I'm a big believer that, most of time, teaming up to get something done is more fun and more effective than going it alone. Take, for example, shoveling snow or painting a room. When you do it solo, these are chores. But throw another person (or two… or a few) into the mix and you've got yourself a "party." And when you work as a crew, you're able to reap the rewards of your hard work (cocoa, or pizza!) faster.
This is also true when you're trying to eat better or to get in shape. Running with a friend motivates me to jog further-and faster. It always helps, too, to be on the same page when it comes to sharing meals: it's tough to stick with a salad when others at the table are loading up on big dishes of pasta smothered in cream sauce. (My solution: make delicious and seemingly decadent diet-friendly recipes that everyone will love, such as Sausage, Mushroom & Spinach Lasagna [recipe below], which is ooey-gooey delicious and has only 333 calories per slice.)
But sometimes you need a different sort of support-someone to watch your kids while you go shopping for healthy foods, for instance. Or your co-worker to leave you alone and stop sabotaging your healthy-eating intentions. (You don't want to swing by the bakery for a cupcake every afternoon!)
Figure out who, or what, will help you reach your goals-whether you're aiming to lose weight, eat more vegetables or hit the gym more often. With that support in place, you'll see results faster and have more fun along the way!
Sausage, Mushroom & Spinach LasagnaSausage, Mushroom & Spinach Lasagna
This cheesy lasagna is full of spicy Italian turkey sausage, whole-wheat noodles, mushrooms and spinach. A serving of this version has about one-third the fat and saturated fat, and only half the calories of the original. Use soy-based sausage for a hearty vegetarian variation.
8 ounces whole-wheat lasagna noodles
1 pound lean spicy Italian turkey sausage, casings removed (or see Vegetarian variation, below)
4 cups sliced mushrooms (10 ounces)
1/4 cup water
1 pound frozen spinach, thawed
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, preferably chunky
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound part-skim ricotta cheese (2 cups)
8 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 2 cups), divided
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until not quite tender, about 2 minutes less than the package directions. Drain; return the noodles to the pot, cover with cool water and set aside.
3. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and water; cook, stirring occasionally and crumbling the sausage more, until it is cooked through, the water has evaporated and the mushrooms are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Squeeze spinach to remove excess water, then stir into the pan; remove from heat.
4. Mix tomatoes with basil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
5. To assemble lasagna: Spread 1/2 cup of the tomatoes in the prepared baking dish. Arrange a layer of noodles on top, trimming to fit if necessary. Evenly dollop half the ricotta over the noodles. Top with half the sausage mixture, one-third of the remaining tomatoes and one-third of the mozzarella. Continue with another layer of noodles, the remaining ricotta, the remaining sausage, half the remaining tomatoes and half the remaining mozzarella. Top with a third layer of noodles and the remaining tomatoes.
6. Cover the lasagna with foil and bake until bubbling and heated through, 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove the foil; sprinkle the remaining mozzarella on top. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is just melted but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 10 servings.
NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 333 calories; 14 g fat (5 g sat, 3 g mono); 41 mg cholesterol; 28 g carbohydrate; 26 g protein; 7 g fiber; 655 mg sodium; 606 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (128% daily value), Calcium (23% dv), Iron (21% dv), Folate (19% dv), Potassium (17% dv).
Use a sausage-style soy product, such as Gimme Lean, or simply omit the sausage altogether.
By Nicci Micco
Nicci Micco is deputy editor of features and nutrition at EatingWell. She has a master's degree in nutrition and food sciences, with a focus in weight management. She's addicted to ice cream and pizza. But she also can't imagine going a week without eating sweet potatoes, salad greens or kidney beans. Kale and beets also rank at the top of her favorite-foods list.
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