Wish Upon A Dish

October 6, 2015

Personal Tips & Hints to Maintain a 1000 Calorie-a-Day Diet

(6oz Marinaded & Roasted Coho Salmon with 1/2 cup Tuscan Lentil Soup Couscous)

Yes, I am still on a 1000 calorie a day diet, and while eating my way through the northwest for three weeks (including a 12 day cruise) could have seriously done some damage to the 11 pounds I lost right before, I am happy to report only a small gain of 4 pounds.

Soon as I got home, I resumed logging each morsel of food I ate and one week later I am back to were I was pre-vacation and have lost an additional 2 pounds. Yay for me!!
If I followed the experts using a 1500 calorie-a-day diet, I would simply half my usual intake and be happy with losing about a pound a week.

While not for everyone, I choose extreme dieting and consuming just enough calories to keep me full, alert and healthy.

Why am I speed dieting? My goal is to loose 40 pounds before my next pulmonary doctor visit (2/2016).
I was told that medication has done all it can for me, the rest was up to loosing 2x my BMI.
I do not want to carry oxygen in ten years.

Along the way, I have discovered a few tips to keep myself on track, exhibiting no cravings (so no cheating) while eating favorite comfort meals and a glass of wine (or 2) on the weekend.
Not a novice to the top 50 healthiest foods, my diet required careful planning of each calorie that went into my mouth and I found I needed to add new ingredients and replace others to meet my low goal.

I am not a professional nutritionist or dietitian, nor am I an expert on proper nutrition as it applies to various diets. I know my body and what my daily needs are. I base my diet on trial and error, testing and tasting along with careful comparisons to the government recommendations for daily values.
So here goes...........

1. Always eat breakfast.
My choice are -
A: a low calorie/high fiber English muffin topped with PB2 and sugar free jam or/
B. Protein shake with no more than 200 calories (for days when I hit the door running)
C. Homemade breakfast muffins (so many great choices on the Internet) with no more than 20g of carbs each
D. 100 calorie Yoplait Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup Oats N Honey granola
E. Denver Stuffed Egg Crepe Tortilla (the tortilla is a crepe of scrambled eggs)

2. Add tons of fiber to each meal even if you have to hide it -
A: Puree white beans to thicken
B. whole wheat flour replaces AP flour everywhere
C. Eat a 2 cup bowl of fruit around 3-4:00 every day
D. Twice the amount (in ounces) of high-fiber vegetables to meat/seafood (print list here)

3. Eat a snack mid-afternoon and for dessert 
A. Small salad before dinner or 1 cup of vegetable soup
hint: take one can of healthy/light soups, mix with equal amount of low sodium stocks, measure into 3 portions and refrigerate
B. Salsa/hummus and thin tortilla chips
C. 100 calorie popcorn snack packs
D. 100 calorie yogurt cup
E. A big bowl of fruit
D. Stock up on pre-measured containers of sugar-free puddings, gelatin, fruit cocktail & apple sauces 

4. Always make a menu and a shopping list!!
hint: find a great app for logging in your meals (I adore LoseIt!) with a shopping list built in and a bar code scanner

5. Measure & weigh everything and LOG EVERYTHING
A. I bought a great (& accurate) travel scale on Amazon
hint: my doctor told me something I will never forget "If I fed you under the door, you would loose weight".
If you have problems sticking to a diet but are extremely serious about loosing weight, try a gradual cut in calories. The first week make your favorite foods but put half the norm on your plate and immediately package the remaining in a container that is labeled and put in the freezer to be eaten another day. 
You may be surprised to learn you can be perfectly happy on half of what you used to eat. The second week, quarter that. 
Start to emit bad foods weekly. If you ate bread every day, limit to two days. Same with pasta and dairy. Trust me, in a few weeks you won't miss them.

6. Treat yourself on a low calorie day
A. Have a 5oz glass of wine (white is best at 120), a 1 ounce shot of liquor & diet fizzy (spiced rum and diet coke at 75 calories) or a low carb/calorie beer (Peroni is only 120 calories per bottle)
B. A scoop of frozen yogurt or sorbet
C. 1 ounce of cheese with 1 teaspoon honey or dried plums, dates or figs or/
a bowl of fruit

7. Eat each day at a time, there is no rollovers of calories 

8. Weigh yourself first thing in the AM but after you use the potty

9. Packaged dry mixes (sides, dressings, soups, spices) as well as bottled sauces and condiments are OK as long as you read and choose based on the nutrition label
hint: nowadays, there are some excellent helpers to make it easier to stay the course instead of grabbing fast food options

10. Find your favorite low calorie granola/nutrition bar and keep one in your purse/car at all times. 

I am sure there will be more tips as my diet progresses, but you need to customize your diet to your needs. I was never a big eater to begin with and always homemade. Last time I was in a fast food place (Micky D's or Burger Queen types) was over 15 years ago. If I need to eat out, I go to Panera's or a pizza place. I always read the calories in each selection and pick the lowest in a favorite (soups and salads). I take the meat out of the bread and always sub healthier versions (sweet potato fries and dressings on the side).

Hope this helps. If you have any questions, I will answer emails sent to wishuponadish@gmail.com.

September 21, 2015

Eggplant Parmesan Stuffed Chicken & Peppers ♥ Fantastic Freezer Meals - Recipe Redux Challenge September 2015

It is no secret that most bloggers write and schedule posts for when they will be on vacation.
The Recipe ReDux monthly challenge for September falls on a day when I will be cruising into Vancouver. While extremely pertinent to what was going on in my kitchen when I wrote this post, the theme was all about making meals to freeze using vegetables or herbs grown in our garden or bought at a farmer's market, to be eaten down the line when one needs the help on a busy day.

Wow, that was a mouthful!!

The two dishes posted were actually using a batch of leftover Eggplant Parmesan that I made at the end of August from white eggplants picked that same day off my deck garden.
I hate to throw away good food and since I will be away for 3 weeks, it was necessary to clean out the fridge. Fresh foods needed to be prepped and made into meals eaten before vacation and any leftovers will be frozen for when we return and still want to extend that vacation feeling and not cook.

I have never used leftover Eggplant Parmesan because there usually isn't any. This time I made a big batch to use the abundance and with the leftovers I stuffed two chicken breasts and two large red peppers (also from my garden).

The Nudge raved about the chicken (which we ate right away) and told me I could sell that recipe....lol. He's such a sweet man.
I had to agree. This was the kind of dish that I would make a double batch of my eggplant Parmesan or this baked version just so I could have stuffing. I got to thinking......a heavily spiced baba ganoush & cheese mixture would also work and when I get back into the kitchen I am going test that out.

While the stuffed peppers require no recipe, the stuffed chicken was a one pot wonder which you should make soon.

Let's get cooking....

Eggplant Stuffed Chicken Breasts
makes 4 servings

* 2 (8oz) boneless chicken breasts
* 8oz portion Eggplant Parmesan
* 1 packet Knorr Red Pepper Pesto Sauce mix
* 1 cup chicken broth
* Olive oil

You will need:
metal/wood toothpicks or cotton kitchen twine
baking pan

1. Make a horizontal slice almost all the way through the chicken breasts. Open and pound each side to get an even surface. Repeat with the second breast.
2. Use half the eggplant to stuff each breast and secure with toothpicks or twine.
3. Spread the sauce mix into a baking pan and coat the chicken evenly on all sides, leaving the excess in the pan.
4. Add the broth to the pan and stir to mix. Place the chicken over the sauce and drizzle with olive oil.
5. Preheat the oven to 375°. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30-35 minutes.
Remove the foil, place the pan on a rack set in the highest position and bake an additional 10 minutes.
A thermometer placed into the stuffing should read 150°.

Remove the string or toothpicks and allow the meat to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
Serve with the sauce that was made while the chicken cooked.
Pasta, rice or quinoa makes a good side to soak up the juices.



August 26, 2015

Millet & Quinoa Salad with Grapes, Almonds & Feta Cheese ♥ my 1000 calorie day diet

I promise to make this short.
When I turned 53 I quit smoking. At 58 I got COPD.
When I hit 60 this year, I was warned I would be in serious trouble if I did not do something about my weight, by the time I was 70.

This post is a benchmark for turning my health around. With my diabetes in control, I put myself on a strict diet. I mean a 1000 calorie a day diet.

The only thing that I knew would work and I could stick to, was a diet of protein shakes, fruits, grains and lean protein.
No alcohol, no sugars and no cheating.

Today is my first full week. I have lost 7 pounds, I am sleeping better, so I am more alert and I have more energy. One could call that wishful thinking and tell me it's all water but it's incentive that I am on the right path.

I thought I would share with you a grain salad that keeps in the fridge all week and it's oober healthy (and filling) so I can graze on it when plain fruits just won't do. I plan on making a different variation every week.

I started by cooking 1 cup millet and quinoa. That made 8 cups cooked. I used two cups for this recipe.

I served it with a grilled rockfish and right before serving, I added chopped cucumber, almonds, red peppers, green grapes and feta cheese.
A tablespoon of Marzetti's lemon vinaigrette and dinner was served. It was so refreshing, even The Nudge enjoyed it.

Let's get cooking.......

Quinoa & Millet Salad
makes 8 cups

* 1 cup millet
* 1 cup quinoa
* 4 cups water/vegetable broth combination
* salt & pepper

Green grapes, quartered
Minced red pepper
Honey roasted almonds
1" slice feta cheese, crumbled (not the already crumbled)
Lemon Vinaigrette
Baby lettuce mix