Chips, Dips, Chains and Whips

(Republished with permission (from me to me) from the Your Fitness Mate post 5/7/10)

That’s a classic line from “Weird Science” where hottie Kellie LeBrock talks tough with Gary’s parents.

It’s also highly descriptive of the problem with most parties…  calorie-packed bowls of fatty deliciousness and piles of the saltiest, snackiest crackers, chips and breads you’ll ever see.  The only way to avoid them is to chain yourself to the chair or stay home.

Unless you know how to cheat properly.

First things first, STOP using Mayo and Sour Cream.  For crying out loud… you are just asking for a heart-attack.

If you can season properly (a skill ANYONE can learn), you can skip the fatty, heavy bases of most dips, and just use yogurt.
The problem you’ll find is that fat-free plain yogurt has the wrong consistency.  Easy fix = strain it!  (Coffee filters will work too.)

Our good friends at Yoplait have also just launched a greek yogurt with extra protein.  Love them!

Another fun little trick is to use cottage cheese or beans (garbanzo, edamame, white) as the base and to mix in flavorful additions.

My weakness is the Spicy Crab dip from Straubs. Those people are the devil with how they tempt me to eat rich, fatty foods! Now don’t misunderstand me, much of their ready-made offering is fine in moderation and always delicious. My typical choices, however, are not.

I’ve figured out how to make a delicious Crab dip that is a pretty good rival:

Skinny Crab Dip:
1 can crab meat
1 cup small curd lowfat cottage cheese
1 garlic clove
1 TBS of Thai sweet chili sauce
(or if you’re super-hardcore, 1 packet of stevia, 1tsp sriracha, and red pepper flakes)

Mix up until consistent in color throughout.  Serve with celery for the lowest of low-cal options or whole wheat crackers/pita triangles.  I’ve also had it as an openfaced sandwich for lunch (toast the bread).  Either way – it’s darn good.

Another surprising winner is Edamame Hummus.  The following is a knockoff from Robust in Webster.  It isn’t quite as good as theirs but I bet I saved a few calories.

Skinny Green Hummus:
1 bag of frozen SHELLED edamame (thawed)
1-3 garlic clove(s)
Sesame Oil
lemon juice
fish sauce
fresh cracked pepper

This dish requires a food processor.  I got my Cuisinart mini at Sur la Table but any will do.
Add all thawed edamame, garlic and 1tsp of sesame oil at a time until consistency is something like good mashed potatoes.  The lemon juice and fish sauce will make a big impact with very little so be sparing.  I would estimate 1-2 tsp of each should suffice but this is to YOUR taste, not mine.  Fish sauce is very salty so the less you can use, the better your skin will look the next day.  I like cracked pepper on top as a garnish.  You’ll be surprised how people love this.  It is excellent with crudite as well as crackers or pita.

The tsp or TBS you use of premade sauces (bbq, sweet-chili, etc.) won’t derail your efforts to be healthy when combined with a bean or yogurt based dip.  You can also use horseradish and spicy brown mustard which are very low in calories to liven up a bland dip.

Finally, those handy premade packets of spices (hidden valley ranch and knorrs vegetable) that we love to use so much are almost always full of sodium.  You can get the same impact on taste without the harmful side-effects by using sea salt and spices.  Sea salt has the added benefits of magnesium and calcium (Yay bones!).  Get in the habit of looking at the labels of pre-made food stuffs.  If you can’t replicate the ingredients at home (because they are chockabock full of things like methylchloroisothiazolinone or disodium EDTA sodium nitrate) do you really want to be eating them?  or have your family eat them?

One final thought:  if you’re used to eating salty, fatty food, your tastebuds are about as dead as a smoker’s.  As you wean yourself off this crap, your tongue will become more discerning for the subtleties of flavor in dishes.  You won’t need as much of anything because you’ll appreciate everthing more.

Now, where’s the party?!?!?!


Note from Schugarmama:  If I ever pretend that my mom’s opinions don’t matter to me, smack me.  Schugarmama’s mama mentioned my work on the Fitness Mate blog recently and said how much she missed reading my tips & recipes.  Since the business (and the blog) are essentially defunct, I thought I might just transfer a few of the posts to my current project.  Being fit, healthy, and still enjoying good foodies are definitely part of the ‘sweet life.’

5 thoughts on “Chips, Dips, Chains and Whips”

  1. This is great, thanks for sharing this on here!
    One of my favorite “cheats” on eating less is making the food really – REALLY – hot and spicy. I’ll add Sriracha sauce or chili flakes to everything, from pizza to pasta to snacks, and once the mouth starts burning, you’ll autmatically stop eating AND feel satisfied. (Ok, maybe I’m just really strange).

    1. I’m with you on spicing things up, Antonia! Not everyone can stand the heat tho… fresh herbs are genius for adding huge flavor and reducing the need for goopy globby sauces. Cilantro on salads, for example… pure genius. You can practically skip the dressing. Thanks for commenting! Makes me so happy to be read. 🙂

  2. I love reading your blog, you have a wonderfully dry sense of humor and immensly entertaining thoughts on – well – anything. Looking forward to that book you keep talking about… 😀

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