As football slowly takes over my living room, there is something else sneaking in through the TV — cravings.
It seems that every commercial break is filled with nothing but pizza and wing commercials, causing me some serious dinner dilemmas. On the one hand, I know that even though school lunch programs may be calling pizza a vegetable, it’s not. It’s a greasy hunk of dough covered in cheese and fatty meats that I usually dip into the buttery sauce those diet-killers throw into the box. Or as I prefer to call it — heaven on earth.
While my waistline wishes I didn’t crave foods like pizza, fried chicken wings and brownies, my mind tells me that they will be so yummy, they’re worth loosening up my belt.
Just like in marriage, I’ve learned to compromise.
Instead of ordering a pizza and losing control over the grease, butter and empty calories involved, I’ve learned to make my own. Mark Bittman has a great recipe in his book “Food Matters” for a mostly whole wheat pizza crust. It’s two cups whole wheat flour and one cup white flour, so it still has a bit of the crispiness you expect from a pizza crust, but the benefits of using whole wheat.
For toppings I can use low sodium tomato sauce and add all the veggies I want. Some of my favorites right now include roasted red bell peppers, onions, fresh tomato slices, spinach and mushrooms.
Once I learned to make a healthier pizza, my mind began to contemplate how to convert some of my other favorites.
My husband is always begging me to bake, so when I came across a date and walnut brownie recipe that only uses half a cup of sugar, as opposed to most recipes that call for three times the amount, I was very excited. Besides, having fruit in the recipe already makes these brownies healthier, right?
I gave these brownies their first test run for a work potluck and they were a hit.
Chicken wings and football are like belt buckles and cowboy boots, better when together. But just one wing has about 70 calories. And who can just eat one or two? Not me, football games are long!
That is where Morningstar’s fake buffalo chicken wings come in. Each little wing has only 40 calories and is surprisingly spicy. I once put a plate of these in the microwave, and came back into the kitchen to find my husband and his buddy had devoured them all.
I know that eating not-so-bad-for-you pizza isn’t like eating a plate of steamed veggies for dinner, but it’s still better than the delivery options. Besides, we all need to indulge from time to time. This way, I feel less guilty.