Fitting Tater Tots onto a CARE Balanced Plate
1) Extend with tender veggies, 2) watch sodium, and 3) keep an eye on nibbling!
Let’s play with three recipes that use a beloved favorite, tater tots! The goal of a therapeutic lifestyle is not to avoid favorite foods. The goal is to learn how to use them modestly, to know “where they fit” on your plate. In CARE, we do this with cheese, sugar, and now tater tots!
First, reduce the number of tater tots you eat by extending them with tender veggies
The first recipe – Tater Tot Hash (Therapeutic White Veggie Skillet) – shows how to extend tater tots using tender veggies like riced cauliflower and powerful nutrient-rich veggies like onion and garlic.
As you learn in CARE Step 3 (Leafy & Tenders) and CARE Step 5 (Fruits, Roots, Grains), the opportunity is to use the bulkiness that leafy and tenders bring (without the caloric density) to our favorite grains and pasta (which are calorically dense).
Here the texture of riced cauliflower pairs incredibly with the diced potato goodness of tater tots. The cauliflower allows us many more bites of tater tot than having them by themselves. Cauliflower and potato pair extremely well together in many dishes. I find it much more enjoyable to keep a touch of potato in any revised idea rather than just trying to use cauliflower as a full substitute for potato. For example, when making cauliflower mashed potatoes I always add one potato and it has made all the difference with my family. The same applies here mixing tater tots with riced cauliflower.
Be sure to enjoy Part 2: What the Sodium (with CARE recipe Sausage Tater Tot Hash with Avocado) and Part 3: Keep an Eye on Nibbling! (with CARE recipe Tater Tot Hash Egg Bake) of this How to Make Tater Tots Fit a Balanced Plate series!
CARE Recipe: Tater Tot Hash (Therapeutic White Veggie Skillet)
Tater Tots and therapeutic in the same title?! YES! The goal of a therapeutic lifestyle is not to avoid favorite foods. The goal is to learn how to use them modestly, to know “where they fit” on your plate. In CARE, we do this with cheese, sugar, and now tater tots! The basic formula for a hash is potato + allium (onion, garlic, leek, etc) + veggies + protein. Here I want to give you the base up to protein and let you take it from there. This super simple idea is packed with nutrients and fiber. The cauliflower is a cancer-fighting brassica veggie and the onion and garlic contain allium and sulfur which are important nutrients for our immune systems. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.
Total Time: 30 minutes
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cup tater tots, (~16 tots per cup)
- 4 cups riced cauliflower, (fresh or frozen)
- 1 onion, minced (use partial onion if preferred)
- pinch ground black pepper (to taste)
- Crush garlic with the back of a knife and remove peel. Mince and set aside.
- Thaw tater tots by placing them on a large dinner plate and microwaving on high for 3 minutes. (If using frozen cauliflower, also microwave it at this time to thaw; drain cauliflower once finished in the microwave to remove excess liquid).
- Place thawed tater tots into a large nonstick skillet and crumble by breaking up with a wooden spoon.
- Add minced onion and cook until onion is translucent and begins to brown(about 5 min). (To keep the total fat content of the meal down, you are using the fat from the tater tots here to help sauté the onion. The sodium in the tater tots is also being used to salt the dish).
- Add remaining ingredients- including garlic- to skillet. Cook together over medium-high heat for an additional 5 min (play with how tender you like the cauliflower, you could also cover the skillet during cooking).
- Additional herbs and seasonings can be added to match personal preferences, along with additional leafy and tender veggies (sliced summer squash, fresh steamed green beans, and diced tomato would be wonderful). Use this as a base. Enjoy!
When making this keep in mind that only 1/2 cup of tater tots (~8 tots) is 1C 1F (and ~300mg of sodium). Nibbling on them out of the microwave adds up quickly and it’s these little bites here and there that can make us stall on weight loss. If you are going to nibble (which let’s face it we all will), just account for it. A couple doesn’t matter but if having more than 5or 6, just count it as another C and F for the meal.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Dinner, Side Dish
- Diet: Gluten Free
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 161
- Sugar: 3g
- Sodium: 327mg
- Fat: 6g
- Saturated Fat: 1g
- Unsaturated Fat: 2g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 25g
- Fiber: 4g
- Protein: 4g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: making tater tots fit a balanced plate, how to use tater tots in a healthy diet
Take away: Favorites can fit a therapeutic lifestyle
My husband is the one that discovered using tater tots with riced cauliflower while making brunch one weekend. He knew he wanted a little indulgent potato for brunch so started there and then just scanned the crisper for how to bulk it up and make it nutrient-rich and balanced from what he added next. His creation was delicious.
This is what a therapeutic lifestyle is all about. Leading with favorites and finding the value in using them modestly and purposefully. And a truly valuable part about that brunch was the walk we enjoyed together afterwards, fueled by a nutritious meal. Not weighed down, wanting to nap, loosing motivation by the minute because we chose to only eat a huge plate of tater tots instead.