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My lean preteen: A work in progress

How to volumize your diet food

Volume knob Turn up the volume!

Ever feel like your frozen entree is a bit skimpy? Before you hit the fridge or the office vending machine, try these additions to your meal:

Veg it up: Every frozen meal could use more greenery. Add some frozen or fresh green beans, broccoli or spinach to your meal. The added fiber and water in the vegetables will help fill you up and make better use of that entree's sauce.

Frozen chopped spinach: Frozen chopped spinach gets its own category because it's so awesomely versatile. It can be added to just about everything, including pasta sauce, frozen entrees of all ethnicities, egg white omelets and soups. And if you want to make a quick "creamed spinach" side dish, just melt a Laughing Cow Light wedge into a serving of spinach with a dash of pepper and nutmeg.

Volumized chicken noodles Soup it up with broth: Many entrees can be turned into soup, especially chicken-noodley ones. Dump the cooked entree into a microwave-safe mug or bowl, add a cup of low-sodium broth and zap until hot. Pasta entrees with red sauce can be turned into soup with either broth or low-sodium tomato juice. (The soup, at right, was a chicken noodle entree bulked up with broth and frozen green beans.)

Add no-cal noodles: Ever hear of glucomannan? It's the starch found in those zero-calorie noodles, which can now be found in most grocery stores. They're definitely not pasta, but they can go a long way to bulk up an entree. I find that they work best in Asian dishes since their firmer texture blends well with Asian sauces. Many of the varieties I've tried have had a weird smell, but I found a new brand that's actually made in the United States and tastes "cleaner" than others. It's called NoOodle and it's launching right now around the U.S.  

Wrap it up: Grab a 60-calorie tortilla and turn your diet dish into a burrito.  Mexican entrees obviously are a good choice but try a stir-fry for an Asian wrap. My 60-calorie go-to tortilla is Tumaro's Multi-Grain Low in Carbs Gourmet Tortilla. They have 6 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber. And they're big enough to make a decent-sized wrap.

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