Simple Spaghetti Squash

Simple Spaghetti

I’ve eaten spaghetti every few weeks for my entire life. Who doesn’t love spaghetti? I’ve slowly transitioned to making the meal healthier.

Step One: I cut down on the amount of pasta I was eating with the meal. I found when I consumed too much pasta, I was tired and uncomfortably full afterwards.

Step Two: I eliminated the side of bread. We usually bought garlic bread or some type of roll to pair with it. I realized over time, I didn’t really need it anymore.

Step Three: I added more vegetables to the meat sauce. Now, we add onions, zucchini, bell pepper, mushrooms, and fresh garlic. If you cook for picky kids, chop up the veggies very small. They most likely won’t even notice them.

Step Four: Replace the pasta with spaghetti squash. Yum!

Simple Spaghetti 

Simple Spaghetti SquashServes 4-6

Ingredients

1 pound of bison or grass-fed beef

1 jar of low sugar tomato sauce (4 grams or less of sugar per serving)

1 medium size yellow onion

2 cups chopped mushrooms

1/2 cup chopped bell pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced or chopped

1-2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 Spaghetti Squash

Turn oven to 350 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half then remove all the seeds. Place flat on a cookie sheet (round side up). Bake for 30-45 minutes or until it looks tender. Cooking time varies depending on the size of the squash.

In a sauce pan, saute onion, garlic, mushrooms & bell pepper with olive oil. Cook until onions are translucent. Add meat and cook until it’s brown. Add tomato sauce.

 

For the spaghetti squash: You should be able to use a fork to lightly pull apart. Place the noodles in a serving bowl.

Six Ways to Be Satisfied Eating a Salad

Six Ways To Be Satisfied Eating A Salad

Six Ways to Be Satisfied Eating a SaladI remember my thoughts on salads at the very beginning of my journey. I instantly thought I was depriving myself of a good meal. Wow, has my mindset changed over the years. It took some time for me to develop taste for my favorite ingredients, but I’m glad I was patient.

Eating a salad most days of the week has significantly elevated how many servings of vegetables I eat a day. As a matter of fact, if I eat a salad, I’m guaranteed to hit my goal of at least five servings of vegetables for the day. You should get at least three servings in one meal just from choosing a salad!

In order to stay consistent every week, it’s key to make sure what you’re making is satisfying, otherwise eating a salad for several meals a week will get boring quick. When you find yourself getting bored of your healthy meals, you will always want to go back to your comfort food choices. Trust me, I’ve been there many times on my journey.

Here are six key steps I took to consistently eat salads most days of the week.

 Step 1: Choose Your Base

Every week at the grocery store, I buy the convenient pre-washed box salad. Most of the time, I buy the spring mix. When I am no longer craving salad, it’s because I’m sick of eating the same base. When spring mix is getting old, I’ll buy red romaine, butter lettuce, baby kale, spinach, or even the broccoli slaw to use as a base. Romaine lettuce should be the bare minimum base choice. Iceburg lettuce unfortunately doesn’t provide any nutrients because it’s mostly water. Skip it!

Key tip for being consistent: pay attention to when you are getting bored with your base and be sure to mix it up so you can keep this habit going forever.

Step 2: Add Crunch

This is my second favorite step because I love a good crunch! It mixes up the texture of the salad and adds beautiful color to your meal. My favorites: red cabbage, broccoli slaw, sliced celery, or slivered almonds (see more in step 4).

Step 3: Pick Your Protein

Protein is essential to staying full with a salad. If you just eat vegetables for your meal, you will be starving sooner rather than later. Two ways to pick your protein: grill a few items up on Sunday before your work week or buy something that’s been conveniently already cooked in your grocery store deli. My top three choices: chicken, taco meat or canned tuna. Other options like salmon, steak, or shrimp are great options too!

Option 3: Use your dinner leftovers for lunch the next day and just make a side salad to pair with it. I do this for at least three lunches a week such as leftover meatloaf, chicken thighs or a bun-less burger.

 Step 4: Enjoy a Serving of Fat

Fat brings every meal more flavor. Plus, it can also help you stay satisfied longer. Pick 1-2 choices for your salad (pick two small servings if you are skipping carb dense items like quinoa, dried fruit, other fruit. If you want a carb dense option, pick one small serving of fat.)

My favorites: a small scoop of pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds or sunflower seeds paired with ½ a small avocado. Delicious!! Cheese would also fall into this category.

 Step 5: Add Something Juicy

This is optional, but I’ve found this elevates the satisfaction level of my salad. My favorite: a small handful of shredded beets, tomatoes, 2 marinated artichoke hearts or roasted bell pepper. Plus, any of these options add more color!

Step Six: Change The Texture Of Your Base

Have you ever enjoyed a chopped salad? I invested in a salad chopper and it’s been a game-changer when I’m sick of regular salads. Something about chopping it up keeps me engaged in eating salads every week.

One last fun tip: buy yourself a few nice, large “salad” bowls.

I remember early on in my vegetable journey loving the big salad bowls at nice restaurants. For me, it just makes eating a salad more fun. In the picture posted, I own two of these bowls from Crate & Barrel. They were around $5-10, but it they are big enough to fit 3+ servings of vegetables without overflowing the bowl.

What About Dressing?

I remember when I first started eating salads, I loved your typical salad dressings like ranch, French, or thousand island. There are two ways to go about this. First, start weaning yourself off these choices. I started by stabbing my fork in a small container of dressing, then stabbing my salad. This will cut down on your calories significantly. Eventually, you’ll want to replace these items with something you’ve created on your own.

Tip: if your store bought dressing has soybean oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil, look to change this out.

Next, start making your own dressings! I purchased a dressing container to create my own from home, but lately, I’ve just been using a drizzle of balsamic vinegar from Williams Sonoma. This is expensive, but it takes months to use and you can taste the high quality. If you’re used to your standard dressings, it takes some time for your taste buds to adjust. But, it’s great when they learn to love it. If you dine out start ordering their house vinaigrette.

One Last Tip: Be Aware of Restaurant or Pre-packaged Salads

They can be packed with calories. Have you ever read the nutrition facts to find your salad of choice is over 700 calories? It’s always best to make your salad at home, but if you find yourself dining out, scan the menu for calories. Does it have cheese, nuts or bacon and is it tossed in dressing? These four choices can be the highest in calories.

Action Steps:

1.) First, ask for the dressing on the side to save on calories first. Most of the time I will skip the cheese if it has nuts because I find nuts more satisfying.

2.) Dried fruit can also add up in calories. Sometimes I will ask for those on the side to manage calories or I’ll keep the dried fruit & skip the second serving of fat (usually the cheese for me)

Like any food, if you stick to the same ingredients every week, you’ll get bored. Continue to find new ingredients to keep yourself engaged in eating a salad consistently!

Turkey Burgers with Grilled Vegetables

Turkey Burgers with Grilled Vegetables

Turkey Burger with Grilled Vegetables 

Serves 4

Turkey Burgers with Grilled Vegetables1 package of ground turkey (93%)

1 bell pepper

1 cup of mushrooms

1/2 onion

Olive oil or coconut oil

Salt, pepper, granulated garlic to taste (for burgers)

 

 

Form the burgers into patties and season with salt, pepper, granulated garlic. In a large pan, place four burgers over medium heat. Cook roughly for 5 minutes, then flip. Cover the pan and turn the heat to low until burgers are cooked through.

In a separate pan, add oil, vegetables then salt & pepper to taste. Cook bell peppers & onion for a few minutes, then add mushrooms. Cook until soft & tender.

Serve turkey burger with your choice of side. I love roasted sweet potatoes or Brussels sprouts.

Add Veggies to Your Taco Dinner

Taco Bowl with Fajita Veggies

I love tacos and I tend to mix up the meat so I don’t get bored. I always look to add as many vegetables as possible to my meal. This time I just sautéed bell peppers and red onion to place on top. Yum! Plus, this meal took me less than 20 minutes to cook.

Taco Bowl Ingredients

Cook this healthy taco dinner in 20 minutes1 package of ground turkey

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 tablespoons Chili Pepper

2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

 

Veggies

Add Veggies to Your Taco Dinner 1/2 red onion

1 orange bell pepper

1 green bell pepper

Olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

 

 

 

  • I used two pans for this, but you can easily cook the turkey meat 1st, set it to the side, then cook the veggies. I used to cook it all together, but I feel like it has better flavor when it’s cooked separately. The veggies are better when they are served on top.
  • Over medium heat, add ground turkey and spices. Cook until the meat is cooked through.
  • In a separate pan, add olive oil & veggies plus salt & pepper. Cook on medium until veggies are tender.
  • Next time I make this, I’m going to use cauliflower rice. A scoop of brown rice is great too. Top with salsa or avocado!