My Favorite “Diet” Foods

When I started counting my calories and losing weight, my only goal was to eat LOW CALORIE FOOD. It was a lot of processed foods. If it came out of a box or a can, I was able to accurately count my calories. It worked for me. After losing the weight and keeping it off I realized there was more to life than eating diet food. There were REAL FOODS I could eat that tasted much better. And they were better for me. I slowly started to eliminate the processed foods from my diet.

This past year there’s been some major changes to my diet. Having a garden with fresh veggies radically changed what I ate and how I looked at food. I realized I prefer a simple, “caveman diet.” I want the steak with veggies, or chicken with salad. I don’t miss eating potatoes or pasta. In fact I rarely crave it now.

You know how I feel about the word “diet.” I dislike the word and the concept of a diet. However, if you’re trying to learn to eat healthier there are better foods that you can eat that will pack more of a nutritional punch.

Instead of eating LOW CALORIE diet foods, try eating healthy foods that will fill you up.


I’ve always been a fan of eggs. We eat scrambled eggs for breakfast Monday through Friday (most of the time). I have no issues with cholesterol and no, I’m not sick of eggs. 🙂 Eggs are awesome because they are low in calories (70) and high in protein (6grams) and fill you up. For awhile during the summer I was taking hard boiled eggs with me to work to eat at lunch with a salad, or to eat as a snack. I found on days that I snacked on hard boiled eggs I was rarely hungry later.

You can do lots of things with eggs. It’s not just a breakfast food. What about grilled peppers with eggs? It was a great dinner!

Cottage Cheese

Cottage Cheese is an awesome food. It’s low in calories, low in carbs, high in protein (15grams) and sits heavy in the stomach like beans do. Protein is pretty magical that way. I think that’s why diet programs like Atkins are successful (even if it’s just temporarily).

The cool thing about cottage cheese is that you can eat it at any meal. Have it for breakfast with some fruit on top. Have it as a snack. Add it to salads instead of dressing, or have a scoop of it as a side with dinner. It goes with everything. It’s a good substitute for sour cream on potatoes, ricotta cheese in lasagna or add it to smoothies instead of yogurt. There’s a million ways to eat it.


Cheese gets a bad rap. It is a bit higher in calories, especially for the SMALL amount you get in a serving. But it’s packed with calcium–which we need lots of, and it’s beneficial to all the bones in our bodies (even our teeth). The thing about cheese is that the protein in it far-outweighs the “negatives” in my opinion. Don’t let the high calorie count scare you off, there are alternatives you can do.

For example, string cheese is 80 calories. That’s NOT bad for us calorie counters. Eating a string cheese with an apple will fill you up without breaking the calorie bank. Another option is the Babybel cheeses or Laughing Cow. The Babybel cheese are between 50-75 calories and they taste good. Eat one of them with a few nuts and you’ll be good.


Cucumbers are a big fat zero in my book. They are hardly any calories–mostly water. You can make a cucumber relish to put on food, add it to salads, eat sliced cucumber with hummus (now THAT will fill you up!).

Or try this Japanese Cucumber Salad the next time you want a low-calorie side dish. Yum!


Oatmeal sticks to your ribs, just like mom used to say. I think that’s the fiber in it. You can get oatmeal that does have protein in it too–I like Scottish Oats and Steel Cut Oats.

There are a lot of ways to enjoy oatmeal–a little milk and brown sugar, fruit, peanut butter…the list is endless. I like adding protein powder to my oatmeal for a little bit of extra something. I eat oatmeal a lot in the winter time. It’s quick and easy and warms me up.


Dinners in our house are frequently the following: a protein, a salad, and a vegetable. As a single girl trying to eat healthy I ate a lot of salads. Before Michael I didn’t really cook. I ate a lot of Lean Cuisines. I did, however, make big salads for dinner a lot.

Salad is an easy food to make. Get creative! Add some cranberries or sliced strawberries with a little bit of Gorgonzola cheese to it. Add a bunch of your favorite veggies (I used whatever was in my garden). Or, add protein: beans, eggs, cottage cheese, or leftover shredded chicken.


I eat a lot of fish. Always have. My favorite is salmon. Salmon is so healthy for you and it’s relatively low in calories. A healthy, filling dinner of baked salmon with a salad is under 500 calories. It’s the perfect meal.

A lot of people are iffy about fish. Maybe they don’t like the flavor or smell, or they don’t know how to prepare it. Most fishes are pretty versatile and there are so many delicious recipes to try. I feel more comfortable with baking fish.

Shrimp is a good way to get protein. Shrimp helps your body process fats, lower blood pressure, stabilize blood sugar levels, plus  a myriad of other health benefits. The best part: a serving of 9 shrimp is about 100 calories. And trust me, eating nine shrimp in a salad will fill you up. Those little suckers are good at that.

Finally, if you’re looking for a healthier option when eating out: try sushi!


With the Slow Carb Diet experiment we did in Spring, our breakfast became: 2 scrambled eggs, turkey sausage links (or bacon), salsa and black beans. At first it was a lot of food. I reduced the amount of turkey sausage links I eat (Michael eats 3 and I eat 1) and that helped. Adding beans to our eggs made a HUGE difference. I was no longer hungry in an hour, even on days I rode my bike to work. I was full longer and I think adding beans to our daily diet helped Michael lose over 20 pounds.

A coworker recently complained to me that she was starving by the time she got to work. She was an early riser, went to the gym, then ate breakfast before coming to work. She said she was hungry all the time. I suggested our breakfast and she tried it and LOVED it! She said she felt better, more alert, she felt less run down, she wasn’t hungry until lunchtime.

Beans are the secret. They sit heavy in your stomach and the last thing you think about is eating more food. Beans take forever to digest. Next time you want to add more fiber and slow-digesting food to your diet, make a bean soup or add beans to a salad. You’ll be converted.


Soup is one of my favorite filling-foods. There’s so many varieties to choose from. If you make the soup from scratch you can avoid high sodium levels too. Tomato soup is a fairly low calorie choice and paired with a salad it’s an easy and healthy meal.

Broth-based soups are obviously healthier than creamy ones because they don’t have all the cream in them. One of my new favorite soups is French Onion. You wouldn’t think it’s a healthy soup because it’s got a ton of cheese and bread in it but it can be made in a healthier way.

QUESTION: What are your favorite “diet” foods?


Pork Three Ways

I was never a huge fan of pork. In fact I didn’t eat any pork products (except bacon) for years–even years before I ever became a vegetarian. I just didn’t like it. It’s growing on me though. In the past year with our journey to eating more REAL FOOD I’ve grown to enjoy eating pork again.  It helps finding tasty recipes to try.

Here are three ways we’ve done pork in the recent months. I’m always looking for new recipes to try, and if are interested you can see more recipes I’ve tried here.

Basil-Garlic Grilled Pork Chops

I saw this recipe and it was simple–which I like–and I almost have all the ingredients at all times. I used fresh basil from our garden and garlic I’d gotten at the Yakima fruit stands.

  • 4 (8 ounce) pork chops
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Marinade for 30 minutes before grilling. There really is no such thing as “too much garlic” so I went a little nuts on mincing the garlic and tore up the fresh basil to marinade. I used the juice of one lime.

Simple, real, and tasty.


Simple Pork

The “usual” way we do pork chops (boneless or bone in) is with a simple grilling seasoning. It’s meant for beef but it goes great on pork chops. Preparing the pork chops this way is both easy AND it means our side dish can be anything we want. Everything goes well with a seasoning that’s basically salt and pepper–salad, grilled zucchini, steamed veggies–anything.


Pork and Asparagus with Mustard Vinaigrette

I altered this recipe because we didn’t have asparagus but we had TONS of zucchini from the garden.


  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed
  • 3 shallots, cut into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard


  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Season the pork with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, turning, until browned, 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. Transfer the skillet to oven and roast until the pork is cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.
  4. Meanwhile, on a rimmed baking sheet, toss the asparagus and shallots with 1 tablespoon oil and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  5. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer and roast, tossing once, until tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
  6. In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and remaining ⅓ cup of oil. Serve the pork with the vegetables and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

Calories: 465; Fat: 32g; Protein: 39g; Carbs: 8g; Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 4g

This recipe was okay. It wasn’t the best pork recipe we’ve tried but I enjoyed the tangy-ness of the mustard vinaigrette. I mixed Dijon mustard with stone ground mustard.

I was unsure if Apple Cider Vinegar is the same as cider vinegar–but a quick tweet on Twitter confirmed it was the same thing (and that I shouldn’t use red wine vinegar!).

Instead of asparagus I chopped up fresh zucchini from the garden and half a shallot. I put them on a baking tray as instructed and baked them in the oven.

I have to say, the combination of shallots and mustard vinaigrette is AMAZING. Loved the flavors! I want to find more recipes that call for shallots. Yum.

I made us salads to go with dinner. Fresh basil, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, balsamic and oil. My favorite summer salad.

The only reason I say this recipe is “just okay” was because Michael said it wasn’t his favorite that we’ve tried. Usually I call a recipe a winner if we both take a bite and say “WOW this is fantastic” and since we both didn’t agree on it, it’s “just okay.” I liked it but it wasn’t the best mustard sauce I’ve made.

QUESTION: What’s your favorite pork recipe?