The fall temperatures have definitely set in here in Wisconsin and while I love summer, I’m welcoming the change with open arms. I’ve been using my grill less and less and finding myself pulling out my slow cooker more and more. Grilled cheeseburgers now turn to cheeseburger casserole and now is about the time that I start putting on my winter weight. Ugh. Yes, I know the cycle and this year I’m trying to do things differently with my diet. I’m switching to all things miniature like these Cheddar Ranch Shepherd’s Pie Muffins.
I’m not sure what it is about miniature food that brings me such joy. Perhaps it’s the fact that it’s so adorable or maybe it’s the fact that ultimately miniature food means better portion control. Portion control can be really important when it comes to comfort foods. I’m not sure about you but I know that when it comes to things like mashed potatoes and chili I tend to overserve myself. I know that being healthy means moderation and eating wholesome foods and it does require a little will-power so this year I’m focusing on moderation!
I love that these mini shepherd’s pie muffins offer a complete meal in a smaller portion. You get protein, vegetables and a starch in one little muffin. AND while I love a good, cheesy topping I found that using Fresh Gourmet’s Cheddar Cheese Crisps to top off the muffins offers a lower-calorie alternative and a burst of crispy flavor to finish them off. Also, Homestyle Ranch dressing from Litehouse offers a creamy finish to the mashed potatoes.
There are a lot of great ways to avoid putting on fall and winter weight. A lot of mental motivation is involved but making right choices on portions and overall choices can really go a long way. Swapping out turkey for beef like I did in this recipe is a great way to reduce fat and calories in a comfort dish and just keeping yourself from overindulging can help too. Stay on the same healthy track that you did all summer and your body will thank you come January 1st.