When it comes to changing your eating habits, your food lifestyle or going on a diet, I don’t think depriving yourself of indulgences is a good idea. In fact, I think it’s the quickest way to fail. You need to be able to find a way to still indulge a little bit or before you know it, you’re off the wagon and chasing it down the street.
For example, I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, but when I’m craving something sweet, I will indulge, in moderation. Sometimes the indulgence really isn’t one at all. Frozen grapes are a oft-reached-for snack in our house and great way to satisfy a small sweet craving. I also keep good dark chocolate in one of the kitchen cabinets when I want something more intensely sweet.
There are also ways to change up something that is typically less healthy, and make it a little more figure-friendly. Take tacos, for instance. Nick requested them for dinner last night, and I wanted to oblige him, but at the same time, I wanted to avoid making two dinners. I made the kids the more traditional taco (with a few change-ups), and made mine a fish taco. We all used the same toppings, so it wasn’t double the prep work, and everyone was happy.
A few simple suggestions for making tacos healthier:
- Use whole grain or whole wheat tacos. There are quite a number of varieties on the market, both in soft and crunchy versions.
- Focus more on the healthy toppings and less on the meat. We load up on lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, beans, black olives and sliced avocado.
- If you use meat, go for a leaner choice.
- Say no to the prepackaged taco seasoning and make your own (Sarah has a good one you might want to try).
- Consider swapping out the meat for a nice broiled fish (or try the recipe I made last night, below).
- Make a vegetarian version and skip the meat altogether.
- Use lettuce cups as the vehicle instead of a taco shell.
With a little bit of creativity, you can indulge and skip the side of guilt, which is totally a movement I can rally for.
Broiled Fillets with Garlic Butter and Mustard Breadcrumbs
Recipe courtesy of Time Life’s Fast, Fresh and Delicious
2 tablespoons butter (I used 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
4 small fillets of firm-fleshed white fish (I used flounder)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup chopped parsley (optional)
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs (I used whole wheat)
Preheat the broiler. In a large broilerproof skillet, warm the butter in the oil over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant and light golden, about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, grate the zest from the lemon. Halve the lemon and set aside.
Measure out 2 tablespoons of the garlic butter and set aside in a small bowl. Increase the heat under the skillet to medium-high. Add the fish and cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat.
In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest, mustard, 2 tablespoons of the parsley (if using), the oregano, salt and pepper.
Squeeze the juice from the lemon halves over the fish in the skillet. Spread the mixture over the fish and then dust with the breadcrumbs. Drizzle the reserved garlic butter over the top.
Place the skillet under the broiler and broil 4 inches from the heat until the top is golden and the fish just flakes when tested with a fork, about 3 minutes.
Sprinkle with remaining parsley.