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Delicous AND low in Calories??

What do you make that really is delicous and helps you keep your weight in check? I'd really like some ideas for making dishes that really work...and aren't full of calories....and fat.

Here's something that I make that is super easy and great. Marinate boneless chicken breasts in plain, greek yogurt. Add garlic, salt and your favorite Indian spices and lemon. Grill it and it seriously tastes like tandoori chicken.

You can do the same marinade on salmon and bake it. I also shredded zucchini and saute it on high heat in just a little bit of olive oil. Add garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice...and a little shredded cheese.

Please share your ideas. I'm doing the gym thing....but it would help to have some dishes that don't make me feel deprived.

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  1. Not sure if this will satisfy you for dinner, but I just made a salad for lunch for my fiance and I that was light, yet filling and delicious.
    Basically it was just butter lettuce, avocado, grapefruit segments and lobster claws. It went together really simply, and I made a quicky shallots-mustard-herby vinaigrette to dress it.
    We both agreed the claws were soo much better than the tails we had for dinner earlier in the week. And when I asked if it would be hearty enough for dinner I got a thumbs up, so there you go.
    Truthfully, I'd get a nice loaf of bread and probably make a mini cheese plate to supplement it at dinner time. It's finally warm and breezy again in SF, which made this salad perfectly satisfying.

    1. This is a favorite in our house:


      I sometimes substitute brown rice for the wheat-berries and spinach for the watercress.

      I just lost thirty pounds ....

      4 Replies
      1. re: todao

        Congratulations on the weight loss! Can you share any more things that you were eating that really worked?

        1. re: DaisyM

          Well, it's not so much what I was eating but what I wasn't eating. I got rid of that jar of mixed nuts that I loved so much, cut my ice cream intake (I LOVE ice cream) to 1/2 cup, reduced my breakfast intake to 200 - 300 calories, reduced my lunch intake to 300 - 400 calories and made sure that whatever I cooked for dinner didn't exceed 800 calories (including the ice cream). Any "snacks" involved one or two "Triscuits" and those were only permitted once a day. I exchanged my regular soft drinks for diet soft drinks (I think Coke Zero is pretty good, so is A&W Diet Root Beer) and if I had wine with dinner it was limited to four ounces and those calories were included in the 1500 calorie daily total meal count (http://www.davidstuff.com/wine/calori...). Focused on lots of veggies and limited meat to four ounces at dinner. Made lots of lunches using flour tortillas with lots of veggie fillings and very little meat. Used only 2% milk and learned to use my oven for roasting veggies I had not remembered to include in menus for a long time. Last, but not least, refused to consume any food after 6PM and I walk a mile every day.. A pound a week (on average) and I'm lovin' it.

          1. re: todao

            Thank you for sharing that and congrats again. You must feel great!

            1. re: todao

              I'm sorry for the wordy but rather uninformative manner with which I responded to your question. I felt guilty so I went back to my notebook and gathered up the outline of what I actually experienced in losing the weight.
              Based upon my research and my recent diet plan, 2 cups of any of the foods listed below, individually or in combination, shouldn’t exceed about 100 calories. I’m hoping my math skills haven’t weakened too much. (Thank you professor).
              I mixed and matched these veggies, tossed with a tablespoon of oil (I like olive oil or walnut oil) and added some herbs/spices (e.g. cumin, curry powder, paprika, lemon juice, horseradish, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, chil powder, sage, rosemary cayenne pepper, basil, thyme, tarrgon, and/or a little vinegar) and produced some pretty good tasting meals by either roasting the veggies first, steaming them or just plating them raw.
              As I see it a 2 cup portion, with the oil and a bit of salt, shouldn’t run it up to about 250 - 300 calories and adding 4 ounce piece of beef (burger) adds about 250 calories for a grand total of 500 - 550 calories. One French bread dinner roll, about 90 calories, would finish off the meal for me at a rounded up figure of 600 - 650 calories. I think I might be able to sneak in about 2 teaspoons of margarine for the roll and stay within those boundaries. If I just had to enjoy the dessert, my half cup of ice cream brings the total to about 800 calories +/-. Now there's a relatively low calorie meal that should fill up a wide receiver.

              Green beans
              Bean sprouts
              Bell Pepper
              Brussels sprouts
              Head lettuce
              Leaf Lettuce
              Snow Peas
              Summer Squash

        2. try to incorporate more bean & lentil dishes into your diet...dips/spreads/hummus, bean salads, etc. they're a great source of fiber & protein, and very filling.

          do a search for my Spicy Black Bean Dip recipe - it's posted on a few different threads. it's always a crowd-pleaser, totally satisfying, and extremely nutritious.

          if you want access to a wide variety of relatively health-conscious recipes, a magazine subscription to either Cooking Light or Eating Well would be a very worthwhile investment...or you can pick up one or two of their many cookbooks.

          1 Reply
          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            I agree, beans and lentils really help you feel full and satisfied. I haven't cooked with grains all that much but I just made a Lentil & Barley Salad for lunch today and while it packs 300 calories a serving(I had it with veggies and hummus so lunch was about 400cals) it's under 5g fat, and has 14g protein, 18g fibre(!) - most importantly it was delicious and I didn't feel deprived. (I can find the link to the caloriecount info if you'd like it)

            Link to the salad (and to a local low fat cookbook author who's recipes I use all the time): http://dinnerwithjulie.com/2008/07/03...

          2. pretty much any vegetable can be roasted with just a little bit of olive oil and salt; carrots, beets, cauliflower and summer squash are some of my favorites right now. If you have leftovers they are also good tossed into a salad.

            Also, vegetables soups (pureed or not) can be very lowfat. i made a carrot leek ginger soup (with a couple of potatoes for texture); just tablespoon or so of olive oil to saute the vegetables. Can also do easy minestrone, potato leek, cauliflower, fennel, etc. Sometimes I add yogurt or cheese or croutons for more flavor.

            the nyt has a new section with some good recipes too: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/he....

            1. Giant bowls of soup, packed with veggies, beans, and fresh herbs. I usually make them with whatever is in season. Summer squash, tomato, corn, and basil now...more root veggies and cabbages in the fall/winter. Broth-based soups tend to be low calorie, and are a great way to add more veggies.

              I also keep a ton of fruit at the office for snacking. Right now, I have 2 kinds of grapes, pluots, and plums.

              Another trick is to actually weigh the protein portions. A "serving" of meat or fish is WAY smaller than what I usually make! When I'm trying to eat healthier, I'll also make two different veggies, and balance the plate so that it's 1/4 low-fat protein, 1/4 healthy grain (brown rice, potatoes,etc), 1/4 veggie A, and 1/4 veggie B.

              In the summer, grilling is a great way to make tasty food without a lot of added fat. Chicken and grilled veggies makes a great meal!

              7 Replies
              1. re: bex109

                I was going to say the same thing about soups and stews. You can make delicious homemade broth, full of rich flavor, and then chill and lift off all the fat from chicken soup or beef soup.

                Minestrone simmered with tons of veggies and beans (I do celery, carrots, onions, leeks, cabbage, green beans, zucchini and yellow squash, and diced fresh tomatoes, all simmered in chicken broth (defatted), with some garbanzo beans and cannelli beans....and a nice grating of parmesan on top.

                Cioppino also can be a richly flavored but lowcal spicy tomato saffron broth, with lots of veggies, and chunks of fish, shrimp, etc added (naturally high protein/lowfat!).

                You can make really good "quiches" or fritattas using eggbeaters and cottage cheese purreed in the blender as the base, with any veggies and protein (I love salmon or crabmeat).

                I satisfy my sweet tooth with smoothies, filled with fruit. Using frozen bananas, milk, ice, and sugar-sub sweetner of choice you can make a great "base" - add vanilla extract or a good sugar-free cocoa powder or try some of the sugar-free syrups (normally used for coffee or lattes) to flavor the mix.

                1. re: Mellicita

                  mellicita, you might want to consider adding some protein powder to your smoothies...it would balance out the high carb content from the fruit, and lower the glycemic load. it's better for your insulin levels, and will likely be more satisfying as well.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    goodhealthgourmet: Any particular protein powder you'd recommend? I have family with diabetes anything to help lower their glycemic loads (Gran is a big fan of sweets, and "cheats" frequently much to my chagrin) TIA :).

                    1. re: maplesugar

                      maple, i know you're up north so i'm not sure if you have access to the same brands [although you can always buy online]. but i recommend following these general guidelines.

                      - skip the soy. look for whey, rice, pea, egg, or any combination thereof
                      - use one that doesn't contain any artificial sweeteners, HFCS, or too much added sugar

                      my favorites:
                      - NitroFusion Vanilla - 100% vegan, no soy or artificial sweeteners
                      - Jay Robb Whey or Egg protein - *not* the soy
                      - Jarrow Formulas Unflavored 100% Whey Protein
                      - Now Foods 100% Pure Whey Protein Isolate

                      hope that helps!

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          Thank You goodhealthgourmet! There are so many on the market (kinda like breakfast cereals...20 yrs ago it was a section now it's one side of an aisle) and I didn't want to waste $$ on icky ones. It's nice to get opinions from people who've tried them. Thanks again :)

                          1. re: maplesugar

                            my pleasure. teaching people how to adjust to a diabetic-friendly diet/lifestyle is one of my specialties, so i'm especially glad i could help in this case :)

                2. I eat my regular stuff but just cut down on the portions and divide the meals up into more than 3

                  1. I'm a sweet freak and have to have my muffins and cake. I use the Southaven Farm baking mixes -- http://www.southavenfarm.com/index.php -- for muffins, pancakes, snack cakes, etc. They are low in calories and high in fiber. It keeps me out of the fattening stuff. They also have tons of recipes to keep things interesting.

                    1. Have you ever tried cooking light? It's one of my fav recipe sources and they post all the nutritional information. You can search for free at www.cookinglight.com/cooking. I like how the mix innovative recipie with revamped classics and they also have a nice community online.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: meloneyd

                        Pureed vegetable soup...creamy without the cream.

                        I use what's in season, right now it's summer squash, potato, carrot, onion, cauliflower, mushroom, broccoli (really whatever you like), add some spices (I like curry powder and chili powder) and a good stock. Boil until everything is soft. Puree in blender.

                        Portion control, calorie count, food log is key though. $25 food scale, the best money I ever spend. I lost 83 pounds doing this. I don't go to the gym, I walk 40 minutes 5 days a week. And do some strength exercise at home for 40 min every night.

                      2. Now that melon season is upon us, let us not forget the traditional cottage cheese melon combo.

                        1. The secret to low fat cooking is replacing the flavour that comes with fat with other, preferably strong, flavours. The best ways for doing this are aromatics (onion, garlic, citrus), herbs, and spices.

                          I developed a recipe for my Dad when he was in the hospital to get bypass surgery, and he loved this (my Dad was always a serious foodie). Pretty much every quantity is to taste or texture, I don't measure much.

                          Siobhan's Chicken Salad
                          Equal parts of both:
                          Nonfat yogurt
                          Nonfat or low fat sour cream (I prefer low fat sour cream, it's worth the bit of fat it brings)
                          Fresh ground black pepper
                          Kosher salt
                          Whatever spice blend you want that will create the taste you want, Italian herbs, Mexican spices, Jamaican spice blends, whatever you choose will go with the above stuff pretty well

                          For the chicken:
                          Boneless chicken breast
                          Chicken Broth
                          Chopped onion
                          Chopped garlic (rough chop)
                          Spices to taste

                          For the salad:
                          Chopped cucumber
                          Chopped celery (this really makes the dish, I've had it both with and without, better with)
                          Chopped onion
                          Chopped tomato (remove the seeds and gooey bits if you like your salad less "wet")
                          Minced garlic
                          Chopped FRESH parsley (don't bother with dried, the point of the fresh is the vitamin C and fresh taste it brings)
                          Chopped scallions (spring onions, green onions, tops and all)
                          Chopped bell pepper
                          Whatever other veggies you might like to have in a salad, chopped

                          Whiz all the ingredients together in a food processor. Let this chill in the fridge so the flavours can begin to develop while you're cooking the chicken and chopping the veggies. You can prep this the day before, if you like.

                          To prep the chicken:
                          Cut up the chicken breast into bite sized pieces (cutting away the yucky bits while you're doing this. Dump chopped onion, garlic, and whatever aromatics you might want to infuse into the chicken into the broth, bring to a simmer, then put in the chicken. Cook the chicken thoroughly but don't over cook. Drain the chicken and set it aside to cool. (You can do this the night before and put the chicken in the fridge to chill overnight if you like).

                          Chop up the veggies to the sizes you like and toss them together. Toss in the chicken and the dressing and mix thoroughly.

                          Serve in pitas or tortillas or buns or just eat with a fork. You can serve it with cheese, but that adds fat, but Cabot makes a nice low fat cheddar that has a good taste to it.

                          You can replace the chicken with boiled shrimp, if you like. Or crab or whatever works for you. :)

                          1. I'm going to try both your ideas.

                            Although I haven't given up toast for breakfast or sandwiches for lunch there's usually not a lot of carbs in our dinners. We usually have some sort of salad as well as a cooked vegetable with grilled meat, mostly chicken or pork. I weigh the meat for portion control but eat as many vegetables as I want (prepared without fat). I like mustard and balsamic vinegar dressing made without oil (admittedly love sour) but if you're not already familiar with it you could check out Thai and Vietnamese recipes as fish sauce and lime juice or rice vinegar make great dressings for chopped vegetables and cabbage slaws. Big plate of that and a few slices of grilled pork tenderloin and a spicy condiment = yum. Fruit and popsicle for dessert.
                            Lost 25 pounds this way.

                            1. I'm big on ratatouille and gazpacho this time of year, but I don't make them fat free. If you're using olive oil in moderation, the fat will actually help your satiety perception and thus stave off hunger and cravings. Avocados are also a great source of healthy monounsaturated fats. I buy the small ones, so that I can eat an ounce or so a day without them going black in the fridge within that timeframe. Fat is an important part of any healthy diet, and that includes one geared toward weight loss. Just try to stay away or moderate portions of foods high in saturated fats, mostly in animal sources but also in coconut and palm oil, and avoid the trans fats in processed foods at all costs. I stick with organic skim milk and also eat fat free plain yogurt, mixing in fruit and a quarter ounce of nuts or low sugar granola to give it some texture and interest. We use our rice cooker to have brown rice ready for evening meals, or you can opt for quick cooking whole grains like quinoa if you don't have 45 minutes for brown rice. Quinoa is also higher in protein and fiber. Steel cut oats make a great breakfast and can be cooked ahead and reheated, or left to soak overnight which makes cooking them in the morning faster. Nothing gets me through to lunch like steel cut oats with a side of a little protein, a scrambled egg or some plain strained yogurt. Rice porridge is also good, and you can add leftover chicken breast or a poached egg to that, so it's breakfast in a bowl. I second the rec of soups and fruits like cantaloupe or strawberries because of their high water content, which makes them satisfying.

                              It helps enormously to identify if you have "trigger" foods that are difficult for you to portion control. Either figure out how to manage them in home, or opt to eat them out only, or not at all, if that works for you. (It doesn't work for me to avoid some foods entirely, because I only feel deprived and then overindulge eventually, but everyone knows themselves best. Your mileage may vary!) I think it's entirely doable to love food and lose weight, but it's hard work. Best to you!

                              1. Lately I've been into dried mushrooms in chicken broth. I just wash off the mushrooms, break them into pieces in a cup of broth and zap in the microwave. Let sit and then zap to heat when mushrooms soften. The mushrooms have lots of flavor and a meaty quality.I sometimes also throw some green veggies I have left over like scallions or radish leaves.

                                I've replaced tortillas with romaine lettuce leaves for tacos ... a little chopped meat, topped with salsa fresca and spooned into the lettuce. Nice low-cal snack.

                                I also like those new salad spritzers. Nice flavor for little calories. The Wishbone ranch dressing on a baked potato is very good.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: rworange

                                  Do you just buy a package of assorted dried mushrooms? Romaine lettuce also makes a delicious wrap for tuna salad. I agree with you that mushrooms are really somewhat meaty...fresh mushrooms are great sauteed with shallots or onion and put over baked potato for a meatless meal (of course, some kind of green veggie on the side completes the meal).

                                  1. re: Val

                                    I'm playing with different types of mushrooms currently. Trader Joe's mixed wild mushrooms are tasteless. Dried porcini are very flavorful. I just stocked up this week on various other types and will report back. So far I'm just getting them out of the supermarket and I haven't spent more than $2 for an ounce.

                                    However, there's a Polish Deli in SF that has an AMAZING variety of mushrooms that range up to $100 lb. Then there is the Far West Fungi in SF that has some interesting dried mushrooms, so I'm going to branch out there.

                                    Sometimes I just slice fresh mushrooms, but I liked the dried with canned broth because they are shelf stable and store a long time.

                                    I may also expand my dried mushroom repetoire to start including them in scrambled eggs or veggie dishes because they add so much flavor.

                                2. Broccoli or Spinach souffle - well-cooked broccoli or drained chopped spinach, blended with lipton's onion soup mix, egg whites, some fat free sour creme, some fat free ricotta, some black or white pepper, into a Pam lined casserole dish and baked till pulls away from sides of the pan and cooked through

                                  Miso Egg White Drop Soup - miso broth simmered with chopped garlic, chopped asparagus, chopped greens (mustard, kale, collards, bok choy), wild mushrooms (shiitake, portabello, oyster, crimini) until all cooked, then hand beat egg whites with garlic seasoning and stream into broth at a rolling boil

                                  Shiratake stirfry - slice eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli, onions, coat with garlic salt, then grill til tender; chop further if desired, then stirfry with drained/rinsed shiritake noodles, some balsamic vinegar, bragg's amino acids, lemon juice, mustard, and then add some protein if desired (cooked egg whites, tofu, chicken shredded rotisserie)

                                  Egg white crepes - take how many ever desired, beat till frothy, then spray a pan with Pam, pour in a little egg white and rotate pan to cover bottom; allow to cook then flip. fill as desired (i fill with cottage cheese warmed and mixed with stevia); i fill and make blintzes securing with toothpicks, then return to pan to brown the exterior and warm through. can also serve with low-sugar preserves from TJ's (love blackberry and blueberry flavors)

                                  brown rice or barley pudding - if you're jones-ing for a healthy sweet indulgence, mix a little fat free cottage cheese with stevia, cinnamon and vanilla, then mix in just a little cooked brown rice or barley (i even leave it loosely drained for a little of the cooking water to mix into the cheese), then nuke in the microwave til it gets gooey.

                                  try baking some spaghetti squash, then tossing with some chicken broth and chopped garlic and herbs of choice.

                                  core an apple, then fill with cinnamon, and pour water, and vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks in a casserole dish around them, bake til soft.

                                  for my nanny growing up i would make weightwatchers individual key lime pies... i would grind all bran extra fiber cereal to a powder, then mix with cinnamon and water to make a crust; bake it off for 5 minutes then cool. then i'd take vanilla sugar free fat free pudding, mix with nonfat milk and lime juice. let set a little, then fill individual pies. beat egg whites till stiff peaks, then add sweetener of choice. top the pies and broil for 5 minutes to brown.

                                  for a healthy breakfast, a serving of oats mixed with egg whites, cinnamon, and vanilla, then cooked in a Pam sprayed pan. serve w/ a low sugar preserve or low sugar maple syrup or fruit, etc.

                                  1. Every weekend I make a big pot of healthy soup to bring to work each day. I love soup, so I don't get sick of eating the same thing five days in a row. Right now I'm trying to increase my intake of green vegetables (and it's working!), so I make green soup. I sautee garlic, onion, carrots and celery in about a tablespoon of oil, then add in chopped leeks and herbs/spices (I've made a curry-inspired soup for the last two weeks, but someone suggested I try lemongrass-ginger which sounds AWESOME!). I sautee it all for a while then add in an entire bunch of kale, an entire bunch of spinach, a head of broccoli and frozen peas. Once the greens have wilted a bit I add in low-sodium vegetable stock, bring it to a boil and then simmer briefly. Finally, I puree it. I keep it half frozen and half refrigerated, and when I put it in my Thermos I add whatever strikes me, such as rinsed canned beans, tofu or raw seeds.

                                    I also make a great "Greek Tofu Scramble", which I "think" came from the Rebar Modern Food Cookbook. I press tofu (or just squeeze the water out if I'm lazy) and crumble it into a frying pan where I'm already sauteeing some garlic and onion in just a touch of oil. I add some frozen chopped spinach, diced cherry tomatoes and, if I've got any on hand, strips of roasted red pepper. While it's all sauteeing I scramble an egg and mix it with herbs. Once the tofu is browning and the vegetables are warmed through, I pour the scrambled egg carefully on top of the tofu to cover as much as possible, and then stir it up so the egg coats it all while it cooks. I serve it with crumbled feta on top and a lemon wedge on the side.

                                    For breakfast every day I have a banana topped with plain, no-fat yogurt and some puffed brown rice cereal. I also wake up and go to sleep with a glass of hot water with a slice of lemon, in addition to the litre of water I drink at work and the herbal teas I guzzle at home.

                                    1. My favorite: Nicoise salad (fancy style) -- seared ahi tuna, blanched or grilled green beans, maybe some fresh cherry tomatoes and some onions over a big bed of mixed greens. Garnish with a hard boiled egg or egg salad, and olives or capers. Dress and eat

                                      It's coming into squash season-- I prepare these really simply. Take acorn squash or butternut squash; nuke just enough to soften so the knife doesn't slip onto your fingers. Cut in half, place face down in a few inches of water in a roasting pan and stick them into a 350 oven until soft. Eat right out of the rind.

                                      Related, but more fun (great way to cut out carbs and get vegetables)-- do the same with spaghetti squash, but add a nice link of chicken sausage or meatballs cooked until crisp and top with tomato sauce. Serve right out of the squash rind on a shallow bowl. It's beautiful and wowing.

                                      Braised asian greens (dutch oven on the med-low stovetop for a few minutes with nothing but a tiny drizzle of water) served over brown rice with a squeeze of ginger, maybe garlic, and a dash of soy.

                                      Last of the summer produce: eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, summer squash, sliced and layered in casserole dish; squeezed down and baked until soft and firm. Top with cheese if desired for flavor. Add whatever herbs and seasonings you have: rosemary, garlic, thyme... It's a nice vegetable "lasagna" dish I make. You can get fancy with slightly dehydrating the eggplant by cutting into slices, salting and squeezing and using as "pasta" and making the sauce seperately, and whatever else, as well.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: oryza

                                        My local market this month has a delicious-sounding recipe for Spaghetti Squash with Pancetta, Tomatoes and Walnuts... sprinkled with fresh basil ... only 170 calories per serving

                                      2. one of the great "finds" of the South Beach Diet Book was pureed Cauliflower instead of mash Potato. I add lots of garlic to give it a little zip.

                                        1. easy indian-style dish:
                                          to chopped, sweated onion, garlic and ginger in olive oil, add bag of ready-to-cook bagged baby spinach and one can of chick-peas (rinsed). add dash of garam masala. tweak up flavor with freshly ground fenugreek and/or ground cumin that you've lightly toasted in a pan. let simmer a little. perk up right before serving with a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice, maybe some chopped cilantro. done.

                                          amp up: with spinach, add can of whole tomatoes that you chopped by hand. (or fresh!)
                                          amp up: with the chick peas, stir in cooked chicken (and some chick broth, for more of a stew).

                                          guiltless and delicious!

                                          1. Great ideas! Thank you!

                                            1. Fish soup. There are many variations, all round the Mediterranean and beyond.

                                              I don't believe in the ultra-low-fat stuff though. One needs a bit of good quality oil.