How to Give Your Favorite Foods a Healthy Makeover

Rachel Krause

Photo: Getty Images

Whether you’re on a serious diet or just trying to improve your eating habits, giving up some of your favorite foods is nothing short of a tragedy, especially when your favorite foods are high-calorie, super-salty, super-delicious things that can’t usually be found on any “healthy things to eat” list of note.

This is my conundrum: It’s not that I don’t like a good leafy green from time to time, or that I’ve made up my mind that healthy food is just not for me. It’s that no matter what fad “diet” or health kick I’m on, I can still sniff out a slice of pizza, a Chipotle burrito, or a chicken curry from several miles away and then go there to eat it in record time.

I met with Stafford R. Broumand, M.D. to discuss his Doctor’s Detox, a food rehabilitation program. As one of the top plastic surgeons in New York City, Dr. Broumand took note of the fact that many of his patients wanted “quick fix” weight loss solutions and surgeries without considering an overall diet or lifestyle change. He found that many recipients of weight loss surgeries ended up back where they had started from with their bodies, because they quickly readopted their old habits post-surgery, rather than sticking to a proper wellness plan.

With the help of dietician Jacqueline Stein, Dr. Broumand developed a detox diet that’s much less like a diet and more like, well, a plan for normal, healthy eating, based around foods rich in antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals. The program includes what Stein and Dr. Broumand call “Food Facelifts,” a health-conscious makeover for your favorite meals. Jacqueline and a skilled chef work together to create healthy, low-calorie dishes modeled after patients’ favorite meals, using ingredients that are proven to aid the body.

These three recipes, straight from Stein and the program’s chef, are adaptations of popular foods with a fraction of the calories, fat, sodium content, and more. They’re amazing to cook and eat on their own, but these food makeovers are also a worthwhile lesson in how you can take the fundamentals of your favorite guilty pleasure foods and strip them down into something that you don’t have to feel guilty about. The possibilities are endless.

Serves: 1 pizza
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

1 tortilla (high fiber whole wheat tortilla)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can organic tomatoes, crushed, canned
1/2 tbsp rosemary, fresh
5 leaves basil, fresh
1/4 cup, shredded nonfat mozzarella cheese

Blend can of tomato with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste.
Warm on stove.
Toast tortilla in toaster oven until crisp but not too browned.
Shred fresh mozzarella as best as possible and press with paper towel to absorb water.
Remove tortilla with spatula, maintain toast temperature in oven.
Spread thin layer of warm sauce.
Add mozzarella cheese and place in the oven. Broil at 450 degrees.
Toast for an additional 3-5 minutes, checking to be sure that the edges of the crust are not burning.
Remove pizza, quarter with a knife, drizzle 1/2 tbsp. olive oil, and garnish with basil if desired.

Nutrition Facts: 284.2 calories, 140.4 calories from fat, 16g total fat, 1.9g saturated fat, 5.1mg cholesterol, 607.6mg sodium, 21.6g total carbohydrate, 10.4g dietary fiber, 6.7g sugars, 16.4g protein.

Chipotle Burrito
Serves: 1
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes

1 flax wrap
8 oz chicken breast
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cayenne chili powder
1 tbsp paprika
1 tomato, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup, diced red onion
1 avocado

Heat skillet on high with 1/2 tbsp oil.
Slice chicken breast into 1/4 inch pieces and season with salt and pepper, cayenne, and paprika.
When the oil starts to smoke, add the chicken to the skillet.
After two minutes, flip with a spatula or tongs, and press down on the individual pieces.
Add tomato, garlic, and onion. Toss and continue cooking on high for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.
Add pepper and reduce heat to low, pressing the tomatoes to extract the juice. Cook for 3 additional minutes.
Slice avocado lengthwise and remove from skin. Set aside.
Warm flax wrap in toaster oven until pliable.
Remove the burrito filling from the stove.
Place in wrap, roll, and garnish with salsa and avocado.

Nutrition Facts: 480.8 calories, 24.6g total fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 41mg cholesterol, 70.1mg sodium, 38g total carbohydrate, 8g dietary fiber, 7g sugar, 17.9g protein

Chicken Curry
Serves: 2
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

8 oz chicken breast, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger root, minced
1/2 cup, diced red onion
1/2 cup, diced vidalia onion
1 tsp coriander, ground
1 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp mustard seed
1 tbsp paprika
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
1 lime
1 tbsp vinegar, champagne
1 cup (8 fl oz) water
1 cup brown rice, long grain, cooked
2 tbsp tamarind paste
1 habanero pepper

For tamarind paste: Combine 1 1/2 tbsp dried tamarind chopped, 1/2 habanero, and 1 1/2 tbsp hot water. Let mixture sit for about 5 minutes. Blend all ingredients in a blender.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil until oil begins smoking.
Season chicken with salt and pepper.
Add chicken to pan.
Sear the outside edges of the chicken to lock in moisture, about 30 seconds each side.
Add garlic, ginger, and onions to pan. Continue sautéing on high heat for about one minute.
Add all of the ground spices and continue to cook for one minute.
Add liquids, cloves, cinnamon stick, and tamarind paste.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low, cover pan, and simmer for six minutes.
Remove from heat, let ingredients rest covered for three minutes or longer for flavors to develop, then garnish with cilantro, and serve with rice.

Nutrition Facts: 379.5 calories, 30.8 calories from fat, 3.5g total fat, 0.4g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 107.4mg sodium, 47.2g total carbohydrate, 6.8g dietary fiber, 12.8g sugar, 39.9g protein

Read more: 10 Surprising Diet Myths Debunked

Promoted Stories