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Jan '12

Healthier Dinners

So, in November I started cooking dinner for my family most nights of the week. Overall it’s been a wonderful positive experience, sitting down together most nights and sharing food. And sometimes when I’m eating the fruits of my labor, like homemade bread or delicious soup, I’m kind of proud.

(And, of course, I’m not mentioning the huge cost of time and labor involved in putting dinner on the table at night; between prep time, eating, and clean up time sometimes I feel chained to the kitchen for hours. But, yes, it’s a worthwhile sacrifice.)

I’ve been trying lots of new recipes to see what works for my family and what doesn’t. I haven’t been paying attention to the nutrition side of dinner; making dinner was work enough!

Now I’m making more effort to monitor what I eat, which includes keeping my daily calories at a reasonable level. I would like to aim to keep dinner in the 300-400 calorie range per serving (although I don’t care if John or the kids eat more).

This week’s challenge: To find food that my family might like that fits the healthier bill.

I’ve taken a couple things I’ve made and entered the ingredients into myfitnesspal.com to get a nutritional breakdown so I can see approximately how many calories are in each serving. Ideally you’d do this before making the dish so when you serve it you know how much you plan to eat.

Last night I made homemade tortillas (first time) with grilled chicken and black beans, and we had soft tacos.

(Oh, and YES you should click on the link for the black beans recipe because it was dang good. Best beans ever.)

This week I’m going to try some recipes courtesy of another mom I know who is very dedicated to living healthfully and feeding her family quality food.

Tonight: Hawaiian Haystack with Caulrice
Tomorrow: Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Apples
Thursday: Turkey Taco Salad

All run around 300 calories per serving. And I’ve heard wondrous things about making caulrice (cooked crumbled cauliflower) instead of using regular rice. Excited to try it.

I made out my grocery list, and it is wonderfully heavy on fresh produce. It looks like this:

milk–whole (Carissa), 2% (Wes), 1% (me and John)
string cheese
lowfat cottage cheese
plain greek yogurt (for me)
regular yogurt (kids)
fat free sour cream

1 loaf wheat bread
corn tortillas
canister Quaker Oats oatmeal

snow peas
pineapple/mixed fruit

ground turkey breast (93% lean)
1 lb chicken breast

kidney beans
98% fat free cream of chicken soup
pineapple bits

taco seasoning
buttermilk ranch mix

fresh salsa
4 sweet potatoes

I love to see my cart loaded up with healthy things!

And as for the cost of eating healthier foods, it’s like I told one of my Zumba students last night who decided to start coming back to class after feeling down without it: “It’s cheaper than therapy later.”


2 Responses to “Healthier Dinners”

  1. tara72 Says:

    nice! good for you. and thanks for sharing those recipes.I’ll pass along the therapy line – that’s a good one! ;)

  2. mom Says:

    I loved your food list! Sometimes when I’ve had a good day at the grocery store, I actually hope people will notice the food I put on the conveyor belt. I want them to be as impressed as *I* am! I’m going to check into that black bean recipe. I love them and want to learn to make and freeze my own rather than buying canned. Thank you for the inspiration!

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