Beat It or Eat It – Chicken Fingers (Yum!)

Beat it:

My husband loves him some chicken fingers. Seriously, I’ve never seen him as excited as he is when he gets to eat some yummy tender pieces of breaded chicken. I didn’t realize that there was such a discerning difference between types of chicken fingers either. That it was so hard to make a nice piece of tender meat chicken and that there are specific things to look out for when eating a chicken digit. What makes a really good chicken finger is a crispy crunchy coating with soft juicy meat inside. Unfortunately, 1 serving (about 5 pieces) will tack on 614 calories, 38g fat, 3g saturated fat, 2,225mg sodium (more than one person needs in an entire day!), 43g carbs, 3g fiber, and 35g protein.

Luckily, I love him enough to find a recipe that has way better stats than those fingers and taste good too! (And they have almonds in them – another favorite!) Check out how you can slash over 400 calories and 34g fat, and 1,971mg of sodium…

Eat it:

Almond-Crusted Chicken Fingers
(Serves 4)
– Canola oil cooking spray
– 1/2 cup sliced almonds
– 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
– 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
– 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
– 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
– 4 large egg whites
– 1 pound chicken tenders

1. Preheat oven to 475°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Set a wire rack on the baking sheet and coat it with cooking spray.

2. Place almonds, flour, paprika, garlic powder, dry mustard, salt and pepper in a food processor; process until the almonds are finely chopped and the paprika is mixed throughout, about 1 minute. With the motor running, drizzle in oil; process until combined. Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish.

3. Whisk egg whites in a second shallow dish. Add chicken tenders and turn to coat. Transfer each tender to the almond mixture; turn to coat evenly. (Discard any remaining egg white and almond mixture.) Place the tenders on the prepared rack and coat with cooking spray; turn and spray the other side.

4. Bake the chicken fingers until golden brown, crispy and no longer pink in the center, 20 to 25 minutes.

Gobble these up, because at only 174 calories, 4g fat, 1g saturated fat, 254mg sodium, 4g carbs, 1g fiber, and 27g protein you won’t feel like you have to unbutton your pants and you can eat them guilt-free. WOW!

Beat It or Eat It – Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Beat it:

Chocolate and peanut butter together are like little hugs and kisses from God. I’m not even kidding when I tell you that I feel like I’m having some sort of religious experience when I eat something that has this magical combination. My spine tingles, I get light-headed, and almost all of my other senses get knocked out, because of the sensory overload in my mouth. I’m seriously like a little lab rat that will suffer through an electrical zap, just to get to my precious pb & c, because I MUST have it! I have these very high cabinets in my kitchen where I stash all the goodies that I don’t want to be tempted to eat (out of sight out of mind, right?), but I would be lying if I said that I’ve never been caught scaling the counters to reach the peanut butter and chocolate chips that I keep hidden there. And I would be lying even harder if I said that I didn’t then sit down on the counter with the jar of peanut butter in one hand and the bag of chocolate chips in the other and proceed to dip chocolate chips one by one into the jar and make little chocolate chip perfections. Hershey’s makes Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and you may ask yourself why I don’t just go to the store and get a package if I love it so much. It’s a lot easier to do then climb my counters, risk falling off as the cabinet door opens (there have been a few teetering close calls), and then go through all the work of dipping each chip in one by one. True, but each package of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups will run me 210 calories (110 of those are from fat), 13g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 24g carbs, 21g sugar, 1g fiber, and 5g protein. However, I just came across this recipe, which I can’t believe I never thought of, because it’s insanely easy and will give me more of a chocolatey punch than a measly chocolate chip will. Plus, it’s easier to control your portions!

Eat it:

Little Kisses From God
(Serves 4)
– 8 1/4-ounce squares bittersweet chocolate (you can use other chocolates too, but as long as we’re being healthy bittersweet has some great antioxidant benefits)
– 4 teaspoons peanut butter (you can also use almond, cashew or pistachio butter)

1. Top each chocolate square with 1/2 teaspoon of peanut butter (or almond, cashew, pistachio).
2. Have a religious experience.

Each of these babies will only cost you 79 calories, 6g fat, 2g saturated fat, 9g fiber, 1g fiber, 1g protein, so technically you can even have 2!

Beat It or Eat It – Pancakes

Breakfast is by far my most favorite meal of the day. I love everything about it. The foods, eating a meal after waking up hungry, and that it’s like baking mixed in with cooking. And did I mention the foods? Pancakes, waffles, french toast, frittatas, omelets, bagels, cereal (I always say that if I had to live in one aisle of the supermarket forever that it would be the cereal aisle), etc. The possibilities are endless. I even love breakfast for dinner. Seriously, I could go on and on about this, but I won’t. I will just tell you that my love for pancakes is true. Cereal is going to come and cereal is going to go, but my love for pancakes is true, and I will love pancakes till the day I die. For real. Sadly though, I don’t indulge often enough, because like I’ve mentioned before, I’m a little girl and little girls don’t get to have 600 calorie breakfasts. So, I’ve resigned myself to sneaking a taste or two off of my husband’s plate, since he is a 6’1” man that can have his pancakes. But boy is it a happy day, because I just found a healthier recipe for yummy blueberry pancakes that will give me the chance to eat my pancakes in loving peace off of my very own plate.

Beat it:
3 Regular blueberry pancakes (with 1/4 cup maple syrup): 530 calories; 128 of those calories are from fat; 14.17g fat; 750mg sodium; 96.66g carbs (!!!); 1.5g fiber; 32g sugar; 9.39g protein

YUM!


Eat it:
Berry Good Pancakes
– 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/3 cup sugar
– 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 2 large eggs
– 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
– 3/4 cup low-fat milk
– 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 2 cups blueberries

1. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
2. Whisk eggs, cottage cheese, milk, lemon zest and vanilla in a medium bowl.
3. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add wet ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in blueberries.
4. Moisten a crumpled paper towel with canola oil and use it to lightly oil a large nonstick skillet and heat over medium heat. Spoon on about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake and cook until bottoms are golden and small bubbles start to form on top, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook until the other side is browned, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Lightly oil pan between batches. (Adjust heat as necessary for even browning.) Serve hot. (Yields 6 servings – 3 pancakes per serving)

Ready for the stats? Each 3 pancake serving is only 233 calories; 3 g fat (1 g sat, 1 g mono); 630 mg sodium; 41 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 11 g protein. AMAZING! And if you use sugar-free syrup, you’ll be adding only 25 calories!

Can’t wait for Sunday!

Beat It or Eat It – Strawberry Margarita

Beat it:
Ok, I know I’ve said it so many times, but I love summer! And what goes better with a hot and humid day then a nice cold drink? A nice frosty cocktail, that’s what. And what’s the best icy alcoholic beverage? A margarita! Problem is, it’s easy to down way too many extra calories when you’re sipping something so sweet and so good. And don’t forget, the tipsier you are the less likely you’ll be to watch your calories. So, instead of chugging your way to an extra 340 calories, 67g carbs, and 17g sugar, try this slimmed down version…

Eat it:

No guilt!

- Half a 2-serving packet (about 1/2 teaspoon) sugar-free strawberry powdered drink mix (try Crystal Light or something similar)
– 6 ounces diet lemon-lime soda
– 1-1/2 ounces tequila
– 4 frozen unsweetened strawberries
– 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
– 1 cup crushed ice or 5 to 8 ice cubes
– Optional garnish: lime slice

1. Combine powdered drink mix with soda in a glass and stir to dissolve. Pour mixture into a blender. Add all other ingredients to the blender, and blend at high speed until nice and slushy.
2. Pour into a margarita glass and, if you like, garnish with a slice of lime. (Yields 1 serving)

This 10oz. drink has only 125 calories, 0g fat, 24mg sodium, 7g carbs, 1g fiber, 2g sugars, 0g protein. How awesome is that!

Beat It or Eat It – Bagels and Lox

Beat it:
Seriously, who doesn’t love bagels and lox (besides people who don’t like fish…)? My husband is a self-professed bagel snob and if he had it his way we would have bagels every morning. Seriously, he can tell you why each bagel is good and why it’s bad. And he wouldn’t bat an eyelash at going on a road-trip to find the perfect bagel. For me, it hits the spot every time, but I can’t have it all the time, because it can pack as much as 590 calories, 19g fat, 81g carbs, 3g fiber, and 28g protein. It’s actually got a lot of solid and healthy ingredients in it, like the lox, which has good for you fats, and the protein, which is good for your muscles, but as a 5’1 1/2″ (can’t forget that 1/2″!) girl I can’t be eating such calorie dense meals. Sure, I can balance it out over the course of my next 2 meals, but I like to eat multiple times a day, so for me eating something so heavy every morning just isn’t going to fly, so instead I have an alternative!

The breakfast of short champions


Eat it:
Shortie’s “Bagel” and Lox

1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, sliced into thin rings
2 large egg whites, beaten
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon capers, rinsed and chopped (optional)
1 ounce smoked salmon
1 slice tomato
1 whole-wheat English muffin, split and toasted

1. Toast english muffin.
2. Heat oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until it begins to soften, about 1 minute. Remove from pan and set aside.
3. Add egg whites and season with salt. Cook, stirring constantly until whites are set, about 30 seconds..
4. Layer the egg whites, smoked salmon, tomato, onion, and capers on English muffin. (Serves 1)

It’s not a bagel, but I promise that it will do the trick. And now let’s tally up the stats: The calories have been cut by more than half, bringing this amazing breakfast to only 214 calories (!), 5g fat (heart healthy Omega-3 fat), 25g carbs, 3g fiber, and 19g protein. Not bad at all. Even if you’re not a breakfast person, once you eat this you will be.

Beat It or Eat It – Blueberry Peach Cobbler

Beat It:
4th of July weekend is here (YAY summer!), which means BBQs, picnics and parties. In other words, food! It also means peach season is here (I’m going peach picking this weekend), so I have a yummy waist saving recipe swap for a peach blueberry cobbler that you can indulge in. Other cobbler recipes tip the nutritional scales at 562 calories (42% of those calories come from fat – yikes!), 26.8g fat, 12.8g saturated fat, 77.3g carbs, 4.8g fiber, and 7.7g protein. And that’s for only one serving! Check out this recipe, courtesy of Eatingwell.com, below.

Eat It!:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup reduced-fat milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ripe but firm peaches, (about 1 pound), pitted and sliced into eighths, or 3 1/2 cups frozen
2 cups (1 pint) fresh or frozen blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Place butter and oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Heat in the oven until melted and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add milk, sugar and vanilla; stir to combine.
4. Add the melted butter mixture to the batter and stir to combine. Pour the batter into the hot pan. Spoon peaches and blueberries evenly over the batter.
5. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the top of the cobbler is browned and the batter around the fruit is completely set, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove to a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes. Serve warm. (serves 10)

And now for the best part – check out these nutrition stats per serving: 182 calories, 8g fat, 3g saturated fat, 26g carbs, 3g fiber, 3g protein. That’s a savings of 380 calories! I’m definitely going to be making this after I go peach picking this weekend.

So, don’t get distracted by all the high calorie treats. Come prepared and come Monday you won’t have to “get back on track”.

TIP: If you’re not hosting the party offer to bring a dessert with you. No one will refuse that!
Also, Be a kid again and catch some fireflies! It’s a good reason to leave the buffet and stop eating, plus maybe you’ll burn some of those calories off too.

Beat it or Eat it – Its Pasta Time!

Beat it:
I just returned from a week in Italy and strangely enough I only had pasta there once. Most of the dishes are pretty heavy and pretty high in calorie, so I just skipped most of it. Take for instance a simple dish of linguine, ricotta, and zucchini. Sounds harmless and pretty light, right? Sure, it can be, but when you add in butter and oil the stats soar to 550 calories, 15g fat (or more depending on how much butter and oil!), 90.8g carbohydrates (yikes!), 5.4g fiber, and 17.1g protein. And the white floured pasta doesn’t help either, it just makes you full and tired. But I love pasta though and don’t want to have to skip it, so instead I’m whipping up my own recipe tonight! Here it is…

Eat it:
– 6 quarts water
– 8 oz. whole-wheat fettuccine
– 1 tbsp. olive oil
– 2 medium zucchini, sliced
– salt + pepper, to taste
– 1 tsp. minced garlic (or more if that’s your thing)
– 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
– 2 tbsp. mint leaves
– 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot along with enough salt to make the water taste like the ocean. Add in fettuccine and cook until al dente. Drain.
2. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat. Add zucchini and sauté 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in salt, pepper, and garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook 1-2 more minutes.
3. In a large bowl combine pasta and veggies. Top with ricotta and mint.

This is absolutely one of my favorite go to summer meals and it cooks up in a pinch! It serves 4 and for a heaping 1 1/2 cups per serving you’ll only take in 380 good for you calories, 11.4g fat, 56.5g carbs, 6g fiber, and 14.5g protein. And if you’re money conscious it only costs $1.62 per serving. Try and get that in a restaurant!

Learn how you can make these easy swaps for any recipe, along with a bunch of other great tips and tricks by joining my new weight loss phone group starting the first Sunday in July. Contact me for more info!

Beat It or Eat It – Amazing Chocolate Souffle Swap Inside!

Beat It:
Mmmmmmmmmmmmm! Did I say chocolate souffle? Uh-huh! It’s on the dessert menu of any restaurant worth eating at and most likely someone at the table will order it. Problem is a single serving can be as much as 676 calories, 58.2g fat, 51.4g carbs, 14.2g fiber, and 17.7g protein! And you know you can’t stop at just one bite. Fabulously enough though I have the perfect swap for you.

Eat It:
– 4 1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
– 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
– 1 1/2 tbsp dutch process cocoa
– 2 tbsp. skim milk
– 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
– 1 large egg white
– 1 tsp. powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 2 (6 oz.) ramekins with cooking spray. Sprinkle each with 3/4 tsp. granulated sugar.
2. Combine 2 tbsp. granulated sugar, flour, cocoa, and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 2 minutes, stirring until smooth.
3. Spoon chocolate mixture into medium bowl. Cool 4 minutes and stir in vanilla.
4. Place egg in medium bowl and beat with mixer at high speed, until soft peaks form. Add remaining 2 tbsp. granulated sugar , 1 tsp. at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Gently stir 1/4 egg whites into chocolate mixture. Gently fold in remaining egg whites.
5. Spoon into prepared ramekins. Sharply tap dishes 2-3 times to level. Place on baking sheet and bake 15 minutes, until puffy and set.
6. Sprinkle each with 1/2 tsp. powdered sugar. Serve immediately. (Serves 2)

Here’s the fabulous part….one serving (an entire ramekin to yourself!) is only 79 calories, 0.6g fat, and 16.5g carbs! That means you don’t have to share it with anyone! Ok, I have to admit, I haven’t actually tried this baby out yet, so feel free to be the first and let me know how it is.

Beat It or Eat It – Fries!

What’s yummier than an awesome french fry? Maybe some awesome mac n’ cheese….but that’s for another post. Today we’re talking fries, because they seem to pop up with summer backyard barbecues, and instead of avoiding them completely just learn how to make even better ones that you don’t have to resist (in fact, I doubt you’d even be able to if you tried).

Beat it:
A small 3oz. serving will run you 271 calories and 14.5g fat, 31.9g carbs, 3g fiber, and 3.2g protein. The fiber is great, but let’s get real. It’s a potato — it doesn’t need all that fat!

Eat it:
Sweet Potato Fries

- 1lb. sweet potatoes
– 1 egg white
– 2 tsp. chili powder
– 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
– 1/4 tsp. onion powder
– 1/8 tsp. salt
– parchment paper

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Peel and cut potatoes (a ton of vitamins and lots of fiber is in the skin, so if you prefer to keep it on you can.)
3. In a bowl, combine egg and seasoning. Beat well.
4. Add potatoes and mix to coat.
5. Spray a baking sheet and line with parchment paper. Place potatoes in a single layer on sheet.
6. Bake, uncovered for 20-25 minutes, until golden.

And voilà, awesome “fries” for only 71 calories, 0.2g fat, 15.9g carbs, 2.6g fiber (more with the skin), and 1.9g protein! I know, they aren’t exactly fries, but I promise you’ll want seconds!

Have a question that needs answering? Send ‘em in! Every Thursday I’ll be answering a new question, and it might just be yours!

Beat It or Eat It – Burgers (plus bonus recipe!)

BEAT IT:
Memorial Day is coming up, which means Barbecues and parties. And what’s awesome about BBQs? Burgers!
Your average burger will tally up at 511 calories. And when you add the bun, tack on at least another 150 calories, for a grand total of 661 calories! And that’s without any fixings! Don’t forget the 22.4g fat, 8g of which are saturated. I know you’re going to want mayo with that, and maybe some fries too, oh, and probably a beer or drink, so I’ve got the perfect yummy alternative for you this weekend…

EAT IT:

    Turkey Burger

(serves 4)
– 1/4 C. chopped green onion
– 2 tbsp. fresh orange juice
– 1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
– 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
– 1 garlic clove, minced
– 1 lb. ground turkey breast
– salt and pepper, to taste
special sauce
– 4 whole wheat hamburger buns
– lettuce and tomato

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl. Divide mixture into 4 3/4” thick patties and place on grill rack or saute’ pan, heated on med-high. Cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Spread 2 tbsp. Special Sauce on top half of each bun, and assemble with turkey burger lettuce and tomato.

    Special Sauce

- 3/4 C. reduced-fat mayo
– 1 1/2 tbsp. finely chopped green onions
– 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
– 1 tbsp. honey
– 1 tsp. fresh orange juice
– 1 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
– 1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh ginger

Mix all ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate.

Normally I wouldn’t give chopped poultry a chance. I’ve tried, but with many failures in the past….until this baby came along. Try it, I bet you will LOVE it! And here’s the best part – your entire burger, plus bun and all, is only 318 calories, 7.3g fat, 1.6g saturated fat, 3.6g fiber, and 32.5g protein! Pretty awesome if you ask me. That even leaves room some yummy sweet potato fries. Stay tuned next week for my yummy BBQ sweet potato fries. You’re going to love ‘em!

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