Hey. So. Calories.
A lot of us try to watch our calories because of weight goals, and a lot of us need to watch their food intake properly because of health issues. I’m a person who qualifies for both aspects: I’m a Type 1 Diabetic, that has been on a weightloss journey for almost a year now. (And I’ve made a lot of progress!)
I was going to start this article off with a comment on how much of a bread and baking lover I am; then I realised that I generally love most things related to food, so I didn’t. Still, loving food is fine, and the “guilty pleasures” mentality is quite dangerous – but even when you’re not losing weight, it’s hard to eat a lot of brownies and not feel guilty.
So here I am, sharing some of my favourite recipes and some general meal and ingredient advice – as someone who has been watching my carbs and calories meticulously – that make your “guilty pleasures” feel less guilty.
Sounds fake, right? Well it isn’t.
The key here is to, essentially, replace most of the ingredients with their alternatives. So you use skimmed/almond milk, you use rolled oats instead of flour, you use yogurt instead of butter, you use a sweetener instead of sugar. (Depending on your choice of sweetener and milks some things may go up in calories.)
This recipe allows to add in chocolate chips to make them 65 calories per brownie – which is still alarmingly low; and even without them, these taste incredibly good, even if slightly different to regular brownies. This recipe has become one of my favourites.
Rejoice and get to cooking. The recipe:
Yield: 9 pieces.[column size=one_half position=first ]– 3/4 cup nonfat greek yogurt
– 1/4 cup skim milk
– 1/2 cup Cocoa powder
– 1/2 cup Old fashioned rolled oats (like Quaker)
– 1/2 cup Truvia Baking Blend (or any natural/stevia based sweetener that pours like sugar)
– 1 egg
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt[/column] [column size=one_half position=last ]1. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Grease a square baking dish.
2. Combine all ingredients into a food processor or a blender, and blend until smooth (about 1 minute).
3. Pour into the prepared dish and bake for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting into 9 large squares.[/column]
© The Londoner / The Broma Bakery (website)
I love rice. I love grain in general, and I’m sure so do a lot of you.
Rice, however – even everybody’s beloved brown rice – is incredibly dense in carbs and, consequently, calories. That doesn’t mean that you should completely cut it out of your diet, but it does mean that eating smaller portions or substituting for it in some dishes might be the better choice if you’re looking into weightloss
So this point is less of a particular recipe, and more of a generalised advice: use other grains or rice replacements in your foods, which will make your guilty pleasures and comfort foods sting way less.
Wanna make a risotto? Use cauliflower rice, and you’ll reduce calories by a giant margin (130cal in 100g white rice vs 30cal in 100g of cauliflower rice? That’s more than four times less). Need actual grains? Use bulgur wheat, it’s the best.
And that still allows for you to a) eat a lot and b) enjoy yourself, so… win-win?
Well, the infamous banana pancakes, if we’re being honest. Everyone who has ever tried dieting has at least heard of those.
Well, they are way less calorie-filled while still being incredibly sweet and delicious, (unless you dislike banana flavour, in which case – move on and forget about this point. Yikes, though) so the popularity is warranted.
There are multiple ways to make them, varying from the simplest, consisting of just three ingredients, to the more complex that include oats and other flour replacements. I have to say, my tastes are rather specific – I actually prefer the three ingredient ones, but if you’re curious about the oat one then you’re welcome to check them out here.
Yield: about 4 small pancakes[column size=one_half position=first ]- 1 medium banana
-1 small egg
– 1 pinch baking powder (optional, but does help a lot)[/column][column size=one_half position=last ]1. Mash the banana with a fork into a lumpy mixture. Add in the baking powder and mix well.
2. Beat the egg separately, then add it in until the mixture has slightly runny texture.
3. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. If you don’t have one – grease your pan first, but beware, it’ll add more calories on top.
4. Cook each pancake for about two minutes.[/column]
Yes, that’s literally it – it takes 10 minutes at most. Feel free to add things on top, just be aware that it all will factor in.
© London Unattached / Eugenie Kitchen
Noodle anything, this time
Just as with rice, noodles are delicious yet very dense in carbs in calories.
The solution? Shirataki/konjac noodles. Whether you want to eat something similar to chicken soup with noodles, or want to make a stir fry (which is something else that is very handily de-calorified with a non-stick pan, by the way) they will come in handy, with around 10 calories per 100g. Really.
They have barely any flavour of their own, but they, therefore, manage to mix very well with almost anything. Give konjac noodles a try.
Talking about guilty pleasures, do you ever just get the most intense craving for some ice cream?
Of course there are always low-calorie alternatives in-store, like Halo Top, Breyers and many, many others, but did you know that making your own fruity ice cream alternative that would be even lower in calories is not really that hard?
There are a lot of varying recipes with varying calorie content, but one thing is almost universal: they call for sweeteners, and low fat yogurts/milks/replacements. My favourite, so far, with just 75 calories for a good portion has been the strawberry and cream homemade ice cream on this page. You can find even more recipes by clicking that, though.
The recipe:[column size=one_half position=first ]- 1 cup low fat cottage cheese
– 2 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk
– 4 packets sweetener (stevia, Truvia, whatever your heart desires)
– 10 large frozen strawberries[/column] [column size=one_half position=last ]1. Stir everything but the strawberries together, then freeze the mixture in a silicone ice cube mold.
2. Thaw the cubes for 20 minutes, and the strawberries for 10; then throw it all into a food processor.
3. Add stuff on top… or don’t. Enjoy.[/column]
That simple, that low calorie.
© Desserts With Benefits