In our household, Sundays are reserved for meal preparation. Throughout the week before our Saturday shopping trip, I make notes of the foods I’m craving, along with any new recipes that I haven’t had the chance to try yet. My husband will eat almost anything, especially if he doesn’t have to lift a finger to do it, so the meal planning is pretty much left up to me. It’s pretty much the best situation for someone trying to lose weight; usually we’re in some sort of position where we don’t have as much control over our diets, or we’re stuck feeling like the odd one out with a salad in hand while everyone else happily chows down on pizza. And forget family gatherings — the last thing anyone wants to be during the holidays is the one person that is obsessing about calories.
(I also really don’t want to be the one to ask my grandma for some healthier options. I was born and raised in Indiana, land of green bean casseroles and broccoli drowned in cheese. Plus she always has “the look” that lets you know you’ve crossed a line, and I am not going to be that person!)
I do look forward to the holidays and figuring out ways to still eat healthy without giving up the occasional indulgence. Even if holidays are basically about excess, a day or two of excess isn’t going to put me so far off track that I’ll have to resort to drastic measures to get back on track.
Thankfully, because I’m in control of the menu, I get to choose what my husband and I eat. He’s nowhere close to needing a diet. As a matter of fact, the guy can put away almost anything and not gain an ounce. But as I said earlier, he’ll eat basically anything, too. He rarely has a bad word to say about something someone has cooked, which helped me get much more comfortable with my own skills, and it’s a quality I’ve definitely appreciated as I steer our at-home diet down a more healthy path.
Working out is part of that path. Working out also tends to leave me pretty famished at the end of the day. Finding little ways to keep myself feeling satiated without feeling like I’m giving up something has taken practice, but the food blogging community has all sorts of people out there who also develop healthy options, and it’s spurred me to find ways to make recipes that are largely healthy still fit into my caloric budget. I had found a recipe for caprese stuffed spaghetti squash over on Cookie Monster Cooking that sounded great, but to fit my needs (and my husband’s tastes), I took out the beans, some of the cheese, and the balsamic glaze. With my recipe, I still get the wonderful caprese flavor for a fraction of the calories, and I don’t have to give up the high-quality fresh mozzarella that my husband and I love so much.
This recipe is, for me, the perfect balance of decadence and moderation, and it gives me something that quiets the hungry monster on days that I’ve put myself through a hard workout. And it’s recipes like these that make it so easy to stay on my path; even though I have a lot of moments where I crave food that doesn’t usually belong in my diet, it gives me that touch of something satisfying. Recipes like these help the number on my scale go lower and lower.
It’s recipes like these that remind me that the healthier path is the best one for me.
Filling, comforting baked spaghetti squash with the basic flavors of a caprese salad. Feels like indulging, but it's still pretty good for you!
- 2 medium spaghetti squash (ours came out to around 6 pounds total), halved and seeded (click here to learn a great way to crack open an uncooked spaghetti squash without losing a finger)
- Cooking spray
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved (or, if you so please, two large tomatoes, sliced)
- 6 ounces fresh mozzarella
- 1/4 ounce fresh basil
- Preheat oven to 375F. Make sure you have 1-2 baking sheets at the ready.
- Spray the cooking spray on all four halves of the spaghetti squash. Divide garlic between the four halves, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the skin of the squash with a fork. Take the squash out of the oven.
- Use a fork to form strands from the innards of the spaghetti squash.
- Fill the four baked halves of spaghetti squash with tomatoes and mozzarella.
- Place the squash back in the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and gooey. At this point, you can broil the top for a minute until the cheese starts to brown, but it's not a necessary step.
- Sprinkle the squashes with the ribboned basil. Let cool for a couple of minutes, and serve warm on a plate -- you can use the squash as a bowl! Enjoy!
Adapted VERY minimally from Caprese Stuffed Spaghetti Squash recipe @ Cookie Monster Cooking