If you’re ready to stop crazy dieting and to makeover the way you eat so it’s easier, healthier, tastier AND you’ll end up skinnier without counting calories, then I can full-heartedly recommend Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel‘s new cookbook – “The Skinnygirl Dish.” ($16 from Fireside.)
Bethenny is one of those gals that is grounded about eating thin. No cleanses, starvation periods, or kooky cutting out of things from your diet. So we shot her some questions, and she sent HollywoodLife.com some great advice. And we’re sharing it with you!
What are your tips for getting back on track with your diet after the holiday season?
Truthfully, there should be no drastic resolutions or I’m going to be “good” now. This will set you up to have grandiose resolutions a year from now. Whether it’s Dec. 31 or Jan. 1, if you maintain some semblance of balance, and lack of extremism, your mind and body will thank you.
The worst saying is, “I was SO bad, I’m going to be good tomorrow!” Food is not your best friend or your enemy — there should not be “bad” or “good.” If you ate too much over the holidays, don’t “punish” yourself with a starvation diet. Instead, tell yourself “just reel it in.” The problem with resolutions is that they are unrealistic and not sustainable. Things shouldn’t be so drastic.
Bethanny suggests you eat colorful, natural foods in a bright variety of flavors and use lots of different spices and ingredients. “I always keep pine nuts, small grape tomatoes, arugula, frozen spinach and frozen artichokes in my fridge and freeze. These are healthy things I always use it to put in omlets or add to pasta. If you mix pasta with spinach or vegtables, it fills you up. You can have foods you crave, like a slice of pizza, but load it up with veggies instead of cheese and sausage, and it will be more filling.
For those of us to LOVE to eat — how can we eat and still meet our diet goals?
“The Skinnygirl Dish” teaches you how to indulge, and prepare decadent foods like spinach artichoke dip, lower fat “mock a mole,” and chicken pot pie with no sacrifice in flavor. The key is to never be deprived and to always cook with lots of flavor and variety.
Accessorize what you already have in your kitchen like you would do with your wardrobe. I don’t believe in expensive, long lists of ingredients and complicated procedures. Whether you never cook or cook every night, this book will teach you to think like a chef and make your kitchen/style your own.
Betthany suggests you eat healthy, decadent foods! I love butternut squash soup and tomato soup. They are comfort foods! The obvious food tips are to replace white pasta with whole wheat pasta, use raw sugar instead of white sugar, and have oat flour instead of white flour.
But I also suggest using turkey bacon instead of pork bacon. You still get the flavor, and in a sauce like carbonara or over a salad you don’t even notice! Add egg whites to egg — it doesn’t have to be all egg white, but add one egg with two egg whites. Also, don’t eat fat -free! Eat reduced fat, like with cheese. And decide where you want to cut fat, and where you don’t. Because you can’t cut everywhere — everything will taste like cardboard!
Try cutting things into smaller pieces, like avocados and cheese. You can have these things and if you spread them out over a salad, each bite will have flavor! I love ranch dressing, but it is so thick and creamy. Cut it with red wine vinagar so you can drizzle over the whole salad, and then you’re not left feeling restricted.
How can we stick to our New Year’s resolution of losing weight and keeping it off?
Whether in Italy, at Thanksgiving, or at a Super Bowl party, you can always make “lesser of evil” choices. There are always better investment recipes and there are no forbidden foods. Balancing your choices is key. You want pizza, then have a slice. You want pasta? Try to have whole wheat and have a small good investment portion, but don’t have both at the same meal. No one ever got fat on one cookie.
Bethenny suggests : don’t be emotional about food. People beat themselves up, binge eat, do themselves in, self-deprecate and vow to be ‘good’ tomorrow. I don’t calorie count — but I’m aware of what I eat. Like today, I had a chicken burger from Trader Joe’s that was 150 calories … but if it was 600 I wouldn’t eat it.
Just be aware! You know a giant Starbucks drink has 750 calories, and because you are aware, you choose to have a smaller one. If you want something, and you can get a lower cal option without sacrificing the craving, chose the low cal — but dont limit yourself to X amount of calories a day.
What is the number one diet blunder and how can women avoid it?
Saying, “resolving” to be good tomorrow. Setting up unrealistic goals, buying diet books that leave you feeling worse because you can’t adhere to unrealistic principles.
Bethenny suggests try recipes from The Skinnygirl! They are easy, non-complicated recipes that teach you how to be a chef … it’s liberating!
So unleash your chef with these recipes from “The Skinnygirl Dish: Easy Recipes for Your Naturally Thin Life,” now available wherever books are sold and online!
Guilt-free Artichoke and Spinach Dip
- 1 package (about 9 ounces) frozen artichokes, defrosted and drained
- 1 package (about 9 ounces) frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- ¼ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- ¼ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 8 ounces reduced-fat or soy cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons nondairy or low-fat mayonnaise
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 dashes Tabasco sauce
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine all of the ingredients except 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan in a large bowl or food processor. Blend or pulse until mostly smooth, but leave some artichoke chunks for texture.
2. Pour the mixture into an ovenproof dish or casserole. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until heated through and just starting to bubble. Let the dip sit for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm with thin slices of baguette, raw vegetables, baked tortilla chips, or crackers.
Variation 1 Instead of frozen artichokes or spinach, try:
Canned artichoke hearts, drained
Leaving either artichokes or spinach out and doubling the amount of the other
Variation 2 Instead of Parmesan, try any other grated or shredded cheese.
Variation 3 Instead of Monterey Jack, try any other crumbled or shredded cheese.
Variation 4 Instead of ricotta, try:
Part-skim cottage cheese, whipped or not
Variation 5 Instead of cream cheese, try:
Flavorful soft goat cheese
Variation 6 Instead of mayonnaise, try Greek yogurt or plain soy yogurt.
Variation 7 Instead of minced garlic, try:
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon garlic or other seasoned salt (reduce other salt in recipe by ¼ teaspoon)
½ teaspoon onion powder
Variation 8 Instead of Tabasco sauce, try:
Any other hot sauce
Dash of cayenne pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Lower-fat Pasta Carbonara
Consider yourself warned. Use plain soy milk, not vanilla!
- 16 ounces whole-wheat
- 2 tablespoons butter (regular or spaghetti nondairy)
- ¾ cup plain unflavored soy milk
- 8 slices organic turkey bacon, cooked until crispy and chopped
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoons red pepper flakes
- ½ cup freshly grated
- Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon black pepper,divided
1. Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the soy milk, eggs, Parmesan, half the garlic salt, and half the pepper.
2. When the pasta is done, drain it and quickly put it directly into the bowl with the egg mixture. Toss to coat. The hot pasta will cook the eggs. When the pasta is coated with the egg mixture, mix in the butter, turkey bacon, red pepper flakes, and the remaining garlic salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Use any of these variations, or mix and match them according to your tastes.
Variation 1 Instead of whole-wheat spaghetti, try any other pasta, preferably whole-grain, in any shape you like.
Variation 2 Instead of soy milk, try any other plain unflavored milk.
Variation 3 Instead of Parmesan, try any other hard grating or shredded cheese.
Variation 4 Instead of garlic salt, try any regular or seasoned salt.
Variation 5 Instead of turkey bacon, try:
Variation 6 Instead of or in addition to red pepper flakes, try chopped fresh parsley or peas.