Make over the family diet with small changes

Meal makeoverAs January rolls around, many folks feel as if they are rolling, too. Though the average holiday weight gain for an adult is in the neighborhood of just 1-2 pounds, overindulgence can make it feel like more.

It can be tricky to make over your entire diet suddenly, especially during the winter months when you’re craving rich, hearty foods. Instead of going totally salad-bound this winter, try a few small changes that will have big impact on how you and your family enjoy dinner together, while cutting back on the added fat.

Make simple changes to your January meal plan to reboot your family. You’ll more easily cultivate buy-in from your family by making gradual changes instead of a complete dinnertime overhaul, especially after coming off a treat-laden holiday season. No one likes to feel deprived.

Let the kids choose the veggies. My grocery store has a fantastic vegetable section where the veggies are attractively presented. Let your kids look through the selection and choose something new.

Incorporate healthy snacks your kids can enjoy any time, without permission. Carrots and individual hummus packs are a big hit in my house. It must be the power of dipping — kids love to dip!

Do a bit of menu planning where you can easily double the recipe, then put one night’s dinner in the freezer. This way you’ve got one in the dinnertime bank.

This barbecue turkey meatloaf is a huge hit with my family and cooking class students. Be sure to buy ground turkey, not ground turkey breast. Ground turkey is roughly 93 percent fat free, while ground turkey breast hovers around 99 percent fat free, which in turn makes a much drier meatloaf. This recipe easily doubles and freezes. Just be sure to wrap the uncooked loaf in foil, then plastic wrap, before freezing to eliminate any excess air and maintain freshness. Be sure to thaw thoroughly in the fridge before baking for even cooking.

Barbecue Turkey MeatloafLean Meatloaf

Serves 6

5 tablespoons barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons water
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
¾ cup oats
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1½ pound ground turkey (not ground turkey breast)
½ small onion, minced
½ red bell pepper, minced
¼ to ½ cup barbecue sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine 5 tablespoons barbecue sauce and water. Add the beaten egg whites, oats, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce and salt. Mix well. Add the turkey, onions and red bell pepper, then mix well to combine.
  3. Lightly coat a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Press turkey mixture into the loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven, top with remaining barbecue sauce and return to oven to bake for an additional 10 minutes or until an internal temperature of 165 degrees is reached. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

By Christine van Bloem

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