As if the 25-season run of The Oprah Winfrey Show — and the "I love breeead!" commercial so widely shared it's become a meme — didn't make you believe that Oprah is all of us (give or take a couple billion dollars), this one-liner from her cookbook might sway you: "I love potatoes so much that I once attempted to make a potato cocktail."
Her carb-loving heart just gets us, and her weight-loss struggle over the years has been all too relatable for anyone who's ever made a resolution to eat healthier — and abandoned it for a less-than-healthy meal by Jan. 12th.
The talk show queen has admitted to trying just about every diet under the sun to keep her weight in check — including but not limited to the Grapefruit Diet, Atkins Diet, South Beach Diet, Cabbage Soup Diet, and that infamous four-month-long liquid-only diet, which resulted in her hauling out a wagon full of fat on her eponymous TV show back in '88 — so when she recently admitted to losing 42 pounds on Weight Watchers (without giving up her beloved bread!), the world took notice.
She also released a cookbook, Food, Health, and Happiness, to help others do the same. Mixed amid the recipes and stories about her Mississippi upbringing (and the time Joan Rivers basically fat-shamed her on national TV) were a few tips anyone could borrow to lighten up their own dishes.
1. Use This Two-Ingredient Hack for Creamy Soup
When Winfrey wanted to lose weight before auditioning for a walk-on role in All My Children back in 1978, she turned to one ridiculously simple soup recipe: Boil broccoli in chicken broth and puree it. Her cookbook features a souped-up version, featuring white wine, bay leaves, and cashew cream, but her original version is creamy — and lower-cal than traditional broccoli cheddar soup. (If you really wanted, you could sprinkle a little sharp cheddar on top before serving.)
2. Make Mashed Cauliflower 'Faux-tatoes' Actually Taste Like Potatoes
"Everybody always says that whipped cauliflower tastes just like mashed potatoes. Well, guess what? Whipped cauliflower tastes just like... whipped cauliflower," Oprah writes. To fix that, she recommends mashing two boiled Yukon gold potatoes with it, which makes the whole dish take on the flavor of actual mashed potatoes. Problem solved.
3. Swap Beef for Turkey in Your Meatloaf, Lasagna, and Chili
Oprah's a ground turkey convert and recommends it for just about every recipe that'd normally call for ground beef, but she says the quality of the meat itself is the key to ground turkey that doesn't suck. She suggests buying a turkey breast — or boneless dark meat, for more flavor (which is crucial for making chili that still tastes hearty, she says) — and pulsing it in the food processor.
4. Trade Out Your Protein for a More Unexpected Entree
Salmon's always touted as the healthy fish for dieters, but Oprah would like you to give monkfish a try. The flaky white fish clocks in at 82 calories and zero carbs per 3-ounce serving, and the taste is often compared to lobster, so it's a win all around.
5. Lettuce Skip the Extra Carbs
Instead of using tortillas, try making tacos and wraps with butter lettuce. The mild veggie is Oprah's favorite type of leafy green (sorry, kale!). Her filling of choice? Grilled shrimp, shredded coconut, and diced mango.
6. Add a Little Something Extra for Juicy, Flavorful Turkey Burgers
Oprah mixes mango chutney into her ground turkey (along with a few other seasonings) to amp up the flavor in otherwise-bland turkey burgers. Her recipe is her BFF Gayle King's favorite, according to Oprah — and, apparently, King's perpetually on the hunt for The Best Burger of All Time.
Another takeaway? Use ground dark-meat turkey (using the trick from tip No. 3) instead of plain old white meat to make it taste more like a traditional, ground-beef patty.
7. Keep a Flavor Booster in Your Bag for Extra Swag
Beyoncé might swear by hot sauce, but Oprah prefers to carry a more luxe condiment in her purse: Truffle Zest. "Truffles are the ultimate posh spice. But Truffle Zest only tastes expensive," she writes. (Cost might be relative when you're worth a reported $2.9 billion — a 50-milligram jar costs about $14 at many stores, which is about 4.7 times what it costs for a bottle of Tabasco.)
Oprah loves Truffle Zest so much she often keeps some in her bag so she can sprinkle it on food when she's out to eat. Instant jolt of flavor without adding a ton of calories.
8. Lighten Up Your Next Loaded Baked Potato
Oprah confesses that when she lived in Maryland, she'd love visiting the mall food court for a giant baked potato loaded up with toppings — though all those spuds didn't love her back. She's come up with a lightened-up version for her cookbook, which trades the cheese sauce for about a tablespoon of grated cheddar per potato, and is loaded with a mixture of broccoli, corn, and scallions.
9. In the A.M., Opt for a Different Grain Than Oatmeal
Quinoa's been buzzed about for years, and it's not just for dinner. Oprah uses it as a substitute for oatmeal, toasting the quinoa first, then cooking it with apples and cinnamon. "It's a great source of fiber, it's gluten-free, and it's a complete protein," she writes.
10. Invest in a New Gadget That Will (Healthily) Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
If you can't resist sweets, Oprah says you need to get on board with sorbet, which tends to be a lower-calorie option (and loaded with fruit). "I put it right up there with the fork and dish towel on my list of kitchen essentials," she writes. Her gadget of choice? The Breville Sorbet Maker.