Megan is our featured menu writer of the month; she writes the low fat menus for 2. She has been with E-Mealz since April of 2009 and is married to Chris. According to Megan, Chris is now an expert menu pricer and has recently become quite a cook thanks to the E-Mealz menus.
Q: How did you first hear about the company or start using the E-Mealz service?
A: I was introduced to E-Mealz through a friend/mentor who was using the weekly menus for her own family. At the time, I had recently graduated from Samford University and was interested even then in working for the company because I loved what they were doing to bring families back together around healthy, affordable meals.
Q: What made you decide to specialize in the low fat category?
A: I am a Registered Dietitian and work with people every day on modifying their meal choices to improve their health. Lowering the fat content in your diet can help with many health problems and is an easy way to decrease your calories. Almost every recipe can be modified to reduce the fat without altering the taste and I wanted to help show this.
Q: What principles do you use when putting this menu together?
A: I try to include recipes that not only taste good, but provide a balance of color and texture. I love fresh fruits and vegetables and you will see this reflected in my menus. They provide lots of nutrients and are low in fat naturally. I believe that you can eat both healthy and fresh on a budget and will help you do this weekly with the low-fat for two menu!
Q: What is your best advice for someone who is new to the low fat menu for the New Year?
A: Don’t be afraid to try new things. Eating healthy can be fun and adventurous and far from boring! Often when people think of eating healthy, thoughts of weeks of only salads and baked chicken come to mind. There are so many different kinds of fruits, vegetables, grains and low-fat dairy out there for us to enjoy. A healthy, low-fat diet includes a variety of all of these foods so get creative!
Q: Do you eat low fat and if so, what are some of your favorite “low fat” cooking tips?
A: My husband and I eat what is on the menu every week and enjoy a low-fat diet for the heart healthy benefits. To achieve tasty low-fat meals, I incorporate many seasonings that are both low fat and lower sodium. Some of my favorite seasonings are balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and fresh herbs. I also like substituting nonfat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream to get the bonus of extra protein and probiotics. When preparing a recipe, try making a few small changes such as using cooking spray, baking or sautéing, reducing the butter or using reduced calorie butter. These small changes can make a big impact on the total fat and calories in the recipe.
Q: What are some of your favorite low fat meals?
A: A recent favorite of ours is the General Tso’s Chicken served over brown rice. Others that we love are the Creamy Pasta Primavera, Bruschetta Chicken and Homemade Vegetable Pizza.
Q: What steps should people who are on the low fat plan try to incorporate into the rest of their meals to help lose weight or stay healthy?
A: Never skip a meal! Eat 3 small, balanced meals every day and incorporate 2 small snacks as needed between meals. Use your meals and snacks wisely to get in all the food groups. Low fat dairy, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts all make great snacks. Examples of these include low fat yogurt, light popcorn, small apples, baby carrots and almonds. Keep a water bottle with you in the car or at your desk to remind you to stay hydrated and drink water throughout the day. This will also help curb the “munchies” between meals. Use the lowfat meal plan as a model for your other meals – less than 10 grams of fat per serving, colorful vegetables, whole grains and reduce sodium whenever possible.
Q: How can E-Mealz help people who want to lose weight in the New Year?
A: Making your own meals over purchasing processed foods is a great way to start making healthier choices because you can control what goes in them. Research shows that planning and self-monitoring are two of the biggest components of weight loss and weight maintenance. They are also two of the hardest habits to start. E-Mealz does the work of planning for you, so pick a plan that will help you make smart choices when buying food for the week and stick to it! For self-monitoring your weight loss, keep a food journal for tracking your intake at all other times during the day and night.
Q: Are there any foods that you would recommend as an “indulgent” low fat food that still tastes good?
A: The saying is true that there is no bad food unless you are allergic to it. Portion control allows you to enjoy the foods you love and still keep a healthy diet and weight. If portion control is a problem for you, try substituting in lower fat ingredients or buy the light versions when possible. Low calorie things that I love include Crystal Light, sugar free hot cocoa, Brumble and Brown yogurt spread and Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches.