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Adjusting to a new, healthier menu on a budget

My wife The Beloved Kim and I are both in our 40s. We’re overweight but in relatively good health and, like most people to be honest, neither of us cares much for exercise.

Like so many people our age, we’re discovering how difficult it is to maintain our health as we start to get a bit older. We’ve made strides in the last year or so to eat healthier, cut out pop and so on. Now, we have extra motivation.

Earlier this year, The Beloved Kim was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Knowing that I’m not quite there yet but I’m likely knocking on doors in that neighborhood, I’ve decided to join her in the quest to eat healthier and get control of our health again.

Besides…if I still eat like a child in front of her while she eats a bowl full of green things…she will eventually smother me while I sleep.

In this space, every now and then we will share some things we’ve learned and tips we’ve picked up along the way. Maybe some of it will be helpful to you if you find yourself in a situation similar to ours.

We will also pass along recipes for simple meals that are healthy but flavorful as we try new things and look for new ways to enjoy old things.

For example, the first thing we’ve learned is that eating healthier is a lot more expensive than eating “normally,” for lack of a better term. One hundred dollars doesn’t buy the same number of meals for us as it did before.

For our first item, we present a recent dinner so good we had it twice in one week. I truly enjoy grilling, and we did a fast Lawry’s Santa Fe Chili marinade on 6-oz. pork chops at about 380 calories each. A tablespoon of the marinade is only 20 calories and the sugar level was two or three grams, with four carbohydrates. This certainly put it within Kim’s dietary requirements.

We enjoyed chilled pineapple with it, which worked well with the slight spice of the marinade. The pineapple was in 100 percent juice rather than syrup.

We also prepared a new rice blend we’ve discovered from Minute called Multigrain Medley. It has brown, red and wild rice as well as quinoa. One cup is 220 calories, with one gram of sugar, 230 mg of sodium, six grams of fiber and a lot of flavor.

I don’t remember ever trying red rice before this. Now, I can’t get enough of it. The instructions on the rice list 2 tbsp. of oil as optional, but didn’t specify what kind of oil. We chose to use olive oil because it seemed healthier than the other options.

The first time we had this we also served it with corn, but sadly we didn’t have any for the second round and substituted a fruit instead. It made for a delicious meal with very little effort, and simple preparation. I think the longest part of the process was getting the grill to stay lit on a windy day.

Santa Fe Chili Chops


  • 4 to 6 6 oz. Boneless Pork Chops
  • 1 bottle of Lawry’s Santa Fe Chili Marinade


  1. Lightly season the pork with your favorite seasonings. We used Seasoned Meat Tenderizer, Garlic Powder and Onion Powder. Massage it into the chops.
  2. Pour the marinade over the chops, and let them marinade up to an hour.
  3. Grill them until cooked to desired color and safe temperature


We steamed one bag of frozen sweet corn the first time we prepared this dish; lightly buttered, salted and peppered to taste. The second time we tried it, we chilled a can of pineapple chunks instead of a vegetable.

We’ve quickly fallen in love with a rice mix from Minute called Multigrain Medley. Follow the directions on the box. Kim substituted chicken broth for water, and used olive oil. This truly gave the rice a distinct flavor.

Here’s to your health!

To follow Tommie Lee and The Beloved Kim on their journey to eat healthier, sign up for the Healthy Appetite email newsletter. You can also catch Tommie Lee on the Truth Radio Early Edition 1340 AM, weekdays from 6 to 9 a.m. and follow him on Twitter @heytommie

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