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Dec 29, 2010 03:18 PM

My Husband Wants to Lose Weight. I Don't Want to Lose Flavor. Suggestions?

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!

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  1. I really like Ina's chicken chili. The recipe calls for 1/8 cup oil but I cut it back to 1 tablespoon. It is really filling, delicious and not too bad for you!

    1. 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

      1. 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.

        7 Replies
        1. re: escondido123

          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.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            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.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              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.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                @goodhealthgourmet - I had exactly the same thought - I love coconut water, and am thrilled that it is now so easy to find, but it is no way a substitute for cococut milk when that's what called for...

                1. re: acecil

                  I am not suggesting it is a substitute for the creamy goodness of coconut milk but I think it would be interesting to try it instead in a curry stew or soup to see if it would impart the flavor of coconut. I'll have to try it myself.

                  1. re: escondido123

                    Coconut water barely has coconut flavor on its own.

                    1. re: escondido123

                      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.

              2. 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.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Isolda

                  Meatless Mondays is something I want to try for my family...


                  1. re: Isolda

                    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.

                    1. re: Isolda

                      I lost a bunch of weight (40 lbs.) a couple years ago by eating just meat and green other carbs and most importantly, no snacking.

                        1. 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!

                        2. re: Isolda

                          Smoked paprika is an absolute treasure of flavor.

                        3. a few tips:

                          -research foods that are low on the glycemic scale -
                          -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 ...