For our family, winter is filled with cozy comfort food, roasted dishes, thick chili, and everything else that requires pants with lots of stretch in the waistband. I hate to say it, but it’s time to put my pajama pants to rest until next winter and start making smarter switches in preparation for every mom’s favorite … swimsuit season!
Here are some simple swaps we are making in our house as we leave the comfort food train behind and head into farmer’s market season.
Switch Your Sandwich to a Salad
All the foods I love to eat in a sandwich can be enjoyed just as much in a salad. Land O’Frost lunch meat on top of a huge bowl of greens along with tomatoes, cucumbers, and colorful peppers is a convenient way to get my protein and veggies in, while enjoying the foods I really love.
Not prepared to ditch your bread? Don’t think opting for a wrap is the answer. Wraps can often contain more calories and sodium than bread so read your labels carefully. A better switch could be going from white bread to whole wheat or serving your sandwich open-faced instead for half the calories.
The Portobello Mushroom Switch
When you go gluten free, you learn to embrace comfort food in new ways. One of the first things I discovered was that Portobello mushrooms are the perfect size for my pizza toppings. Just clean the caps out and fill them with your favorite pizza toppings and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. To fill you up even more, fill them with quinoa and then top with your favorite toppings for a protein punch.
The Portobello also makes an excellent alternative to a burger, thanks to its meaty taste.
Marinate two of them in 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons of olive oil with a little salt and pepper for about an hour. Grill them for four minutes on each side and then place on a whole wheat or gluten-free bun for a healthier burger option.
Switch Your Pasta to Quinoa
We have talked about quinoa on here before and I want to sing its praises again. It’s a fantastic source of protein, fiber, vitamin B and iron and contains all eight amino acids. It also happens to be an incredible vehicle for your pasta sauces and as a topper on a big bowl of greens.
If you have a cold pasta salad recipe that you love, consider switching your pasta with quinoa and see how much better you feel throughout the day. Quinoa is delicious hot or cold and it stands up well as an ingredient to just about anything.
Switch Your Evening Treats to Energy Bites
I have a treat yo’self attitude by the end of the day. After doing all the things for all the people, I reward myself with treats and wine.
I deserve it.
I don’t deserve feeling rough in the morning though from the sugar crash, and I’m learning that energy bites are a great option when I am craving something sweet at the end of the day. A quick search should pull a variety of recipes for you, but I thought I’d share mine here to get you started!
You should definitely treat yo’self with these and they keep fresh in the fridge for a week! I find they still pair well with my wine and they feel like a guilty pleasure since they taste like cookie dough–yum!
No Bake Energy Bites
1 cup oatmeal
½ cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
⅓ cup honey
1 cup wheat germ
½ cup ground flaxseed
½ cup mini chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
Mix everything above in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated.
Let chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Once chilled, simply roll into balls.
Store these in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to one week.