We’ve been attempting to eat healthier, and to do so we invested some money in the Biggest Loser cookbook collection. We’ve also discovered the problem with many of the diet cook books: The food is bland. Chicago magazine’s food section, Dish, had a great quote from Andy Rooney (something I never thought I’d say):
“The two biggest sellers in any bookstore are the cookbooks and the diet books. The cookbooks tell you how to prepare the food, and the diet books tell you how not to eat any of it.”
Diet cook books as a rule tend to rely on only the essential ingredients for getting you everything you need to survive. But in many cases they also sacrifice flavor in place of weight loss. I’ve always felt that you lose weight because you end up hating what your new image of food is in your head. Most of us that are overweight love the TASTE of food. Even with a salad wouldn’t you rather have the one that includes goat cheese, cranberries, candied walnuts and apples over spinach instead of the one that’s merely lettuce, tomato and cucumber? Of course! There’s different flavors blending together. The goat cheese’s bitter mixes with the cranberries’ sweet to provide you with something that tastes good rather than just filling not only your belly but your dietary need for vegetables.
Yet all those little extra things add up calories, and that’s not even counting a dressing if you get one. All those extra calories, even at 10 here or 20 there, soon snowball into you eating far more than your daily intake should be. For someone my age height, I’m told I should weigh 200 pounds. My current LoseIt calorie limit is 2000 calories. Man that seems like more than enough food for one day!
Yet I’ve yet to find a great cookbook that learns how to balance weight loss and taste. Skinny Bitch in the Kitch has some great recipes, but I can’t vouch for how diet friendly they truly are. Weight Watchers has a vegetarian cookbook, but man, most of those recipes are just not good. And as I’ve mentioned, The Biggest Loser books have some great ideas with just okay results.
Instead, like the recipe below, we’re learning to adapt things to have a little more flavor. Sure the calories may increase, but at least we’re trying to make a difference in our lives. The recipe started as a healthy Biggest Loser chicken cheese steak sandwich. The closer we got to finished, the more we realized this was going to be a bland meal. So what started as a cheese steak turned into a shredded chicken BBQ sandwich. We switched out fat-free cheese with fresh Muenster. We added salt and pepper. We made it taste better at the sacrifice of strictly adhering to the idea of losing weight. But how many sacrifices do you make before you’re once again fighting over what you weigh and what you want to weigh?
Anyone have any good weight loss/diet cookbook recommendations?
Shredded Chicken BBQ Sandwich
- 1 cup white onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 16 oz Trader Joe’s Chicken-less Strips
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
- 4 slices cheese of your choice
- 8 ounce baguette, or sandwich roll of choice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Heat the oil in a pan. Once hot, add the onions and cook over medium heat until soft, about 9-10 minutes. While the onions are cooking, shred/slice the chicken into thin strips. Add the chicken to the onions once onions are soft. Add BBQ sauce, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and cook until chicken is hot throughout. Slice the bread into 4 equal servings (about 2 ounces per roll) and heat in the oven or microwave. Fill each roll with chicken mixture and lay a slice of cheese on top. Heat in oven or microwave until cheese is melted. Serve.
Makes 4 sandwiches (3 if you were as hungry as we were)