February 23, 2012

Yet another poll! What Are Your Work Horse Foods?

The participation on these polls has been great, and I've heard from quite a few people who say they've learned a lot from them. So here's another question for you:

Whatever diet you're eating, what are the foods you have come to rely on the most when you don't feel like doing fancy cooking or being creative?


Jenny said...

My workhorse foods include:

1. Plain Greek yogurt (0 and 2% because I'm calorie sensitive) mixed with sunflower seeds or walnuts and a dash of DaVinci sugar free syrup. I like the Fage, Olympos, and Chobani brands. The other's aren't as thick or satisfying. This is my default meal if I can't think of anything else to eat.

2. Alvarado Street sprouted multigrain bread. I can eat one slice without going over my blood sugar targets. It's made with sprouted whole grains and no flour, soy, or corn syrup which I avoid.

This bread wouldn't have worked for me before I was using safe diabetes meds, but it does now and because I never was happy not eating grains it keeps me happy. Note: I have no problem with gluten. I've gone gluten free for long periods and seen no difference in my health.

3. Hard cheese. Right now it's the Trader Joe's Toscano. I will have 1/2 an ounce as a snack.

4. Teddy's Chunky Peanut Butter. PB has been my default food since I was a kid. I use a smear on my slice of breakfast bread or on low carb crackers, and sometimes I mix a tablespoon it with a scoop of protein powder to make another filling, nutritious snack. I do watch portion size as PB is very high in calories.

Kiri said...

currently my favourite snack when I have an attack of the munchies is macadamia nuts.


20-50g of macadamia nuts = 1 handful.

And my blood sugar barely moves.

Pem said...

Plain Greek yogurt, these days usually mixed with homemade applesauce. A smoothie made with coffee, very dark chocolate, a banana, some plain yogurt, coconut and MCT oil, and a leaf of kale. Spinach, goat cheese and raisin salad. Pork butt cooked at 325 for 5-6 hours--not quick to make but a delicious start to many meals.

dallyup52 said...

1. Plain Greek Yogurt 0% (since the 2% costs more) with my homemade granola in it. Granola is baked whole rolled oats, whole rolled barley, sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds, sesame seeds, flax, pumpkin seeds and almond butter.

2. 3 scrambled eggs (mostly whites) with a piece of toasted seed bread and half a grapefruit.

3. cashews (small quantities)

4. Homemade lentil soup with kale and tofu and chicken in it. I keep a pot of it in the frig.

Ukan River said...

Boiled Eggs
(Stilton) Cheese

Nigel Kinbrum said...

1) Pork belly strips.
2) Sweet chilli sauce.
3) Tesco Market Value stir-fry veg mix.

Recipe: Put 1) in a glass casserole dish. Pour on 2) to taste, then pour 3) over the top. Microwave until cooked, then leave until cool enough to eat. The huge variety of flavours from the stir-fry veg mix makes this a meal I never tire of.

For snacks, Brazil nuts + ready-to-eat prunes, or small tins of sardines in tomato purée.

For toast, Burgen Soya & Linseed bread (11.9g of carbs/slice).

Unknown said...

When I need to watch my weight I often make coconut flour brownies (1/3 cup coconut flour, 1/3 cup butter, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 6 eggs, stevia to taste, baked for ~35 min at 350F), and try to eat little else for the day.

Coffee with heavy cream. Add a few almonds and that's lunch in the summer.

TJ turkey burgers are *convenient*.

Hard boiled eggs. (I've found that the more eggs I eat, the better I do. I do get sick of them so I take breaks once in a while!)


I used to get pork skin from a bbq shack, freeze it, and heat it up under the broiler when there was nothing else to eat. You can only eat so much of that before you're really full, so it helped keep my weight down!

Ground meat + dark leafy greens + salt/seasonings + water = soup.

Smoothies (ice, berries, yogurt, stevia, cococa), or even just berries with cream, can be addictive and make it hard to maintain weight.

Louise Wilson Bernero said...

Belgian Waffles-Low Carb. I use 2 eggs,1 packet of stevia sweetener and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon....put it all in magic bullet..blend til smooth...let rest for 2 min til bubbles settle. In my waffle iron this batch will make 2 waffles. I make up several batches at a time and divide the waffle into 4 pieces and freeze. I can take a piece out of freezer and pop into my toaster over for a few min and top with a Tbs. of PB.....yummmmy!!
You will never know they are low carb. I have also fixed them by adding a Tbs. or 2 of Almond flour.

IMQTPI said...

darchi yetpinggTuna salad made with celery seeds and a dash of Splenda, smeared on pork-rinds (sounds gross, but it's surprisingly good).

Egg-salad (all by itself) is a good, filling snack.

Sweet Snacks:

Cottage cheese (4%) w/sugar-free home-made jam (or SF syrup).

Protein shakes made with greek yogurt, frozen (unsweetened) strawberries and a dash of cream.

Pork rinds tossed with Splenda and cinnamon - taste almost like churros. (although I wish they made low-sodium pork rinds).

Softened cream cheese with a tsp of Nestle Fat-Free Hot Cocoa is *almost* like chocolate cheesecake!

Unknown said...

1. Salads with low-carb vegetables and a squirt of home-made no-carb French-type dressing that I always have plenty of. Throw a can of tuna on top or some left-over meat (eg roast lamb), and it's a great meal.

2. Roasted almonds (grab a small handful when passing).

3. Vita Wheat 9 Grain Crackers (Australian, 7g for two), fill like a deli sandwich with corned beef and cheese, or even just with Aussie Vegemite.

4. Hass avocados with homemade mayo or some soft cheese and smoked salmon.

5. Sashimi tuna, salmon or kingfish with a hint of soy sauce, lemon and sesame oil, and a wakame salad (without the usual sweet dressing).

I love cooking, but these are my favourite, easy, go-to meals when I'm tired or busy.

Louise Wilson Bernero said...

Sorry.....need to edit my post on Belgian Waffles. I left out an ingredient....add 2oz. Cream Cheese!

IMQTPI said...

Clarification: darchi yetpingg is not a food! (so don't try to Google it!)

I think that was a misplaced Word Verification! Ha! Sorry!

Andrea Ceasar said...

What is the full recipe for belgian lo carb waffles?

Jenny said...


You had me fooled. After watching Top Chef for so long, I assume anything really odd sounding is not only a food, but a very expensive, and possibly disgusting food that I would pay top dollar for in a cutting edge restaurant.

RachaelHD said...

1. Quick sauteed veggies with a fried egg and some cheese on top.

2. Chicken Feta sausages.

3. Half an apple and a hand-full of nuts or some cheese. (More than half an apple moves my blood sugar too much.)

4. Flax seed crackers with cheese and ham.

5. Boiled eggs and a small hand-full of dried fruit.

6. Egg nog made with cream, a very small amount of honey, egg yolks, and beaten egg whites. A mug satisfies my need for a creamy dessert without moving my blood sugar at all.

chmeee said...

For lunch, if I can't bothered - and I really can't be for work tomorrow, so.... - it is always Stilton ( the blue variety, usually from the dairy a couple of miles down the road in the next village ) and prosciuttto crudo ( Italian dry cured ham - NEVER cooked - and ideally Parma ham though that is even more expensive. Then for afters, if I am truly knackered, a grapefruit but more usually, full fat ( 10% )Greek style yoghurt - seems to be a favourite with others also ? - and some berries to mix in. If we get back late at weekends, then sometimes it is good sausages, with baked beans. The kids love them, as do my wife and I and it is quick.

A snack is invariably a handful of walnuts or brazils - usually walnuts - and of course dark chocolate ( 85% cocoa solid - the only sort to have. 90% is a little too bitter, 70% is too sweet ). And then maybe some more dark chocolate and a glass - or two, or even three.... - of red wine. Works for me ! :)

Anna said...

Not very popular it seems, but xylitol is a mainstay in my pantry, since I find stevia pretty weird-tasting and bitter.

I use eggs in many ways. They're great for breakfast but also in quick breads, cakes and muffins with almond flour, coconut flour or flax meal. I also use them for making low-carb ice cream.

Cream cheese is a great baking staple too, works in waffles (as above) and also pancakes, those "oopsie roll" things, and cheesecake (with plenty of eggs).

Mexican-style toppings: guacamole, grated cheddar cheese, salsa, sour cream - all homemade - are nice to have on hand to put on anything.

Almonds, for making almond milk and almond flour.

Coconuts, fresh and dried flakes, for snacking, along with other nuts and seeds (no cashews or pistachios).

Agar agar: interesting dessert experiments. Jellifies just about anything, including coffee.

Very dark chocolate and peanut butter, the latter sugar-free of course.

Cocoa powder, the unsweetened kind, for baking, ice cream, making "freezer chocolate" bars, almond milk hot chocolate, mixing into yogurt.

Full fat cream for coffee, stretching yogurt, make sauces, soups, and eating with dessert-like things.

A selection of really nice cheeses, so as not to feel deprived.

If this seems overly indulgent somehow, I am underweight and don't count calories.

Louise Wilson Bernero said...

Andrea...the full recipe for Belgian Waffles:

2 oz Cream Cheese
2 eggs
1 packet sweetner
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Put all ingredients in a blender(I used magic bullet)....Blend til smooth.Let rest for 2 minutes so the bubbles can settle.

I made two waffles in my waffle iron.

They are very delicate and freeze really good.

I also have added 2 tbs. Almond Flour and they were very good also.

Natalie said...

I am NOT a cook -- I'm almost NEVER creative. But my comfort foods are full-fat Greek yogurt (Greek Gods brand -- haven't tried the others) because the texture of the non-fat is awful, with sweetener and a little vanilla; small patty of bison or grass-fed beef, if available; black tea with sweetener and 2% milk; string cheese, shredded cabbage, carrots, diced celery, or baby spinach leaf salad. I don't really want grains or fruits, and I'm pretty happy with this stuff 95% of the time!

Carol said...

Pre-cooked chicken or meat casserole heated with frozen veg or lunchmeat rollups with cream cheese or mayo/mustard works for mid-day. Frozen blueberries with walnuts and yogurt or cream for evening meal.

Jenny said...

Please, no live links to pages selling products.

Noah said...

Eggs (generally scrambled or fried)

Grass-fed ground beef (with some chili powder or some sort of curry mix)


Frozen spinach

The majority of my meals involve some combination of the above. All cooked with a 50/50 mixture of coconut oil and home-made ghee.

I use a wide variety of spices, to keep things from getting monotonous (I recently discovered a brand of Thai curry pastes that don't have sugar added, Thai and True, and have been using that quite a bit, lately). When I use curry spices, I generally add a little coconut butter, as it complements the flavors very well.

When I've got a little extra money to spend, I buy salad greens and make spicy salads (usually with a little cheese and olive oil added in).

Rad Warrier said...

I don't cook; at home, my wife does the cooking. If she is not in a mood to cook, we eat out in restaurants. If we don't have the mood to go to restaurants, or if she is not well, I can cook rice. We take rice, yogurt and pickles. If left over curries are available, we take that too along with rice and yogurt. This is our "work Horse Food."


ShottleBop said...

1. Avocados--I have one nearly every day, for breakfast.

2. Mustard/collard/turnip greens, kale, spinach--part of at least 2 meals per day.

3. Sardines--packed in olive oil, WITH skin and bones (the additional protein in skinless/boneless sardines, I find, is sometimes too much for me).

4. Nuts/seeds: strictly limited to a scant handful or so at a time. Almonds, roasted pumpkin seeds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, macadamias, pistachios.

5. Eggs (often in an omelet, for dinner).

6. Minimally processed chicken sausages. (Easy at breakfast time.)

7. Unsweetened baking chocolate--an ounce or so, most days.

8. Homemade low-carb ice cream--a liter of coconut cream, flavoring (cocoa powder, instant coffee, Crystal Lite), stevia (if not using Crystal Lite), a little 151-proof rum to make it freeze a little softer, a few eggs.

Geoffrey Levens said...

"what are the foods you have come to rely on the most when you don't feel like doing fancy cooking or being creative?"
That'd be most of the time! Beans and non-starchy vegetables (mostly leaves). Toss in a premixed spice blend and some ground raw seeds or nuts and I'm there.

Deidrel said...

Wow I can't get away with rice, beans, or granola, and I really have to watch it with fruit.

Anna - I hated stevia for years but I've found that the new Rebiana-A formulations are not bitter (truvia, nustevia).

I'd forgotten to mention sardines! I like them best with red onion and lemon slices, or with "mexican toppings over head lettuce.

Homemade ice-cream sounds fabulous. Those of you who mentioned it - your recipes sound great but what kind of machine are you using?

Anna said...

My apologies - I totally missed that this list is about things to eat when you don't feel like cooking. Homemade ice-cream does require a lot of prep time!

Deidrel - I don't live in the states, so unfortunately I cannot buy Truvia etc. Maybe one day…

I use just a simple, non-branded, inexpensive ice-cream maker that works surprisingly well. Yields about 1 liter. It's the kind that has a bucket you need to put in the freezer for a few days (I just store it there) and a motor with a paddle that turns. It works well enough. What I didn't reckon with is that of sugar is a key structural and textural component in ice cream. So getting it right with another sweetener can be tricky.

ShottleBop said...

We bought the special ice cream kit (bowl and beater bars) for our KitchenAid mixer. Our freezer is small, however, and we hardly ever have room in it to put the freezer bowl--so we eventually stopped using the mixer. Now, Mrs. ShottleBop uses the regular beater and mixing bowl, pours the mixture into individual (maybe 1/2-cup) plastic storage containers that we buy at the 99-cent store, and just lets the freezer freeze them. (Out of the mixer, they make good shakes, too.) To eat one, I remove the top and microwave the cup for 20-25 seconds. One of my favorite flavors: Crystal Lite Lemonade with bits of cut-up ginger.

Scott S said...

Personally, I agree with the others, but not as an entree itself, but I find that plain Greek yogurt works anywhere much higher-calorie sour cream or creme fraische would go, so if I'm making a dip or something, that works quite well. However, I cannot truly say I have a workhorse food, but I do find making soup (non-creamy varieties) my lunch also works well. As for foods I eat too many of: nuts of any kind, almonds, peanuts, macadamia, pecans, brazil, filberts ... I love them all. For that reason, it may be better for me to make a low-cal spinach dip using greek yogurt and celery and carrot sticks rather than finishing a container of higher-cal nuts, even if they do have heart-healthy fats, they're still full of calories!

Denise said...

Inexpensive cuts of meat (beef 7-blade roast or chuck or pork shoulder, for example) cooked in the crockpot with a rub (Emeril's Essence). Dinner is ready when I get home that night, just add a simple salad. Then the next night, chop up some of the leftover meat, fry it up in a skillet until crispy, and serve with a fried egg on top. Throw some mushrooms or leftover cooked vegetables in when you're frying up the meat if you want.

One of my favorite quick salads right now is sauerkraut (I love Bubbie's) straight from the fridge, with a dollop of sour cream or full-fat Greek yogurt on top. It's delicious.

RLL said...

BRK - 3 eggs, and usually bacon, ham or sausage

Dinner - meat or fish, low carb veggies, but generous amounts of avocados, onion and tomato often.

Snacks - pickled herring (Costco has a reduced carb for cheap) peanut butter (I eat too many nuts if on hand). Leftovers from dinner.

My normal is 2 meals, and 2-3 one hundred calory snacks.

LCHF in Canada said...

When I don't feel like cooking but need to eat - It's often breakfast time so I make a very quick breakfast sandwich or burrito:

I throw ONE piece of sprouted-grain bread in the toaster (OR I use a low-carb tortilla)...

I coat a small plastic cup with butter, scramble one egg and pour it into the cup, then microwave it for one minute...

I get a couple slices of ham, or some pre-cooked bacon (I pre-cook bacon all the time and leave it in the fridge - 10 seconds in a microwave is all it takes then.) and a slice of cheese...

Then when the toast pops up I butter it, cut it in half, and make a half-sandwich out of the egg, ham, cheese, and a little cracked black pepper - or if using a low-carb tortilla just wrap it up...

I can do this in exactly 3 minutes now from the time I walk in the kitchen until I'm eating the food.

When using the toast with egg, cheese and 2 slices bacon my breakdown is:

Calories: 526
Carbs: 17g (5g fiber- 12g net)
Protein: 22g
Fat: 40g

hoggle said...

Great thread!

Lindt 90 percent chocolate
Mascarpone (I am weird..I. just snack on this straight for fun lol)
Kale chips
Cheese nuked on parchment paper in the microwave tastes awesome

rawbee64 said...

i like tuna fish,and a green salad. it used to be peanut butter and jelly with a side of chips but not anymore:)

Jan Blawat said...

Full fat plain Greek yogurt, mixed with a serving of no-sugar Jello and topped with nonsweetened whipped cream. That's my treat.

Otherwise, I eat a low carb microwave flaxseed meal muffin for breakfast with a hard boiled egg...always have hb eggs in the fridge.

Spinach salad with bacon bits.

Hand-ground peanut butter and celery.

Unsweetened baking chocolate.

Coralf said...

I added a carb free fibre supplement to my meals. It didn't show an immediate effect until I measured my average blood sugar over a week. I can effectively measure a difference of 1 mmol/l.

Increasing fat in my diet makes a noticeable difference on individual meals.

I do take some of the other known substances but haven't noticed any measurable difference.

I am a member of the 5% club due to low carbing and am now following LCHF principles.

LHL said...

I make quick almond flour low carb "risotto". Sautee an onion, green pepper, some celery stalks (always left over in the fridge), when soft add 2 cups ground almonds (almond flour), stir 1 minute then add 1.5 - 2 cups stock made with a cube and stir until thick, then add 2 cups grated cheddar and serve immediately. Looks a mess, tastes divine.
Serve with toasted sunflower seeds mixed with soy sauce (a snack on its own).

Patti Shank said...

Quest Protein Bars are my go tos when I need something to eat and don't want to cook... LOVE them, especially the coconut cashew and apple. I also travel with them and eat them for breakfast.

I also make up snax that I can nuke such as hot cereal made with flaxmeal, whey protein, and coconut flour and unswt dried cranberries.

Everything is very low carb.

Jenny, would love if folks shared their fav cookbooks.

Jenny said...

Lots of wonderful suggestions here. I'm going to have to try some of them.

Re cookbooks, I own several, but never ended up cooking more than one or two recipes out of any of them. They alway require ingredients I don't have on hand or take too much work.

I cooked home-cooked meals for my kids from scratch the whole time they were growing up at home. Now that they're gone I no longer have whatever hormone it is you need to want to cook. That's why I love the stuff you can throw together in just a few minutes.

Deidrel said...

Anna and ShottleBop - thanks for the ice cream making advice!

Okay I need a slow cooker and an ice cream maker. Not what I expected to get out of this thread, but hey!

S. Scott - the only thing I got out of the Blue Zone is that centenarians eat a lot of nuts.

Denise - I love sauerkraut. I have to watch how much I eat because the real stuff is expensive. I like it toasted with melted swiss cheese, like a partial Reuben (also, I like breadless Reubens, but they're not as fast/easy).

Rachael - I love that eggnog is one of your quick meals. I do this too, all December.

This isn't really a workhorse food, but Trader Joe's pate is both very filling and hard to wolf down, so it's a good in-between meal for me if I'm trying to cut back on calories and need a buffer for when I've cut back too much.

Lemon egg soup is not that many calories, but it is a very quick meal!

Jenny said...

Actually, the data on centenarians that Dr. Barzilai studied (a group that included my father) found that there were no common patterns at all to what they ate, or for that matter, whether they exercised. One third of them had been obese in their 50s, too.

My dad participated in the study. He ate a lot of yogurt, but also a lot of Special K, skim milk, and margarine. And he smoked.

Deidrel said...

Jenny: Figures. Thanks for the correction! Thanks also to your father for participating in the study.

Suzanne Garrett said...

I like adding a splash of heavy whipping cream to a couple of heaping tablespoons of Labne, and a bit of sugar-free Torani syrup.

If I'm having any g.i. sluggishness, a steamed artichoke dipped in home made olive oil mayo (recipe from Melissa Joulwan).

Hard boiled eggs from Trader Joe's (animal welfare conscious makes me feel a little better.)

Love a sauteed breakfast of olive oil roasted eggplant and zucchini (bagged from Trader Joe's frozen section), topped with hard cheese, chopped hard boiled eggs, and no-sugar added sausage.

Denise said...

I've discovered Queso Blanco, a white fresh cheese (I get it at Costco). You can fry it in a dry pan and it gets brown and crispy on the outside but doesn't melt all over the pan as, for example, cheddar does. Then I use it as a bread substitute with lunch meat or tuna salad. It's quick and easy, and you can pick up your "sandwich" in your hand and eat it just like one made with bread.

Anonymous said...

Breakfast is generally 4 eggs and small portion of lentils or an avocado. And coffee.

Slow cooked pork, beef, with some lentils or similar legumes. Plus sour cream. Lettuce salad with small tomato, cheeses,dressed with olive oil and vinegar. And coffee or a herbal tea.

Dinner: Looks like lunch plus green beans, dark green leafy
veggies. I often eat wild caught fish with this meal. Plus once a
week I do a soup based on cilantro
or parsley and some meat.

Snack: cheese, filberts, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pickled eggs, sour cream with cocoa and coffee.

The meat is laced with spices such
as turmeric, chili peppers, cumin,
celery seed, red pepper, and some
tomato product/tomato.

Understand I have a pretty high
burn rate due to exercise.

tinarama said...

So many great ideas here - thanks for sharing, everyone!
I'm all about fish these days. The frozen salmon burgers from Costco cook up on the stovetop in just a couple of minutes and are great on top of a pile of spinach with a few pecans and a splash of olive oil or crumble of blue cheese. You can also break them into pieces and wrap them in a leaf of romaine like a burrito – I add wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger (always have that in the fridge) – super fast, delicious, and will clear your sinuses right up!

I also love to make my famous un-bagel – one piece of Kavli thin crispbread with a smear of cream cheese, capers pressed into the cheese, a few threads of very thinly sliced red onion, and smoked salmon. The lox are very expensive but our deli sells little containers of the "trim" from the edges of the fish, very cheap and just as delicious, even if it doesn't look as pretty as the $30/lb kind. I also use it to "hide" my dog's pills in - you can wrap a little piece around just about anything!