Hey, most of us have been on that low calorie intake life at some point. Regardless if it was for looks, for health reasons or for any other reason you don’t want to delve into, it has happened to a lot of people.
Eating low calorie, though, often means cutting a lot of our favourite foods out, and feeling guilty for daring to eat a cookie. You really shouldn’t associate guilt with food at all – it’s unhealthy – but that’s a topic for a whole separate article.
Still, though, I’ve personally been consuming much less calories in the past year, which has helped me lose a tremendous amount of weight (23 kg/50.7 lbs/3.61 stones) and I’ve never felt better in my life. Due to that, I have also learnt numerous lifehacks to cooking while cutting down on calories and still enjoying my food, which I hope to share with all of you today.
So, without further ado, let’s get into it: here are some of my favourite low calorie meals that are easy to make at home!
Cheesy zucchini goodness
While, obviously, zucchini as a base could not possibly replace pizza even in my wildest dreams and prayers, it’s still a very decent, delicious alternative that allows you to stay low calorie.
Just take as many zucchinis as you want, drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil on them and top them with chopped tomatoes and feta cheese – which is one of the most low calorie cheeses out there while still being delicious, and I adore it for that. Honestly, thank you, feta.
Feel free to add any spices you want – I personally feel like herbes de provence work fantastically with it.
Just beware – low calorie feta doesn’t melt that well, it turns a bit crumbly instead, which is absolutely delicious, but might not be what you’re looking for.
Anything with konjac noodles
Are you a big fan of noodles, but reluctant to eat them due to the calorie density? Well, there’s a simple solution that has honestly saved my life.
Whether you’re making a noodle soup, a noodle stir-fry with whatever the hell you prefer to put in it, or anything else that should involve noodles, konjac noodles – also called shirataki noodles – are your go-to.
Easy to prepare – rinse them in water, boil in water for a couple of minutes, and then drop them into your soup/stir-fry about five minutes before it’s completely cooked – and you’re pretty much done. They’re filling, and 200 grams of those (7oz) will cost you less then twenty calories, protecting your low calorie, low carb lifestyle while allowing you to enjoy your favourite foods.
They’re easy to buy, too – they have recently started appearing in most large grocery stores, as well as already being available online, including – but not limited to – Amazon.
Vegan Fajita Bowl With Cauliflower Rice
I stole this recipe from the Olive Magazine, I’m not gonna deny that, this isn’t some super original creation/idea/hunch of mine.
Still, it’s fantastic, delicious, very low calorie – under 200 per bowl – while being extremely filling, and only takes about half-an-hour to prepare, without struggling or any specific ingredients that are difficult to procure.
All you’ll need are cauliflower, tomatoes, red peppers, red onions, avocado (to taste) and a bunch of various spices to make it more true to real fajitas.
Cauliflower rice isn’t some big new invention, but just in case: it’s simply just grated cauliflower that takes way less time and effort to prepare than regular rice. You can buy it pre-grated in most big grocery stores, or you can just do it at home if you’re not lazy (like I am).
Baked/grilled white fish
Cod and haddock are some of the lowest-calorie friends for fish lovers.
While most fish is generally lower in calories than red meat, still – salmon, for instance, has a bit over double the calories that cod has, so if you want to be really in control of your low calorie diet, then white fish is the way to go.
My go-to recipe with haddock is to drizzle it with a tiny bit of olive oil, douse it in my favourite spices (which usually involves the previously mentioned herbes de provence, together smoked paprika, onion and garlic powders and a number of others), and pop it in the oven for fifteen minutes on 180°C/356°F.
The low calorie nature of white fish allows you to go off with the side dishes a little bit – meaning you can go for whatever your heart desires, be it potatoes, butternut squash, noodles or anything else – while still being filling and a wonderful source of protein.
Basically, it has it all Easy, low calorie, easily available and allowing for experimentation. You go, white fish.
General easy-to-prepare low calorie ingredients
While this is not a recipe in itself, this will just be a general ingredient recommendation section, for the foods that are good substitutes for your usual meals.
1. The abovementioned konjac noodles…
2. …broccoli and cauliflower rices…
2. …and white fish.;
3. Butternut squash as a replacement for both regular and sweet potatoes;
4. Butternut squash and zucchini noodles as another noodle alternative;
5. Air-popped or oven-baked chips/popcorn, which drastically decreases the calorie content;
6. Feta cheese;
7. Almond, coconut or cashew milk instead of the dairy original is remarkably lower in calories than even the skimmed cow milk;
8. Turkey bacon, which still tastes fantastic;
9. Splenda or stevia instead of sugar – it’s not dangerous, unlike aspartam, while having all of its benefits, both for ;
10. Egg replacer is not a perfect replacement for eggs, but it definitely works fine, and is very low calorie compared to regular eggs. Regular eggs are already not the highest-calorie ingredient, but still, you want to cut down as much as you can if you’re looking into making it a habit;
11. Low calorie ice cream replacers – enough said.