My diet did a complete 180 when I went to college. Although I was living off my mother’s pre-packed food for a majority of my first quarter in school, that quickly tapered off as I visited home less and I was reduced to eating a lot of junk food, fast food, and frozen aisle food. The fact that I’d been forced into a relatively healthy lifestyle for most of my childhood and adolescence, this newfound freedom to eat whatever and whenever I wanted did quite a number on me as well.
I went from eating 3 solid, nutritious well-portioned meals a day to sporadically eating somewhere between 5 small meals to 2 large meals a day. I also impulse bought chips, candy and ice cream like a crazy person because HAHA MOM! YOU AREN’T HERE TO STOP ME!
Eventually I started cooking for myself, which was great! Except all the things I learned how to make were terrible, awful, delicious things like fancy mac & cheese, and loaded baked potatoes and chocolate cake! 😋
…And that’s the story of how I gained 30 lbs in 2 years.
Fortunately, somewhere around my junior year, I realized that maybe my weight gain had something to do with my frequent 3am ice cream runs, and breakfasts that consisted of 3 donuts and an iced coffee sipped through a twizzler. So begrudgingly, I started to eat “healthier” in an effort to lose weight. Over time though, I learned that “healthy” didn’t necessarily mean “un-tasty”. I didn’t have to eat salads and steamed vegetables all day (although there are definitely ways to make them a lot exciting!) I could eat tons of things that were both yummy AND healthy!
I wrote down my own variation of the recipe below, and usually choose not to make the sriracha-lime crema.
2 cups sweet potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 1 medium sweet potato)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup canned black beans (a little more than half a 15-ounce can), drained and rinsed
1 pounds ground turkey breast
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon salt
1/2 freshly cracked pepper
your choice of lettuce, tomato and condiments and buns for serving!
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Place your cubed sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Bake your sweet potatoes for 23 minutes, stirring halfway through, until they’re tender.
- Place the sweet potatoes and black beans in a food processor or blender and pulse until just combined. (I processed mine till it was pretty smooth, but there was still some chunks in there, no biggie)
- Place the sweet potato and bean mixture in a large bowl with the ground turkey, garlic, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, paprika, pepper and salt. Use your hands to mix the ingredients until just combined.
- With damp hands, mold the turkey mixture into 6 patties, about ¾-inch in thickness. Place the patties on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet, transfer to the oven, and bake for 28 minutes until cooked through.