I am in no way advocating low calorie lifestyles. Just wanted to put that out there. Disclaimer down… let’s be honest, there are times for all of us that we want to drop a couple of pounds (and some of us decide to get as lean as possible and waltz about in a glittery bikini)! Unless you are consuming incredibly few calories, dieting does not have to be synonymous with bland, boring or monotonous. Being a foodie and, also, being in a calorie deficit for the past six months, I have developed a few tips on how to maximize minimal calories and am pretty well informed about low/no calorie flavoring options!
1. Think volume. I bulk up all my meals with tonnes of volume. I start most my savoury meals with a salad base and build from there. My favourite salad staples are different lettuces, cucumber, shredded cabbage, red peppers and celetry. It doesn’t have to be salad based either, I add mushrooms, zucchini and broccoli to a lot of meals too. You can grate/spiralize a lot of vegetables and either substitute your regular carbohydrate source for these, or reduce your regular carbohydrate and incorporate the veggies. For sweet dishes, I also add fruit or veggies to bulk out meals. Grated zucchini in oatmeal adds lots of volume, with minimal calories. Berries are low calorie fruit that can add bulk to a meal too. I also blend protein powder with ice and mix water into yoghurt to make it stretch that little bit further!
2. Think texture. Eating meal upon meal of ‘soft’ food only makes you crave the crunch of chocolate and pizza. Ensure your meals have different textures – even popping something under the grill gives your meal a crispier texture. I do this all the time with flatbreads and omlettes; even oatmeal!
3. Think herbs and spices. These have very minimal calories and spicing your food will make a world of difference. You don’t have to eat plain chicken if you don’t want to! My favourite herbs are fresh cilantro, mint and basil. Dried herbs, I tend to use an Italian herb seasoning. Spices; cumin, smoked paprika, BBQseasoning, fajita seasoning, nutmeg and cinnamon. There are an abundance of herbs and spices out there!
4. Think condiments.
I am a big fan of flavor. Here are my top 0 calorie sauce choices:
- French’s yellow mustard
- Fresh Market Sirarcha mustard
- Frank’s red hot sauce
- Frank’s buffalo sauce
- Walden Farms dressings
- Taco Bell mild sauce
- Sicilia lime juice
Here are my top 10kcal and under sauce choices:
- G Hughes sugar free BBQ sauce
- Heinz reduced salt/sugar ketchup
- Fresh salsa
- Jardin’s street taco sauces
Here are my top sweet sauce choices:
- Jordan’s Skinny Syrups
- Walden Farms syrups
- McCormick extracts
- My Protein syrups
- My Protein flav drops
5. Think flavored drinks. I brew herbal tea and refridgerate it. I also drink lots of sparkling water and green tea as well as decaf flavored coffee. I try not to drink too many diet sodas, but these can also be great to cure cravings.
6. Think adapatation, not deprivation. If you want a pizza, make a lower calorie version. Use a flatbread or a wrap, add your own sauce and toppings and you will easily cut the calories in half. I bet it tastes better too! Use the Internet to search for lower calorie alternatives or options. As I’ve said before, don’t focus on what you are missing, it will only leave you feeling like you are dieting.
The dieting world CAN have flavor and the dieting world CAN be pleasurable.