Have you ever been in an elegant restaurant, ordered an appetizer, had a salad, sampled the warm crusty bread, and found that by the time entrée was served you could barely finish it because you were already full? Use that same trick when you have dinner at home.
It takes our brain about 15 minutes to register that our stomachs are full. Give yourself a head start. Have an appetizer about 15 minutes before you start your dinner and you'll eat less. Eat less and you'll lose weight. Below are a few ideas.
Whip nonfat cottage cheese in the blender with freshly chopped herbs, salt, and pepper. Serve with sliced raw vegetables such as baby carrots, cucumbers, and celery.
Grate a peeled cucumber with 4 or 5 large radishes, lightly salt. In the meantime, cream one package of non fat, or low fat, cream cheese. Chop 3 or 4 scallions. Drain any liquid from the cucumber/radish mixture, add the scallions, and mix with cream cheese. Serve with whole wheat crackers. The cream cheese veggie mixture will keep for several days in the fridge – and is great on toasted bagels for breakfast.
Heat two cups of good quality chicken broth in a small sauce pan. For an oriental soup, add a bit of finely chopped ginger, a teaspoon of soy sauce, and a cup of finely chopped fresh vegetables. Simmer for about 5 minutes. An Italian version would add finely chopped garlic, fresh basil, oregano and frozen chopped spinach to the broth. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of parmesan cheese right before serving. Add ½ cup sliced mushrooms to the chicken broth for an elegant mushroom soup.
Boost the flavor of a glass of tomato juice, or vegetable juice, with any of the following: lemon or lime juice, celery seeds, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, cumin, or dill pickle juice. Serve over ice in a tall glass.
If time is short, eat a salad as your appetizer but go easy on the dressing. Or make your own dressing with two parts olive oil to one part vinegar/lemon juice. Another easy salad is sliced tomatoes, arranged in a circle on a salad plate. Drizzle the tomatoes with about a teaspoon of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, add a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper.
Bruschetta is simply toasted bread with a topping. Slice sourdough bread into 1 inch slices, grill or place under the broiler until lightly brown. Sprinkle with chopped herbs and low fat cheese. Chopped tomatoes are another alternative.
Pick a simple low fat appetizer for dinner and you'll cut the amount of food you consume. Take a lesson from a turtle.