What’s your healthier eating goal for the New Year? Maybe it’s eat more fruits and vegetables, add more whole grains or pack in more protein for satiety.
If it’s all three, I have a few easy ways to accomplish that right away. From party appetizers and entrees for entertaining, to weeknight meals and breakfast meats, there’s a pork pick for everyone!
Goal: Eat more whole grains and vegetables.
My Ham Party Pinwheels help you easily do that. And they’re the perfect no-bake, no-cooking, so-easy party appetizer! Use 100% whole wheat flour tortillas instead of white flour tortillas to up your “at least one-half daily” whole grain intake. Fill with sliced ham from the deli – it’s always a very lean, high protein meat option. Then sprinkle with diced colorful bell peppers for a small dose of vegetables.
- 4 whole wheat flour tortillas (6-8 inch diameter size)
- 1 (8 oz.) package light reduced fat cream cheese, softened
- 8-12 large slices deli honey or smoked ham
- ½ to 1 cup very finely diced red bell pepper (orange, yellow or green if desired)
- Spread every whole wheat flour tortilla with several tablespoons light cream cheese, completely covering to edges. Completely cover with several slices ham. Sprinkle with several tablespoons diced red bell pepper. Starting at one end, roll very tightly. Cut each rolled tortilla into 6 pinwheels (reserve ends for a snack since they won't look as crisply cut as the inside pieces.)
Goal: Eat More Fruit.
My Bacon Wrapped Dates fit that bill. Dates – and all dried fruits – count as nutrient-rich fruit servings. Dates are rich in fiber and potassium, too. Naturally sweet. This appetizer can be easily customized with your favorite cheese inside that slit date and even your favorite nut (walnuts or pecans). And since each cheese & nut-filled date is wrapped with 1/2 slice bacon, they are the perfect example of “blending and balancing” in my book. That means combining nutrient-rich foods/ingredients with the tasty decadence of bacon! But lest you think bacon is nothing but fat, celebrate the fact bacon does provide some protein. In fact, 2 slices cooked bacon contributes around 7 grams protein.
- 18 Medjool dates
- 8-12 ounces cheese (Kim used Asiago and Butterkase)
- 36 roasted, salted whole almonds
- 9 thick-cut slices bacon, cut in half
- Preheat oven to 400⁰F. Slice dates length-wise to remove pit and make cavity for cheese. Cut cheese into rectangle pieces roughly the size of the date slit. Stuff cavity with piece of cheese. Place two almonds in cheese area also, pressing firmly. Wrap half slice of bacon around date and secure with toothpick. Place on large rimmed baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes, then turn and bake additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until bacon is desired crispness. Cool a couple minutes then transfer to serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers in tightly covered container.
Goal: Eat More Vegetables.
Well then grab that large rimmed baking sheet, cover with foil and get roasting! You can oven-roast so many vegetables, from green beans and carrots, butternut and acorn squash, beets and parsnips, cauliflower and broccoli, and Brussels sprouts and asparagus. My Bacon Wrapped Asparagus recipe is a fun and festive way to enjoy this nutrient-rich vegetable – it’s filled with potassium, fiber and vitamins A, B and C.
- 2 bunches (about 1 pound each) asparagus, ends trimmed
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
- 1 pound thick-cut sliced bacon
- Heat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease or spray a large rimmed baking sheet (18x13-inch). Arrange asparagus spears on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, turning spears to coat all sides. Sprinkle with seasoning. Divide asparagus into 12-14 bundles, with six to eight spears in each bundle roughly. (Depends on how thin/thick the asparagus spears are.) Wrap one full slice of bacon around each bundle from top to bottom, leaving some of the tips and ends showing. Place bacon-wrapped bundles on baking sheet in two rows, with loose end of bacon on bottom (to secure it while it cooks), and the trimmed ends near outside edges of the pan. Roast until bacon is cooked, about 20-25 minutes. Remove bundles to tray/plate and serve immediately.
Goal: Eat More Lean Protein.
Bone-in pork loin and center cut chops. Boneless pork loin chops. Loin roast. Ham. Canadian bacon. Pork tenderloin. Just a few of the most widely enjoyed pork choices that also happen to be extremely lean, heart healthy and protein-packed. Why the emphasis on protein? Because protein is needed for building and replenishing and lean protein especially promotes optimal heart health.
In addition, recent research supports the positive impact on weight loss and weight maintenance by eating plenty of protein at EVERY meal, not just dinner for example. Protein provides satiety, that feeling of fullness and satisfaction, which helps prevent overeating throughout day. Aim for 20 to 30 grams protein at EVERY meal. It’ll also help minimize age-related muscle loss as you age.
Quick breakfast comment: if you’re aiming to add more protein to breakfast to achieve that 20-30 grams, choose ham and Canadian bacon more often than sausage and bacon. Why? They’re lower in calories and fat grams, yet extremely high in protein. A 3-ounce serving of Ham for example provides roughly 15 grams protein with only a couple grams fat. This translates to better for your heart.
My Oven Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Espresso Rub is not only flavor-filled and stays lean from that fat-free rub, but it’s ready in under 30 minutes. Best of both worlds. h, and did you know? The pork tenderloin is leaner than a boneless skinless chicken breast by a tiny amount! Keep it moist and flavorful by using an instant read thermometer and taking it out of the oven when that thermometer reaches 145 degrees. It’ll still be slightly pink in center and that is perfectly safe to eat and enjoy…and it’ll be flavor-filled and moist.
- Spicy Espresso Rub
- 3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- 1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
- 1 very firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
- ¾ teaspoon ancho chile powder
- 1½ teaspoons Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 pork tenderloins, at least 2½ pounds total
- Heat oven to 425 degrees.
- Whisk espresso powder, spices and herbs together in a medium bowl. Completely coat all sides and edges of pork tenderloin with rub. Place coated tenderloins on greased/sprayed 10x15-inch rimmed baking sheet. Roast until pork reaches 145 degrees on instant read thermometer, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let rest at least 3 minutes before slicing.
Goal: Eat More Vegetables and Make Quick Meals.
Then whip up a batch of Mexican Pork and Bean Soup, because it’s ready in under 45 minutes and it contains lots of onion, garlic, tomatoes and pinto beans. Those are all the vegetables in this soup. Serve a big bowl with some crusty bread, maybe a side salad if you want and you’ve got a nutrient-rich, balanced meal. My recipe below features the adaptations I’ve made from the original version from the National and Indiana Pork organizations. Because I want more spice and heat. And also more of ground pork benefits: protein, B-vitamins, iron and zinc for optimal health and immune-boosting power.
- 1¼ pounds lean ground pork
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 2 cans (14.5 oz.) lower sodium chicken broth
- 1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes with jalapenos
- 1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¾ teaspoon ground ancho chili pepper
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- In a large stock pot, brown and crumble ground pork. Stir in onion and garlic, cooking until onion is soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in all remaining ingredients, then bring to a boil. Lower heat immediately and simmer about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Recipe adapted by culinary dietitian Kim Galeaz; original recipe from ForkMorePork.com
Good luck with your smart eating goals in 2019. And remember, start small. One or two tiny changes that can easily be incorporated in your lifestyle. Give yourself permission to enjoy and eat favorite foods. Balance all choices. Savor. Positive attitude. No fear, angst, guilt.
Disclosure: As a proud supporter of Indiana agriculture and farmers, I’m happy to say this is a sponsored post for Indiana Pork on behalf of Indiana’s 3000 Pork Farmers. All content is created solely by me and all opinions are mine. Learn more about sustainable pork production at www.ForkMorePork.com