I was going to do a whole post on doing the low cal diet thing… and then realized that it’s nothing if not with some recipes. But why push those recipes as a footnote in a post? Food is the star, even when on a diet. The best way to make sure you stay on track is to make sure the low cal meals itself are filling, enjoyable and easy to make. You can have some of your favorites without sacrificing taste or an empty stomach.
So here are 2 Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner suggestions. As well as a few extra low-calorie options thrown in.
Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Sandwich: 322 calories
I’ve written about an “at work” version of this which probably isn’t too bad on the calories but here’s what I’m making now for myself at home to jump start my mornings.
- 1 large egg: 80 calories
- 1 english muffin: 120 calories
- 1 strip of bacon, cut in half: 40 calories (I use Plumrose, calorie count may vary)
- 1 slice of provolone: 80 calories
- Season salt (I prefer Adobe): 0 calories
Split the english muffin with a fork and lightly toast them. Fry the bacon in the pan and drain out the excess fat. Without cleaning the pan (why lose all that great flavor?), fry the egg and sprinkle with the seasoning salt. Flip it over and add the slice of provolone. Assemble together with the bacon on the toasted english muffin and enjoy. I cook my egg slightly on the runny side so I can dip it in its own sauce. Great start to the day.
Eggs (Florentine style) w/ Black beans: 373 Calories
- 2 Large Eggs: 160 calories
- 2 cup chopped Spinach: 14 calories
- 1/8 cup diced onion: 9 calories
- 1 strip bacon, diced: 40 calories
- 1/2 cup Mexican Black Beans (make ahead of time): 100 calories
- 1/8 cup mexican cheese: 50 calories
- Salt & Pepper
- Hot sauce
Take the diced bacon and onion and saute over medium heat till onions soften and bacon crisps up. Place the spinach in the pan and stir. The Spinach will cook down quite a bit. Make two indents in the mixture and place the eggs into them. Cover and cook for about a minute. Turn off the heat, but leave them on the stovetop. The carryover heat will continue to cook it. Heat up the black bean mixture. When eggs are done (I like mine over easy) use a spatula and slide the spinach/eggs onto the plate and spoon anything left over the eggs. Place the Black bean mixture along side it and top with cheese. Top everything with salt, pepper, & hot sauce to taste.
Mexican Black Beans: makes 6 – 1/2 cup servings
Easy to make ahead of time and pulled out of the fridge and heated up.
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced onions (1/2 medium onion)
- 1 teaspoon Garlic powder (or 1 garlic clove)
- 2 cups black beans, drained (15 oz can)
- 1 package Sazon (found in most mexican isles)
- 1 Tablespoon Vinegar
- 1 cup water
- Hot sauce
- Salt & PepperAdd olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add onions and Garlic powder. Brown. Add the black beans, sazon, vinegar and water. Boil for about 10 minutes. Stir in hot sauce, salt, & pepper to taste. Place in refrigerator until needed.
- 2 English muffins: 240 calories
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce: 80 calories (I like Classico Florentine for an extra burst of flavor)
- 8 slices pepperoni: 80 calories
- 1/2 cup Shredded low-fat Mozzarella: 180 calories
Split with a fork and lightly toast the english muffins. Top with the sauce, cheese and Pepperoni. Put back into the toaster oven and cook till pepperoni is crispy and cheese is slightly bubbly.
Chicken Quesadillas: 581 Calories
- 2 Flour 8″ Tortillas: 260 calories
- 1/2 cup mexican style cheese shreds: 180 calories
- 1/2 cup shredded chicken breast: 115 calories
- 1 cup shredded Lettuce: 10 calories
- 1/2 cup diced tomato: 16 calories
- Hot Sauce
In a warm non-stick pan place down the tortillas. You don’t want it too hot otherwise the tortilla will burn before the filling heats up. Fill with chicken, cheese and hot sauce on one half, and fold the tortilla over to cover. Cook until the filling is heated and the tortilla is slightly brown. Remove from the pan. Open slightly and fill in with lettuce & tomato. Press down and cut in half.
Chicken Leg Quarters w/ Asparagus & Baked Potato: 570 calories
- 1 Baked Leg Quarter: 264 calories
- 1 medium Red Potato: 110 calories
- 2 Tablespoons Sour Cream: 60 calories
- 1/2 Tablespoon Garlic Powder: 14 calories
- 1 Tablespoon Chives: 1 calorie
- 6 Asparagus Spears: 20 calories
- Butter: 101 calories
- Salt & Pepper: 0 calories
I typically butterfly a chicken, pat dry and sprinkle with some salt pepper and garlic powder. (For help on how to make and roast a butterfly chicken check out Alton Brown’s recipe) and then roast it straight on the rack of an oven in order to get an incredibly juicy chicken. Make sure you place a pan under it to catch all the drippings. Poke the potato a few times with a knife and place also directly on the rack. Cook at about 450 for about an hour. Combine the sour cream, chives, and garlic powder and place back in the fridge. Once you remove the chicken, let it sit about 10 minutes before cutting it. Put the butter in the sauce pan along with the asparagus. Toss with some salt and pepper Take just the leg quarter and place on a plate. Remove the baked potato from the oven and crack open. Place 2 Tablespoon of the Sour cream mixture on the potato.
Chicken Parm w/Tater Tots & Salad: 750 calories
- 6oz Chicken Breast: 210
- 1/4 cup panko: 55
- 1/4 cup egg white: 30 calories
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce: 80 calories (again like Classico Florentine for that extra flavor)
- 1/4 cup Shredded low-fat mozzarella: 90 calories
- 10 Tator Tots: 160 calories
- 1 cup Mixed Salad: 37 calories
- 2 Tablespoon pecorino romano Cheese: 40 calories
- 1/2 Tablespoon Ranch Dressing: 35 calories
- 1/2 Tablespoon Lite Caesar Dressing: 18 calories
Preheat oven to 450. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Place the tator tots on the sheet. Pound the chicken breast to about 1/2″. Lightly whip up the egg whites and dip the chicken in it. Place in the panko breading on both sides and place in oven along with the tator tots. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, turning everything over once midway through. While the chicken is cooking, heat up the tomato sauce on the oven (or microwave). Also combine the salad, Pecorino Romano cheese, and dressings and set aside. Once the chicken is done, spread the sauce over the chicken and top with mozzarella cheese. Leave in oven another couple of minutes until the cheese is melted. Place chicken, tator tots, and salad on a plate and enjoy.
Chicken Cacciatore w/ Herb Sour Cream Baked Potato & Salad: 606 Calories
Not my own recipe but one that worked well and was very filling. Already scheduled Healthy Appetite on Food Network for more ideas. Also stole the Baked potato idea from another show, but was surprised at how much flavor the sour cream has made extra for other meals. The Cacciatore (302 calories) paired with a Baked potato with Herb sour cream (209 calories) & a salad w/ Blue Cheese (95 calories) made a very filling meal.
Extra: Eating Out
You don’t always need to eat in to get a low-calorie meal. I try to eat out at least once a week to feel like I’m not cutting myself short. You can even bring in some hot sauce to add some heat (most hot sauces are 0 calories). The trick is to find a meal you can have over and over, without making you feel empty. Here are two low-calorie but filling options at McDonald’s and Wendy’s.
McDonald’s: 510 Calories
- Premium Grilled Chicken Ranch BLT Sandwich: 380 calories
- Side Salad w/Croutons & Low fat Italian Dressing: 130 calories
- Unsweetened Ice Tea (any size): 0 Calories
Wendy’s: 545 Calories
- Ultimate Grilled Chicken Sandwich: 390 calories
- Garden side Salad w/Croutons & Light Ranch Dressing: 155 calories
- Unsweetened Ice Tea (any size): 0 Calories