by Vanessa Voltolina
You’re trying to lose some weight: Cue the bags of baby carrots, diet sodas, and low-carb foods. Despite vigilance and strict diets, recent research finds that one third of women gain weight while dieting – on average, around four pounds — because they deprive themselves. Yikes!
The reason for the scales tipping the other direction may be something you’ve heard before: Adhering to a super-strict eating plan can work against you. The second delicious-looking foods — or, just ones that you haven’t allowed yourself permission to eat – cross your path? Free-for-all. We shovel in everything we missed out on during the diet, which means that we not only gaining weight back, but then some. This gets back to the golden rule of maintaining a healthy weight: everything in moderation. If you’re super health-conscious, there’s no reason you can’t keep a waistline-friendly mentality while still indulging in your favorite flavorful treats.
We asked Nadia Rodman, Director of Nutrition for Curves International, Inc., for some of her tips for making (or replacing) crave-worthy foods – such as pizza, hamburgers, and cookies — lower in the not-so-good stuff, such as calories, fat and sugar, without losing out on flavor.
Instead of calling your local pizza joint, “easily make your own by using pita bread,” says Rodman. DIY-ing will “cut down on the calories and fat of the meal, and it also allows everyone in the family to add their favorite toppings to their personal pizza.” Win-win!
The trick to making a better burger that retains a meaty flavor and hearty texture? Make it at home so you’ll know exactly what’s going in it, and use lean ground beef, recommends Rodman. “Lean beef is lower in saturated fat and calories,” she says. For an even leaner approach, she recommends trying a turkey burger (such as the Curves Grilled Turkey Burgers with Spicy Mayo).
What’s better than a house permeated with the smell of just-baked cookies? Well, not much. However, cookies can be a weakness for many of us, especially when you’re on the diet train. Unless you’re expecting a boatload of company who can help you demolish this batch of cookies, “satisfy your craving for something sweet with a protein bar instead,” says Rodman. No, it’s not a cookie, but it may prevent you from sabotaging yourself by indulging in an entire tray of chocolate chip cookies (and your entire allotted amount of daily calories). Protein bars “can satisfy your sweet tooth and keep your energy levels elevated,” says Rodman.
Curves Complete Recipes by Nadia Rodman
Chicken & Basil Pesto Pizza
3 oz chicken breast
2 T Basil Pesto Sauce
1/2 tsp Olive Oil
2 T cheese – mozzarella
1 T cheese – Parmesan (grated)
1 T basil
1 FlatOut® Wrap – 90 calories
1/4 Red Onion
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grill chicken to desired degree of doneness.
2. Heat a small skillet pan over medium high heat; add oil. Add chopped red onion and cook about 5 minutes, or until caramelized.
3. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place wrap on foil. Spread basil pesto sauce evenly on wrap. Top with chopped tomato, caramelized onions, cheeses and grilled chicken.
4. Bake in oven for about 12 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and crust is crispy. Top with freshly chopped basil. Enjoy!
Chef’s tip- for a crispier crust, place wrap directly onto oven rack.
Grilled Turkey Burgers with Spicy Mayo: 1 serving
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/3 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 T mayo (fat free)
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 T lemon juice
1/4 garlic clove
3 oz ground turkey
1 T onion
1/4 red bell pepper
1 slice low fat Cheddar
1 hamburger bun – whole wheat
1/2 cup arugula
1. Mince garlic. To make spicy mayo, whisk cumin, coriander, paprika, mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl.
2. Place turkey in a medium bowl. Mix in a small amount of the mayo. Using damp hands, form turkey into a patty.
3. Heat grill or grill pan. Slice onion and pepper. Sprinkle burgers with salt and pepper. Grill burgers and vegetables. Grill burgers for 5 minutes per side and vegetables until soft and charred. Add cheese on top of burger and cook until melted.
4. Place burger on bun. Top with grilled peppers, onions and arugula. Spread mayo on the other side of the bun