Opportunity to Change
If you’re like me, you’re stubborn with your eating habits. I get particularly defensive if someone tries to tell me that something I’ve been eating for years might not actually be that great for me. With our society’s evolving definition of a healthy diet, my commitment to eating delicious food is constantly at war with my commitment to being healthy.
Fortunately, for those who don’t want to completely write off comfort food as a weekly dinner, there are ways of discreetly tweaking these classic recipes into healthier versions that are better for you and your family to consume.
So, here are some recipes for those of you, like me, who are trying to create meals that simultaneously benefit your health and uphold a certain standard of taste.
- Serves 6-8
- Gluten free
- Healthy potatoes that actually taste good
This recipe still uses potatoes in its mashed potatoes, but the secret to this healthy version: use half potatoes and half cauliflower.
Have you ever tried substituting cauliflower into a recipe to try and cut back on calories, but felt taste was sacrificed too much to justify the reduction in calories? One would be remiss to try to pretend this white vegetable can pose as a hearty cream sauce or fluffy dough, but that doesn’t mean cauliflower cannot be successfully (and deliciously) used.
Personally, I think cauliflower is the chameleon of vegetables and can be cleverly disguised in all kinds of recipes, which is why I suggest this recipe to start your cauliflower endeavors. Research shows that it’s more effective to start change in small doses to build a lasting habit, so take your cauliflower on a coffee date before committing to a weekend vacation with the family.
- Serves 4
- Total cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Swapping in whole-wheat noodles and substituting low-fat cottage cheese and lean ground sirloin can quickly turn this dish into a healthier option for the whole family, while still preserving its classic cheesy allure.
Eating quality meat is also a good habit to get into when trying to be healthy. How do you know what’s “good” meat? In a FRONTLINE interview, author and food activist Michael Pollan advises, “We always say, “You are what you eat.” But that’s only half the story. We’re also what what we eat eats, too. And cows that eat corn are different meat. So when we’re eating that corn-fed, oil-fed meat, we’re incurring another kind of cost as well.” Bottom line: try to buy meat that eats well so you can too.
- Serves 4
- Total cooking time: 35 minutes
- 226 calories per serving
This lemon-garlic shrimp and vegetable recipe is a mock version of the traditional shrimp scampi favorite. Serve on its own or pair with a grain like quinoa, brown rice, or farro to make this meal more filling. There is nothing small about the benefits of eating shrimp; packed with protein, shrimp also has a low fat content with a not-so-low amount of omega-3 fatty acids. If you get sick of shrimp, consider substituting scallops or a white fish to this recipe to change up your protein game.
Check back next week for some seasonal recipes to inform your taste buds that spring has sprung!