The D.I.S.H. (Delicious, Inexpensive, Simple, and Healthy) Ideas for Meals, Snacks, and Drinks

The D.I.S.H. (Delicious, Inexpensive, Simple, and Healthy) Ideas for Meals, Snacks, and Drinks

  • Delicious, Inexpensive, Simple, and HealthyContinuing from the recent post, “A Choice to Change”
  • Next post: The Combo Exercise Plan (Also continuing from, “A Choice to Change” )

This post is about some of my personal menu ideas for healthier, yet tasty, meals, snacks, and drinks. This version is UPDATED with some more good info! I know weight-loss can be a big challenge, but I’ve also learned that it can be achieved through sensible eating/drinking (not crazy diets), a gradual increase in exercise, and motivation. I’m no health expert or professional trainer, but I combined various, effective ideas that I learned from other healthy people, certain exercises that I’ve learned from the Army, as well as other reliable and informative sources, and tried them out. Volunteering myself, and my husband, as guinea pigs helped us realize that there is a method to the madness! We’ve already started losing body fat, gaining more lean muscles (became more toned), decreasing our body measurements such as our waistline, and feeling much better! So, I wanted to share this experience with whoever might be interested in doing the same. Hope it helps. 🙂


The following are bullets and a link to the recently posted (May 22, 2012) slideshow “10 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism”:

  • The Elusive Metabolism Boost
  • Build Muscle
  • Step Up Your Workout
  • Fuel Up with Water
  • Energy Drinks
  • Sinless Snacking
  • Spice Up Your Meals
  • Power Up with Protein
  • Booster Shot: Black Coffee
  • Recharge with Green Tea
  • Avoid Crash Diets
  • Best Bets


Remember to eat more smaller and healthier meals and snacks throughout the day to increase your metabolism—like every two to three hours—while drinking plenty of cold water in between (which also helps in increasing your metabolism). Eating less throughout the day to avoid consuming excess calories will just slow down your metabolism; hence, working against your weight-loss plan. In addition to that, eating less throughout the day will more than likely make you feel faint before a main meal, less energetic, or even cranky. The goal is to have more lean muscles and less fat so that you can be healthier and feel great too! During the first month of healthy eating and exercise, don’t be discouraged if your weight fluctuates; this is usually due to gaining more muscle weight during exercise. Since muscle weighs more than fat, you may gain a little weight (or lose it slowly) before losing body-fat weight. This is where body measurements come into play.

For example, at one point, I felt as though I wasn’t making progress with my weight-loss; however, I then noticed that I was starting to lose inches off my waist. So even though I still appeared as though I had thunder thighs, my waistline was decreasing in size, which makes sense because most women lose fat in their upper body before their lower body. Another motivator to eat healthier and exercise is to prevent high cholesterol or lower your cholesterol and to reduce your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. My doctor recently informed me that my cholesterol went down ever since I started eating healthier and exercising. Plus, I feel more energetic and happy! I wish for everyone who happens to come across this post to enjoy the same benefits. The following is some must know info about the “The Confusing Calorie” :

Don’t forget to:

  • Have your treat days, whether you set it to every two weeks or every 5 lbs that you lose! Your body will naturally crave certain foods, especially high in carbs, so don’t completely deprive yourself. Every now and then, enjoy that greasy, yet tasty, cheeseburger and fries, pizza or some home-baked goods!
  • Record what you eat (e.g., Pork chops and green beans at 12:00) on a weekly calendar, to include your treat meals/snacks, and place it on the fridge with some magnets. There’s no need to record the number of calories that you consume, unless you prefer to do so.
  • Record your weekly weight and monthly body measurements on a monthly calendar. Monthly body measurements include measuring the following body parts: chest, waist, hip (most protruding area), and thickest portions of the arms, thighs and calves.
  • Record your workout type, length, time and days (e.g., interval walk/jog for 1-1.5 miles from 6-6:30 a.m. on M/W/F/Sat)
  • Hang up an outfit, whether it’s a favorite pair of jeans or a nice dress that’s been collecting dust in your closet, or a new outfit you recently bought that you would like to eventually fit into. Make sure you keep it real so that you don’t get easily discouraged. For instance, if you’re currently a size 15, don’t hang up an outfit that’s a size 1…at least not yet. Take baby steps by choosing the next size or two down. The same goes with weighing yourself on the scale. If you currently weigh 150 lbs, make your very next goal (baby step) to be 149 lbs rather than 140 lbs; that way, you can experience the excitement of losing that one pound rather than being disappointed because you didn’t already lose 10 more pounds. One pound may not seem like that much at first, but it definitely adds up! That’s why it’s important to keep track of your progress! It may seem like extra work to record your progress on a daily basis; however, it only takes a couple minutes of your time to record them.
As you look back at your progress in healthier eating, exercise, weight-loss and decrease in body measurements, you WILL gain more motivation and confidence. Also, once your body gets used to having less junk food and drinks, it won’t crave them as much. Rather than being satisfied with eating cookies and cakes for dessert, your taste buds will learn to appreciate the natural sweetness of foods such as strawberries, sweet potatoes, carrots and tomatoes. Once I started drinking more ice water, I noticed that other beverages (e.g., low-calorie G2 Gatorade, diet sodas, diet Snapples, etc.) just made me thirstier.

The D.I.S.H. (Delicious, Inexpensive, Simple, and Healthy) Ideas for Meals

Note: The following measurements can be adjusted according to your needs, tastes, and preferences:

Another Note: Good news if you like adding black pepper to your food! Check out the following article, “Black Pepper May Help Fight Fat” (

The Special Spicy Taco Salad (2 servings)

1 lb of low-fat ground beef (97%)

1 teaspoon or more of minced or crushed garlic

Mixed salad (use any variety except iceberg lettuce since it’s very low in nutrition. If you’re going to eat a salad anyway, you might as well get the most out of it, to include flavor and nutrition. For example, the Red Butter lettuce and spinach combo tastes great and is very nutritious.)

  • Red Butter Lettuce:
    • There’s a reason they call it butter lettuce: it melts in your mouth
    • Nutrition. Lettuce is low in calories, rich in calcium, iron, vitamins A and C.
  • Spinach (nutrition facts):

1 tomato (or half a small package of grape tomatoes)

1 cucumber

1 tablespoon of Cumin

1 tablespoon of Chili Powder

A dash of black pepper

1 cup of low-fat shredded cheese (if you like)

Salsa (For those who like spicy foods, try Mrs. Renfro’s Habanero Salsa,  or a similar, hot salsa to boost your metabolism. It’s made with all natural ingredients, which is another plus in weight-loss and staying healthy, and it’s oh-so-delicious!)

Simply brown the low-fat ground beef until it’s cooked. There’s no need to use any oil or oil spray. Add about 1/3 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of Cumin, 1 tablespoon of Chili Powder, 1 teaspoon or more of crushed garlic, and a couple dashes of pepper and fully cook. Arrange mixed salad in a bowl or large plate. Add seasoned meat on top of the mixed salad. Then add chopped tomatoes (or grape tomatoes), sliced cucumbers and low-fat shredded cheese. Add salsa of choice on top like you would a salad dressing. Mix well and enjoy! This simple recipe is sooo good that you won’t even mind that it’s missing the “taco” shell part of the Taco Salad!

Sizzling Baked Fish with Scrumptious Peppers and Mushrooms (2 servings)

1 lb of Fresh fish (my favorite is tilapia because it’s so soft and sweet)

Mrs. Dash (salt-free, Original Blend)

A dash of salt

A dash of pepper

1 tablespoon of minced or crushed garlic

Crisco Fat-free Butter Spray

2 Peppers (green, yellow, red or aqua blue…doesn’t really matter; however, I noticed that the green peppers are usually much cheaper, and I can’t seem to tell the difference between all of them. Perhaps if I tried all of them back-to-back, in a taste test, I could tell the difference.)

1 small package of mushrooms (of your choice, of course; but I like to get the white mushrooms that you can get for about $1.38 per package. The Portobello and Shitake mushroom are great too…but they’re more expensive)

Wash and gut the cores of the peppers. Then cut them into long strips and set aside. Wash the mushrooms and slice the heads and stems. Spray a large pot with the Crisco Fat-free Butter Spray. Throw in the mushrooms and cook on medium heat (stirring occasionally) for about five minutes. Add peppers and garlic to the mushrooms and then spray a little more of the butter spray. Add a dash of salt and black pepper. Stir-fry on high heat for about another five minutes, or until the peppers are slightly tender, yet crispy. Do not overcook peppers or they’ll get soggy.

Set oven to whatever temperature the type of fish requires. Spray the Crisco Fat-free Butter Spray on the fish. Evenly sprinkle Mrs. Dash and a little bit of salt and pepper on the fish. Bake, but don’t overcook the fish; otherwise, it gets rubbery. Depending on the thickness of the fish fillets, it usually takes about 7-10 minutes to cook. Not only does this dish taste great while you’re eating it, but you also feel great after dinner…and the day after! That’s why meals like Southern fried chicken with honey biscuits and seasoned fries (one of my favorites) should be saved for “Treat days” because 1) you’ll appreciate it more when you eat it less often and 2) the experience may be great during consumption; however, you usually don’t end up feeling too great afterwards (due to the guilt of eating something unhealthy and perhaps too much)…or even the day after when you’re a few pounds heavier.

Juicy and Crunchy Pork Chops with Tender yet Crispy Sweet Potatoes (2 servings)

1 package of 4 bone-in pork chops (a little over a pound)

Shake-n-Bake (Spicy and Hot)

1 medium sweet potato

A dash of black pepper

Cook pork chops according to instructions on Shake-n-Bake package. Once it’s done, cut away the fatty pieces on the edge of the pork chops; there should only be a little bit. Cut sweet potato into thin, circular slices. Place sliced sweet potatoes on a non-stick pan (or a pan covered with aluminum foil). No oil, oil spray, or seasonings needed to cook the sweet potatoes. Cook the sweet potatoes at 400 degrees F for 5 minutes; then, flip them over and cook them for another 8 minutes. They should come out kind of tender and crispy. The natural, sweet flavor tickles the soul! This meal is so simple, yet, so mouth-watering delicious!

Great news about pork chops ( :

“How does pork compare to other meats for fat, calories and cholesterol? Pork today compares favorably for fat, calories and cholesterol with many other meats and poultry. While providing a greater amount of vitamins and minerals, many cuts of pork are as lean or leaner than chicken…Any cuts from the loin – like pork chops and pork roast – are leaner than skinless chicken thigh, according to USDA data.”

Amazing news about sweet potatoes ( :

  • Sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin C, calcium, folate, potassium and beta-carotene
  • One serving of sweet potatoes can provide you with as much as 700% of the US RDA for Vitamin A
  • The Center for Science in the Public Interest rates sweet potatoes as the number one most nutritious vegetable because they are so nutritionally rich

The Ultimate Japorean Chicken Bulgogi (aka Korean BBQ Chicken with a twist) Wraps

1 ½  lb of chicken breasts

2/3 cup of soy sauce (or low-sodium soy sauce)

1 tablespoons white sugar

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 tablespoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon of black pepper

Dash of salt

1 bundle of scallions/green onions

1 onion

1 package of mushrooms (may be added; however, you need more marinade)

1 tablespoon of vinegar

Crisco Fat-free Butter Spray

Red Leaf Lettuce (or green leaf lettuce, but no iceberg lettuce)

Cut the whole onion in half, and then cut one of the halves into thin slices. Place the sliced onions in a storage zip-lock bag and set aside. Cut the other half of the onion into thin slices and set aside in a small bowl. Chop off the very top part of the scallions (that looks like spiked, white hair). Then cut the heads of the scallions (the white part) into small pieces, and chop the green part of the scallions into one inch pieces. Set the scallions in the small bowl containing the sliced half onion, and place in the fridge to use once the marinated chicken is ready to be cooked.

Cut the chicken breasts into thin, 1x 2 pieces (approximate) while removing any fat. Note: If you slice the chicken while it’s partially frozen, it makes it easier to get nice, clean slices more quickly. Place the sliced chicken into the storage zip-lock bag containing the sliced, half onion. In another small bowl, mix the following ingredients for the marinade: soy sauce, sugar, garlic, vinegar, pepper and sesame oil. Pour the marinade into the chicken and onion zip-lock bag and marinate in refrigerator for 45 minutes to one hour. Note: This is enough time to flavor the chicken and keep it tender; however, keep in mind that acid-based marinades, such as this one (i.e., it contains vinegar) will break down the protein bonds in the chicken which will cause them to toughen after two hours.

 While the chicken is marinating in the fridge, thoroughly wash the Red Leaf lettuce and drain all excess water. Place the lettuce in the fridge. Once the chicken is marinated, heat up a large frying pan or pot with Crisco Fat-free Butter Spray (make sure the spray doesn’t sit in the pan for a long time; otherwise, it’ll burn the meat). Pour the chicken marinade in the frying pan (or pot) and fry on medium heat for about 15 minutes (stirring frequently), or until chicken is done. Sprinkle a little bit of salt and some more black pepper along the way. Note: At first, the chicken pieces look very pale; however, the longer you cook it, the tanner it gets. When the chicken looks done, cut a few of the thickest pieces to ensure they are no longer pink. Then taste a piece to see if you’d prefer adding a little more salt and/or pepper. However, don’t add too much salt so you can avoid retaining water for a week or so and feel really bloated.

Add the scallions and other half of the sliced onion while stir-frying the chicken bulgogi for an additional five minutes, or until the second set of onions are caramelized. Once the chicken bulgogi is cooked, bring out the red lettuce leaves to join the party! Grab one lettuce leaf and place a piece (or two) of chicken, onions, and green onions in the lettuce leaf and wrap it into a little bundle of joy. Whether you take small bites to savor it, or put the whole bundle in your mouth, your taste buds will celebrate as the various flavors (salty, sweet, sour, and Umami /uːˈmɑːmi/ /savory taste) combine with a mild kick of spiciness!

Mini Marinated Beef Steaks with Tasty Fried Green Beans (2 servings)

1-1 ½ lb of thinly sliced beef steaks (usually 3 per package, ranging from $3 + higher, depending on what type of beef steaks that you prefer)

KC Masterpiece Marinade (Steakhouse) or any of your favorite marinades

1- 1 ½ lb of fresh green beans

Crisco Fat-free Butter spray

Black pepper

Cut all the fat off the thinly sliced beef steaks. Pound both sides of the beef steaks (this will further tenderize the steaks, along with helping absorb the marinade). Cut each beef steak into three somewhat equal pieces. Place all nine pieces in a storage zip-lock bag. Pour about ¼ of the marinade in the bag and close tightly. Massage the marinade into the meat for about a minute. Marinate for about a half a day in the fridge. Once marinated, broil the beef for about seven minutes. Note: You can use the grill as well; however, it’s only worth the extra time to set up the grill if you plan on making more than two servings.

About 15 minutes prior to broiling the meat, fill a large pot half-way with water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, clip off both ends of the fresh green beans, wash and then set aside. Once the water boils, throw the green beans into the pot and cook for two minutes or until the green beans turn bright green. Get a large bowl and fill it with cold water (I like to put several ice cubes in it). Once you drain the boiled green beans, place them in the bowl of cold water for a couple of minutes so that they don’t get overcooked. Use the same, big pot that you boiled the green beans in and empty out all the water; then, spray the bottom of the pot with Crisco Butter spray. Drain the cooled green beans and throw them into the pot and fry (stirring frequently) for about 5-7 minutes, or until done. Sprinkle a little bit of salt and some black pepper. Note: You could also use olive oil; however, keep in mind that it has 14g of fat per tablespoon, which could add up if you get in the habit of using it too much. Plus,  The Crisco Butter spray has a tasty, buttery flavor without any fat. Once the beef steaks and green beans are done, sprinkle a little extra pepper to enhance the flavors and voila! Enjoy a meal that is healthy and yummy!

Korean Spicy Pork Scallopini Wraps (2 servings)

 1 ¼ lb of pork scallopini (there’s usually 4-5 pieces per package)

4 tablespoons of Korean red pepper paste (usually sold at a Commissary as well as the Asian/Oriental isle of a major supermarket)

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

1 tablespoon of rice wine

1 tablespoon of garlic

Red leaf lettuce (or green leaf lettuce, but no iceberg lettuce)

Thoroughly wash the Red leaf lettuce, drain all excess water and set in fridge until the pork is cooked and ready to eat. Cut all the fat off the pork scallopini. Then cut the pork into approximately 1 x 2 inch pieces and place them in a storage zip-lock bag. In another small bowl, mix the following ingredients for the marinade: Korean red pepper paste, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, and garlic. Add marinade to the meat and marinate for about half a day (or overnight) in the fridge. Once marinated, fry the meat in a sauce pan on medium heat (stirring occasionally) for about seven minutes or until the meat is thoroughly cooked. No oil, oil spray or water is needed to cook the meat; however, a non-stick sauce pan definitely helps.

When ready to eat, grab one lettuce leaf and place a piece of spicy pork, or two, in the lettuce leaf and wrap it into a little bundle of joy. Open wide and enjoy! This meal is usually eaten with white, sticky rice; however, if you’d like to cut down on carbs until you reach your desired weight goal, then you really don’t need the rice. It tastes just as good without it!

“Quaker Oatmeal Prize Winning Meat Loaf”

This is one of the better “healthy” meat loaves I’ve ever had. It’s very flavorful and juicy.

You can also try our modified version: Instead of using ½ cup of catsup, we use 2 tablespoons (as opposed to 1 tablespoon) of Worcestershire sauce, and then top it with black pepper and habanero salsa. Here is the link to the recipe:


The D.I.S.H. (Delicious, Inexpensive, Simple, and Healthy) Ideas for Snacks

For the following snacks, get sandwich zip-lock bags so that you can divide them up and bag them so that they’re ready to go (otherwise, if they’re out of sight, they may be out of mind):

  • Baby carrots(or you can cut up the long, Bugs Bunny carrots)
    • One of the most medicinal diuretic vegetables due to high content of vitamins, minerals, calcium and antioxidants
  • Grape tomatoes (usually a dollar a package which = about 2 snack servings). Whole tomatoes can get pretty messy for snacks; however, if that’s what you prefer, then that’s okay too.
    • Known to be the perfect food
    • A fruit, not a vegetable
    • Loaded with vitamins and minerals that help the body expel toxins and improve kidney function
  • Strawberries (berries are not only bursting with flavor, but they’re the type of fruits you want to stick to when trying to lose some weight, just get toned or maintain weight)
    • Low in calories and fats but rich source of many health promoting phyto-nutrients, minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health
    • May have potential health benefits against cancer, aging, inflammation and neurological diseases.
  • Cucumbers (I just peel it and eat it whole. It’s very refreshing!)
    • A natural diuretic
    • Low in calories and are a good source of potassium and vitamin C
  • Pretzels (fat-free/high-protein): Rather than being tempted to eat an entire, big bag of pretzels, definitely bag these snacks in small, sandwich or snack size bags! ^_^
  • Almonds (usually expensive, so we only get them when they’re on sale)
  • Celeries

The following are also great snacks:

  • 20% (not the 10% one) Protein Slimfast (meal or snack): the milk chocolate flavored one tastes pretty good. I have a sweet tooth, usually a strong craving for chocolate, and this shake really satisfies my craving! Plus, it’s nutritious and convenient to have right after a workout, for breakfast, or when you’re on the go!
  • Yoplait yogurt: Some great flavors include Banana Cream Pie, Pina Colada (my favorite…it has pieces of coconut in it), Apple Turnover, Harvest Blackberry, Key Lime Pie, and Boston Cream Pie. There are other flavors too, but these are the ones that stood out for me. When you’re having a strong craving for naughty desserts such as my favorite, home-baked chocolate cake, these yogurts can satisfy that sweet tooth!
  • Low-fat cottage cheese with canned pineapple chunks (make sure you drain all the juice from the can). Yum! Also a great source of protein!
  • Firm tofu that’s boiled, drained, cut into small squares, and then dipped into a little bowl of low-sodium soy sauce that’s mixed with chopped scallions (add red pepper flakes, chili powder, or diced jalapeno peppers to give it an extra  kung-fu kick!)
  • Orville Redenbacher’s Kettle Corn popcorn (note: once popped, calories decrease). I’ve tried different kinds of popcorn, but fell in love with this one! Now, I don’t like movie theater popcorn anymore; granted, I haven’t had any for a while, so I don’t know if their popcorn has improved.
  • Power bars low in carbs and/or sugar make great snacks! For example, Promax low-sugar Chocolate Fudge gives me the satisfaction of eating a candy bar because it actually tastes good!


The D.I.S.H. (Delicious, Inexpensive, Simple, and Healthy) Ideas for Drinks

  • WATER, the #1 drink of all time! The following are just the bullets to the article “Top 11 Health Benefits of Drinking Water” (For further details, visit this site:
    • 1.Lose weight
    • 2.Natural Remedy for Headache
    • 3.Look Younger with Healthier Skin
    • 4.Better Productivity at Work
    • 5.Better Exercise
    • 6.Helps in Digestion and Constipation
    • 7.Less Cramps and Sprains
    • 8.Less Likely to Get Sick and Feel Healthy
    • 9.Relieves Fatigue
    • 10.Good Mood
    • 11.Reduce the Risk of Cancer
  • Organic Unsweetened Silk Milk not only tastes good, but it’s also better for you than cow’s milk! The following are just the bullets to the article “Drinking Soy Milk for Weight Loss: Does It Work?” (For further details, visit this site:
    • Calories and Carbohydrates in Soy Milk: The most apparent advantage of soy milk over cow’s milk in terms of weight loss is its reduced calorie and sugar content. One average cup of whole soy milk contains about 80 calories, which is even lower than most skim milk…
    • Soy Can Help Reduce Body Fat
    • Build Lean Muscles with Soy Milk
  • Green tea is soothing and very healthy for you! The following are just the bullets to the article “Benefit of drinking green tea: The proof is in — drinking tea is healthy, says Harvard Women’s Health Watch” (For further details, visit this site:
    • High in antioxidants
    • Studies have found an association between consuming green tea and a reduced risk for several cancers, including, skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal, and bladder
  • Coffee: “Ask The Ripped Dude: What Are Health Benefits Of Drinking Coffee?” (
    • “I’ve graced more than 28 magazine covers in the past 3 years. The global fitness industry has branded me ‘The World’s Most Ripped Fitness Model.”  by Obi Obadike  May 03, 2012
      • QUESTION: I’ve heard that drinking coffee can aid weight loss. What do you think, Obi?
      • ANSWER: You’ve heard right. Coffee contains the stimulant caffeine, and caffeine can help improve your mental and physical capacities. It can aid your weight loss because it may stimulate your metabolism, inhibit your appetite, and make you uber-focused in the gym.
  • Energy drinks such as the Low-carb Monster energy drinks are a great way to boost your energy. Personally, I don’t like the taste of the blue and black one, but the new flavors that I’ve tried so far are great! Try the green tea + pineapple juice flavor or tea+ orangeade flavor; they’re so refreshing and tasty! I was informed by coworker recently that there’s also lemonade flavor…so check it out! These energy drinks are a total of 20 calories for 15.5 fl oz (10 calories per serving), and they are loaded with four B vitamins, vitamin C, as well as other good stuff. Plus, they’re not carbonated, so you it won’t make you feel bloated like diet sodas.
  • To drink diet soda or not? Perhaps on a “Treat Day”:

~ by Bobbie on May 25, 2012.

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