My Husband Wants to Lose Weight. I Don't Want to Lose Flavor. Suggestions?
- aching Dec 29, 2010 03:18 PM
My husband would like to shed 15 pounds in the new year. I think he's perfect as is, but I have to admit that bacon has crept into our diet a little more frequently than is probably good for us! I'm okay with cutting back on the bacon (and the Greek yogurt - and the chevre - and the marinated artichoke hearts), but I don't want to give up eating flavorful, exciting foods. Would you please share your favorite healthy-but-delicious winter dishes? TIA!
I like to cook lots of vegetables (fresh and frozen) and use those as the main parts of my meal. Meat or chicken is usually just a side dish for us. Also.. spices and herbs are important to add lots of flavor. Think about texture also- when there's lots of textures involved in a dish it's more satisfying. A bowl of soup is usually a meal for us with something crunchy on the side- crostini or croutons or pita chips.
Breakfast for us is usually a cup of yogurt (fat free greek for me, fat free vanilla for husband) with fruit and a serving of chex or raisin bran. Keeps us full till lunchtime. Lunch for husband is leftovers and for me leftovers or a salad.
Some of my favorites-
- vegetarian chili
- vegetable soup
- chicken chow mein (made this tonight actually..)
- tofu and veggie stir fry
- roasted artichokes (usually I serve with baked/breaded chicken_
- turkey burgers
- whole wheat veggie baked ziti
- red lentil soup
- spinach/mushroom tart (no crust)
- vegetable quesedillas
- beef and pepper fajitas
- salad with apples and goat cheese
- roasted chicken breasts on veggies
- quinoa stuffed peppers
I'm doing three things to try and lose some weight.
1. I'm following Mark Bittman's comment about his own eating that he tried to say vegan until dinner. No dairy, no eggs, no cheese (thought I do need milk for my coffee.)
2. I consider meat the flavoring and vegetables the main course. We always have a salad first and that needs to have something besides lettuce in it and a nice garlicky homemade dressing. We do a lot of pasta, so I'm cooking less of it and adding more of the vegetables. A slice of bacon, a sausage, a little cubed proscuitto might flavor it or maybe just a nice grating of romano.
3. Lots of stews and soups that are vegetable heavy--minestrone, split pea--as well as those that come from Indian recipes. Use coconut water instead of coconut cream/milk, 0% fat Greek yogurt instead of full fat.
escondido, i agree with all of your tips & suggestions except one - coconut water is NOT an acceptable substitute for coconut cream or milk - it's completely different in flavor and texture. lite or reduced-fat coconut milk is the best substitute for the full-fat or cream.
and as an aside, fat free or reduced fat evaporated milk makes a great all-purpose substitute for cream and full-fat milk.
I have heard that coconut milk can give you some of the coconut flavor with virtually none of the fat. As for evaporated milk, I grew up with my mother trying to convince me it was equal to cream but there is a specific flavor to it that is very distinctive and totally unlike cream except for consistency. I would rather have a little cream in a dish than a lot of canned milk. As for meatless meals, always a great idea as long as you don't substitute cheese, cream and eggs for meat. We tried that a few years ago and came out heavier with higher bad cholesterol numbers.
I've never found lite coconut milk enjoyable. I know it's a lot less fat than regular, but I can't do it. Coconut cream has such great health benefits that I'm willing to overlook it. It's the refined junk -- sugars and carbs -- and lots of dairy that tend to add extra weight to a frame.
ah, i misunderstood your original comment. it sounded like you were saying you can substitute coconut water for the milk or cream in recipes...which you really can't - all you'd end up doing is watering down the dish. as Cathy said, coconut water is extremely mild - it pretty much just tastes like water with a hint of sweetness. and since it is just water, it doesn't have any of the body or thickness of milk or cream.
If you replace even 20% of of your meat meals with meatless ones (and we're not talking mac and cheese here), your husband should shed those extra pounds within a few months. Replace that bacon with smoked Spanish paprika or chipotle pepper powder (my husband doesn't even notice the meat is missing when I use those flavors) and substitute whole wheat flour for half of the white flour you would normally use. WW is more filling and lasts longer, so you eat less. Buy fat free Greek yogurt--if you use enough garlic and other seasonings in it for savory dishes, you won't miss the fat. Not much, anyway. Go ahead and use the goat's cheese, but also try some sheep's milk cheeses--they have a stronger flavor so you might need less. Serve hot soups every day. Those make you think you're fuller than you are. Turn your fattening dishes into salads. For example, I serve mac and cheese on a huge bed of arugula. Falafel also gets put into a chopped salad with greens, tomatoes, olives, and cukes.
Isolda is absolutely right about the chipotle pepper powder. I bought some by accident, and now I need another jar - it's almost indispensable in my kitchen. It gives a wonderful smoky kick to any kind of cooking, not just southwestern. I can see how it would add the bacon-y illusion to foods, without the extra fat. Seriously - try it.
re: John E.
Congratulations on your weight loss. One of my friends also lost weight on a similar type of diet, but honestly, I'd rather be fat than go without carbs. That would kill me. Fortunately, I'm thin, but if I ever do get fat, I'll probably have to give up meat, rather than flour and rice!
a few tips:
-research foods that are low on the glycemic scale - http://www.glycemicindex.com/)
-portion size, portion size, portion size - of foods you enjoy like bacon ... so keep some bacon, but watch the portion size ... same thing with Greek-style yoghurt - it's actually a healthy alternative to sour cream or mayonnaise
-sugar is often a bigger weight gain "offender" than healthy fats ... read the ingredient labels of all prepared foods ... you may be surprised how much sugar (and HFCS) is in foods that you wouldn't expect, including "healthy" breakfast cereals
-remove highly processed foods (i.e. highly refined) from your diet ... no white rice, white bread, etc.
-lots of vegetables
-cut out fruit juices (eat fruit low on the glycemic index - particularly berries
That still leaves a lot of very flavourful food at your disposal ...
Losing 15 lbs. was my goal last New Year, and I'm currently down 17 with a couple days to go. Thought I could hit 20 a few weeks ago, but alas, those petit pots au chocolat we made for Xmas dinner!
Anyhow, lots of good advice in the three posts above. If you're lucky, goodhealthgourmet might chime in with more information than you know what do with.
A couple non-recipe suggestions. Don't let him be too austere: it just wears you down and leads to giving up. In that vein, I found building regular relief into the schedule helped immensely...
First, Saturday brunch and Sunday dinner were two meals every week where I let myself make what I wanted, calories be damned.
Second, I established sub-goals within the larger goal, focusing on losing 3 pounds at a time in 5 increments over 12 months. Every time I lost 3 pounds, I'd let the foot off the gas, not be such a tyrant about calorie counting, and just focus on maintaining the weight loss until I felt geeked up about getting after the next 3 pounds. Sometimes that downtime would last a couple days, sometimes a couple of weeks. Didn't really matter because there was plenty of time built into the schedule.
I'd also recommend cruising around the Cooking Light website. Sally Schneider has a cookbook that really focuses on maintaining intense flavor while reducing calories. I'm not in love with it, but some folks on this site I respect swear by it.
yes, congrats EIP! no small feat with all the delicious cooking coming out of your kitchen. i'm inspired to re-lose the 8 i gained back from two years ago and lose the other 10 i never got to.
I agree 100% with your advice about not being too austere. depriving yourself just makes you want to over-indulge long term instead of taking small bits of comfort here and there. for me, it was have that guac and chips tonight, don't do it again tomorrow. have that BLT, but maybe once a month.
I too have been lately using Cooking Light recipes to great advantage. some yummy stuff there. also: www.skinnytaste.com
I've found that making a good pot of veggie soup to have on hand any time you get hungry really helps. We use a lot of shredded Brussels sprouts in ours for the roughage. also, I'm a fiend for broccoli, so when i first started out, i'd eat a rather large knob of steamed broccoli with a bit of olive oil, s&p before every meal to fill up. if that's not your hubby's favorite, have him choose another vegetable that he can eat a lot of and not get sick of.
portion control is also a good thing to pay attention to - using smaller plates actually does help. and after a little while your husband will notice that he is satisfied with the smaller amount.
but more to your original point, yes, use a lot of spicing in your food. more garlic, more cumin, more smoky paprika, more hot chili powders - in everything you make. more flavor means you are satisfied faster. good luck to him, and to all of us with the new goals!
"If you're lucky, goodhealthgourmet might chime in with more information than you know what do with."
you call it lucky, i suspect others might call it overkill...but thanks :)
congrats on your weight loss success! if you like CL, definitely check out Eating Well - i personally think it's even better. as for Sally Schneider, i'm a big fan of her books. which one do you have? A New Way to Cook or Improvisational Cook?
Keep a pot of cooked beans and a cooked whole grain: quinoa, barley, bulgar,wheat berries, farro, steel cut oats, in the fridge too. Both of these are healthy delicious food groups that can make easy bases for a million things.
I really like Bittman's food matters as a source for how to shift to more veggies and inventive but healthier sauces.
Some years ago I joined a new medical group and on my first visit to the PCP I heard him say:
"We're going to take thirty pounds off of you. Don't expect any fancy diets, just learn to push yourself away from the table when you've consumed half the amount of food that you currently eat at each meal". Ouch!!! That hurt. But eating what I always ate while adjusting my calorie intake to 1300 calories per 24 hour period (that differs from one individual to another - we don't all have the same metabolism) I dumped the pounds and learned new ways to eat more sensibly.
That way, because I was the only one at the table with a weight problem, nobody has to make any changes in menus.
any spice reduces need for fat. lemon, too. hot peppers even more so! Tell yourself you'll cut back just a little, on everything you cook.
oh, and EAT POPCORN. cheap, volumetric, and yummy!
I'm going to have to go against the grain and say keep doing what you're doing and reduce the carbs! I've been eating under 50g carbs (sweet potato is my main carb) for nearly a year now and have lost 20lbs and maintained it. You never have to be hungry and there are plenty of delicious optioned to keep me on track.
Pick up any Atkins books (the older are better) or for the real science behind it all. It is not an unhealthy way of living.
Thanks for all the responses! For those who have advocated eating less, my husband's doctor had already strongly recommended PORTION CONTROL to him, and I personally think that's the way to go as well. I also agree that spices and flavors like lemon are great - and I like the idea of being more abstemious during the day (although I don't know that he could go entirely vegan) and then eating a satisfying dinner. I should have said in the original post that we already eat pasta, bread, and potatoes very rarely, almost never have dessert, and rarely drink soda or juice - so a lot of the obvious things to cut are already not part of our diet. I was really looking for new, healthy recipes - but I think the more general healthy-eating advice here is very interesting! Thanks again.
Can put together a specific recipe if you like, but in principle I'd suggest roasting any of your favorite proteins (happily raised, please)----steak, pork tenderloin, chicken thighs or breasts, salmon fillets---however you like and serving whole or thinly sliced over lightly dressed sharp greens tossed with a variety of fun complements. Less meat goes a long way, and you can get away with bits of bacon, cheese, a poached egg, etc. Became a real staple in the aforementioned weight-loss campaign and never once felt like diet food.
Otherwise, I think the lack of specific recipes recommended probably stems from the fact that your original post seemed more focused on weight loss than health, and---as your husband's doc said---weight loss is more about ingesting fewer calories and burning more calories than anything else. The waistline itself couldn't care less if your husband has a bacon-cheeseburger every night, as long as he still manages to stay under his daily calorie limit. But there are tons of threads on this site about healthy eating. Try a few searches, or just drill down into the post history of great regulars like goodhealthgourmet and greygarious. And, again, good luck!
I lost 50 pounds a few years ago over the span of a year and have managed to keep it off. That's even with eating out regularly and ordering whatever I want. I'm asian and like my rice way too much to cut it or other carbs out. I always did the cooking and usually avoided processed foods even before I lost the weight.
I don't have specific recipes to give you but general things I did was to increase the amount of spicy peppers, vinegars and mustards in my cooking. I didn't cook with as much butter and cream. I made a lot more stir fries, would just vary the meat and vegetables and put it over rice or pasta. Having really strong flavors would sate me faster.
I would roast leaner cuts of meat like a pork loin and glaze with mustards and hot sauces. I also would do a lot of braises using just chicken stock and whatever spices and herbs I felt like having for that meal. Always tried to make them ahead so I could defat the sauce. One favorite would be a chipotle style braise. The defatted sauce could be used as a pasta sauce and have a small portion of the braised meat on the side.
Of course portion control and exercise as people have mentioned. But even with me knowing exactly what was going into the dishes, it surprised me how fast I would fill up on smaller portions. I didn't need as much full fat, cream and butter like I did previously. As long as the flavors were very bold it worked for me.
One favorite is to stir fry bok choy with a bunch of diced peppers and a dash of oyster sauce. Just snacking on that by itself would fill me up for quite a while but it had minimal calories. By doing all these things, I never felt like I was depriving myself of good flavors or ever went hungy. Good luck!
I'm very pro-health, but am anti-healthy-recipe. Some foods are just meant to be made with a certain amount of fat and other high calorie items. If you switch/alter those foods, you're not going to be happy and will eventually go back to where you were.
Instead of cutting things out, look for more complete meals. Continue to eat what you already enjoy, but ADD to the plate. More vegetable side dishes mean you'll continue to be satisfied, but will decrease your intake since the low cal veggies will replace some of the high cal proteins/fats.
Since it's winter, just start the meals with a bit of soup. Make it a lite one if the entree is heavy, but also make it a heavy one if the entree is lite. Just keep things balanced.
As for weight, instead of losing weight, I'd challenge your husband to be able to do something like (perfect form) 20 pull ups and 80 push ups after a year. After all, food is just part of the equation. Besides, exercise means you can lose weight and have the same diet.
Eat more soup. Seriously, the best way for me to cut calories is to make up a big pot of soup, particularly ones with lots of veggies and some beans. Use copious amounts of onion, garlic, herbs and spices to boost flavor. I take soup to work for lunch and sometimes have it for dinner too. Filling, delicious, healthy, and--unless you go crazy with meat/cream--calorie conscious.
I think there are a lot of people in the same boat as your husband :-).
You've gotten a lot of great advice so far and I'm going to add a few tips that I don't see have been posted yet.
1) Calories DO count and whether or not you're actually going to count them, knowing how many calories are in a food or serving of something does help. I've been deterred from eating something after checking out the calorie content
2) Learn to read labels if you don't already. Check out the number of servings per container. Some labels look like a great deal until you read how many servings are actually in the container. Don't be fooled by spiffy packaging. Also learn to check out Calories from Fat, Sugars, Proteins and Fiber. The higher the fiber and lower the fat, the better off you are.
3) Get moving. It doesn't matter what you do, just move the body. It almost doesn't matter what you do as long as you do something to get the heart heart rate up for 30 minutes a day. Walk briskly around the block, take the stairs instead of the elevator, mow the lawa, shovel snow, just move.
4) Fiber and water are the dieters friend, well, actually, they're eveyone's friend. Whole grains will lower your cholesterol, reduce the risk of colon problems and they keep things moving through the system. Change up the breads you use, switch out the starch side dishes. Try barley, farro, quinoa, brown rice or black rice. All will provide a healthy dose of fiber and can do double duty as a base for salads and breakfasts bowls. Not only does water keep you hydrated, it helps your cells work and aids in body elimination
5) Eat whole foods, and you don't even have to shop at Whole Foods to do it. This means eats food that has been minimally processed, i.e. less salt, few if any preseravatives, no added sugar/HFCS, added wheat and modified starch, no added food dyes, etc. In other words, eat the food the way nature intended it without all the manipulation of it by the food industry and manufacturers.
6) The USDA and most doctors recommend 5 servings - combined - of fruit and vegetable every day. A serving of each is 1/2 cup raw, 1 cup cooked and 4 oz for juice. 5 is great, most American's don't get even close, but shoot for 9 servings. Not only do fruits and vegetables contain a lot of fiber some of them are nutrient dense and contain phytonutrients and antioxidants.
7) Every snack should include a little protein and a little carbohydrate. Thing apple & peanut butter, string cheese and baby carrots.
8) Don't omit fat. Not only does some added fat provide taste and add to the satisfaction of an item it also helps lubricate the intetines and colon so things just keep rolling through. Also, you can usually reduce the amount of oil, butter, or other fat in a recipe (not baking of course) by about halft and not affect the outcome of the dish. If the recipe say sto saute something in 1 Tbls. of olive oil, try sauteing in 1 tsp.
9) Fresh herbs are you friend. Use liberally with most foods.
10) Don't try and make too many changes all at once. Pick 2-4 diet modifications you think you can do for 21 days - the lenght of time it takes to set a habit - and then dedicate yourself to them. You absolutely have to take into consideration food preferances and lifestyle. Don't commit to eating more leafy greens if you can't stand them. The objective is to try and set yourself up to be successful, not to set yourself up for failure.
Good luck to your husband
Ditto on all points, especially 1 and 2. THere are so many hidden calories in pre-packaged food and it's easy to make a healthier substitution while standing in the aisle at the grocery store. Lots of your favorite products probably offer a lower calorie or lower fat version that can save you hundreds of empty calories. Dairy products and baked goods are where we have been able to make a difference. I have always been addicted to my morning Tropicana and am totally happy with the new 50% fewer calorie version- dropped a few pounds since I made that switch.
I'm still a believer in cheat days or should I say cheat meals in moderation on weekends or holidays. Good luck.
Know how to use sauces and spices well. You can make a bowl of greens exciting if you play around with spices. Invest in new and exotic spices, rubs, and low calorie sauce.
I like to play up the oregano, basil, and garlic powder when I am eating wilted greens, and it makes them better (along with a few drops of balsamic vinegar or low-sodium soy sauce).
Good luck. Water and chicken broth are your friends. Also no-sugar apple sauce can be used as a substitute in making baked goods.
Alrighty - with all of this great advice in mind, I have picked the following recipes to try in January (in no particular order):
Roasted Chili-Citrus Chicken Thighs with Mixed Olives and Potatoes
Chicken and Hominy Soup
Black-Eyed Pea Curry
Smoky Greens and Beans
Braised Fennel with Lemon
Roasted Chicken Breasts with Garbanzo Beans, Tomatoes, and Paprika
Curried Lentil Soup
Tuscan Farro and Bean Soup
Farro, Radicchio, and Roasted Beet Salad
Bulgur Pilaf with Peppers and Currants
Broccolini with Smoked Paprika, Almonds, and Garlic
PORTION CONTROL. Isn't it better to have a small dish of something good rather than seconds of something bland horrible "diet" food or "substututed" nastyness.
You might also consider cooking along with the "Cookbooks of the Month" this month, which are Grace Young's Breath of a Wok and Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge. Many of the stir-fry recipes are turning out to be diet friendly. Join us! The more the merrier!
The first 4-5 posts in this thread have links to many of the recipes from the books that are available online.
You might also want to check out Clean Eating. They do a print magazine, but also have a web site -http://www.cleaneatingmag.com/ Not all recipes in the magazine make it onto the web site, but those that do usually show up the month after they're released in print.
I've made several of their recipes and they've turned out well. I usually up the spices or herbs a bit, but other than that their recipes are fairly easy to do and yield good result with nice flavor profiles. There's a salad recipe using farro in this months' issue that I'll be trying not to mention the chai creme brulee using silken tofu instead of cream.
He should really join a gym. I lost 20 pounds in three months
and intend to lose 20 more by summer. I work out three times
a week and as soon as it warms up a bit will start going every day.
I still cook a lot of good things and don't sacrifice on flavour.
We cut way back on assault and don't miss it.
I wouldn't worry about cutting out flavor or Greek yogurt and chevre, I'd consider reducing starches and substituting proteins (they are what prevent you from feeling hungry the longest after eating and you mentioned a need for portion control) and high fiber veggies. Try cutting starches in half while increasing proteins, and choose only those carbs with a lot of fiber. This can mean making a twice-as-fat half sandwich with meat and lettuces or grilled veggies and cheese, and replacing starchy side dishes with additional non starchy veggie sides. For us, that might mean roasted cauliflower or mixed veggies plus salad, no potato, rice, pasta or bread, for example.
Swapping colorful, high fiber carbs with high nutrient density for high calorie, comparatively low nutrient starches is a net positive in so many ways.
okay, i've complied a list of some of the threads that have some great recipes and ideas for you. there are plenty more where these came from, but this will probably keep you busy until 2012 ;)
as a couple of other posters have mentioned the Cooking Light website is a great resource, and i personally like Eating Well even better.
I can't remember where I saw it...but I read a report not too long ago that said that cheese can actually HELP you lose weight, because it is satisfying in small quantities.
Low calorie does not mean low flavor....it takes some doing to readjust your cooking, but it can be done.
And MOVE...I lost well over 30 lbs when we moved to Europe...partially through stress, but it's stayed off because I walk to the shops, to the market, to the post office...and because of all the stairs!
I eat LOTS more butter and cream and full-fat cheese than I ever have (hello...raw-milk Brie?)...as well as more *fresh* vegetables than ever before...and yet my weight and blood chemistry are as good or better than they've been in a long time.