Posted by: Kara @ The Foodie Dietitian | June 4, 2010

My meal makeover!

Have you ever gotten your make-up done? Or, adopted a new look? Or cut your hair a new fab way? If the answer to any of these is yes, then you know how exciting it is to change things up and feel like a new person! What if we gave our meals a makeover? That’s right. What if we changed just a few things in a recipe? Made some tiny tweaks? How would we feel? I bet our bodies would thank us for eating healthier foods and if we made-over enough of our meals, we might just start to feel like a new person!

My meal makeover was inspired by someone dear to my heart, my mother. One of my favorite meals growing up that my Mom used to make was tuna noodle casserole. Recently, I wanted a little taste of home, so I called my Mom to get the tuna noodle casserole recipe. Really simple. Egg noodles, cream of mushroom soup, milk, peas, tuna, cheddar cheese. Maybe not the healthiest though (sorry Ma, try not to take it personal 🙂 ). So I started to think what are a few small changes I could make to healthify this recipe a bit?!

1. Add whole grains! I simply switched up the egg noodles for whole-wheat egg noodles! I didn’t even know they existed! Regular egg noodles have about 1 gram fiber per serving while whole-wheat egg noodles have about 6 grams per serving. Thats 5 grams closer you would be to your recommended daily intake of 25-30 of grams fiber. Plus, remember whole grains fill us up faster and help us stay full for longer!

2. Say see ya later to sodium! Canned soups are loaded with salt. In fact, Campbell’s condensed cream of mushroom soup has 2175mg of sodium in one can! I almost had a heart attack just looking at that number. The American Heart Association recommends less than 2000mg sodium/day for a heart healthy diet. Luckily Campbell’s is smart and has a low sodium version of cream of mushroom soup which has only 60mg of sodium per can!! What a difference! How could you not choose the low sodium version?! If you’re preparing a dish, try and use herbs, spices, and lemon to give your food flavor rather than using the salt shaker. One tsp of salt is equal to 2000mg sodium!

3. Bring on the veggies! Since I like my meals pretty colorful (remember the rainbow on your plate), I decided to add a little something to the dish. Yea peas are green but they actually don’t count as a veggie when we’re talking starch vs vegetable. Surprising, right? Peas, as well as corn, and squash actually break down into sugars once digested the same way pasta or potatoes do. So I decided to add a little more GREEN to the dish and threw some steamed broccoli in there!

4. Low-fat dairy! Lastly, I made sure the milk that I used was low-fat and the cheddar cheese was reduced-fat as well. I’m not a huge proponent of low-fat and reduced-fat products because a lot of times when a food is lower in fat, it’s compensated by being higher in something else like sugar or calories. Plus I believe you can eat healthy with whole foods even if they are “whole-fat.” The less processed, the better.

The point of my meal makeover is simple. Don’t cut out the foods or meals that you love. It is so easy to make a few tweaks to favorite recipes to make them that much healthier. Use my recommendations and try to apply them to the next meal you make. Have fun and be creative!

Bon appetit!

Peace, love, and food,

Kara


Do you have any other tips on how to makeover a meal?
 

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Responses

  1. It looks healthy. I can follow all these healthy rules except the no sodium one. Thanks for sharing.

    • You’re welcome! The low sodium one is challenging because so many of the foods we consume are packed with salt! That’s why it is important that we try not to add additional table salt to our foods. Spices, herbs, and lemon can go a long way to flavor food!


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