By Abraham Tejeda
I enjoy good food and drink as much as anyone. As I look to shed what remains of my holiday weight gain, I’m trying to make better choices about what I put in my body. Following single malt whiskeys and mescal tequila, wine is my favorite beverage to enjoy. The wine industry has been producing more low alcohol wines as a result of many in the general population becoming more health conscious. These wines pack the same flavor that wine lovers crave without as many calories. The lowest alcohol wines range between 90-120 calories per 5oz glass.
If you’re looking for a refreshing white wine, a Kabinett Riesling will be sure to meet your approval, and a 5oz glass will only set you back 90 calories. Another good choice for white wine would be a wine from the Chablis region, made from the Chardonnay grape. Chablis wines tend to have a light mineral taste to them as well as notes of honey at 100 calories per 5oz glass. For red wines, one could choose from the Bordeaux Rouge selections, which tend to be medium-bodied and hold notes of fruit. Bordeaux Rouge wines tend to have around 110 calories per 5oz glass and are widely available.
By cutting the calories I drink, I can lessen the excess calories I consume, but the other important part of dropping those last few pounds is eating the right stuff. Traditional diet foods can be so boring, but eating right while trying to get fit doesn’t have to be.
Here are a couple of flavorful and light recipes that provide a simple, healthy take on some of our favorite foods.
Spicy Pork Stir-Fry
4 teaspoons peanut oil
½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
4 thin-cut pork chops cut into bite sized pieces or strips (approx. 10 oz.)
2 small zucchinis cut into bite-sized pieces or strips
½ medium onion cut into bite-sized pieces or strips
2/3 cup carrot strips
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 teaspoons reduced sodium soy sauce
Start by heating the oil and pepper flakes in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer, stirring frequently. Add the remaining ingredients and cook 2 to 3 minutes stirring frequently.
This recipe makes 2 servings at 400 calories each. If you don’t like peanut oil or are just looking for a swap to reduce calories, using cooking spray instead can reduce each serving by 75 calories, but will change the taste of the original recipe and will probably increase cooking time. This dish could easily be paired with some brown rice.
Red Curry fish:
2 fillets (approx. 6 oz. each) red snapper (can also substitute salmon, sea bass, or tuna)
1 tablespoon red-curry paste
1 cup light coconut milk
1 cup sliced shiitake or cremini mushrooms
1 small head bok choy (or 4 baby bok choy)
½ tablespoon brown sugar, juice of one lime
1 teaspoon canola oil
In a small saucepan combine the curry paste, coconut milk, and brown sugar. Cook over low heat until mix begins to thicken (approximately 10 minutes) before adding half of the lime juice. Chop the bok choy into bite sized pieces and boil them until they’re slightly tender but still firm, about 5 minutes. Drain.
Heat the oil on medium in a sauté pan or cast-iron skillet. Salt and pepper the fillets to taste and place them, skin side down, in the pan. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, until skin begins to crisp and turns golden. Flip and cook a few more minutes, testing the fish with a fork. It’s ready when the fish begins to flake from gentle prodding. Remove the fillets from the pan and immediately add the shiitakes, bok choy, and remaining lime juice. Cook for 3 minutes. Divide the vegetables between two plates, place a fillet on top of each, and dress the plate with the curry sauce.
This makes two servings of 390 calories.