Friday, May 27, 2011

Holiday Weekend Grub

Happy almost Memorial Day! I'm about to hit the road with a group of friends and head up to a cabin in North Georgia. Boating, barbecue and beer, oh my! That's pretty much what my weekend will consist of, along with some hiking...if the weather holds up.
Anyhoo, not sure what the rest of y'all are up to this weekend, but there has been lots of chatter on the news lately about the escalating gas prices and how that's hindering many a person's plans to hit the road this Memorial Day. So for all of you staying put, I'd imagine there will be a number of house parties or pool bashes taking place this weekend. Trying to figure out how to keep that sugar-free diet with so many fatty foods around? Well no need to fret. There are some sugar-free recipes you can enjoy. Check it out.

Scallion and Habanero Marinated Pork Loin

Cucumber and Onion Salad

Bean Trio with Citrus Cumin Dressing

Yellow Cupcakes

By the way, I was sorry to hear the news that Jeff Conaway died today. For all you Grease fans, here's a clip of the recently departed actor. R.I.P, Kenickie. Hope you're headed to that malt shop in the sky.

Friday, May 20, 2011

And so it begins...

The weather is heating up, baseball season is in full swing and barbecues and pool parties are starting to clutter the calendar again. Summer is back, baby! Of course, if you're trying to shed pounds, you might not be rejoicing in the return of skimpy shorts and tank tops. Or the temptation of so many unwanted fat and calories from the food and booze served at those festive gatherings. However, there are ways to avoid gaining weight while still enjoying a quality summer party. Check out these tips from

Choose your marinades wisely. Using sauces such as Worcestershire, Chile, Soy, or light Italian dressing in place of salt or heavy sauces will add a lot of flavor with a few calories. If you are looking to flavor with spices, try garlic, onion powder, or chili powder. If sweet taste is what you are going for add a little fruit juice to the marinade. This will add a sweet taste while also tenderizing the meat. Also, a low-calorie sweetener such as sucralose can help sweeten a marinade without the added calories.
Think beyond just meat. Barbecues don’t have to be a meat lover’s paradise. Try one of the sauces/seasonings listed above on steak or chicken skewers. In between each piece of meat add pineapple, mushrooms, peppers, or any other fruit or vegetable you and your family or friends enjoy. Cut the veggies into sizes that will cook well on the grill and then grill them for about 8 – 10 minutes. If you like seafood, shrimp or fish could be a great option for grilling whole or making into skewers.
When grilling chicken, make sure you remove all the skin. The skin of the chicken is where most of the saturated fat is found so removing the skin will remove this unwanted fat as well. If you are a chicken skin lover consider this: 4 ounces of grilled chicken breast with skin contains 8.8 grams of fat and 2.5 grams of saturated fat 4 ounces of grilled chicken breast without skin contains 4 grams of fat and 1.2 grams of saturated fat. Be sure to take the skin off before adding the marinade so you don’t lose the flavor along with the skin. When cooking other types of meat be sure to choose the leanest cuts possible and trim additional fat before cooking.
Portion distortion is still a problem on the grill. If you are making skewers, cut the meat in small pieces with loads of vegetables in between. If you are making burgers or steak, think “tapas” and cut them into smaller appetizer portions before cooking. For every piece of meat you have, try to have an equal amount of vegetable.
Traditional barbecues are centered on grilling meat, but don’t forget about the sides. Complement your meat with a healthful pasta salad made with whole wheat pasta and light Italian dressing. Or, going along with the tapas theme, make some mini appetizers such as bruschetta, hummus with olive oil and whole wheat pita, low fat artichoke dip, or a veggie tray. Take advantage of the delicious fruits in season and provide a fruit tray and a yogurt dipping sauce sweetened with sucralose for a low-calorie dessert that is sure to satisfy all your guests!

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I'm beat. Know what I did yesterday? I spent the entire day working the food line at a local Greek festival. Ever spent eight hours fixing up trays of hot food on a humid day? Not fun. Plus, as much as I heart Greek food, after about three hours of serving it, the meals no longer smell or look so good. Anyway, it was a long, sweaty Saturday but I did it all for the good of the local Greek community. So it was worth it. Plus, I did get to nosh on some mighty tasty snacks...a little spanakopita, some keftedes, souvlaki, dolmades, pastitsio...I certainly picked at a few items before I got sick of looking at them. Heh.
For all of you other Greek food fans out there, I found some wonderful low-cal recipes, including a sucralose-sweetened baklava recipe. Enjoy!



Vegetarian Pastitsio

Sunday, May 01, 2011

How to lose 10 pounds in two months

I was chatting with gal pals the other day about how quickly the year has flown by. I mean, it's already May, which means the skimpy outfits of summer are just around the corner. How did that happen?! Anyway, for all of you who (like me) are unprepared for swimsuit season, here are a few tips I found to help lose weight before summer really kicks in.

1. Dear diary… Keep a food journal. Often, we eat more than we realize. And when it comes to weight, every calorie counts. It helps to write down all food and beverages consumed throughout the day to get an accurate picture of the number of calories you are consuming. From the bagel and banana at breakfast, to the salad dressing and roll with lunch and handful of mixed nuts before dinner, write down everything you consume. You may find that the calories really add up! These types of journals can help uncover hidden calories, specify eating patterns, highlight problem areas and, essentially, increase the chances of weight loss success down the road.
2. Feeling frustrated? Hit the gym. Regular exercise can produce overall health benefits. And it doesn’t have to involve hour-long training sessions at an expensive fitness center. Go for a quick jog in the morning before you get ready for work. Instead of driving to the office, walk or bicycle. Bypass the elevator for the stairs and go for a brisk stroll around your building after lunch. Remember, muscle burns more calories than fat, so a regular mixture of cardio, flexibility and toning exercise is the best way to increase metabolism.
3. Watch what you drink. When it comes to diets, many people focus on the food without accounting for beverages. Every fruit juice, soda and sweetened coffee comes bearing calories – with some containing as many as a meal. This is not to say you have to give up all your favorite beverages to lose weight. All foods and beverages can be incorporated into a healthy eating plan. However, you can save calories, for example, by drinking sucralose-sweetened products such as light lemonade and light cranberry juice or diet soda. Drinking a diet soda in place of a full-calorie soda can save 150 calories alone. Over the course of a year, that daily calorie savings could result in a 15-pound weight loss. Also, make sure to drink plenty of water and consider switching from whole to nonfat or low-fat milk.
4. Eat less, more often. Many experts say eating small snacks throughout the day will lead to healthier choices when it comes to the three main meals. Bring healthy snacks to work to curb your appetite, such as carrot sticks, pretzels, string cheese, low-fat energy bars or fruit. This way, you’re less likely to go home and eat a box of crackers with cheese before dinner. Also, frequently consuming snacks can help keep your blood sugar level steady and your energy up.
5. Sugar-free does a diet good. Sure, too much ice cream is not necessarily a good thing. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to deprive yourself of the frozen treat. Instead, try the low-calorie, sugar-free version. Have five pieces of sucralose-sweetened chocolate instead of regular chocolate and save 50 calories. And sugar-free yogurt eliminates about 110 calories per serving. If you start incorporating sucralose into your favorite recipes now, you could easily be flaunting a healthier weight in a few short months.
Make a healthier lifestyle your new priority and find ways to stay inspired. Remember, a weight loss of half a pound to one and a half pounds a week is sensible.