Low-Calorie Quick Meals
Calorie-control, especially when planning healthy meals, is essential for successful weight loss or weight maintenance. Meal planning can seem daunting. Start simple and build your recipe repertoire. For example, a dinner meal can be based upon one or two main ingredients or items you probably have in your refrigerator, freezer, pantry or cupboards. You can then add to those ingredients/items to build a healthy meal. Here are five suggestions to get you started:
- Eggs/egg whites are inexpensive and rich in high-quality protein. Make quick ‘Spanish-style eggs.’ Start by scrambling whole eggs, egg whites or a combination of both in a nonstick skillet with diced onion and bell peppers that have been browned. Pile the cooked mixture into warmed whole-wheat tortillas. Roll up and top with bottled salsa. Serve with a green salad.
- Grab a bag of frozen ‘stir-fry’ style vegetables (16-oz.) and add them to a wok with cooked poultry or seafood, such as scallops. Add light soy-sauce and ginger to taste. Serve over brown rice.
- If you have a bag of frozen corn you can make simple corn chowder. Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil with 1 chopped onion in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook until the onion is golden. Add 2 diced potatoes and toss for a few minutes. Add 2 cups of low- or reduced-fat milk and fresh ground pepper to taste. Simmer the chowder for 15 minutes. Add 2 cups of frozen corn kernels (from bag) and return to a simmer. Serve topped with sharp cheddar cheese.
- A dinner salad can be quick, healthy, low-calorie and tasty. Make your own version of an Asian-style chicken salad by slicing cooked chicken breast sliced over mixed salad greens. Garnish with a few tablespoons of slivered almonds, a handful of mandarin orange sections, a sprinkling of sesame seeds and a tablespoon of a ginger-sesame (bottled) salad dressing. HINT: Trader Joe’s makes an excellent sesame ginger salad dressing.
- If you have a loaf of French bread, English muffins or flour tortillas, cheese (part-skim mozzarella is best) and veggies, even canned beans, you can make quick pizzas that are not calorie bombs. Pizza calories are in the carb-heavy, bread-like dough, cheese and meat toppings. Start with a low-calorie base and top with canned tomato sauce, loads of chopped veggies and a sprinkling of shredded cheese. Pop under your broiler until bubbly (not burned) and enjoy with a salad.