THE LOCO MOCO!
I’m letting you into my dark side of a mostly healthy lifestyle. Loco Moco is my ultimate comfort food. It’s salty meat, carbs, and fat, which I believe is the definition of comfort food.
If you’re unfamiliar with this beloved dish, it’s super easy: white rice, hamburger patty, brown gravy, topped with over easy fried egg(s). But I really can’t eat it without a side of mac salad, which I like to put that on top of the egg. Honestly, everyone should just declare mac salad part of the loco moco, which would save everyone from having to order it on the side.
Here’s my philosophy regarding comfort foods: They are your favorites for a reason. If you reserve them for only special occasions, a few times during the year, then go for it! Indulge! Go big or go home! If, however, you find yourself reaching for these calorie explosions on a regular basis, it’s time to find some substitutions – ways to make that comfort food healthier.
Hmmm…making loco moco healthier. It’s easier than you think.
1. Make it at home. Already you’re slicing the calorie count in half. (I think. I mean, I don’t know for sure. It really depends how much oil and butter you use, but I don’t think anyone can use as much as a diner.)
2. Use healthy oils. I have played around with frying the hamburger patty and egg in olive oil, flax oil, coconut oil, and organic butter. So far my favorite combo is olive oil for the patty and coconut for the egg.
3. Use brown rice. This is key. By using brown rice, you’re going to get fuller on less rice due to the fiber and protein content. If you really want a gold star on substitutions, use quinoa. The taste is fine; the texture doesn’t do it for me in the loco moco context. It ended up tasting a little too healthy, and not very comforting.
4. Choose low sodium gravy. Find a little brown gravy packet that simply has to be mixed with water. With the salt and grease from the meat and eggs, you won’t miss it in the gravy.
5. Sprinkle feta cheese on top. If you are like me, and crave that creamy goodness of mac salad on top, a little feta cheese works as a really great substitute. Even better if you can skip this last step.
As always, be aware of portions. When you order out loco moco, oftentimes it comes with multiple beef patties and eggs. Come on now. One patty and one egg is plenty.
And speaking of portions, I will leave you with this: The GIANT loco moco made in Honolulu.