Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Polenta Tapenade

I've been sharing with you the meal plan I have been enjoying for the last few weeks. As you might have noticed each of these posts has featured what in the recent past was referred to as a "small meal". The plan's premise is rather simple - enjoy 4 small, well-balanced meals - at about 400 calories each - per day. The theory is that eating smaller meals at regular intervals, no more than 4 hours apart (the 4-4-4 plan) prevents blood sugar spiking and keeps you satisfied, avoiding cravings and that "too-hungry-to-wait-for-anything-other-than-a-candy bar" feeling! The menus that I create also rely heavily on whole grain, natural and organic choices. Finally the real reason I love and can easily follow this plan is that full flavored fats are allowed - actually required - in rather generous quantities. Each dish includes a small serving of a monounsaturated fat, generally about 100-150 calories. Foods that fit that category are considered staples of a Mediterranean-style diet: avocados, dark chocolate, olive oil, canola oil, high-oleic safflower oil, olives and nuts. Well, yum! Once you get your pantry stocked with a few go-to staples it's easy to create new dishes, or tweak existing favorites. This dish was inspired by the polenta that used to be a regular treat in my house when I was growing up - before it was served in every Italian restaurant not called a pizzeria. Cut 3 slices from a tube of prepared Polenta (4 oz) and grill, preferably on a ridged, non-stick griddle coated with a bit of cooking spray. When heated through and crisp, arrange on a plate. Top each with Black Olive Tapenade (3 T), Marinara Sauce  or Tomato Bruschetta (1/2 c), Fat Free Ricotta (1/2 c), Low Fat Mozzarella (1 oz) and some Fresh Herbs. Buon appetito!

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