|I'm like 99% on board with this quote.|
This summer, after nearly a year of terrible eating and exercise habits, I've finally managed to re-commit myself to a healthier lifestyle. Through regular exercise (thank you ClassPass!) and cooking more meals at home (where I can control ingredients and portion sizes) I've finally gotten back on healthy habits bandwagon.
Since it's easy to get bored with your go-to dinner options and variety is the spice of life, here are a 3 creative(ish), simple and new (to me) meals I've been preparing recently. They aren't exactly Julia Childs caliber and nearly all require something pre-made or packaged, but if I can make it fast and keep it healthy, in my opinion that's a meal worth sharing!
* Sausage, Sautéed Broccoli & Shirataki Noodles
If you aren't familiar with Tofu Shirataki noodles, it's time to get with the good stuff! This delicious pasta alternative comes in all sorts of shapes (angel hair, fettuccine, spaghetti...) and though they aren't going to be mistaken for that carb-tastic pasta we all love, it's an awesome and infinitely healthier substitute (a half bag is 10 calories, 0.5g fat and 3g carbs, aka ZERO Weight Watchers points so go ahead and enjoy a bag, or 2!)
I like to prepare the noodles in a pan which I've lightly coated with Pam Olive Oil Cooking Spray. I add fresh garlic, salt and some crushed red pepper and heat them slowly. In another, larger pan, I heat up some sliced pre-cooked sausage (options I love HERE) along with broccoli, adding a little olive oil and seasoning as I steam the mixture with the lid on. At the end, I combine everything into the sausage/broccoli pan to really mix the flavors and then I serve with grated parmesan cheese. It's all the Italian flavors you love at a fraction of the hit to your waistline!
* Spaghetti Squash Boats - Mediterranean Style
I love preparing spaghetti squash all sorts of ways (our household favorite being with grilled chicken parm melted on top like THIS) but adding all that sauce and cheese can detract from the healthy effort. For another tasty and slightly healthier option, try sautéing shrimp using a pesto-powder mix and just a little water and olive oil (much lower in fat than traditional pesto) along with chopped onions, spinach and tomatoes. (While you're doing this on the stove, bake the halved spaghetti squash like THIS (note, I usually skip the water and just lay the squash flat on a baking tray covered in tin foil bc I'm lazy like that!)) Once the squash is done, shred the "spaghetti" and mix in some salt, pepper, garlic powder and maybe a little more of that pesto powder. Next, load your pesto shrimp/veggie mixture into the top of the squash and top with low fat feta. On a baking sheet cook the "boats" for another 10-15 minutes and then serve.
* Asian Veggie Patty Burgers with Corn on the Cob (and sweet potato slices)
This is a new favorite for when I need a meal real fast, but I don't want to indulge in takeout. These MorningStar Asian Veggie Patties are delicious and can be popped in the microwave while you're toasting your Light English Muffin (I dare you to claim you can tell the difference between the light and regular!) Delicious plain or with a little ketchup, my favorite is a dollop of sweet chili sauce on the "bun" (for those feeling adventurous and up for something with a bit of kick!) And since nothing says summer like fresh corn on the cob, grab an ear and pop it in the microwave (2 minutes per ear with a thin layer of husk left on to create a steamed effect).
Lastly, if I'm feeling very hungry (aka, always), I'll add a sweet potato to this meal. I like to prepare it by creating thin, circle slices which I swipe with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt, pepper (and maybe some cajun seasoning) and pop in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes (depending on the thickness of your slices). Enjoy plain or dipped in some of that zesty sweet chili sauce!