I love food a lot. I love eating a lot. I love eating a lot of food. But conventional diet wisdom says that you have to cut back on portion size in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, right? Well, yes and no. Yes, portion control is important, and I am by no means telling you to go out and eat huge portions of whatever you want with reckless abandon. But, if you’re eating the right foods, you CAN enjoy LARGE portions while not being large yourself. Case in point: my lunchtime salad and dinnertime dessert from Sunday. You have to be careful with large salads when dining out – usually they are bulked up with calorie-laden options like croutons, fatty meats, loads of cheese, mounds of nuts and unhealthy dressing. But when veggies and lean protein are the stars? You’ve got a bulked-up meal that won’t bulk you up!
I made a simply AMAZING grilled veggie Mediterranean salad for lunch on Sunday. Only, the veggies weren’t grilled – they were broiled. I’ve been discovering recently that the broiler is a HUGELY underrated kitchen tool. If the weather is icky (as it was on Sunday….grr), it’s a great way to get that nice charred flavour while still staying indoors. Just line your pan with aluminum foil, and clean up’s a breeze. My “grilling” veggies of choice were red pepper, onion slices, eggplant slices, and one portabello mushroom cap. I sprayed them with a light mist of nonstick spray on both sides, then sprinkled with some garlic bread seasoning. I broiled until they had some nice colour on one side, then flipped and broiled the other side. In the back left of the above photo, you’ll also see a Boca bruschetta mozzarella veggie burger that I bought in Buffalo (LOVE these things…why oh why can’t they come to Canada?).
The cold components of my salad were the greens (a mix of spring mix and Romaine), chopped tomato, chopped cucumber, one canned artichoke heart, and some capers. I made a quick dressing out of balsamic vinegar, fat-free Italian salad dressing, Dijon mustard, a bit of juice from some canned tomatoes, a touch of sweetener and some Epicure Marinara sauce seasoning. I sprinkled a bit more seasoning on the salad, along with some garlic salt and pepper. After topping the cold salad with the dressing, broiled veggies and burger (which I had chopped up), I added a bit of low fat crumbled goat cheese.
YUMMY! Such a great flavour combo. I love salads that combine hot and cold, don’t you? Once the weather is more favourable, I’ll probably be doing this on on the grill. This salad is large and in charge – no mid-afternoon hunger pangs after eating this guy, that’s for sure!
I liked this salad so much that I decided to recreate it for Tuesday’s lunch (I was sort of annoyed at myself for not doing it at the same time on Sunday and saving the prep, but oh well). I did everything the same, except to switch it up just a bit, I cooked 2 PC Blue Menu Herb and Garlic Chicken skewers (under the broiler) for my protein option, and used red wine vinegar instead of balsamic for a change. Other than that – the salads were identical – big and beautiful!
Now I don’t just believe in going big where the main course is concerned – believe me, I want to eat as much as I can when dessert is involved. That’s why I love banana soft serve (and all it’s spin-offs) so much. You can eat a HUGE bowl of the stuff, because you’re basically just eating a bowl of fruit. The latest creation? Barango Soft Serve (banana, raspberry mango).
My method was basically the same as with the banango version, with slightly different ingredients. I have some raspberry sorbet that had been in the freezer for way too long, and and some nice ice crystals on it. I thought this would be a good way to use it up.
So, into the mini processor went 1/2 frozen banana, in chunks, 1/4 cup raspberry sorbet and about 3/4 cup frozen mango chunks. I added just enough almond milk to get things going and help it blend smoothly. I processed until smooth, scraping down the processor and stirring as necessary.
Another yummy (and large!) creation! But again, the banana really takes over. Even though there’s only half a banana in that big bowl, it was the main flavour. Other than a slight pink colour, I wouldn’t know the raspberry sorbet was even in there….still delicious though!
Do you have any favourite meals that are large and in charge, but won’t cause a calorie overload? Do tell!