Well, Spring is FINALLY here and the weather in NYC has been absolutely gorgeous this past week. I get so motivated when the weather warms up to go walking in the park, get moving around town, and most of all start eating healthy and maybe drop a few pounds or two to get ready for Summer. Plus, with all the gorgeous fresh fruits and veggies at the farmers markets – it’s hard to resist dreaming up some healthy, light recipes to get excited about making.
I know what you’re probably thinking – sometimes “low-carb diet” is a taboo word. And I’ve tried a few of them that have worked in the past (Atkins and South Beach Diet), but once I started eating normal again, the pounds just came back. So I’m making over my diet for the long term with foods that are good carbs – fresh green non-starchy veggies, low-glycemic fruits like berries and melon and citrus, light dairy including cheese and Greek yogurt, and healthy lean proteins across the board with omega3-enriched eggs, turkey, chicken, fish, beef, pork and seafood. My main goal is to cut out sugar and refined carbs like flour, pasta, bread, crackers, processed foods. Oh, the sugar cravings start kicking in the first few days, but once I get through the first week – it’s amazing how those cravings just go away. And my palate changes to crave all the good, healthy foods that actually keep me full and keep those cravings at bay. Yes, I will miss chocolate dearly. And crackers, and bread and pasta. But at the end of the day, once I start eating healthy low-carb, I actually FEEL better. And SLEEP better. And my allergies and body aches GO AWAY.
I’m not talking about living on cheeseburgers, bacon and eggs my whole life. Just cutting down on the bad carbs that make me cranky. And tired. And have mood swings and blood sugar swings. It’s crazy how good I feel and hey, it doesn’t hurt to lose a few pounds along the way. So here goes – Day 1 of my Get Into Shape Low-Carb, Feel Good Diet for Spring. Let’s see if I can keep this going for a few weeks – who knows. I might not miss that chocolate as much as I think I will. And if I feel like cheating? Well a square of dark chocolate here and there (or a glass of wine!) might just have to happen. And I won’t feel guilty one bit. Especially when I’m feeling amazing in my bikini on the beach this summer 🙂
I whipped up this tasty recipe today for some grilled Parmesan Zucchini Beef Burgers & Sauteed Lemon Garlic Squash. The burgers are made with lean beef (but you can substitute ground chicken or turkey if you like), finely minced zucchini, egg, grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, garlic powder and red pepper flakes, then grilled to perfection, served over an arugula salad with a light vinaigrette dressing. I sauteed the zucchini and yellow squash in a lemon-infused olive oil, with some crushed garlic cloves, a pinch of dill and red pepper flakes, and that’s it! Light, healthy, filling and totally delicious. I think I could do this all the time. Enjoy! (and wish me luck!)
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1/3 cup zucchini, diced fine
- 1 egg
- 4 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste (about 6 grinds for me)
- Arugula, dressed with a light vinaigrette, for serving
- Zucchini Squash:
- 2 tablespoons lemon-infused olive oil
- 2 small-medium zucchini, sliced and halved
- 1 small-medium yellow squash, sliced and halved
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dill (dried or fresh)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (a few grinds is good, but adjust to taste)
- Heat a grill over medium-high heat.
- Place all the burger ingredients into a large bowl and mix together well with hands, make 4-6 burger patties.
- Grill burgers for 4-6 minutes (depending on how well done you like them).
- Add a slice of melted provolone cheese on top and some hot sauce, if desired.
- Serve burgers over arugula salad dressed in a light vinaigrette dressing.
- Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.
- Slice zucchini into small moon-shaped slices, peel and smash garlic.
- Saute zucchini and squash and garlic cloves for about 5-7 minutes until soft and cooked through (but not mushy).
- Add red pepper flakes, dill, sea salt and pepper, stir together.
- Serve immediately with burgers and arugula salad.