Week 1 without any meat and what have I learned? A lot!
First, I’m rarely hungry. My meals leave me satisfied and I don’t really have those in-between meal cravings. Second, while my goal wasn’t really to lose weight, I’m down 4 lbs! Finally, I can feel my taste buds changing as I enjoy what natural flavors are supposed to taste like without all those additives from processed foods. Do I miss meat? Not so far!
I have learned a lot about healthy snacks, too. One snack that I knew was kind of healthy was air popped popcorn. However, until I did a little research, I never realized how healthy popcorn can actually be. Popcorn has something called polyphenols in it, which regulates the spread of cancers and helps prevent cardiovascular disease. It is also made of unprocessed whole grains so it gives you that much needed fiber which can help relieve that constipation you may be having with a plant-based diet. It actually even has more iron in it than spinach! So yes, I was missing my chips a little but now I know what to grab for a super healthy sugar-free snack!
With that being said, most of today was being spent waiting to go for my yearly physical exam which means that if you have a 1 pm appointment, then there isn’t a lot of eating going on since you have to fast. So, all I have for you today is my super easy dinner and Boy, did I make it simple with a baked potato stuffed with broccolini!
By making my own cheese sauce with non-fat milk and using whole wheat rice flour as my thickener, I kept this dish light yet super filling! If you are omitting dairy from your diet, soy milk is a great substitution. I served this with a side of white beans to up my protein. I rinsed and drained them then added a little water, tomato juice and red pepper flakes.
Healthy Broccolini and Cheese Stuffed Potato – 2 servings
- 2 large baking potatoes
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 bunch broccolini
- 1/4 cup water
- 4 tsps whole wheat rice flour
- 1 1/4 nonfat milk (or soy milk)
- 2/3 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 1/4 tsp paprika
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash potatoes and pierce with a fork; Rub with 1 tbsp of olive oil and kosher salt. Place directly on the oven rack and bake 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the potato.
While the potato is cooking, wash and cut the stem on the broccolini. In a small pan, cover and steam with 1/4 cup of water on low until desired tenderness about 8-10 minutes.
For the cheese sauce, whisk the flour with 1/4 cup of milk; set aside. In a small saucepan, heat the milk on medium-low until it starts to steam. Add the flour mixture and whisk constantly until the sauce thickens. Season with the dry mustard, paprika, salt, and pepper.
To serve, cut the potato and fluff with a fork. Season with salt and pepper and add a pat if butter, if desired. (Clarified butter or ghee is best).
Top with broccolini and cheese sauce.
Serve with your favorite healthy side such as a cup of beans or a small salad.
Bottom Line: This was amazingly easy on a busy day and very satisfying. White potatoes always get a bad rap but are loaded with fiber, potassium, and vitamins C & B6. Obviously, you can substitute sweet potatoes as well. The beans along with some sliced tomatoes created a well-balanced meal that Jeff and I both enjoyed!