The Carnivore’s Guide to Meatless Monday

10/21/2013 at 02:46 PM ET

Hungry Girl Portobello Burger
Carin Krasner/Getty

Lisa Lillien is the author of the popular Hungry Girl website and email newsletter, featuring smart, funny advice on guilt-free eating.

She is also the author of eight Hungry Girl cookbooks, five of which debuted at number one on the 
New York Times Best Sellers list. Read her blog every Monday for slimmed-down celebrity recipes and more. 

Celebs like Kristen Bell and Jessica Chastain swear by a meat-free lifestyle. (Bell and new husband Dax Shepard were actually named PETA’s Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrities of 2013!) Going vegetarian, even for some of your meals, can save a ton of fat grams and calories.

I get it, though—it can be tough to think about giving up meat, even if you’re just trying Meatless Monday on for style. The trick: Don’t think about going veg as trading in your T-bone for tofu. There are dozens of clever food swaps that taste downright meaty. Here are some of my most satisfying picks:

Portobello mushrooms. These plump ‘shrooms are so versatile and easy to use. For a beef-fajita fix, slice a portobello cap into strips; sauté with fajita seasoning, onions, and peppers; and scoop into tortillas with salsa. Yum. In the mood for chili? Add chopped portobellos for ground-beef taste and texture. And then there’s always the classic portobello burger!

Meatless wings. Hello, football season! If you’re looking for lightened-up tailgate food, you should have these on your grocery list. I love the wings from Lightlife (4 wings for 100 calories and 2.5g fat). I also make a dipping sauce by mixing ranch seasoning into fat-free Greek yogurt. It’s way creamier than fat-free ranch from the bottle.

Soyrizo. This swap for chorizo sausage tastes great, and it’s so much lower in fat than the real deal. An ounce has about 50 calories and 3g fat, while the same amount of pork or beef chorizo has around 120 calories and 10g fat. Brands like Melissa’s, El Burrito and Frieda’s make the yummy faux sausage. Scramble with egg whites for a zesty morning meal!

Ground-beef-style soy crumbles. This freezer-aisle find is a major time-saver. I love that I can just scoop out some crumbles and put the bag back in the freezer, rather than deal with an open package of raw ground meat. And with only about 125 calories and 2.5g fat per cup, it’s much lower in fat than ground beef—even 80% lean ground beef packs nearly 300 calories in just 4oz., and that’s before cooking! Give Boca’s Ground Crumbles a try the next time you make tacos. I promise, you’ll be impressed!

‘Til next time, chew the right thing!

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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Zachery Johannessen on

vergleich versicherung Maklerzentrum

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