Tag Archives: easy meals

Good-for-you oatmeal pancakes

This magazine recipe caught my eye. With only 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, I wasn’t sure it’d be tasty, but, with its oatmeal base,  it certainly looked healthy. With a touch of cinnamon and just one tablespoon of sugar divided among eight pancakes, it’s a winner in my book. Next time, I’m going to double the recipe to have some to freeze.

Oatmeal Pancakes

  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats*
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk 
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ⅛ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil

Mix oats and buttermilk together; refrigerate overnight (*I used old-fashioned oats and they did fine). Stir in remaining ingredients and blend well, adding more milk or water if needed for proper consistency. Spoon by ¼-cupfuls onto hot griddle. Cook until bubbles begin to break, flip and cook until golden brown. Makes about 8 pancakes. (For food-journaling purposes, I’d say three of these pancakes would count as two breads and 1/2 milk).

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Filed under breakfast, calorie reduction, food, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, meal preparation, recipes

Super-simple Tilapia Recipe

Fish and other lean protein can help produce weight loss. (Photo by Ann Maniscalco)

I had made up my mind I would not like tilapia…until I tasted some cooked in a rich, spicy, butter sauce. Deciding to try my hand at a healthier recipe, I came up with this:

  • Tilapia fillets (3-4 ounces each)
  • Parkay buttery spray
  • Cajun spice (I use Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Meat Magic)
  • Lemon pepper

Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 350 degrees. Line pan with foil. Lightly spritz fillets with buttery spray on both sizes, and dust with spices. Cover and bake about 15 minutes; uncover and bake about 10 more minutes or until done.

I had also decided I was not going to like Mrs. Dash, but I made one fillet with the buttery spray and a good sprinkle of the Original Blend of Mrs. Dash, and found it to be incredibly tasty as well. Either way, a heart-healthy dish, for sure!

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Filed under calorie reduction, counting calories, food, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, meal preparation, menu planning, nutrition data, recipes

On-the-run breakfasts can still meet nutritional needs

Breakfast on the run can still jumpstart your day (Photo by Ann Maniscalco)

A bowl of steaming oatmeal with a fresh-cut orange and a side of cinnamon toast, eaten leisurely with a couple of mugs of coffee is my choice of a day-starter. However, many people probably consider a “day-starter” the time their ignition keys make their car engine turn over.

And often, we don’t take time to eat. Yes, we all know how important a good breakfast is. The word comes from “break the fast”, which is exactly what the morning meal does. We may have not eaten for close to twelve hours, our physical engine is running on empty, and our metabolism is definitely stalling out.  Fuel is needed, but the morning time-crunch can prevent that from happening.

It’s so easy to grab a sugary treat as we breeze through the local fast-food joint, or run in the gas station. A fuzzy brain and some hunger pangs about 10:00 a.m. will probably be the results of this choice. However, a little pre-planning at the grocery store can help us fuel up and get our metabolism revving. A protein/carb duo is a wise morning choice, but in lieu of scrambled eggs and a whole-wheat muffin, the pictured breakfast can hold you in good stead. The Fiber One Chewy Bar provides a whopping portion of fiber to keep you satisfied (with only a few grams of sugar), the “pre-packaged, ready-to-eat” banana  is easy to consume and provides additional fiber, and a cup of milk (skim or 1%) provides needed calcium and also a chug-a-lug of protein. So in this quick “meal” (which you could grab-and-go, and  consume in five minutes before entering your workplace), you have good portions of healthy carbs, fiber, protein and calcium, all for about 325 calories.  

The fruit and milk are a healthy given, and there are many choices of breakfast-type bars on the market. Careful label-reading is advised, though, as some are loaded with sugar.

All in favor of a quick, healthy breakfast, raise your keys!

(A note from Slimvictory: if you’d like to receive my new articles as they post, you can subscribe on my home page. Your comments are welcome and appreciated.)


Filed under calorie reduction, counting calories, food, fruit, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, label-reading, meal preparation, menu planning, nutrition data

A Savory Spread

Most of us are not going to always eat whole-grains, so for that occasion when we wish to veer off the perfectly straight-and-narrow, here’s a tasty, low-cal treat to use for making garlic bread:


*1 cup vegetable oil spread (many call it “tub margarine”)
*1/4 tsp. garlic powder
*1 tsp. Italian seasoning (dried spice)
* 4 tsp. grated parmesan cheese

Mix well, and spread on slices of french bread. Place slices on ungreased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until bread is getting crusty and brown around the edges (about 10 minutes). If you aren’t too heavy-handed with the spread, a one-ounce slice of bread with spread will be around 100 calories. Compare that to the store-bought kind slathered in fat:)

A tub of this makes a nice hostess gift as well. It will keep for a good while in the fridge.

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Making a leaner sandwich

Checking out the calories in your bread can make for a "lighter" sandwich! (Photo by Ann Maniscalco)

Many who have stumbled upon this post are surely voracious readers. And for those of us watching our caloric intake, some of the most important reading we can do is in the grocery store aisles.


Call me weird, but I enjoy crunching the numbers from labels to get the most for my nutritional buck, and have noticed quite a difference in “servings” of breads. Now I realize some buy the thin-sliced – or “diet” – bread at around 45 calories a slice, so they can have a full sandwich. But I’ve found standard-size bread slices that are .9 ounces that are only 50 calories per slice, and make a hearty sandwich (1 ounce is considered a serving in most food exchanges I’ve seen). But right next to these whole-wheat treats are other loaves that have the same size slices, but they are 70 calories. So what gives?


Sugar, for one thing. The 70-cal ones I’ve seen have two grams of sugar per slice, and the 50-cal brand has only one gram. Now perhaps you are shaking your head and thinking, “What difference does 20 calories make”? Well, I love bread, so for me, I can have seven slices of the lower-calorie brand (same serving size) for the same caloric expenditure as five slices of the 70-calorie one. And when I’m craving a piece of cinnamon toast with my milk for a bedtime snack, that extra might just come in handy!


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Filed under calorie reduction, counting calories, decisions, food, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, label-reading, meal preparation, menu planning, nutrition data

For summer eating, this pasta is “really cool”!

"Cool" way to enjoy pasta - low fat, too!


For pasta lovers, here’s a simple, colorful dish that cuts the fat way back (as compared to mac-and-cheese or lasagna), and is a delightful change for sizzling summer months. Diet purists may say we should only eat whole wheat pasta, but I’m going to throw caution to the wind and recommend this dish as a once-in-a-while treat. If you use “exchange lists” to plan your daily menu (see my related post), a half-cup serving counts as one bread/grain and one fat. 

Here’s the recipe: 

  • 1  1/2 cups dry macaroni ( I used Wal-Mart’s brand: Garden Rotini – makes 3 cups cooked)
  • 4 Tbsp. regular Italian dressing
  • 2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • about 20 sliced black olives
  • 2-ounce jar diced pimentos, drained


Cook macaroni in boiling, salted water until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Blend with other ingredients and chill well. Makes about six servings. 

What could be simpler? Protein add-ins can include bite-sized chunks of lean baked chicken or ham, or add a side of hearty vegetable beef soup. 

There are low-fat dressings, but my brand of Italian only has 3.5 grams of fat per full Tablespoon; I prefer not to sacrifice the taste  “fatisfaction” for such a small amount. 

Slimvictory thinks “variety is the spice of diet”, and enjoys trying new foods. What are some new, healthy foods you’ve added to your plate recently? 

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Filed under counting calories, food, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, meal preparation, menu planning, pasta, recipes, summer meals