When you love food, the worst torture ever is to be on a diet. I am getting married in 5 months, and I have to drop a few pounds to look my best. I seriously think about food all the time. This is probably why half of my subscription boxes are full of snacks and treats. To each her own.
I know that it’s not the end of the world, but dieting still really sucks. It especially sucks in the winter. It’s really easy to diet in the summer when all the produce tastes better raw and the heat is so unbearable that the last thing in the world you want is something heavy and greasy in your stomach. Since I know I’m not alone in the Quest to Eat Healthier, I have compiled some of my favorite foods, recipes, and tricks that have made shedding weight a little bit easier during these cold months.
1. LENTILS. Lentils, lentils, lentils. They’re pretty inoffensive. Mostly everyone either likes them or is indifferent to them, since they don’t taste like much. But man do they fill you up. I have found that fantastic breakfast is lentils, sauteed kale, and eggs. It’s protein-heavy and keeps me full until 3 or 4pm. When you’re counting calories, all the lentils in the world can’t make up for a Five Guys burger, but holy hell this is a good way to trick you into not being hungry. Personally, I make a big batch and eat them throughout the week. I use split red lentils because it takes less than 15 minutes to cook a pot of them. To make them legit delicious, I use miso ginger broth instead of water, and add chili flakes and onion to them. It’s seriously tasty.
2. PORK SHOULDER. Ok, so it probably seems too good to be true that pulled pork might make it on a diet food list, but hear me out. Pork itself is not all that bad. The sugar-laden BBQ sauce you pour all over it is what’s terrible for you. Pulled pork has about 57 calories per ounce, which is not a lot. A typical serving is around 4 oz, or 228 calories. In terms of units of deliciousness per calorie, this is off the charts. My fiance is really into smoking meat, and smoking a pork shoulder is about the easiest thing you can do on a smoker. What we do is smoke a full shoulder, and then portion it off into 6 oz packs, freezing them individually. Then when we make something, we pull out an Individually Wrapped Pork Present to thaw. It’s already portioned out, and meat freezes amazingly well. I can’t even tell you how many times we have made a dish using pulled pork and kept the calorie count really low.
3. CORN CHOWDER. I am the furthest thing from vegetarian, but this soup is freaking awesome. There was a dark period in my life when I tried to avoid dairy, god it was horrible. During that time, I bought the Vegan With a Vengeance cookbook, which is actually pretty ok. I would add meat to the recipes, which would probably make Isa Chandra Moskowitz pass out from the horror if she ever knew someone was abusing her recipes in such a way. The one recipe I didn’t have to do that with was her corn chowder. It is so ridiculously simple and delicious and cheap to make. I could make it in my sleep, I’ve made it so many times. Even Brian reluctantly says it’s pretty good, despite its lack of bacon. Click here for the recipe
4. SKINNY COW ICE CREAM CONES. Ice cream is not a summertime thing. It’s an all the time thing. It’s also really not good for your diet. It could probably be considered enemy #1 for me. It’s entirely cream and sugar, which are two of the biggest things you really should be avoiding if you want to drop pounds. I’m willing to turn a blind eye to nutrition facts once in a while, but obviously can’t on a regular basis. My sweet tooth knows no bounds, and Skinny Cow somehow managed to make it not so bad. Portion control is a cruel thing, and a small serving of ice cream simply isn’t enough. For anyone. I dare you to stop eating at 1/4 cup of Ben & Jerry’s. These Skinny Cow cones take a while to eat. They’re a good size, you definitely don’t feel like you’re eating a dainty diet snack. Without these things I would have cried myself to sleep sometimes thinking of chocolate cake. Bonus, they’re always on sale at Target.
5. CHEAT FOODS THAT DON’T HAVE TO BE CHEAT FOODS. I could go on about beets and kale and turnips and all the delicious foods that are so healthy for you and everyone should make a staple in their diet. But if we’re being honest, those are only tasty because we know how good they are for us. I’d rather figure out a way to have pizza that won’t wreck your waistline. And I have! Trader Joe’s Sicilian Woodfired pizza is actually pretty tasty and you can eat half of it for 420 calories. It makes a decent dinner and easily fits into your diet. One of my favorite foods ever is an eggplant parmesan sub, but no one would ever call that a diet food. Turns out, if you order it without cheese, it isn’t all that bad – usually less than 500 calories (depending on the size, obviously). It’s better than nothing, and tastes a hell of a lot better than a salad (let’s be real).
All this talk about food has made me hungry, shocking no one. I’m going to go eat something.