Part of what makes dieting so hard is the stigma that you are “depriving” yourself. Oh, the agony of going without that burger, or super-yummy-but-fattening enchilada (I know, kids. I miss ’em, too). But, what has probably been happening all along is simply ‘over-indulging’, and now that you’ve got to cut back, it feels like you’re being deprived. In actuality, you can still choose to eat what you’ve eaten before, so long as you do it more responsibly, along with healthier options (and I’m super-stoked to turn all of my recipes healthier!). Read on, you’ll see what I mean.
For example, the first week of my diet I was uber-strict. I wanted instant gratification for all of my hard work. Problem is, while I was doing well on what I ate and exercising, I was also eying my family’s food and upset that I couldn’t share in my delicious meals I’d cooked with them.
I realized that, in order for me to lose my weight, and remain healthy, I was going to have to change the way I eat. Period. That means, revamping the good old favorites into healthier versions.
One of my favorite meals that we cook is Pork Wontons. But I bet you can tell, even before I get into the particulars, that it’s quite unhealthy. Here’s why:
- Pork -way fatty.
- Wontons – fried and themselves are higher in sodium than I would’ve liked.
- Sauce – Teriyaki and Soy – very high in sodium (Oyster sauce isn’t too horribly bad)
- Side dishes – fried rice is obviously fried, with the aforementioned sauce, with scrambled eggs-a-plenty (which the eggs aren’t necessarily bad)
- Vegetables (actually aren’t TOO, too bad – we get the frozen bagged kind with the sauce already in it)
- “White” sauce for dipping – generally made with mayo, salt, etc.
There you have it. One of my favorite meals that I go nuts for. And eat probably a whole lot more than I should, and then I wonder why I gained and couldn’t lose the baby weight.
So, in an effort to still be able to indulge myself in the Asian flavor, AND remain faithful to my diet and committment to eating healthy, here’s my healthified version:
- Ground turkey instead of pork. I bought a package of ground turkey and divided it into thirds. One third of the package I mixed with 1 tsp of the usual pork mixture for wontons, to retain the original flavor inside. (The original mixture is pork with a few dollops of oyster sauce).
- Wontons heated on both sides, then baked, not fried. I set each wonton on the pan to heat on either side, and then baked them in the oven to finish. I also didn’t eat half as many as I normally would, I kept my cool, so to speak. 🙂
- Sauce & Rice – I used an infinitesimal bit of sauce, and didn’t fry my whole wheat rice, I just sauteed it onto a hot skillet, constantly stirring so it didn’t stick. I did keep one scrambled egg, though. It adds that yumminess factor, and it’s protein.
- Vegetables – Ate them, but as less-saucy as possible
- “White” sauce – made healthier using canola mayo, no salt, smaller amount of ketchup, littler amount sugar, and only a smidgeon of butter.
The result? Pure, unadulterated awesome! I was able to eat what my family was eating, I wasn’t feeling “deprived” and I felt so great in not feeling like it was all health food all the time. Best part? It didn’t taste any different!
Overall, I was pretty impressed with my meal, and considering the fact it barely tasted any different, I think I’m going to incorporate ground turkey into the regular sausage mixture for my whole family, and make theirs the way I made mine, to healthify them as well.
Here’s the recipe. I’m including both for the new, healthified recipe for the family (recall, I make enough and thensome for our family, so you may want to half it), and then the recipe for just you. You can thank me later, for the awesomeness that are these Wontons. Yum!
Wontons for the Family
- 2 packages of wontons
- 1 package ground turkey
- 1 package of sausage
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- small bowl of cold water
- 3 bags of boil in bag rice
- teriyaki sauce
- soy sauce
- 3 scrambled eggs
- 2 bags of chinese vegetables, frozen
- “White” sauce (recipe below) *You do not need this. Nor do I, but I like it 🙂
- Mash together the turkey and sausage in a bowl with the oyster sauce until it’s mixed entirely.
- Lay the wontons out, 25 at a time, on your cleaned counter, side by side, five by five, to expedite creating.
- Using a teaspoon, spoon mixture into the center of each wonton until you’ve done all 25.
- Using the small bowl of water, dip your finger in, and continually dip your finger in and trace the edges of each wonton, until dampened, so that all 25 are wet around the edges.
- Picking up one wonton at a time, press edges together tightly, and place onto a platter.
- Once every wonton has been used, or all the meat has been used, use a bit of low-fat canola cooking spray to spray a skillet and preheat your oven to 375.
- Laying each wonton out on the skillet, brown for at least 3-5 minutes on each side on medium to medium-high heat.
- Once browned, lay wontons into a baking sheet or stone to bake for 20-30 minutes. Must be flipped from bottom to top rack to avoid over-browning.
- While wontons bake, boil rice and drain. Spray cooking spray onto same skillet for wonton and scrambled eggs.
- Add rice to eggs, and sprinkle small amounts of teriyaki and soy and continue to saute until rice is browned.
- In a wok, saute vegetables until heated through.
- Begin preparing white sauce (again, recipe below).
- Once rice and vegetables are ready, and wontons have been flipped from top to bottom and bottom to top, everything should be ready at the same time to serve.
Japanese Sakura “White” Sauce
- 2 – 3 tbsp Canola mayonnaise
- 1 tsp ketchup or tomato paste
- garlic powder*
- chili powder or cayenne*
- paprika* (*= all to taste)
- smidgeon of sugar
- smidgeon of softened or melted butter (don’t use cold!)
- Mix above ingredients together well using a whisk. This recipe is better made ahead of time, chilled to let flavors blend, or can be served right away.
Wontons for One
(Please note, you will have ingredients left over.)
- package of wontons
- 1/3 package ground turkey
- 1 tsp of sausage
- drop of oyster sauce
- small bowl of cold water
- 1 bags of boil in bag rice
- teriyaki sauce
- soy sauce
- 1 scrambled eggs
- 1 bags of chinese vegetables, frozen
- “White” sauce
- Same directions as above for preparation, and you will have plentiful leftovers, which is nice, just heat and eat later. Do you see how easily you can create your Wontons for One alongside your family’s wontons, so that you aren’t eating all that sausage?
- Be creative with your preparation leftovers! See below:
Leftover Turkey – I divided into two parts (1/3 each). One I made 2 turkey burger patties, another I mixed together with some salsa for some turkey nachos or a soft-taco.
Leftover Sausage – can be used for pretty much anything. My suggestion, to keep it longer, is, when purchasing the sausage, the day you bring it home, open it up and divide it up right away in the freezer for different usages, such as this. Then, pull out of the freezer whatever you need.
Wonton wrappers – you will have at least half left, so why not ziploc them to make some homemade pizza rolls later in the week with some low-fat mozzerella and pizza sauce? Or a breakfast wonton with egg? Just be careful of the sodium content – observe your portion size to stay on target!
See how easy it is to take your favorites and healthify them? Is there something you absolutely love to eat and would love to eat while dieting? Want it healthified? Post it in the comments, I can try my hand at making it a bit healthier. Or, check out Eat Better America – a website that not only offers coupons, but helps you healthify all your recipes for you. Check them out!
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