Thursday, July 8, 2010

Delicious Summer Dinner Recipes!

It's been WAY too long since I've posted any of my yummy recipe finds. I have a sort of new cookbook that has quickly become one of my favorites. It's Taste of Homes Comfort Food Diet Cookbook. Not only is it broken down by the normal categories, each section is also broken down by calorie ranges. I love that feature.

Today I was looking through the cookbook for an idea for dinner and realized I was looking in the wrong category. It's been approaching 100 degrees every day this week here in southern Indiana and I kept finding wonderful sounding dishes in the dinner category but they were way too heavy and I really didn't want to heat up the kitchen by using the oven. So I flipped to the lunch category. There were lots of great choices there for a light meal. I settled on a few selections, made my list and headed to the grocery.

I decided to fix a Veggie Cheese Sandwich and a Grape Tomato Mozzarella Salad. I started out sauteing Vidalia Onions and Bell Peppers in a skillet. The recipe called for only Green Pepper but I don't like those. My husband tries to convince me that all Bell Peppers are created equal but the Green ones have a distinct smell and taste that I dislike. If they are diced up and in a recipe then I don't mind. But if I can smell or see them, I can't eat them. A LONG time ago I got sick after eating them on pizza and since then I can't stomach them. But I really love Orange, Red and Yellow peppers. I fix this pepper and onion mixture all the time for my omelets so I'm excited to find another way to eat them.

The recipe called for mushrooms to be added which I also don't like so I left them out. I was supposed to dice tomatoes and add those as well but decided to just add slices to my sandwich instead of cooking them. I was supposed to use Italian Bread and was pleasantly surprised to find a loaf in Walmarts bakery that was low calorie and low fat. I'll be buying this again for sandwiches. It was such a refreshing change to the healthy low-cal bread I usually buy.

To assemble the sandwich I used Brummel Yogurt Spread to butter the bread. I placed one slice in the skillet, topped it with the pepper/onion mixture, added a slice of Borden Bacon cheddar sliced cheese, and topped it with slices of Roma tomatoes. I decided that wasn't going to be enough cheese for me so when I flipped it, I opened the sandwich and added a slice of Borden fat free sliced cheese. This was really a grilled cheese sandwich with a bunch of added veggies. It was delicious! Nutritional information for my sandwich was Calories 335, Fat 16g, Fiber 1g, Carbs 32g, Protein 5g.

For my salad I sliced up part of a seedless cucumber, sliced Vidalia onions, halved grape tomatoes, 1 slice of mozzarella cheese and several fresh basil leaves. I assembled all of that on a plate and topped it with fat free Italian dressing. Honestly I could have left off the cheese. I could barely taste it. But this salad was VERY refreshing. I always think I have to have lettuce for a salad so this was very different but very tasty. And the Wal-mart brand fat free Italian dressing was excellent! I tried my best to add up fairly accurate stats on this salad using a calorie book I have. I know the veggies are sort of free but they do have calories. This might be too high but this is how I recorded it. Calories 145, Fat 4g, Fiber 4g, Carbs 21g, Protein 7.5g.

This was such a good dinner and filling but light at the same time. Of course I had iced tea with it. I was the only one who had the salad and my adult daughter was the only one who fixed the sandwich like I did. She loved it! The other three girls had different sandwiches. I will definitely be making these recipes again!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Changing direction

I've made a major decision this week and this morning cancelled my Weight Watchers membership. Now this does NOT mean I'm giving up on my weight loss efforts. On the contrary, I'm just as focused and determined to get this weight off and be healthier. But I know I can do this without paying Weight Watchers $40 a month. And I really don't need the points system. I have learned a lot about nutrition over the years and most importantly I have come to understand how my body reacts to food. For instance, I know that if I eat an apple, my stomach will be growling in less than an hour. I know that if I eat pizza, bread or pasta, my body hangs on to those calories for days. I also know that if I eat foods high in fiber I am much more satisfied for a longer period of time and therefore less likely to snack between meals.

I also know that the science behind losing weight is easy! If I burn more calories than I take in consistently, then I will lose weight. That's it. There is no secret to it. There is no magic diet needed. And if I go back to a high-fat, high-carb diet and do not control my calorie intake, then I will gain the weight back that I've lost. That's a fairly easy concept as well.

The thing is, it's all up to me. Weight Watchers is a wonderful program for those who do not understand or who have no desire to count calories. It's a support group for those who feel they need that extra motivation to continue their efforts at home. But at the end of the day, each person has to do the work on their own. Nobody at Weight Watchers comes to your house and prepares your meals. They aren't there when you sneak an extra bite or comsume a whole box of Twinkies. But for some people, the guilt of facing the scale on weigh-in day is what they need to stay on track. Some need that accountability. For me, I really think it is important for me to be accountable to myself. I have a scale in my bathroom. It's fun to get stickers and be rewarded for losing weight but my reward is smaller clothes, feeling better and becoming healthier.

So what now? Well, I'm not really changing much at all. I still have to write down everything I eat so that I know how many calories I take in. I will continue to work out 5-6 days a week. I will still pay attention to my nutrition and make sure I'm getting the right balance of carbs, fat, protein and fiber in my diet. So really I'm not taking away the "work" of losing weight. I'm just saving money because ALL of the tools for losing weight are available for free. Calorie counters, diet calculators, support groups and nutrition information are all online for no cost. It just makes more sense to teach myself how to live this way and not rely on a "program" to do it for me.

So wish me luck. I am down 45 pounds so far!