Sunday Strategist: A Week of Healthy Menus — July 15-19

Here, another week’s worth of fast, healthy, and tasty menus. It’s not the love of cooking that deters so many of us from the kitchen each night; it’s actually deciding what to cook from the millions of options bombarding us from so many different places. Here, we’ve done the planning for you. Not just menus, but healthy menus that are fast – on the table in less than 45 minutes.

This week, we are still strategizing but also redesigning our menu with a focus on weight loss to support Cooking Light’s Food Lover’s Social Diet.

We are food lovers, right? Let’s get out there and prove it — tastefully, of course.

The Plan
Monday: Poblano Sopes with Avocado Salad
Tuesday: Fish Tacos with Tomatillo Sauce and Garlic-Lime Grilled Corn
Wednesday: Ground Lamb and Hummus Pita “Pizzas” and Tomato, Sweet Onion, and Parsley Salad
Thursday: Egg Salad Sandwiches with Bacon and Sriracha
Friday: Grilled Chicken with Tomato-Avocado Salad

Monday: Meatless, of course. Serve up some of these Poblano Sopes with Avocado Salad. Vegetables are hot. Upping the real estate of the veggies on your plate is a great way to start your mission to shed some extra pounds. The benefits of a plant-based diet are enormous: when you build your plate around vegetables, you start with a virtually saturated fat-free canvas. These tasty sopes are made from quinoa and masa harina (look for it with the Latin foods in your supermarket). Sopes are traditionally deep-fried. Here, we lighten them with a quick pan-sear in just a touch of canola oil – good and hot to ensure a crispy edge – then finish them in the oven for even cooking. A Spanish hot cake of sorts that’s made light and bright with creamy avocado, peppery arugula, cherry tomatoes, and a little cilantro love. Ready in just 25 minutes and only 317 calories per serving. Need more greens to fill out the plate? Double the salad for just 100 extra calories per serving.

Tuesday: There’s no better way to practice portions than with handheld tacos. And one thing I can’t get enough of these days is fish tacos. You’ll love these Fish Tacos with Tomatillo Sauce, or Tilapitacos (as we like to call them). They’re made with a creamy tomatillo sauce for less than 300 calories in two tasty tacos. We call for tilapia, but honestly any variety of white, flaky fish would work splendidly. For a good portion-savvy side dish, serve with this Garlic-Lime Grilled Corn. Bring out extra napkins… you’ll need them for this delightfully messy hand-held meal!

Wednesday: How about a mid-week pizza pick-me-up? It’s hard to find anything more social for our Food Lover’s Social Diet than pizza. Your family will go crazy over these Ground Lamb and Hummus Pita “Pizzas” — a creamy-crispy combo of savory deliciousness. We crunched some numbers for a calorie comparison on crust and found that the pita base starts at just 83 calories. The crust from two slices of a medium takeout pizza clocks in around 300 calories. Our entire pizza has just 313 calories! That’s savings of over 200 calories on just the crust. Don’t like lamb? Sub in ground sirloin for an equally tasty trade. Serve with a bright Tomato, Sweet Onion, and Parsley Salad for an entire meal that’s less than 400 calories – and is ready in just 30 minutes. That leaves time for a little stroll around the neighborhood block. Who needs dessert when you can have a breath of fresh air?

Thursday: It’s a between-the-bread kind of day. How about a sandwich? Not just any sandwich but Egg Salad Sandwiches with Bacon and Sriracha?

Now we’re talking. It’s like the perfect trifecta of creamy, salty, spicy goodness. Traditional deli-style egg salad can contain over 300 calories and 27 grams of fat per half cup. Not the lightest way to start a sandwich. Here, we use heart-healthy canola mayo and a little fat-free yogurt to lighten the dressing, and then we spice it up with some Sriracha and black pepper. And what’s an egg without bacon? 2 center cut slices adds just enough savory, crunchy goodness to satisfy those meaty cravings. Pile it all between two slices of whole grain bread with some peppery arugula and you’ve got yourself a two-handed treat that’s ready in just 20 minutes. More time to take another lap around the neighborhood!

Friday: It’s grilling season. Get out there and light that fire! The grill is a powerful weight-loss weapon: it imparts tons of flavor, flare, and char to lean cuts of meat, seafood, and fresh veggies from the farmers’ market. Who needs extra fat when you’ve got fire to flavor your food? One of my all-time favorite recipes this year is our Grilled Chicken with Tomato-Avocado Salad.

The chicken is rubbed with smoky chipotle and cumin, and then grilled to perfection with red onion and sweet corn. The charred veggies get tossed with farm-fresh tomatoes, creamy avocado, and an herby buttermilk dressing that’ll make you swoon. It’s the perfect way to end your week. Want to keep it social? Invite your friends. Tell them about Cooking Light’s Food Lover’s Social Diet, and join our efforts to eat up and slim down.

Ready to start shopping?

View this week’s menu, which includes every recipe you see mentioned here. From there, you can create a shopping list when you sign into your MyRecipes account.

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