The Healthy Hangover

So this past weekend was my roommate 21st birthday. To put it lightly she’s had better Sunday mornings.

In an effort to make her feel like a human once again, I asked her if I could get her anything.  Her answer? A large order of McDonalds French fries.

Now of course I wanted my friend to feel better, but I was buying.  And she said fries and then my other roommates wanted some. And so did our friends visiting, and admittedly then I did to. The bill started racking up, and being a bit of a health freak myself, so did the calories.

When most people think fast food, they would call me crazy for saying it could get expensive.  But when a crowd of hung-over people walks into a McDonalds, there’s always potential to leave with lighter wallets.

Here’s my solution: a bag of potatoes.

I got this whole bag from a local produce store when I went home last weekend for a mere $2.00. I’ve checked out the local scene at Food Lion and Wal-Mart and the both have similar options for no more then $2.99.

 

But how this plain old bag of potatoes really be transformed into mouth watering fries aka the cure for my roommates pounding headache?

  • As mentioned before, her extra pocket cash kind of ran away last night at the bar, so this is a very cost effective option. For $2.00 I can make some hangover food for all of us at the same price of a just 1 order of a large McDonalds Fry.
  • It’s healthy! My roommate is a bit of a workout-aholic and believe me she’s not moving from the couch anytime soon. Its better to ditch the fast food fat and snack on this treat which is full of dietary fiber (you can even leave the skin on!), makes you feel fuller longer, and saves on the calories.

So here’s my simple recipe that will be sure to win over your hearts, you just have to trust me.

  • Cut up all the potatoes into the size of your choice.

  • Gently wet them and stick ‘em in the microwave for about two minutes.  This may sound weird but this saves you from having to coat them in oil to get the crispy golden fry effect!
  • Lay down some tin foil on a baking pan, and throw the fries on top!
  • This is the fun part: season the fries to your liking. I personally love throwing on some oregano and basil leaves, maybe even some Cajun seasoning if I’m feeling daring. This is your chance to experiment!

  • Place them in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees. The time will vary depending on how crunchy you prefer your fries!

**  With about 5 minutes left, I melt a piece of Kraft’s Fat free American cheese because, well because I love cheese.

The whole recipe for one piece of cheese, one medium red potato, plus seasonings is only 170 calories and get this- NO FAT!  A large McDonalds fry comes in around 500 calories and 25% of your daily fat intake.  And out of just one potato I got this many to munch on!  Chop up a couple more potatoes if you have some extra guests to feed like I do, you have a whole bag!

With all these potatoes you can even pre-cut them and freeze them to have your hangover cure readily available.  So get creative (sweet potatoes anyone?), enjoy the great taste, and feel wonderful knowing you saved money and saved on calories!

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It’s All in the Bag

In a hurry? Need a snack? Before you you grab something unhealthy, let’s think of something delicious and healthy to eat first.

It’s so easy just to grab that little bag of chips or cookies and run, right? But what if there was a way to grab something fast and not feel bad about it later?

There is! And it’s as simple as a box of Ziploc bags…

Since we’re all on busy schedules going from place to place, no time to make ourselves a tidy salad, might I suggest getting some of your favorite healthy food and keeping some in separate bags in the fridge so you can grab one and get to that meeting on time and with a happy stomach.

All it takes is a box of plastic bags and your favorite fruit and/or veggies, I suggest grapes, carrots, and celery just because those are low calorie options that won’t make a big mess in case you’re eating these while you’re driving.

Let’s compare the nutritional value of a bag of potato chips to our homemade veggie bags…

small bag of potato chips  has 115 calories and 10.6 grams of  total fat  versus our little bag of carrots  at 4 calories and NO FAT!

Eating these tasty snacks on the go instead of potato chips will help you get through whatever you’re going to–whether it’s a business meeting or a college class or even a road trip, this is a great way to tide you over until your next meal!

Another healthy alternative would be those fun 100 Calories snack packs. They have just enough goodies in each bag to satisfy your appetite without giving you the added calories! The bags might make you feel like you’re not getting much, but it’s really just enough to tide you over in the afternoon.

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Making peace with pizza!

My name is Melissa, and I am a pizza addict.

My mom used to tell me when I was a kid that if I kept up my habit, I would turn into pizza. Thankfully I didn’t, but I think I could still eat it everyday if I tried. Unfortunately my broke self just can’t afford that.

So I had to find other ways to feed my addiction. What was my solution? Every Sunday night, my roomates and I have homemade vegetable pizza night. Not only is it cost effective and healthy, but its super easy to make.  Check it out!

First, you need to buy all the ingredients (don’t freak out just yet). I headed on over to my local Walmart and was more then pleased with the final price:

  •             PizzaBuddy whole wheat pizza dough:                 $0.88
  •             1 Green pepper:                                                  $.050
  •             1 Red pepper-                                                     $0.75
  •             1 Red onion                                                       $ 0.98
  •             1 large tomato                                                     $1.78
  •             Fat free shredded mozzarella cheese:                   $2.50

                                                                             Total:  $6.51

Don’t worry, I was shocked at first too. You will be even more shocked by how good such a simple recipe can taste.  Follow these easy steps: (See photos below for reference)

  • 1.)  Roll out the pizza dough onto a pizza pan or any shaped large baking pan of your choice

         Tip: throwing down some flour first helps it not stick!

  • 2.)  Roll over the edges for a crust, and bake it in the oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, or until you see the dough bubble a bit.

         Trick: my roommates and I prefer a crispy pizza, so I lightly cover it in Extra Virgin         Olive Oil, but this is optional

  • 3.)  While the dough cooks, cut up all the veggies into small cubes, and the tomato into slices
  • 4.)  Take out the dough, and begin to smother it! Throw on the vegetables to your liking, and place the tomato’s around the dough generously.  Then cover it all with cheese! (I used the whole bag…I couldn’t help it)
  • 5.)  Then place the pizza back in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese turns slightly golden

And there you have it!  But the fun doesn’t stop there. I took all the ingredients and added them up in a Calorie Counter, and it gave me the nutritional information for 1 slice of pizza (the whole recipe makes 8 slices). Here it is:

Calories: 229   |  Fat: 8.3 grams |  Sodium: 436 mg | Protein: 12.8 grams

I was more then pleased, seeing as it is almost half the fat and sodium content, half the price, and 89 calories less then the veggie pizza I have been ordering from dominos!  Not to mention I split it with my two roomates, so the overall meal only cost me a little over 2 dollars!

So for all you pizza lovers and addicts out there, there is hope. It’s homemade, its healthy, and it won’t cost you and arm and a leg.

P.S.– If vegetables don’t make your mouth water, swap out the toppings.  And don’t forget, take a tip from a previous post about Sharp Shopper if your looking to lessen the cost even more!

Enjoy!

Lettuce Help with Your Fajitas

Have you been wondering, “how can I make my fajitas and eat them too?”

Let’s face it, it’s almost bathing suit season and those darn tortillas are so fattening. So how can we have our fajitas without adding the fat of tortillas?

Try lettuce!

I took this idea from living with someone who has gone gluten-free. Wheat is found in most tortillas and for those going gluten-free, wheat=gluten=horrible stomach pains.

For those of us who aren’t gluten-free, tortillas only have one downside…the fat they add to our yummy fajitas.

Let’s compare two recipes: one for fajitas made with tortillas and one with lettuce leaves.

The following recipes come from the Kraft Foods recipe site.

This fajita recipe includes the use of tortillas and, with the inclusion of the other ingredients has:

  • a total fat count of 13 g/serving
  • 400 calories
  • 55 mg of cholesterol
  • and 1110 mg of sodium

Now this fajita lettuce wrap recipe includes roughly the same ingredients as the last recipe, but it replaces the tortillas with large leaves of iceberg lettuce. This recipe has:

  • 11 g of total fat/serving
  • 280 calories
  • 85 mg of cholesterol*
  • and 500 mg of sodium

*the added amount of cholesterol is due to added flavoring mentioned in the recipe

Lettuce leaves can be used in the place of the more fattening starches in other recipes as well. My aforementioned housemate made some great hamburgers for dinner one night and replaced the bun with two large lettuce leaves.

This idea of using lettuce leaves has impacted restaurants as well. At Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches they give you the option to take any of their famous sandwiches and make it an “unwich” meaning they give you all the same ingredients, but replace the bread with a large piece of lettuce. Pair one of these with a bag of Jimmy’s Thinny Chips and you’ve got yourself a low-carb meal!

But don’t just take my word for it, check out the nutrition facts for all of Jimmy John’s healthy options.

So the next time you want a healthier alternative for dinner, put down the rolls and pick up a head of lettuce!