Nothing takes the edge off a hot summer day like an ice cream sundae. Once you get going with chunky and syrupy toppings, not to mention whipped cream, “just a scoop or two” can easily reach 500 calories or more. Use a normal ice pop mold to freeze a combination of non-fat Greek yogurt, chopped fruit, and even some nuts to make a sweet, creamy and portion-controlled treat. This melt-in-your-mouth alternative is lower in sugar and packs more protein than you’d ever find hanging out in a waffle cone.
If you want a few slices of bacon with your breakfast or on your sandwich, keep two things in mind. Cooking your bacon in the microwave or on a rack in the oven (be sure to use a drip pan!) will spare you a few grams of fat versus frying it on the stove. Bacon is a very salty food, so fight the reflex to reach for the shaker and let the bacon do the seasoning instead.
Using full-flavored shredded cheese for sandwiches or pizza gets the cheesy goodness into every bite while minimizing the amount you need. A serving size is 1 ounce or a ¼ cup. If you just like to snack on a cube or two, run it through the grater and trick your brain into thinking you’re eating far more. A 1 ounce serving size looks like 2 dice.
The recommended serving size for pasta is one half cup cooked, but how many of us actually measure it out? Don’t try to guess based on what you get when out to eat: a survey of restaurants found that their portions of pasta were up to four times the recommended serving. If your half cup looks too paltry, use a potato peeler to make strips of zucchini or eggplant to bulk up your dish. With a tomato-rich marinara sauce (loaded with lycopene) on top, you’ve got a healthy way to eat a comforting meal.
You don’t have to say no to chewy, chocolaty goodness if you know the secret ingredient! Buy your favorite brownie mix, but substitute a can of low sodium beans for all wet ingredients. Blend the beans, stir into the mix, and bake according to the directions on the box. You have to taste it to believe it, but you will wind up with a delicious dessert with less fat, and more fiber and protein, than the original.
Food borne illness outbreaks have made consumers more aware of how dangerous certain pathogens can be. Ground hamburger meat is of particular concern because combining cow products from multiple cows and slaughterhouses, some of which have lower food safety standards, increases the risk of contamination. If you are worried, take matters into your own hands! Ask your butcher to grind up individual steaks, or even look to alterative meats like bison and lamb, and make your own burgers at home.
With quick and innovative meal alterations, we can trick both our minds and our taste buds into being fuller and more satisfied. Patricia Bannan, registered dietitian and author of "Eat Right When Time is Tight," gives us six good ways to eat those notoriously bad foods that some of us just cannot live without.