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Lasagna, Lightened Up

With meat, cheese, and a ton of pasta, it’s no wonder this bad boy carries 1,000-plus calories per serving.

You can create a lasagna masterpiece that is leaner, and here’s how.

The Noodles

Lasagna is usually a huge meal with lots of leftovers.

If you’re worried about overeating at dinner, a good idea to cut calories is to use half the noodles in the box and make a smaller lasagna plate.

 The best choice to switch from white rice noodles to whole-wheat noodles won’t cut calories but will add fiber.

Many people don’t get the recommended 28-40 grams of fiber daily, and I’m always working with my clients to figure out ways to increase their fiber intake.

If you want to cut out pasta altogether, use mushrooms, zucchini, or eggplant instead.

Layer them as you would pasta and they’ll make your taste buds sing.

The Meat

Ground chuck is the fattiest cut of beef for cooking. It’s the most flavorful as well.

Look for 90-95% lean ground beef. Use about a third of the amount your recipe calls for.

You can also mix various lean meats with beef such as ground bison, veal, or turkey.

An idea you might want to try is combining half the ground beef with beans or chopped mushrooms, which adds tons of fiber and easily cuts out the fat.

You can also make seafood lasagna, which is a healthy way to eat seafood.

Want to mix things up a bit? Combine texturized vegetable protein (a.k.a. “TVP”) with half the ground beef.

TVP has no cholesterol and is a good source of protein.

I love using this to top off dishes with a bit of extra texture, from savory and spicy ingredients to sweet flavors.

The Cheese

Choose part-skim ricotta and mozzarella. Adding grated Parmesan will add calories, but just 1/4 teaspoon per serving adds 5 grams of protein and 8 grams of

Use a tablespoon or two for added flavor, or skip this step if you can.

The Sauce

It’s best to mix diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, and lots of fresh herbs like parsley and basil in a food processor to make a delicious homemade tomato sauce. Use as much or as little oil as you’d like.

It’s 1,200 calories per cup.

When using ready-made sauces, steer clear of those containing added sugars.

A Winning Combination

More isn’t always better when it comes to the final filling mix.

Eat fewer animal products and more vegetables.

There are a few things you can do to substitute the meat in slow cooker recipes.

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