditionally high fat, high calorie dips.
Most of the time when we snack, we just want the act of snacking. Rarely does anyone actually need those extra calories, but most need the boost in nutrition from a healthy snack to help hit your daily nutrition requirements.
Sensible Foods dried fruit and vegetable snacks are the perfect snack for dieters- the calories are almost negligible, they are made from whole foods and they keep your mouth busy with satisfying little crunches. Sensible Foods come in a ton of different flavors, including Apple, Corn, Edemame, Tropical Blend, Strawberry-Banana, Soynut, Cherry Berry, and Orchard Blend. Sensible Snacks uses a process that removes the water while maintaining the product’s cell structure and nutritional value, and intensifies the flavor. The process gives them a shelf life of over two years, and each packet is the equivalent to 1/2 cup of fresh fruit, or 1 serving of your 5 a day. They range in calories, but all clock in at under 100 calories per pouch.
I love healthy foods in all forms, and choose my snacks based more on their nutritional profile than their taste. Being the healthy minority of my mid-20 peer group, I always like to run new healthy food products by some “average” eaters to get their spin. I gave some Cherry Berry to a fruit-a-phobe friend of mine, who quickly demolished the whole packet claiming he loved them because they taste like Fruity Pebbles. This is a true statement, which quickly led to an experiment of whether drowning them in milk would cause them to puff back up into berry form. It did not.
Picture this: It’s 5:00pm and you’ve yet to think about what you’re having for dinner that evening. If you have a family of picky eaters to feed and you’re trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight, it can be hard to pull together a balanced, nutritious meal on the fly.
“Think the “Take 5″ way,” said Robin Miller, host of the Food Network’s Quick Fix Meals and author of Robin Takes 5. “Carefully select five key, flavorful ingredients and you’ll need little else to pull a great meal together.”
Miller’s favorite standby pantry ingredients include oil-packed sundried tomatoes (drain away the oil and save the wonderful, tomato-infused oil for sautéing chicken and vegetables another night), marinated artichoke hearts (save the marinade for home-made dressings and marinades), jarred roasted red peppers, capers and stuffed olives. “Strong cheeses (such as blue, goat, feta, smoked Gouda, Parmesan) are great because a little goes a long way,” said Miller. “Toasted nuts (almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, pecans) add flavor, crunch and protein.”
I don’t know about you, but I have waited so long for a cookbook like this. In Lisa Lillien’s “Hungry Girl’s Cookbook“, she takes decadent eats like brownies, pasta-dishes, and sandwiches and shows you how to very simply make them low-fat and very low in calories. Her tricks are numerous: using pureed pumpkin in baked goods in lieu of oil and eggs, adding shirataki noodles (low-cal and low-carb tofu noodles) to make soups, pasta dishes and more, and using light vanilla soy milk in place of cream or milk.
The names of her dishes are just as colorful as the recipes: “rockin & choppin taco salad,” “fancy schmancy oatmeal,” “my big fat greek pita,” and “lord of the onion rings.” Whatever your craving is, the Hungry Girl has got it covered for you.
Also in the book are fun tips on how to snack and eat on the road, in the office, or at the movies without jeopardizing your jean size. The great thing about this book is that Lisa’s recipes are healthy, full of fiber and they are not meager! With a reliance on veggies, lean protein and sneaky replacements, you don’t have to worry that this cookbook will serve you up mouse-sized portions that lead you to raid the fridge when dinner is over.
For $17.95, you can’t beat this book! It’s creative, delicious and so much fun!