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Hidden Veggies Lower Calories
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 • Posted January 11, 2012

Researchers at the Pennsylvania State University recently completed a study that shows that hiding veggies in foods is an effective strategy to get people to eat more veggies and significantly fewer calories. This is because nonstarchy veggies are the foods that are the lowest in calorie density. For example, lettuce (remember, the darker green the better it is for you!) is a lot lower in calorie density than burgers, pizza, fatty meats, cheese and many other common foods in our diets. Calorie density is pretty easy to understand – it is an excellent way to compare foods and can make all the difference for someone trying to lose weight – focus on eating more salads, fruits and cooked whole grains versus heavily processed foods that contain a lot of fat and sugar. We know that adding more veggies to any dish does lower the total calories.Here is a “recipe makeover” for a couple of traditional dishes. This is a trick we moms use all the time on our families- sometimes it’s better if the hubby and the kids don’t know about the hidden veggies! Our calorie outcome saved 600 calories as compared to food you would find at a restaurant (we used the nutrition information from Boston Market for this calculation). Who would have guessed that this meatloaf rang in at just 100 calories and the mashed potatoes at 66 calories!

Half n Half Meat Loaf

1 pound lean ground turkey breast (calorie count will be higher if you use very lean ground beef, but that is also a great option)

1 pound frozen stew veggies

1 can whole tomatoes, no salt added

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp poultry seasoning

1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbsKetchup, about 2 tablespoons


1. Cook the veggies in the microwave for 10 minutes or until really tender.

2. Puree the cooked veggies with the tomatoes in a food processor.

3. Stir the turkey, puree, seasonings and bread crumbs together. Place into oiled loaf pan, top with ketchup and bake at 375F for 1 hour or until done.

4. Allow to sit out for 10 minutes; cut and serve from the pan. It will be a little softer than usual but it tasted delicious and moist!

Another trick I often use with meatloaf is to add some oatmeal in- your family will get a little more whole grain and you will stretch that meat!Mashed Cauli Taters

1 pound yukon gold potatoes

1 pound frozen cauliflower florets1 teaspoon butter

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 cup skim milk


1. Peel the potatoes and cut them in quarters. Cook them in boiling water with the cauliflower florets until they are very tender, about 25-30 minutes. (We usually go 20 minutes for potatoes.)

2. Drain off the water, mash with a potato masher and then whip smooth with electric beaters.

Add the butter, seasonings and skim milk. Dab with additional butter or margarine. Serve hot.

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