Ask the Domestic Life Stylist: Lighten Up Meat & Potato Dishes

Ask The Domestic Life Stylistlisa-domestic-life-stylist

Lisa our resident fine living expert answers your questions each Thursday.

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In my home, I do most of the cooking. The problem is, while I enjoy eating and preparing lighter dishes that are loaded with vegetables and light on starch, I am married to a meat and potatoes kind of guy. What are some ways that I can include more vegetables and lighten up meals around here and still keep smiles around the dinner table?
~Jacqueise, Maryland

Meat & Potatoes 466x700

Dinner time can be a challenging time in many households. I imagine that meatloaf and potatoes, beefy lasagna and spaghetti & meatballs dishes  would make your husband really happy. Here are some ideas to lighten things up, add more vegetables to the mix and still keep both you and your meat and potatoes guy happy.

Ground beef is one of those ingredients that is easy, versatile and the cornerstone for comfort food dishes like meatloaf, burgers and spaghetti and meatballs dishes that keep people smiling. Just the mere mention of the word “meatloaf” conjures up fond memories for many. Make sure to take this into consideration when tackling your new dinner menu. Here are some easy substitutions that can help you lighten things up around your dinner table.

Make a Swap


The next time you are making a recipe that calls for ground beef, swap out one quarter to a half of the ground beef for some blended vegetables  instead. Veggies like carrots, celery and even zucchini are almost unrecognizable when baked up in a meatloaf. Not only are you getting the adding benefit of extra nutrition but swapping some of the beef in meat loaf dishes is a great way to stretch the grocery budget and veggies add a lot of moisture too.


Another way to lighten things up is to use poultry instead of beef in your ground meat dishes. These days ground chicken, pork and turkey are easily accessible in most grocery stores. If you don’t see it, just ask the butcher, they will be happy to help you out.


Oatmeal is an easy and delicious way to add fiber while lightening up your favorite ground beef recipes. That’s what Janice did in this mashed potatoes topped meatloaf recipe. Take it a step further and serve your the meatloaf  or any other meat dish with a side of high fiber veggies or a plant based grain like quinoa instead. The fiber in the vegetables will keep your family satiated.

Textured Vegetable Protein

Using textured Vegetable Protein or TVP is a great way to lighten up ground beef dishes without compromising flavor. TVP is great in dishes like lasagna, and I promise he won’t even miss the meat.

Starch Switcharoo

Starchy staples like baked potatoes, pasta and mashed potatoes can be swapped with things like plain sweet potatoes, spaghetti squash and mashed cauliflower instead. The mashed cauliflower even looks like mashed potatoes when prepared. I’ve got a sweet potato recipe made with yummy things like rosemary and cranberries that your whole family will love.

Portion Control

In addition to the tips above, encourage your spouse to fill up half of his plate with plant-based foods by having them readily available during dinner.  According to, the remaining half of the plate should be equally divided between protein and grains. That means only a quarter of the plate is supposed to be protein. Wow! That certainly puts things into perspective doesn’t it?

The bottom line is meat and potatoes are tasty and fine when eaten in moderation. But, if you are looking for ways to lighten things up around your dinner table, these tips will certainly give you and your “meat and potatoes” hubby a running start.


Come back on Thursday for another edition of “Ask The Domestic Life Stylist”.

Submit a question here.

You can also tweet a question to Dlifestylist on Twitter or email me at ask{at}thedomesticlifestylist{dot}com. I will select one question to answer every Thursday.

If you are a blogger, this is a great chance to have us feature and link to your blog.

Lisa is a pharmacist turned fine living/travel writer & founder of The Domestic Life Stylist, following her passion for all things food, family and travel. Read more of her lifestyle tips on her blog, learn effective fine living strategies, family travel tips and expand your culinary horizons. 





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