Lean protein is certainly something that I incorporate into my diet. I am not a vegetarian.
Sometimes I make vegetarian meals; I know protein alternatives other than meat, and I have done a three-day vegetarian cleanse before. However, I enjoy cooking different types of meat and experiencing all of the diverse flavors.
One of my favorite sources of protein is fish. One fish in particular, tilapia, is one of my favorites because of the texture and lightness. The flavor is not overbearing and there are a lot of different ways to cook and serve this fish.
Here are my top most-tempting ways to eat tilapia:
1. Lemon pepper tilapia with vegetables: Season the fish with fresh ground black pepper on both sides and squeeze fresh lemon on top. Sautee the tilapia in extra virgin olive oil with fresh chunks of garlic heated in a saucepan and cook on both sides about 5 to 8 minutes on medium temperature. Serve with sautéed broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus and bell peppers.
2. Tilapia burrito bowl: Layer a bowl with brown rice, black beans, sautéed vegetables and lemon pepper tilapia, avocado and salsa.
3. Tilapia wrap: Fill a whole-grain tortilla with lemon pepper tilapia, spinach, spicy or regular mustard, 1 teaspoon vinaigrette and any other vegetables that you have that you need to eat, get out of the refrigerator or just like. The more vegetables you stuff in the there, the fuller you will become on fewer calories -- plus vegetables have a lot of fiber and they taste awesome.
4. Tilapia tacos: Use corn tortillas or whole-grain flour taco tortillas and fill with tilapia, sautéed in olive oil seasoned with black pepper, red hot chili pepper flakes and cumin, avocado, fresh lime, cilantro and pico de gallo. Serve with black beans and brown rice.
5. Tilapia tostada: Fry a corn tortilla in a pan with olive oil and then pat with a paper towel to remove excess grease. Top with black beans, brown rice, lemon pepper tilapia, avocado, diced jalapenos and mushrooms sautéed in olive oil and garlic.
6. Tilapia panini: On two slices of whole-wheat sourdough bread put Laughing Cow spreadable cheese (garlic and herb flavor), followed by one slice of reduced-fat Swiss cheese, tilapia, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado and sprouts. Cook in a panini maker, portable countertop grill or on the stovetop like you would a grilled cheese sandwich. If you want to put something on the outside of the panini for crispiness, use I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray. That allows you to avoid the extra calories and still get the desired flavor -- and crunch.
Obviously tilapia is not the only source of protein in my diet, yet it is my absolute favorite and I eat it every week.
The reason behind all of the different ideas using one protein is cost and quantity. Usually you can get more meat at a lower price if you buy multiples or in bulk. Sometimes it can be expensive to purchase lots of different types of meat at once.
Eating healthy does not have to be repetitive or boring if you try to make it as tasty as possible and don't eat the same thing every night. Take any of your favorite protein sources and substitute them in for these meals.
That will give you a lot of different options for nutritious and healthy meals that won't break the bank.
Lunden Souza can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.