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Published on January 15, 2019

ground turkey meatballs

#TryItTuesday: Simple Switches

If losing weight and eating healthier are among your 2019 goals, here’s how you can cut calories while increasing your nutritional intake without spending any more time in the kitchen.

Recently, I challenged myself to see how many simple switches I could make with my food choices. My rules with these food swaps: the food had to taste great and “satisfy” me, plus it couldn’t take any longer than a few minutes extra in prep time compared to the food choice I was swapping.

Breakfast

For breakfast, instead of bacon, I substituted thin slices of pan-seared prosciutto. Instead of butter on my toast, I mashed up a small amount of avocado.

Bacon, two slices: 80 calories           

Prosciutto (two thin slices) and pan seared: 40 calories

Butter, 1 tablespoon: 102 calories

Avocado, 1 tablespoon: 34 calories

Total calories saved: 108

Lunch

For lunch, instead of using mayo for my base in chicken salad, I substituted plain Greek yogurt. Instead of bread, I substituted four large leaves of Romaine lettuce.

Whole wheat bread, 2 slices:  180 calories

Romaine lettuce, four leaves: 12 calories

Mayo, per tablespoon: 90 calories

Plain Greek yogurt, per tablespoon: 10 calories

Total calories saved: 488

Snacks

Typically by the time I’m cooking our evening meal, I’m starving. Instead of grabbing a handful (or two) of a snack mix, I choose four mini peppers and a ⅛ cup of my homemade ranch dip (mix 2 tablespoons of dry mix with ½-1 cup plain Greek yogurt).

Snack mix, ¾ cup: 140 calories

4 mini peppers: 35 calories

Homemade ranch dip, ⅛ cup: 20 calories

Total calories saved: 85

Dinner

For dinner, instead of using ground beef, I substituted ground turkey. Instead of baked breaded mozzarella sticks, I substituted baked won ton wrapped mozzarella sticks.

Ground beef meatballs, two: 366 calories

Ground turkey meatballs, two: 308 calories

Breaded mozzarella sticks, 2: 160 calories

Wonton mozzarella sticks, 2: 120 calories

Total calories saved: 98

Drinks 

Instead of having a glass of wine with dinner, I chose sparkling water.

Red wine, 5 ounces: 125 calories

Sparkling water: 0 calories

Total calories saved: 125

With a few simple and easy food swaps I saved almost 1,000 calories! Plus, I significantly increased the nutrients I consumed.

Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • ½ cup diced onion
  •  ⅔ cup diced celery (1-2 ribs)
  •  ⅔ cup grapes, halved
  • ½ cup pecan or walnut pieces (optional)
  • ¾ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Pinch salt
  • Dash pepper

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients.
  2. Stir until chicken is evenly coated.
  3. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Ground Turkey Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup milk low-fat milk
  • 1 cup beef broth divided
  • 1 egg¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ tablespoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

  1. Combine the ingredients, except for the meat, and mix well, but only include ¼ cup of the beef broth.
  2. Add the meat mix until just combined. Do not over mix, but be sure seasonings are well dispersed.
  3. Coat a baking sheet with rimmed edges with non-stick spray and roll meatballs into 1-inch circles.
  4. Pour reserved beef broth around meatballs.
  5. Bake at 450 degrees F for 25 minutes.

Baked Mozzarella Sticks

Ingredients

  • 12 string cheese, cut in half
  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon basil
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon parsley
  • Marinara sauce for dipping
  • Garnish with fresh basil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. To a small bowl, add egg white, water, garlic powder, basil, oregano and parsley. Using a fork, lightly beat it and set it aside.
  4. Working with one wonton wrapper at a time, brush the edges with a light coating of egg wash.
  5. Place a piece of cheese in the middle and fold in the sides.
  6. Fold the top over and roll toward the opposite end. Press to seal all edges. Try to make sure there are no openings, so the cheese doesn’t ooze out.
  7. Place the prepared mozzarella sticks on the prepared baking sheet and repeat until all the cheese is wrapped.
  8. Lightly brush the top of each mozzarella stick with egg wash.
  9. Place baking sheet on the bottom rack in the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven, flip the mozzarella sticks and place back in the oven for an additional 2-3 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
  11. Garnish with fresh basil and serve with marinara sauce.

Revamp your meals with a few simple switches, and you too will be on your way to a healthier YOU!

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