When you hear tofu, you may think chewy and tasteless. This alternative to meat is not as bad as you might think. It is low in fat, can be used cold or hot, is inexpensive and with the right ingredients, can be super savoury!
According to Canada's Food Guide, by replacing a few meals a week with meat alternatives, such as eggs, beans and peas, you will reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet. Also, these foods are high in fiber, meaning more filing in your stomach. Low in fat also means bigger portions. Now that, we like!
If you've never actually tried tofu, one easy way to do so is to add a package or two, crushed in small bits, in your spaghetti sauce. You can use less ground meat. Your grandma's recipe will become thicker and healthier. Chances are no one will notice. Use the same technique for lentils. The red ones take less cooking time then the green ones, ten minutes instead of thirty, and you can also add and mix in any soup or sauce.
Another fun way to use tofu on a favorite dish, is with tofu pepperoni, available at your grocery store (Yves Veggies is a good brand). Simply place those little round things on your homemade pizza. You will eliminate hundreds of calories in fat. When preparing the list of ingredients for your next vegetarian pizza, you might as well choose a thin whole wheat crust and low fat cheese.
These two recipes are highly recommended by Johanne Vezina, a well established nutritionist. Johanne is a collaborator for French Canadian television shows and local news papers as well. Her office is located in the Montreal suburbs. She knows all the tricks in the book to become the healthiest you can be and the slimmest as well. A couple of months ago, I was part of a group she organized to visit a supermarket. You must wonder: "Why in the world would you need a bilingual guide to visit the supermarket?" Johanne came up with this activity, to educate people on how to better choose your food groups, how to read food labels on the back of a package, and explain what an actual portion is.
If you are in the Montreal area, you can get information on the dates of her next visits. You can take an appointment for a one-on-one consultation on nutrition, diet and any particular health problem that necessitates a change in your eating habits. She speaks both English and French. Needless to say, it's very unlikely you will ever meet an overweight nutritionist! For an appointment you can contact her at the Bergeron Jutras Fournier Pharmacy in Longueuil at 450-677-6366.