By Lee Anne Grace
I am frequently asked to recommend healthy meals that I enjoy eating. Some of my favorite meals and snacks include:
• Egg white omelet made with 3⁄4 cup liquid egg whites, and 1⁄2 cup sautéed mushrooms and fresh spinach. Sometimes I add onions and bell peppers.
• Greek yogurt with 1 cup frozen fruit. Both Wal-Mart and Kroger carry large bags of frozen fruit without added sugar.
• Oatmeal. Place 1⁄2 cup plain oatmeal with just under a cup of water in a bowl and microwave until the water is absorbed. This is about 2 minutes in my microwave. After it is done I add cinnamon and sweetener.
• Sausage and egg muffin sandwich. Microwave 1⁄4 cup egg whites in a greased custard cup for about 45 seconds. Heat 1 Kroger pre-cooked turkey sausage patty. Assemble a breakfast sandwich using a light English muffin. The entire sandwich has 175 calories.
Packing your lunch is a good way to stay in control of your caloric intake.
• Soup, either homemade or store bought. Progresso has a line of light soups that are good, although the sodium content is a bit high. Eat with a side of yogurt or string cheese to round out the meal..
• Sandwich made with light bread, lean deli meat, lettuce, tomato, onion and bell pepper. I like to add a side of baby carrots with Sabra Hummus dip (found in the deli section).
• My favorite new find are the Lean Cuisine Salad Additions. Each of the four varieties (Southwest. Asian, Bistro and Cranberry chicken) comes with grilled chicken, vegetables, a crunchy topping and dressing. Add your own fresh lettuce or spinach. I’m not a big fan of frozen dinners, but these are a convenient way to pack a salad for lunch, and they are delicious. I have found there is no need for a microwave for preparation. The chicken is precooked and will thaw before lunch.
• Stir fry. Use either fresh or frozen stir fry veggies. Add chicken, shrimp or another lean meat of your choice and some brown rice. I like to add canned pineapple chunks packaged in their own juice and a dash of stir fry sauce.
• Whole grain pasta with a 1⁄2 cup of prepared spaghetti sauce with lean ground beef or turkey added. Enjoy with a side salad.
• Pair a meat with 2 vegetables and a grain or starch.
• Meat: I keep frozen shrimp, chicken, wild caught salmon and other fish varieties in the freezer.
• Vegetables: I have a wide variety of vegetables in the freezer. Green Giant single serve vegetables are good to have on hand when you are short on time.
• Starch: Brown rice, whole grain pasta, a dinner roll or a small plain baked potato.
• Sugar-free fat-free instant pudding, prepared with fat-free milk. I separate the pudding into four individual servings and save the others for another day.
• Fresh fruit in season
• Air popped or light popcorn (94 percent fat free)
• Dry roasted edamame. These are found in bags near the nuts in the produce section. Because edamame is packed with protein, it is a great snack. Be sure to buy the plain instead of the wasabi flavor unless you want a really spicy snack.
• Diet Coke cupcakes. Combine one chocolate cake mix with one 12-ounce can of Diet Coke. Do not add eggs, water or oil. Bake the batter as you normally would bake cupcakes. The baking time will be a bit shorter. The cooled cupcakes can be frosted with fat-free cool whip. You can also use a yellow cake mix with one 12-ounce can of Diet Sprite for lemon cupcakes.
• Pumpkin brownies. Combine 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin with 1 chocolate cake mix. Do not add anything else. The batter will be very thick. Generously grease a muffin tin and bake at 350 degrees until done. These are surprisingly good.
If you have any healthy meal ideas to share, I would love to use them in a future column. Please send them to grace firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lee Anne Grace is an elementary music teacher for Tupelo Public Schools. After reaching a weight of almost 300 pounds and failing at numerous diets for over 25 years, she has been successful at losing weight and maintaining her weight loss for three years. She is the mother of two teenage daughters and enjoys running in her spare time.