So I’ve been experimenting with a really strict Paleo Diet challenge for about 12 days now. I’ve cut everything out of my diet but meats, eggs, and low-starch vegetables. The diet itself isn’t bad at all–I eat a lot of eggs and turkey, tons of veggies, and I even spoil myself with bacon one or two times a week. I thought it would be hard to cut out dairy, but that hasn’t bothered me a bit. My biggest challenge, however, has been snacking. In 12 days, I’ve learned something important: I’m a snacker. In the first week of my challenge, I found myself reaching for almonds, almond butter, peanut butter, cashews, pumpkin seeds, etc., up to six times a day. And I realized quickly that this is where my extra calories were coming from. I was probably eating over 1000 calories just in almonds and nuts and seeds each day. So finding a less calorie dense yet healthy and filling way to snack has been a challenge.
Another thing I’ve learned throughout this experience is that when many of us are faced with challenges, our friends are always on standby to help out. Lucky for me, I received a lot of ideas, advice, and inspiration from friends when it came to this snacking crisis. Two of the best ideas that were suggested have been a staple for me ever since I fixed them this past Thursday. I’ll start with my favorite of the two first:
Turkey-Sausage and Egg “Muffins”
This dish is a typical “Steph” dish: simple, simple, delicious, and simple. It’s protein packed, ultra low carb, and took under 20 minutes prep time.
- 1 package ground turkey sausage (or regular sausage if you prefer)
- About 4 whole eggs (I only had 3 eggs left and it worked fine, but I think I would’ve liked 4)
- 1 package frozen broccoli
- 1/2 package frozen spinach
- OPTIONAL: Any veggies you would rather use!! I used only what I could find in my freezer and it worked perfectly!
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook the sausage until done, drain excess fat. Place into a bowl and add eggs and frozen vegetables. Spoon mixture into a greased cupcake pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes. Yields about 12 sausage, egg, and veggie muffins!
That’s it! These little protein packed muffins make excellent snacks! It’s not often that eggs, turkey, and broccoli turn into an easy snacking solution, but I love how this has ended up my favorite!
My next reader-inspired idea came from my friend Myra.
I tweaked Myra’s recipe a bit (hers included milk and cheese) but this one is strictly Paleo. Of course I’m positive that hers tastes better, but unfortunately I can’t do dairy right now. So here’s what I did:
- 2 packages (about 2 pounds) ground turkey
- 1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped, OR one package frozen cauliflower
- 1 package frozen spinach
- 1 pint 100% egg whites
- Optional: 1/2 onion chopped, 3 garlic cloves (or more) chopped, salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Again, this was super easy. I preheated the oven to 400 and cooked the ground turkey, draining when done. I put the turkey in a baking dish that I sprayed with organic olive oil and then topped with the cauliflower and spinach. I poured the liquid egg whites over the entire dish and baked for about 50 minutes (or until all the eggs were cooked through). I actually didn’t have any onion or garlic in the house but I decided after tasting the dish that it was a bit bland and that some onion and garlic would really add some flavor. I ended up topping the dish with organic salsa just to give it a little kick. Overall, I love that it’s yet another easy protein-packed meal that you can dress up however you like. Next time I might add some peppers and mushrooms as well. This stores easily and makes a great snack or reheated lunch/dinner. I still have some in the fridge now that I’m going to pack for tomorrow’s lunch!