Choose between whole wheat pita bread, whole-grain flour tortillas, or 100% whole wheat Boboli for the pizza crust. Spread with pizza sauce and a moderate amount of reduced-fat cheese or part-skim mozzarella, and top with chopped vegetables (green peppers, tomatoes, garlic, green onions, sliced mushrooms, artichoke hearts, etc.) instead of high-fat meat.
Many are motivated to make chicken or beef pot pie at home since frozen pot pies are notoriously loaded with saturated fat and calories. To lighten the typical pot pie recipe, only use a top crust and switch to a whole wheat crust (if possible). Make sure the meat you are using is lean (chicken breast or beef sirloin, for example) and decrease the amount of meat added. The filling will still be nice and chunky if you add more vegetables. Substitute whole milk or fat-free half-and-half for the cream to make the filling.
Tacos, Enchiladas, and Burritos
When making some of the popular Mexican-inspired dishes like tacos, enchiladas, and burritos, maximize the use of beans (black beans, pinto beans, or vegetarian refried beans), fresh vegetables and herbs, avocado, steamed or grilled fish, and “soft” whole-grain tortillas. Minimize the use of “crispy” tortillas, deep frying in general, high-fat meats and chorizo, excessive cheese, and sour cream.
A lighter, higher-fiber quiche is only a few substitutions away. Start with whole wheat pie crust (available at some supermarkets), then fill it with a mixture of omega-3 fortified eggs and egg whites. Use fat-free half-and-half or low-fat milk instead of cream, and switch to a part-skim cheese.
Ansel suggests skipping the creamy sauces and sticking with tomato sauce. “It's not only lower in fat and calories, its vitamin C gives you a nutrient boost by helping you better absorb the pasta's iron,” she says. Add vegetables to your spaghetti sauce instead of high-fat meats, and switch to whole-grain pasta to increase the fiber and phytochemicals.
Tuna Casserole and Similar Dishes
Modernize this favorite casserole from the '50s by using whole-grain noodles, water-packed tuna, reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese (or less of regular cheese), and double the vegetables like celery, green onions, tomatoes, and peas. Instead of using the traditional canned cream of mushroom soup, make your own using 2/3 cup fat-free or light sour cream, 1/4 cup light mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons prepared mustard, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, and black pepper and garlic powder to taste.