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My Journey To A Healthy Me

Hello! I started this blog to document my personal journey to get healthy. Over time, it evolved into sharing what I did, with others. The p...

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Lean And Green Holiday Meals

As we are approaching the holiday season, I know many of us are a little concerned about the food side of things! I've compiled some easy lean and green recipes here that will help you stay on program - it just takes a little planning and foresight!

When I was on program, my goal was more important to me than anything else, so I was able to easily focus on that and move through the holiday season with ease. I know that isn't the case for everyone though, so let's chat about it a little bit!

You can stay on program and keep enjoying those benefits of the energy boost you get from making healthy choices that benefit your body, you'll keep feeling happy and confident, especially in front of the camera, you won't go backwards and experience hunger and cravings, and you'll be setting yourself up for success in 2022!

You can also make the intentional decision to stay on program except for a little extra during holiday meals. If you choose this, be sure you've examined all the outcomes and mentally prepare yourself for cravings and hunger to kick in, and have a solid plan in place to get back 100% on program! That means, put an end date on the "off program" choices and STICK TO IT. 

If you make the choice to go off program...really think about WHY. You will almost for sure experience hunger and cravings. Is it worth it? Ask yourself, is this food something you actually look forward to, or is it a habit you have (and maybe want to stop)? Is your progress so far more valuable to you than how that food tastes? Do you KNOW what that food tastes like? (it probably doesn't taste as good as you remember it and your tastes have surely changed since being on program!) And finally ask yourself, what can I do to prepare so I can participate in holiday gatherings but still keep my goals on track?

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Here are some recipes I've compiled that will help you stay on track to reach your goals! 


Cheesy Cauliflower Biscuits


Makes 4 servings. Each serving provides about 1/2 lean, 2 green, and 1.25 condiments

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cauliflower
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup reduced-fat cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Make Mashed Cauliflower: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Steam cauliflower for about 10-12 minutes or until very tender, then transfer to a food processor. Add minced garlic and pulse several times until smooth and creamy.
  2. Transfer mashed cauliflower into a large mixing bowl. Add in two whole eggs, cheddar cheese, Nonfat Greek yogurt, salt and pepper and mix together.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Then, slowly fold the egg whites into the cauliflower mixture.
  4. Coat a mini muffin pan with cooking spray of your choice. Then fill the cups to the top with the cauliflower mixture.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the pan, and set on a cooling rack.

NOTE: for best results, use MINI muffin pans. Larger pans leave the muffins a little soggy.



Turkey Meatloaf

This healthy meatloaf recipe made with lean ground turkey and fresh vegetables is free of breadcrumbs and other carbohydrate-rich fillers. It’s simple to make and tastes delicious.  


Makes 4 servings, each serving is 1 leanest, 3 green, 2 healthy fats, 3 condiments. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. 99% lean ground turkey
  • 3 cups finely chopped Napa cabbage (about 6 oz.)
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted and crushed
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small fennel bulbs (about 1 lb.)
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground turkey, Napa cabbage, green onions, pine nuts, paprika, ¾ teaspoon of salt and a ½ teaspoon black pepper. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape the ground turkey mixture into a loaf 7-inches long and 4-inches wide, and place it on baking sheet.
  3. Bake the meatloaf for about 30 minutes or to an internal temperature of 165°F.
  4. Meanwhile, remove the green stalks of the fennel and cut the bulbs in half lengthwise. Cut each half of fennel into quarter wedges and remove the center core. Reserve some of the fine fronds, and cut them coarsely for later use.
  5. Heat a nonstick skillet with oil and sear the fennel wedges until lightly browned.
  6. Add the chicken stock and remaining salt and pepper, and cover the skillet with a lid. Cook on medium to high heat for about 5 minutes or until the fennel is tender. Remove the lid, and continue to cook until all liquid has evaporated. Stir in the parmesan cheese and fennel fronds.
  7. Carve the meat loaf and serve along with the fennel.

Per Serving: 400 calories | 61g protein | 14g carbohydrate | 18g fat



Cauliflower and Biscuit Stuffing


Makes 2 servings, each serving is 1 fueling, 3 green, 1/2 healthy fat, and 3 condiments

Ingredients:

  • 2 sachets OPTAVIA Select Buttermilk Cheddar Herb Biscuit
  • 2/3 cup cold water
  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 cups cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine Buttermilk Cheddar Herb Biscuits and water. Pour into a lightly-greased bread loaf pan and bake until golden brown on the edges, about 18-20 minutes
  3. Cut cooked biscuit into small cubes, and spread onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Increase oven temperature to 400ºF and bake until toasted, about 10 minutes
  4. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add celery, onion, and garlic, and cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add cauliflower, mushrooms, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper, and cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes
  5. Add chicken broth and toasted biscuit cubes, and stir to incorporate. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes
  6. Remove from heat, and cover with a lid. Let sit 10 minutes before serving. 

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower and Gravy


Makes 4 servings, each serving is 2 greens, 1 healthy fat, and 3 condiments

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1/4 cup light cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
For gravy:
  • 3 Tbsp McCormick® 30% Less Sodium Brown Gravy Mix or Mushroom Gravy Mix
  • 3/4 cup cold water
Directions:
  1. Bring a large saucepan of stockpot of water to a boil
  2. Boil cauliflower until easily pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. Drain, and then let cool slightly
  3. Add cooked cauliflower and remaining ingredients to a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth
  4. Prepare gravy according to package directions



Green Bean Casserole


Makes 4 servings, each serving is 1/4 leaner, 3 green, 1/2 healthy fat, 3 condiments

Ingredients:
  • 1, 16oz bag frozen whole green beans
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 packet stevia
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat, shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F
  2. Microwave green beans according to directions on package
  3. Lightly grease a medium-sized skillet, and heat over medium heat. Cook mushrooms, onion, and garlic until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Combine mushroom mixture with green beans in a medium-sized bowl, and let cool
  4. Meanwhile, combine Greek yogurt, sour cream, cornstarch, stevia, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Toss vegetables in sauce mixture until evenly coated. Add cheddar cheese, and mix until well combined
  5. Spread into a lightly-greased baking dish, top with parmesan, and bake until topping is golden brown, about 30-35 minutes. 


Baked Kabocha (Crustless "Pumpkin" Pie)




Makes 4 servings with 1 green, 1 condiment, and 1 snack per serving

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups roasted Kabocha squash
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cashew or almond milk
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 packet stevia
  • 28 walnut halves
Directions:
  1. Prepare Kabocha
    1. Preheat oven to 400ºF
    2. Line a baking pan with non-stick foil or parchment paper. 
    3. Cut Kabocha in half (if skin is too tough, microwave for 1-2 minutes first) and remove all seeds
    4. Cut squash into wedges, and lay on the prepared baking pan. 
    5. Spray wedges with cooking spray, and bake for 30 minutes.
    6. Flip wedges over, spray with cooking spray, and bake for 10-15 additional minutes until squash is cooked. Let cool
    7. Peel skin off squash
    8. Measure 2 cups cooked squash, without skin (any leftovers can be frozen for another time)
  2. Prepare pie
    1. Preheat oven to 425ºF
    2. Spray 4 ramekins with non-stick cooking spray
    3. Add 2 cups squash (without skin) and the remaining ingredients except walnuts, to a food processor and blend until smooth. 
    4. Divide squash mixture evenly between the four ramekins
    5. Bake 15 minutes, remove from oven
    6. Reduce oven heat to 350ºF
    7. Evenly spread the walnuts on top of each ramekin
    8. Bake additional 25 minutes
    9. Serve! You can top with 1 Tbsp Cool Whip or 2 Tbsp Reddi Whip (for one additional condiment)


Baked Cinnamon Jicama (Tastes like baked apples)



Makes 3 servings of 1 cup each, each serving is 2 greens, 2 condiments, and 1 healthy fat

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups jicama, peeled and cubed
  • 3 tbsp reduced fat margarine, melted 
  • 1/4 tsp apple pie spice 
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 3 packets stevia in the raw or monkfruit in the raw

Optional (1 condiment each) Toppings:
  • 2 tbsp Walden Farms caramel syrup
  • 2 tbsp Fat Free Reddi Whip 
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a cookie sheet or baking pan with non-stick foil.
  2. Mix jicama with melted butter in a medium sized bowl. Add cinnamon, apple pie spice, and stevia stirring until combined. Pour onto a foil lined pan. Cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes.