Something for Everybody: Four Ideas

I’ve said before that the reality of healthy eating changes is that you may be the only person in your household making the change. Yes, my family eats whole wheat pasta and bread, and everyone loves fruit, but nobody eats salads as regularly as I do. And no one else likes shrimp, so that lean protein isn’t something I can make and expect to please everybody.

Fortunately I have found ways to create meals that can be dressed up or dressed down in a healthy manner. They use some common ingredients, but others are switched out, depending on whose plate is being whipped up. Here are four examples:

Souvlaki switcheroo: I recently made a Greek souvlaki-style sandwich for my husband, and a salad for myself. For both, I took the easy route on the chicken, buying the pre-cooked Purdue chicken breast. For his sandwich, I placed the chicken on a pita smeared with tzatziki sauce. (I was excited to find prepared tzatziki at Whole Foods, because it saved me from the hard work!) My salad was the chicken on lettuce with sweet onion and grape tomatoes, with tzatziki serving as the dressing.

Cheesesteak changes: I sometimes make chicken cheesesteaks at home. I cook the meat and onions the same for everybody, in a nonstick pan sprayed with cooking spray, but my sandwich goes on a fat-free tortilla, with or without ketchup. The other sandwiches go on hoagie rolls with mayonnaise and ketchup. (The healthy and not-so-healthy versions both are made with fat-free cheddar slices; the mayo used is light mayo.)

Omelet alternatives: Omelets may be made in my house with the same meat and veggies inside, but the eggs are where it gets different. I use 1/2 cup of liquid eggs for mine, and real eggs for my husband’s. (We buy medium eggs, and I use 4 medium eggs for his omelet.) His is always made with cheese inside; mine sometimes includes cheese, sometimes not. Cheese for both of us is reduced-fat cheddar. The difference is that I weigh my portion out to 1 ounce, but I go freehand for my husband. (Again, meat and veggies are the same for both of us and include peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, turkey ham and turkey sausage. I will sometimes also use turkey bacon in my omelet.) For more on omelets, check out my blog post here.

Lasagna surgery: I mentioned this in an earlier blog post. I make a cheese lasagna with whole wheat pasta, and after it’s cooled, I add other elements between the layers. My favorite add-ins are described in the post.

Although I do believe in not trying to push everyone in my family to eat exactly like I do, there are some non-negotiables as far as whole grain, lean or low-fat ingredients that get eaten by everybody. The ways in which I’ve described I doctoring meals is a good compromise, in my book.

That’s my plan for trying to take everyone’s preferences into account. How do you temper your healthy eating with the desires of others in your household to have a little more decadence? Please share with the group below, in the comments!

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