I do not like your recipes Biggest Loser

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)

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7 Responses to I do not like your recipes Biggest Loser

  1. Bev says:

    I’m also relying on the old Moosewoods, recently discovered the marinaded tofu recipe and that was great as a super healthy stir fry. I avoid all diet books because I agree with you but do run straight for my Vietnamese cookbook (Songs of Sapa, by Luke Nguyen, a local Aussie) for inspiration packed with flavour. It’s pretty easy to spot the healthy recipes in there, so many broths and rice noodle dishes are perfect, and the ginger chicken (tofu works fine) is a family favourite for everyone, veggie or not. I sound like an ad but I’m not, just battling the same quandary as you!

    • TwobitMe says:

      We’ve had some fun trying to healthy up recipes from places like Real Simple and Vegetarian Times (which may be vegetarian but isn’t always healthy). I’ll have to take a look at Songs of Sapa once we get situated in LA.

      The one thing I’ve learned that adds a little more texture to the tofu, without adding grease is “dry frying” it. You press out the water as usual, but once you do that you just toss it in the pan without anything else, and let the water still in the tofu act as the sautee/frying water. It browns quite nicely. I did this to make some BBQ Tofu sandwiches and that first night they were crispy, saucy deliciousness.

  2. cnortonjewelry says:

    I realize this post is from a very long time ago but just thought I would recommend two cookbooks if you are still interested. “Peas and Thank You: Simple Meatless Meals” by Sarah Maheny and “Eat, Drink and Be Vegan” by Dreena Burton. P&Y are very simple meals that are loaded with flavor. Want to try some recipes out? Check out her Peas and Thank You blog – lots of recipes on the blog. EDBV is also excellent…don’t let the long ingredient lists fool you – the recipes come together really quickly. Also, it is worth it for the chapter on hummus alone!

  3. Roberta says:

    I use Moosewood Simple Suppers quite a bit, and also look at myrecipes.com for Cooking Light vegetarian/meatless meals. Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz squeezes a lot of flavor out of vegan dishes and gives you nutrition info. She really loves her cauliflower, though. I detest it cooked. Just discovered your blog – strong work. Where have I been?

    Kind regards.

    • TwobitMe says:

      We have a couple Moosewood cookbooks as well. I just don’t think we’re patient enough to make it through all of the recipes. Although I don’t think it helps that we also have the “Cooking for Groups” book which requires WAY more math than I want to deal with.

  4. stephanie says:

    Moosewood has several that you might be interested in. Also look at” Vegan Bite by Bite,” and Robin Asbell’s and Alan Roettinger ‘s blogs and books. Loved your post on vegan cheese. I try not to use anymore than 2 -3 Tablespoons of oil in dishes which is still a lot. I don’t do fat-free anything, but will look at water content in cheeses. The higher that is the better to eat with my dear.

    • TwobitMe says:

      We actually have several Moosewood books. We tend to look over one of them just because it’s the Moosewood cooks for a crowd, and doing the math to sort it out just makes my brain hurt. I’ll check out those books & sites you mentioned.

      And doube thanks for the tip on the water content. I never would have thought of that.

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