If you have ever tried to convince a stubborn Italian male to start eating less red meat, processed carbohydrates and bad fats (I gave up on ‘less alcohol’ a long time ago) then you will know how hard it is.
Due to a change in my Father’s health I have recently been searching for healthier ways to cook old faithful dishes, that I know he will enjoy, but will put my mind at ease. “Put down the pastrami!!! (or the focacia, or the butter) the doctor said you can’t have it” is replied to with “chi se ne frega” – So unless I actually ply it out of his hands – there’s not much hope apart from tempting him into eating a healthier alternative. Talk about parent/child role reversal :p
I thought I would share some of the tips and recipe ideas I have found, I can speak from experience when I say some of them are really tasty (what kind of daughter would I be if I made him eat them alone) so perhaps they can be of use to you.
- Tuna Carpaccio
Firsty, I have started to use a lot more fish. Unlike red meat, it’s high in nutrients as opposed to heart clogging compounds (If it sounds like I am regurgitating a health book then its probably because I am). So instead of Steak Carpaccio, i’ve started to use tuna, which actually goes down pretty well.
(All photo’s not my own)
Instead of using classic peppercorn sauce or pesto, I have switched to the mix of finely chopped garlic, lemon zest and fresh parsley to cover meat and some fish (I would draw the line at pasta :/ ). It’s great with salted (albeit now with a lot less salt) sea bass and crispy squid, and guilt free he can have as much as he likes.
- Egg white Frittata
It’s not quite a cooked breakfast but replacing the bacon and salami with this is a much healthier option, and everyone likes omelette anyway. Remove the yolk, add med vegetables, a little fetta cheese, spinach, fresh tomatoes. Then you can use healthier meats like chicken if you wish to make it main meal.
- Spicy Potato Salad
Second to meat – trying to lower the intake of potatoes is just as difficult. If he is in charge of a roast dinner there is always too many that he ‘accidentally’ cooked on purpose, which he always ends up finishing. Sweet potato is obviously a better alternative, steamed and put in a salad they are less calorific and better for cholesterol, so now it’s a staple. When he goes to work he will usually pick up lunch, but on occasion I try to make it for him. Steamed potato, jalapenos, peppers, chives and feta cheese go nicely (I got the original idea from popsugar.com) and you can add fish and the gremolata above for a dressing.
- Beef and Beetroot Curry
I stumbled upon this one and thought great because it means a beef fix but in a slightly healthier way, using leaner cuts of beef with plenty of veg and spice. Cardamon, chili and coriander. I also added lentils and chickpeas which is a good way to help you feel fuller. I don’t really like beetroot, but you could use anything else and serve with natural yogurt.
- Balsamic Vinegar Salad
This is not one he needs convincing on – but balsamic vinegar on your salad or bread is so much healthier than other sauces, dressings or oils. Full of flavor and low in Fat, Sugar and calories.
If you want me to post any of the recipe steps let me know and I will! I have taken and adapted them from both online and cook books to fit my family, but the variations are endless so find others and get creative :D Simple changes can make a big difference if you are either trying to loose weight/eat clean yourself or are cooking for someone who has to adapt the way they eat due to health (even if you get asked ‘what is this shit’ before you serve – haha)
Oh – and I did come across ‘cauliflower pizza’ and the idea made me swing so far in the other direction I nearly ordered domino’s to get the thought out of my head. Don’t try that one.