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Help with low calorie meals...

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senorbob06969 Sep 16, 2008 03:13 PM

Hey everyone, well ive started a diet and am trying to keep my meals around 300-400 calories. .My question is Im sooooooooo over eating chicken and veggie salads for lunch and fish and veggies for dinner. What else can i make that is around 300-400 cals yet is really filling. (I make my salads large and portions of veggies large because my brain is so used to seeing a full plate) so anything with a lot of weight or substance is even better lol

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    Val RE: senorbob06969 Sep 16, 2008 04:09 PM

    Have you tried using a smaller full plate? I've been using a lunch/sandwich plate to eat on for a few years now, works very nicely for me for lunch and dinnerl Foods of substance might include things with lots of fiber which usually involve lots of chewing will fill you up and give you a feeling of satiation (shredded wheat...even Triscuits for a snack...red apples WITH the peel...broccoli...cucumbers WITH peel...raw cabbage added to a green salad). Also, have you tried tofu? The extra-firm is quite "meaty" but it isn't meat....portobello mushrooms are an excellent non-meat "meaty" item too. Wow...almost forgot all-stars: beans and legumes! Lentils are your friend...protein and fiber-packed, easy to cook and eat, QUITE substantial!

    1. m
      Mellicita RE: senorbob06969 Sep 16, 2008 04:53 PM

      I love vegetable soups - or soups brimming with veggies and a small amount of meat included. Eg, one of my favorites is a hearty minestrone (that is something like Carrabba's restaurants) with carrots, celery, onion, leeks, green beans, fresh diced tomatoes, savoy cabbage, zucchini, yellow squash, chickpeas and white beans. Its base is chicken stock (defatted), and I flavor it with a bit of pancetta and a rind of parmesan. Then a bit of grated parm over the top. With so many low cal veggies, you can have a big bowl for a few calories.
      I also do a more tomato-based minestrone. And when I make homemade chicken or beef soup, I just chill the soup before eating, and then lift off the fat (its helpful if you use a tall container so all the fat is concentrated at the top over a smaller surface area. I use a large pitcher). You might also like to experiment with some asian type soups - miso with tofu for eg.

      Also, try making "quiche" or fritattas with eggs and cottage cheese which will lend a creamy texture if you blend it up first with the eggs. Then add assorted veggies and lean meats (lean ham or salmon or smoked salmon are delicious), If you really want to lower cals more, use Eggbeaters or take out some of the yolks.

      Try stir fries for a different twist.
      And this comes from the lowcarb dieters - try grating cauliflower with a food processor. Then sautee it as you would to make fried rice - with some garlic, soy sauce, ginger, etc. Add veggies, scramble in an egg, toss in any bits of deli ham or chicken or whatever. The cauliflower is very low cal and filling.

      1. w
        weezycom RE: senorbob06969 Sep 16, 2008 08:18 PM

        Start your meal with a cup of hot, de-fatted chicken broth. It's about 15 calories and surprisingly satisfying.

        Find a nice low-fat recipe for lettuce wraps; great way to pump up flavor but keep the calorie counts down by removing the bread from the equation.

        Make a substitute for mashed potatoes by making mashed cauliflower instead. Cook in water with a pinch of salt and a whole garlic clove or two until tender, then mash up with a bit of low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt and a few grinds of pepper.

        For quick meals, check out the reduced sodium low fat canned soups. You can heat up in a minute in the microwave and some are very tasty.

        Quick mushroom stroganoff -- in a nonstick skillet over medium, dump about 6-8 ounces of sliced mushrooms and a pinch of salt. DO NOT add any fat at this point. stir the mushrooms until they give off their moisture and start to carmelize a bit. Then add a miniscule amount of olive or canola oil, reduce heat and add a clove of crushed garlic, a handful of Boca crumbles, non-fat sour cream or yogurt and freshly grate some nutmeg into it. Heat through.

        Use small amounts of strongly-flavored high-fat foods to pump up your salads. An ounce of feta crumbles or sharp blue cheese makes a big difference.

        2 Replies
        1. re: weezycom
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          weezycom RE: weezycom Sep 16, 2008 08:25 PM

          Oh, I forgot about spaghetti squash -- remember, it tastes like squash,not spaghetti. If you keep that in mind, you'll like the results better. But very easy to hack a ring of squash off, scoop out the seeds, put in a bowl in the microwave with a tablespoon of water, cover with a small vent and nuke until tender. Remove from mike, pour off water, shred the squash meat with a fork, serve with your favorite spaghetti sauce over top with a judicious grating of a nice bold parmigianno reggiano.

          1. re: weezycom
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            oryza RE: weezycom Sep 19, 2008 07:27 PM

            Or, serve in the squash-rind and just throw some sauce directly into it. It makes it that much more fun to eat. Top with grilled low-fat chicken sausage.

        2. j
          Jacey RE: senorbob06969 Sep 16, 2008 08:35 PM

          Try out shirataki noodles. If you cook them correctly these will open up a--low cal--world of dinner opportunities. Also, check out the Hungry Girl Web site/cookbook. Tons of low cal meals!

          1. Jetgirly RE: senorbob06969 Sep 16, 2008 08:50 PM

            I second vegetable soup! I just finished making my weekly pot of soup (yes, I am two days late!)- it's a minestrone with garlic, onion, carrots, celery, leeks, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, spinach, zucchini, diced tomatoes, assorted beans and brown rice pasta (gluten-free, I cook it seperately and add it to each serving so it doesn't get soggy).

            I've been eating a lot of homemade dahl, which is (basically) just lentils boiled until they're soft and seasoned as you like. I make mine with sauteed garlic, onions, ginger juice and curry-inspired spices. In the olden days I used to serve it on top of wild rice, but I haven't been in a ricey mood lately.

            I also make frittatas, with two eggs and a whole bunch of roasted vegetables. Logic tells me you could do one egg plus one egg white, but don't quote me on it as I'm far too lazy to seperate the eggs from their whites. I would guess a roasted veggie frittata would come in around 350 calories.

            1. w
              weem RE: senorbob06969 Sep 16, 2008 09:14 PM

              Many excellent suggestions above. My weight has fluctuated over the years for various reasons. I guess the good news is that my body responds to what I do to it. The bad news is that I don't always do good things to it. :-)

              A hearty second to the suggestions of beans/legumes. They can be very filling and satisfying without busting the calorie (or cash) budget.

              Do you drink alcohol? There are tons of empty calories in alcohol. They don't call it a beer belly for nothing. If so, consider cutting back on that, tough as it may be.

              Try logging onto eBay or some such website and buying some old Weight Watchers cookbook, or something similar. They can provide marvelous ways to create filling dishes without blowing the calorie count.

              And I have to point out that I've never lost any significant amount of weight without adding excercise to my diet. That doesn't mean you have to join a gym and train for a triathalon. Just go out for a half-hour walk each evening. It helps clear your head as well as your body.

              1. l
                lexpatti RE: senorbob06969 Sep 17, 2008 05:24 AM

                hubby and I have done good with Weight Watchers and got some great recipes from "WW Favorites" that I picked up at BJ's. I've added polenta to my diet, one recipe in particular is that tube of polenta sliced/fried, with alternating grilled eggplant - then a dollop of spaghetti sauce on top (maybe a little low fat motz cheese or fresh grated parm). Shellfish is low on WW, so I do a lot of shellfish. Sushi is our pig out night, since it's low.

                Fiber is key. Look for things high in fiber. Quesadillas are great too, find the low cal/high fiber wraps then stuff it with mostly vegies, little cheese and little protein or beans. I get full on those.

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