My dad was so pleased when my mom came home Friday. She had phoned earlier in the day with the
promise of dinner. It came in the form of 7 packages of left over hot dogs from her schools bbq. I don't know what's more disturbing about this: 1. The selling feature was that it was a 1/4 pound of dog (I thought this honour was reserved only for a well known burger chain). 2. Each serving was 26g of Fat with 11g of heart hugging saturated fat, 3. The fact that they served and fed this to high school students or finally 4. My beloved father ate two.
I realize that I am being quite judgmental right now, because there are plenty of people that are able to enjoy a large hot dog, and still maintain a balanced, healthy lifestyle. My family however are not those people. I realize that the last thing most people want to do when they get home from a long and stressful week is cook for themselves. With the glean of a bright and shiny weekend ahead of you, it's easy to put on the holy sweat pants (sorry. I mean holey), defrost a microwave dinner, and let the relief of the week ending wash over you.
And there is a big but in this (hardy har- pun intended), as K&K of TIU note, if you cheat every weekend, there goes almost half the month.
Here are my tips to make sure you start the weekend strong and healthy for a Friday night:
- Eat 1/2 a larabar, medjool date, 1/2 a banana, veggie sticks etc. on the commute home. I found this was one of the biggest reasons why I was successful to completing my workouts after work, and then making myself a healthy dinner. It's like clockwork when I crash. Always around 3:30 - 4:00, and I'm always in the car on the ride home. I started bringing a banana with me to work, and saving it for the ride home. It raises my blood sugar just enough that I don't crave carby/salty (ie unhealthy) foods the moment I get home.
- Save a portion of the best meal of the week for Friday night left overs (i.e. don't use it for lunch the next day). Perhaps this isn't the most healthy attitude - but I certainly look forward to food. It excites me. Eating a balanced, clean diet excites me. I know. I'm weird. I know my mouth will be salivating all week if I save a portion of my favourite mac'n'cheeze or veggie patties for a Friday night dinner.
- When you are prepping your lunch (if you do that) Thursday night, spend a few minutes and prep dinner also (check out my adapted recipe below).
- If you are going out for dinner that night, have a small snack prior to leaving. Being on a diet doesn't mean having to be anti-social. Have a healthy snack prior to going out, and then perhaps have an appetizer and small salad.
- Instead of ordering a pizza for the gang, have a "make your own pizza" night. It is becoming increasingly easier to buy chopped up veggies - check out the veggie packs made for omelets or grilled vegetables - they often have the best variety of different ones. You can offer whole wheat pitas and tortillas to save on the calories.
For dinner on Friday I adapted this burger recipe. It was amazing! So delicious and filling. The best news? The mix can be made the night ahead and separated into patties. It also works really well for sliders.
Best Veggie Pattie (adapted from Oh She Glows)
Ingredients (4 patties)
- 1/4 cup onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Flax eggs: 1 tbsp + 1 tsp ground flax + 1/4 cup warm water, mixed in bowl
- 1/2 cup oats, processed into flour (other flours might work)
- 3/4 cup bread crumbs (I processed 3 pieces of Ezekiel bread until fine crumb)
- 1/2 cup grated carrots
- 1/2 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and roughly pureed or mashed
- Heaping 1/4 cup finely chopped spinach (or fresh herb of choice)
- 1/2 cup mix of sunflower, pumpkin and hemp seeds
- 1/2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 tbsp Tamari (soy sauce)
- 1 tsp. oregano
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste (I used about 1/4 tsp kosher salt)
- 1. Preheat oven to 350F (if baking). In a large skillet, sauté onions and garlic in 1/2 tbsp oil. Mix your flax egg together in a small bowl and set aside for at least 10 mins while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- 2. Place all ingredients (except spices and salt) into a large mixing bowl and stir very well. Now, add seasonings and salt to taste.
- 3. With slightly wet hands, shape dough into patties. I made 4 medium patties.
- 4. Cooking methods: You can fry the burgers in a bit of oil on a skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side. If baking in the oven, bake for 20 minutes on each side at 350F, until golden and crisp. For the BBQ, pre-bake the burgers for about 15 minutes in oven before placing on a pre-heated grill until golden and crisp on each side.
- GF Note: To make these burgers gluten-free, use certified GF oats, GF Tamari, and gluten-free breadcrumbs.