Do you struggle with loving the low fat THM E meal? I used to, but now I’m loving them! I’ve been asked many times what my favorite THM E meals are so here’s my favorite THM E foods, tips on making and loving this healthy, energizing THM fuel type, and a roundup of recipes for some of my favorite THM E meals.
I’m including a lot of information in this post for those who need it. If you just need the recipes, scroll down!
When I started THM (Trim Healthy Mama) – almost 7 years ago – I did what many do. I fully embraced the THM S meal. This is the low carb, higher fat meal that is loved for its inclusion of cheese and other high-fat foods.
As a former Atkins dieter, the low carb style of eating came easily to me. Even if you’re not familiar with Atkins or even keto, you’ll likely find that the low carb THM S meal is the easiest to put together.
It’s also very satisfying! That’s why it’s called S.
On the other end of the spectrum we find the THM E meal. This is the low fat, higher-in-healthy-carbs meal. And for those of us who have spent any time on low carb diets, they’re often very difficult to embrace.
However, they’re an important – and slimming – part of the THM plan! This is especially true as we get older, too. The key is to find E foods you love and add loads of flavor.
These healthy carbs are slower burning, not like the unhealthy refined carbs we might have been used to before THM (like regular pasta, most store bought breads, and refined sugars).
We also keep our added fats very low, and therein lies the problem for many THMs. Coming from a way of eating where loading up our baked potato with butter and sour cream or slathering our bread with butter is the norm makes it a bit challenging to adjust.
So, we must learn to eat our carbs with less fat for weight loss success on the THM plan. It may seem impossible, but I’m living proof it can be done.
And trust me, no one knows more about sour cream and butter on potatoes than me 😉
THM E meals are fully explained in the Trim Healthy Mama Plan book, or a condensed version of the plan is available in Trim Healthy Table. The best source of information on the THM plan is the plan book so be sure to read it!
First, My Favorite THM E Fuel Sources.
Remember, all meal types on THM are anchored with protein. For THM E meals, that means ultra-lean protein sources, such as:
- Chicken or turkey breast
- 96% lean or higher beef
- Venison (if ground, no added fat)
- Lean fish such as tuna, cod, wild caught salmon
- Egg whites
- Lean deli meats
- 0% Greek yogurt or Skyr
- 1% cottage cheese (or 2% if you can’t find 1%)
- Regular ground meats can be cooked and rinsed very well with hot water
My Favorite THM E-Friendly Veggies And Fruits.
I tend to choose veggies and fruits over grains as they’re gentler on my blood sugar.
In addition, I tend to do what’s called “pulled back” E meals, or Es with less than the 45 grams of net carbs allowed but considerably more than allowed for an S meal (I aim for around 25 to 30 grams usually).
As a note, ALL veggies and fruits are E friendly (though some need to be in moderation), these are the higher carb veggies and fruits I love that make an E meal an E:
- Sweet potatoes (I used to hate them, now most of my favorite THM E meals include them!)
- Butternut squash
- Peas (small amounts allowed in S in moderation)
- Blueberries (up to half a cup is OK for S or FP meals, 1 cup for E)
- Mandarin oranges (the little Cuties)
- Dark sweet cherries
- Watermelon (a fruit that needs eaten in moderation)
You might notice there’s no banana or pineapple on the list above. While I do enjoy them, they are higher in sugar and not quite as kind to my blood sugar. I will have a small amount on occasion.
THM E-Friendly Grains And Grain Products I Love (That Love Me Back).
Grains and I don’t always get along so well so I don’t eat a lot of them. Oats, for example, will jack up my blood sugar first thing in the morning no matter how they’re prepared.
They also tend to give me heartburn when eaten in larger quantities. A bit of oats in a meatloaf or other recipe isn’t a problem, but eating a bowl of oatmeal just doesn’t work for me.
These grains and grain products work pretty well for my body:
- Black rice (also called forbidden rice)
- Brown Jasmine rice (occasionally)
- Rolled barley flakes (barley is good for blood sugar regulation)
- Quinoa (technically not a grain but used like one)
- Sprouted bread, occasionally
- True sourdough, occasionally
- Sprouted corn tortillas, occasionally (store locator on page)
There are many on-plan grains out there, such as farro, buckwheat, regular brown rice, etc. I just don’t eat a lot of grains.
Be sure to consult the plan book for all the details on grains and grain products such as pastas and breads.
I Love These THM E-Friendly Beans And Legumes!
Now, I love, love, love beans and legumes! Especially lentils. Why lentils? Because when I eat them, I just feel great!
Lentils are not only super budget friendly, tasty, slimming, and easy to make… best of all, they help those of us who need assistance with our methylation systems. That’s actually most of us!
The best and safest way to get your folate levels up is to eat foods high in folate and lentil soup is an absolute folate power house! It has a whopping 358 mcg of folate per cup making it the second highest folate rich food in the world just behind liver! Just one meal of lentils provides you with more than 90% of your daily folate needs.Source.
Beans in general are a favorite of mine, though my family isn’t as crazy about them. Cooking and freezing them for quick meals later on for me works great!
- Lentils – green for when I want them intact, red for pureeing
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
- Chana dal (especially kind to blood sugar)
- White beans of all kinds, navy, great northern, etc.
- Lima beans
- Garbanzo beans
Beans are frugal, versatile, contain protein, and when combined with a grain make a compete protein. So perfect for meatless meals (I also feel better eating less meat these days).
They’re nutritionally better when soaked first, but sometimes life happens and the soaking does not. I prefer dry beans over canned, but when life is hectic canned beans are just fine.
Tips For Success With THM E Meals.
I used to think I was a carboholic. Turns out I just like loading my carbs with fat more than the actual carbs themselves.
Taking the fat away made it harder for me to enjoy THM E meals. But, as they are an essential part of the way the plan works, I had to find a way to at least tolerate them.
Over the years, I’ve come to actually enjoy the E meal – especially as I’ve gotten older. Pearl Barrett, one of the founders of THM, is about the same age as me and hearing about her journey and discovering she needs more carbs in this season of life really made me take a look at my own meals.
I was still leaning pretty heavily on the S meal. But when I started intentionally eating more E meals, with less meat and dairy, more fresh fruits and veggies, and more lentils, wow! I started feeling much better.
And, the scale that had been rather stuck for some time started moving again.
Sherlock, I think we’ve solved the mystery.
Here are my best tips for enjoying THM E meals.
- Do you understand how to put together an E meal? Start by reading Chapter 4 in the plan book. We only count the ADDED fats in our E meals, but we don’t have many to work with so read labels well and mind your fat grams. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes though! Keep trying until you feel comfortable with making these meals.
- Check your mindset (and your words). Are you always thinking and saying things like “I hate E meals” or “E meals never satisfy me” or other comments like that? You’re more likely to keep hating them and feeling unsatisfied the longer you think and say those things. Challenge yourself to think and say things like “I’m learning to like (or love) E meals” or “E meals help nourish my body and satisfy its needs.” Need help overcoming that pouty feeling? This post will help: To The Trim Healthy Mama: When You Feel Like It’s Not Fair.
- Eat the E fuel sources you actually like. If you don’t like sweet potatoes, don’t eat them because everyone else is eating them (but don’t be afraid to try them now and then, you just might change your mind! I did!). If oatmeal is gross to you, you don’t have to eat it because everyone in the THM group is making and loving PPP. Eating E meals with foods you enjoy makes it easier to get those E meals into your body.
- Include plenty of lean protein! I find that I often need more protein with E meals to feel satisfied and stay satisfied longer. Have a bit larger serving of chicken breast. Add whey or collagen to your oatmeal, coffee or tea, or even soups (collagen works best for that). You can also add egg whites to your oatmeal, chopped hard cooked egg whites to salads, or non-fat Greek yogurt to many things.
- Amp up the flavor! Adding loads of flavor is like a distraction for your tongue. It won’t notice the lack of fat when it’s being tantalized by all the flavors. If you like spicy foods, adding hot sauce or your favorite hot seasoning blend (like My Favorite Creole Seasoning) really kicks the interest level up for your taste buds.
- Eat plenty of nutrient dense foods. I find that when I eat more nutrient dense foods I feel more satisfied in general. I don’t crave junk food when my body is getting the nutrients it needs. Veggies and fruits with deep coloring are more nutrient dense and many are considered non-starchy.
- Fill your plate with non-starchies. Non starchy veggies really help make THM work well. This is tough when you don’t like veggies (or think you don’t…see tip #2), but if there’s any non-starchies you do like, include plenty of them on your plate. This gives your mouth more chewing to do and helps you feel full and satisfied because your brain takes 15 to 20 minutes to signal that you’re full.
Now that you’re armed with my best tips, let’s get on to my favorite THM E recipes!
Some of these are here on OSM, some are from other THM bloggers, and some are from blogs not necessarily focused on THM recipes. Be sure to read any notes carefully for making a recipe THM E friendly.
I’ve also included low fat, THM E friendly protein recipes and salad dressings.
After this list I’ll also give a list of my favorite THM E recipes from the THM cookbooks.
THM E-FRIENDLY PROTEIN RECIPES
Some of these recipes are THM FP (low fat, low carb) as written, some need tweaks so make sure to read the recipes and notes carefully! Just add a THM carb source, such as sprouted bread, tortillas, or other healthy carb side.
LOW FAT SALAD DRESSINGS PERFECT FOR YOUR THM E MEAL SALADS
These salad dressings can be made low or no fat and are perfect for your THM E salads - and some make great veggie dips, too.
My Favorite THM E Recipes From The THM Cookbooks.
There are 3 THM cookbooks out now, as of the date of this post. These are my go-to recipes from the cookbooks (I’ll add more as I try more recipes):
Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook
Need the book? Buy it here.
- Wicked White Chili, page 37
- Cowboy Grub, page 59
- Egg Roll In A Bowl, page 62
- Sweetie on Steroids, page 76
- Sweet Potato Oat Soup, page 102
- Waldorf Cottage Cheese Salad, page 190
- Southwestern Pan Bread (originally Trim Healthy Pan Bread in original plan book, page 266, I make it plain), page 202
- Trim Healthy Pancakes or Waffles, page 259 (page 223 in original plan book) or here on the THM website
- Bust-a-Myth (BAM) Cake, page 298
Trim Healthy Table
Need the book? Buy it here.
- Chicken Fried Double Rice, page 53
- Queso Chicken Bake, page 123 (family favorite)
- Pizza Grilled Cheese, page 298
- Cream of Treat Hot Porridge, page 353
- Fennel ‘n’ Figs Feel Better Shake, page 485
My Favorite THM E Meals main pin-1Trim Healthy Future
Need the book? Buy it here.
- Cheesy Rice & Chicken Skillet, page 120 (I added additional seasoning to this)
- All Purpose Chicken Enchiladas, page 154 (family loved it)
- Instant Cheese Sauce, page 380 (Rinse the carrots well, first! Also can be made S, FP, or XO!)
Many Times My THM E Meals Are Just Simple Throw Togethers. Here’s How I Do It.
It’s really simple to put together an E meal.
Start with lean protein, like chicken breast, and cook it without fat (or very, very little…just enough to keep it from sticking in your pan).
Choose an E (carb) fuel source, like sweet potatoes.
Include plenty of non-starchy veggies, like green beans.
Add a little bit of healthy fat, such as a teaspoon of butter on your green beans.
If you want something sweet for dessert, try berries or fruits. Or a Fuel Pull smoothie (just be mindful of total added fat in your meal).
I could easily have made a baked sweet potato instead of the rice (and often do).
I hope this list of tips and recipes helps you feel a bit more brave about the THM E meal. And I’m looking forward to an update post in a few months! I lost 6 pounds in January after being rather stuck for some time.
The big changes I made were simply more of my favorite THM E meals, less dairy, less meat, and more fresh produce as well as keeping my S meals and snacks to the lighter side.
Overall, I feel much better eating this way. We’re all different, and some people need mostly E meals and a little S, while others need mostly S meals and a little E.
Wherever you fall on that scale, my tips and this list of my favorite THM E meals are sure to help you embrace the E meal and learn to love it…or, at least tolerate it fairly well 😉
And, if any of these recipes become your favorite THM E meals come back and let me know!