Simple Side Substitutions That Are In Season

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As of today, I am 11 weeks and 3 days out from walking on the stage. Please don’t forget about that 3 days because I need every moment that I can get. Even if it’s to calm my nerves. Now that we are under the 3 month mark, I’m having a brief freak out moment. This too shall pass. Judging from where I am right now, I estimate that I have about 10 more pounds to drop.

Not much and it’s definitely doable in the time that I have. When I say doable, I mean doable without having to rush things. The old, always dieting me from my former life wants to just hit the gas and rip the band aid off quickly. I know without a doubt I can easily cut calories and start hitting the treadmill like a crazed hamster to drop the weight fast.

The more experienced me knows what that will mean. Losing weight too quickly will result in loose skin, eating up muscle along with fat, and an end look that will make me wish I’d done it slower. Seriously, I completely understand the excitement of seeing the scale drop when you’re dieting hard, but keep in mind that anything over 1 – 2 pounds a week will most likely result in muscle loss. Not to mention a huge risk for gaining the weight back afterwards once calories increase again.

Moral of this story? Slow and steady wins this race too. Be the tortoise! I need a shirt with that phrase on it. 😉 Because I’m getting lower in body fat, I’m reaching the point where hunger is starting to kick in. There hasn’t been a drop in calories, but eventually the body detects lower fat stores and wants to fix that problem by convincing you to eat more. I just love how the pieces of the puzzle all fit together.

To stave off hunger as much as I can, I’ve swapped out a lot of bread, rice and oatmeal carbs for veggie and fruit carbs. The calories and carb grams have stayed the same, but veggie volume is very different. Imagine a 150 calorie bowl of oatmeal sitting next to a 150 calorie vat of green beans. Yeah, I’m going with green beans to fill me up.

Since green beans are in season now, they are dirt cheap at the farmer’s market. I’ve been buying them by the huge bag full to take advantage of them and save a few bucks. They freeze very well in case you are wondering so you can safely stock up for later if you want. I used a bunch of them in a great and easy recipe this weekend.

The two types of onions add different flavors to the dish and caramelize very well with the sweet and sour balsamic vinegar. I splurged and got a tenderloin steak to grill along with the green beans. Oh yeah, you know it’s crazy at our house when I open the wallet to spring for a fancy steak. The onions work well as a steak topping too if you want to just cover your entire plate with it.

Balsamic Green BeansBalsamic Green Beans

  • 3/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 3/4 cup sliced yellow onion
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 8 oz (approximately 4 cups) fresh green beans
  • Salt, to taste

Spray a skillet with non-stick spray and heat over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes until the onions soften. Stir occasionally to keep them from burning. Add the garlic and chicken broth, and saute for another minute. Scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan to add the flavor.

Pour in the balsamic vinegar and add the green beans. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes until the green beans are tender and most of the liquid evaporates. Makes approximately 4 servings at 43 calories each – 2g protein, 10g carbs and 0g fat.

OK, I actually ate 2 servings with each meal. So if you’re me, it makes approximately 2 servings and not 4. But who’s counting.

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