Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Do you ever end up eating more than you should because you simply can’t come up with good ideas for meals? Do you ever throw your hands up and head to the nearest drive-through because you’re uninspired about what to cook? Cooking at home is the first major step toward eating healthier. Even when you think you’re eating healthy food in a restaurant, you’re often being treated to hidden trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, and even low-end, B-grade fruits and veggies that wouldn’t pass muster in the store.

You have to realize that restaurants are in the business to make money, so their goal will be to obtain ingredients at the lowest possible price in order to make the most off what they put on your plate, and to make you feel like you’re getting a bargain, the portions they serve are outrageously large, filled with sodium and laden with fat. There are some restaurants, like Cheesecake Factory, who offers meals that provide almost more calories and fat in one meal than you need in TWO days.

I’ve put together a list of meals designed to inspire your willingness to experiment in your own kitchen. I’m not a dietician nor am I a physician, so check with your own if you have dietary restrictions. Mix, match, and change things up…and let me know your favorites from the list as well as what you’d add!

Breakfast ideas:

  • One poached egg, one slice of whole wheat toast, an apple
  • Egg white omelet with spinach and tomato
  • One boiled egg, one slice whole wheat toast with peanut butter
  • Breakfast smoothie: ½ c. frozen blueberries, 1 c. frozen strawberries, ½ cup of vanilla yogurt and ½ c. orange juice, blended
  • Breakfast burrito (scrambled egg, low-fat cheese, salsa) in whole wheat tortilla, fruit of your choice on the side

Snack ideas:

  • A handful (no more than 23) of almonds
  • Yogurt with granola and berries or dried cherries
  • Two ounces of low-fat mozzarella with tomatoes, olives, and spinach
  • Cottage cheese and fruit
  • 1 ounce of cheese, apple slices, two walnuts

Lunch ideas:

  • Tuna with one tbsp mayo, 1 slice whole wheat bread, an apple
  • Low fat turkey sandwich, carrot sticks, an orange
  • Chicken salad: 3-ounce chicken breast, lettuce, tomato and other veggies to taste with 2 ½ tbsp of low-fat dressing
  • Spinach salad with 2 ounces of salmon and a sprinkling of feta cheese
  • Fruit salad: pineapple, grapes, cantaloupe, and choice of berry. Serve with ½ cup of cottage cheese and five almonds.

Dinner ideas:

  • Spaghetti with whole wheat pasta, salad with 1 tbsp olive oil & ½ tsp. red wine vinegar, glass of red wine
  • Salmon steak, ½ cup rice pilaf, 1 cup steamed broccoli
  • Grilled chicken breast, sweet potato, mixed greens.
  • Two tacos: Corn tortillas, five ounces of low-fat ground turkey, seasoned, one ounce cheese, lettuce.
  • Grilled pork chop with apricot-mango chutney, steamed green beans, whole wheat couscous