Meal planning and prep is an integral part of a successful weight loss program. If your fridge and pantry are not stocked with healthy, nutritious, pre-prepped fruits, vegetables and proteins, you’re much more likely to give in to take-out or fast casual dining, and regretting it later.
Being a food enthusiast, food lover or “foodie” (we hate the term but it is catchy and concise) makes it even tougher. We see food as creative art to be savored and enjoyed with friends and family, and certainly not to be considered mere fuel for the body – which makes meal planning even more crucial for successful weight loss. “Success” is defined as reaching your goal and keeping the pounds off as noted in the 5 strategies for success in the first of Foodie’s Guide to Fitness and Weight Loss series.
We are spoiled by and accustomed to new, creative, interesting, highly flavorful food and blanch at the thought of months of bland, boring meals. My challenge here (besides sticking with my exercise goals) is to create low calorie, flavorful meals that will satisfy and keep us on track Monday through Thursday. Another thing about foodies – we need more than one cheat day 😉 That’s not to say I have three cheat days, but I have more time to cook on the weekend.
Sunday is meal prep day and for the first week I bought and prepped salmon and organic chicken breast. Don was out of town, so I was cooking for one. You can see the meals I came up with in last week’s post.
For Week #2, the chilly weather and football games galore demanded pot roast with roasted carrots and yellow potatoes for Sunday Supper. The leftover pot roast will do double duty in a Beef and Barley Soup on Wednesday. We both love seafood and I spied langoustines at Costco and purchased 1.5 pounds to change things up from salmon or other fish.
Langoustines are similar in appearance to crayfish, but differ in that they grow in saltwater seas and oceans, whereas crayfish breed in freshwater rivers and lakes. The Latin name of langoustines is Nephrops norvegicus, and they’re actually a relative of the lobster. Langoustines are smaller than lobster, growing in size to a maximum of only around 10 inches. The smaller langoustines are particularly prized for the sweet meat found in their tails – which is what I bought.
Pasta is out, too high in carbs for anything but a cheat day, so when the pot roast and veggies were done, in the oven went a Spaghetti squash to serve as “pasta” (zucchini noodles would also be good, if you own a Spiralizer) and an Acorn squash to add to a soup or salad. I’ll use the remaining langoustines to satisfy my craving for my Chile Rellenos – my most favorite Mexican dish made diet-friendly with Labne instead of traditional Mexican cheeses.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 8 ounces langoustines*, shells removed
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup vodka
- 1⅓ cups lower-sodium marinara sauce
- ¼ cup Labne*
- ⅛ teaspoon red chile flakes
- 1 cup frozen young sweet peas
- 3 cups pre-cooked Spaghetti squash
- Garnish: sliced green onions, fresh basil or parsley
- Heat 1½ teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add langoustines; sauté for 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add 1½ teaspoons oil and garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute. Carefully add vodka; cook 1 minute. Add marinara, whisk in Labne by the spoonful. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 2 minutes, stir in langoustines and peas. Meanwhile heat spaghetti squash. To plate, spoon about 1 cup of squash on each plate and top with sauce.
* Labne or Labneh is the Middle Eastern version of cream cheese. It is made from strained yogurt. It has a thick, creamy consistency, is spreadable like cream cheese, and lower in calories and sodium.
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