Stop and Swap Feed

Taco Tuesday goes to rehab

Lately I've been whipping up a batch of tacos on Tuesdays, merely so I can yell "Taco Tuesday!" when someone asks what's for dinner.

Last night was Taco Tuesday and it gave me a chance to try out a new Mrs. Dash taco seasoning product. I had already tried the French onion dip mixed with nonfat Greek yogurt and I was amazed that something so good could have zero sodium. (The Mrs. Dash seasoning packets are brand new, so they may be hard to find.)

Buffalo taco meat
Usually, I use ground turkey breast, but I had some lean ground buffalo in the freezer.

 The taco seasoning was just as impressive and just as sodium free. Besides, once you start dumping on the salsa, guacamole and cheese, you've got plenty of salt in your meal.

Taco toppings
I came up with a way to stretch the guacamole while cutting down on calories. I mixed equal parts guac with salsa verde and no one was the wiser (except me). And instead of loads of cheese, I used a tiny sprinkling of reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend. I put it on the "ground floor" of the taco, to sort of glue the bottom together and keep the whole thing from exploding.

Tomatoes and lime
Since I had already used an ample amount of salsa with the guacamole, I topped the tacos with chopped yellow and red grape tomatoes sprinkled with a couple packets of True Lime granulated lime juice.

Taco tuesday
And voila! (Wait -- how do you say "voila" in Spanish?)




Stop and Swap: You're the cream in my coffee (for now)

Looking for ways to shave calories of my day, I've targeted my morning mug of coffee. I've been alternating between Organic Valley half and half and its new organic soy creamer. But the mug is huge and one serving of either often doesn't cut it. So the calorie count can creep as high as 50 or 60 calories. It doesn't sound like much, but I'm looking for easy corners to cut.

Cream and almond milkSo I thought I'd do one of my Stop and Swap moves by comparing 30 calories of half and half with 30 calories of almond milk, which makes a great latte.

  You can see the results at right: Yikes!

You can get a lot more with the almond milk than with the half and half. True, it isn't as creamy, but it's pretty darn good, and as my ALL-TIME FAVORITE DIET BLOG POST from The Skinny Daily Post says :

While you’re losing weight, try not to get caught up in the idea of what you’re giving up. You’re not giving up anything but the calories you don’t need right this minute. It’s not a big deal. Not right now.

So, while I'm losing weight, I'll substitute some yummy almond milk for my creamer. Heck, maybe I'll even splurge on vanilla almond milk for a few calories more.

And in the meantime, someone needs to come up with an almond-milk based coffee creamer. We have cow, soy, even coconut -- how 'bout almond?

In other news...

Carol has rejoined Laura in the Nutrisystem Nation, and you can read about their exploits at Shrinking Sisters Reviews. Carol has lost more than 20 pounds on Nutrisystem and Laura's almost at that level, too. Huzzah!

Weapon of choice: You can go with this, or you can go with that

120 calories

Channeling a little Fatboy Slim on a Friday morning.

I have a spoon problem. (Not the band Spoon -- love them!)

I'm talking about the ones in the kitchen. I like to jam them into nut butter jars, or hummus containers, or leftover guacamole.

My pal Lynn Haraldson Bering was on the Today show last year, being inducted into Joy Bauer's Joy Fit Club. Before she appeared she wondered what Joy would roll out to illustrate her old eating habits. I said my illustration would be a mountain of teaspoons.

All those invisible spoonfuls of random food can add up -- especially if they're nutrient-packed like peanut butter.

So when I had the urge to dive into a jar of almond butter yesterday, I stopped and swapped. The inner dialogue:

What do you want?

Smooth, creamy, sweet.

All right then, how about some yogurt?

So I dipped into a cup of prune yogurt. Yeah I said prune (haters, step off!). The photo above illustrates what 120 calories of yogurt looks like compared with 120 calories of almond butter. One spoonful vs. a bunch of spoonfuls.

And with that we launch yet another feature -- Stop and Swap! Every now and then we'll point out better choices for when a craving strikes.

And now, time to dance!