For the past four months or so I have really been concentrating on eating healthier and getting to a healthier weight. To do this I have been restricting myself to 1200 calories a day and eating a lot of protein.
A doctor told me that if I follow those two guidelines that I don't have to worry about keeping up with fat grams, carbs, or anything else because all of those things will fall into place.
I have to say that it has worked. When you only eat 1200 calories per day and emphasize high protein foods you don't have a lot of room for things like sweets, starches, and all of those other things that we tend to eat too much of. So far I have lost 44 pounds and I haven't been hungry!
We all know that lean meats and fish are great ways to get protein into your diet and those are great foods that I don't have a problem eating. I also love Oikos Greek Yogurt! It is really high is protein and with a little Kashi Toasted Berry Crumble sprinkled on top it makes a great after dinner treat that I really look forward to eating. That is saying a lot because I *love* sweets! I can hardly believe that I actually enjoy eating yogurt for dessert.
After a couple of months following this diet I started looking at other ways to get more protein into my diet and that is when I discovered the wonderful world of LENTILS. Lentils are almost exotic to me. We never ate lentils when I was growing up and as an adult they just weren't on my radar of things I should try.
Lentils are so nutritious! In addition to protein they are a good source of folic acid, dietary fiber, and some essential vitamins. People who suffer from diabetes are often urged to include lentils in their diet because the lentils help to reduce spikes in blood sugar levels.
So, in honor of my new found love of lentils I want to share my favorite recipe that features lentils. This recipe is an adaptation of an Alton Brown recipe found on FoodNetwork.com. One warning - the color of the finished product isn't great looking. Just keep an open mind!
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onions
- 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
- 2 cloves finely minced garlic
- 2 Tsp. kosher salt
- 1 pound lentils, picked and rinsed
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 2 quarts vegetable or chicken broth
- 1/2 Tsp. ground coriander
- 1/2 Tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 Tsp. fresh ground black pepper
Place olive oil into a large dutch oven and set over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, carrots, celery and salt and cook until the onions are translucent - about 6-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth, coriander, cumin, and pepper. Stir to combine. Increase the heat and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to low then cover and cook at a low simmer until the lentils are tender - about 35-40 minutes.
This is a great "base" soup that is tasty when prepared just as the recipe calls for. My husband likes something a little heartier and we experimented with adding some cooked, crumbled breakfast sausage and it really put it over the top! We like the spicy sausage the best. You could also add meatballs and/or double the veggies. I know some people have added things like a can of black beans or mushrooms. You can really make this recipe you own with a little bit of creativity.