Thursday, August 7, 2008

Afternoon Snack Idea

I think it's important not to get in a rut when it comes to snacks and foods in general, although I admittedly eat quite a few nutrition bars. They're healthy, I like them, and until I can't stand them anymore, I'll continue to fill in meals with them because they're easy. But I digress. As I've said before, calorie counting should not be about deprivation but instead it's about control: getting control of our eating, control of our portions. The challenge is to be creative with foods that taste really good but don't "rob" your calorie bank for the day.

If you're looking for something hot for an afternoon nosh instead of cold cheese and crackers or a cup of yogurt, you might consider an English muffin pizza. It's not high in calories, not the way I do it. And I find it very satisfying in flavor.

I had some leftover pasta sauce from the previous night's dinner and we always keep English muffins and cheese on hand so it was quite easy to throw together in a matter of minutes. I'm going to give you the name brands of the products I used because it makes a difference in calories, but you can use any you like, just check out the nutrition label for your numbers. Here's what I did:
I first toasted a Thomas Original English muffin. They're 120 calories. (Thomas also now offers lite English muffins at 100 calories each, but I've not tried them.) The leftover pasta sauce I had was Classico's Fire Roasted Tomato and Garlic Sauce at 50 calories for a 1/2 cup serving. I didn't need but 2 tablespoons, one for each side of the muffin, so that brought the calorie count down to 12.5 which I rounded up to 13. (Always round up, just in case!) The third element was the cheese. I like those little Babybel originals. They are 70 calories each.
Once the muffin was toasted, I spread 1 tablespoon of the pasta sauce onto each side, then topped it with the cheese which I grated. It's a semi-soft cheese, but if you work quickly, you can grate it fairly easily. I popped the whole thing into the microwave for 30 seconds and it was perfect. I could have also put the 'pizza' in a 350 oven for 5-10 minutes, but I didn't feel like waiting. Toasting the muffin first, gave it the sufficient crispness I wanted. In the end, my calorie total was 203. Very doable and much more tasty than some of the cardboard-consistency frozen pizza for one creations I've come across. Plus, this way, I got to control what was on my pizza. If you wanted to add sliced olives or a couple of little rounds of pepperoni sausage, you could do that, just be careful because those food items add up quickly. But that's it! Quick, tasty, and lite.
Be creative, don't get in a rut, venture out with tasty ideas that are satisfying but not high in calories. Yes, it takes a little thought and effort, but you can do it. Don't let someone else determine whether you can get into those smaller sized jeans you've been eying! It's up to you.

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