Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fit Food

I recently picked up the newest Biggest Loser book. In it they give quite a few recipes and my goal is to try one recipe each week. I get in a same-old-food rut after a while, so I'm looking forward to trying some new things.

But, before that all begins I'd like to talk about cooking FIT food. There is a lot of good nutritional information in the BL book. If you're not really familiar with nutrition, the book has a lot to offer you. One thing that I LOVE about the body bugg is the "Build a Recipe" function. That's what I'm talking about today.

If you're unfamiliar with this function of the BB program you can find it under the "My Resources" tab. From here click on "Custom Foods" which is the second option, just after "Knowledge Builders".

Once you're in "Custom Foods" you have 3 choices:
  1. Enter Nutrition Facts
  2. Build a Recipe
  3. List Custom Foods

Now, let me say that I'm a creature of habit and believe most people are as well. I buy the same brands of things 95% of the time. Only when the quality of a trusted product has declined will I switch to something else. Because of this it's pretty easy to keep an accurate track of what I'm eating by entering custom foods.

I enter a lot of custom foods. For example, I always eat the same canned black beans, so I entered the nutritional information for that particular brand. I eat the same bread, lunch meat, yogurt, etc. For all of those things that I eat on a regular basis I took the time and entered things in the custom foods in order for my food log to be as accurate as possible.

Now, building a recipe....this can be really fun and educational. The family wanted lasagna recently. Now I knew there was NO way I could eat lasagna...I'm on a diet for goodness sake. But, then I thought about it for a while...what if I could make a reduced fat and calorie lasagna that everyone could enjoy? This is where the Build a Recipe function comes in.

First I entered all of the ingredients I was using, each as a custom food. Then go into "Build a Recipe". First you name the recipe. Next you type an ingredient. This is where you're going to choose everything that you put into the recipe. Make sure that you use the correct portion amounts. If you use 3 cups of non-fat ricotta, make sure you indicate that you use 3 cups. When you enter the custom food you probably put the nutritional value for a 0.5 or 1 cup portion. If you use the entire package you can find the "number of servings per package" and that's the number you'll use.

After you enter all of the ingredients you have to choose how many servings the recipe makes. From my lasagna experiment I figured you could easily cut the pan into 8 servings, so that's what I used.

Then when you eat a meal and use something you've created a recipe for you can choose that food. When I make the lasagna I end up making 2 pans at for now and one to freeze. We ate the frozen one last night. Logging dinner was SO easy! I had about 2 servings, so I just chose my lasagna from the list, entered 2 and my food log was done!

The way this function can be so incredibly useful is to lighten up a favorite dish. We all have those favorite comfort foods...but sadly many of them are high in fat and/or calories. Build the recipe and make some substitutions. Most of the time you won't even notice the difference in using a reduced fat or fat free product when mixed in with other ingredients. It's also educational to build the normal recipe and then build a reduced fat/calorie version by making some substitutions.

If you hate to cook this may not be an often-used feature of the bb program. But, if you're like me and enjoy cooking and creating new things for the family to eat, the Build a Recipe function could end up being your new best friend!

Happy healthy cooking buggers.....



Terry said...

Lori, Tast of Home has a light cookbook out. Called Taste at Home Comfort Food, Light. It has really good recipes that have all been lightened up. There is one pasta recipe my husband keeps asking for. I would highly recommend you take a look at it. When buying the book you also get a subscription to the magazine. Just made a recipe from the new magazine tonight.

As always, keep up the good work.


~ Lori ~ said...

I HAVE it! Ha ha...that is so funny that you mentioned that cookbook. I am a long-time follower of Taste of Home and came across this cookbook at our school's Book Fair. I browsed the recipes and liked the format so I purchased it. I have cooked a few recipes from it and really like it thus far. My goal this week is one recipe from the BL book and one from the ToH book...will let you know how it goes!