The Best Bang for the Buck

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by rjhunt, Mar 30, 2003.

  1. rjhunt

    rjhunt

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    For the last 3 months I have been adjusting my diet and exercise and have lost 44 pounds so far. It's not a starvation diet or excessive exercise. I focus on 1200 to 1300 calories a day and ride my exercise bicycle (20 mph) for 60 minutes every day. I do light weights every other day. I've been developing recipes for dinners that stay in the 300 to 400 calories and have done pretty good so far.

    My question... what tricks of the trades do you use to lighten up standard recipes? I'm operating with the no food is forbidden, just have to track the calories.

    Thoughts, input, ideas...

    Thanks!
    Becca
     
  2. suzanne

    suzanne

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    Sounds like you're doing it the right way! I agree with your approach of "no food is forbidden" -- or as my mother used to say, "Cut down, not cut out."

    I'm sure you already do a lot of these:
    1. Trim meats very thoroughly of visible fat
    2. Cut down portion size of high-fat meats; use as a condiment for flavor, not as a slab
    3. Reverse the proportion of meat to vegetables: use lots more vegetables, and cook them in ways that develop their flavors more (roasting or grilling rather that boiling or steaming)
    4. Remove all fat from stocks, and use reductions for flavor instead of fat
    5. Substitute lower- or no-fat ingredients whenever possible (yogurt for sour cream, etc.)
    6. Spray oil onto saute pans instead of pouring
    7. Use the strongest-flavored versions of high-fat items, so that you get the flavor without having to eat a lot (such as chocolate or ice cream :D )
    8. Buy the best quality ingredients you can find and afford; more flavor in each bite means you'll need fewer bites
    9. Be aware of hidden calories in prepared and canned foods, and avoid them as much as possible[/list=1]
      Now, if I would only exercise as you do, I'd be on my way, too. ;)
     
  3. lynne

    lynne

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    To add to Suzanne's great suggestions --

    Use a wide variety of colours and textures. It will keep your eyes and mouth from getting "bored" and from "looking" for more... Reds, greens, yellows, oranges... A variety of colours also helps ensure that you get a more complete complement of nutrients.

    Use foods with a "chew" factor. It gives you the illusion of eating more and gives your brain the feeling that you have eaten more than you have actually consumed. Mushrooms are a good example of foods witha good low fat, low calorie chew factor .... "grilled portabello steaks" anyone?

    Good luck!
     
  4. rjhunt

    rjhunt

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    Thanks! I did buy an oil sprayer which I love. I can use my choice of oil and grade. It's amazing how little oil is really needed vs. what is put into recipes.

    All ideas are greatly appreciated.

    Becca
     
  5. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    Bok choy is your friend!

    I love to chop up several large stalks, chiffonade the leaves and put all into a glass casserole. Then I add 1 roma tomato, peeled and chopped, a cup of sliced fresh mushrooms (the more flavorful the better!), a bit of low-salt chicken broth and a couple of dashes of low-sodium soy sauce. Sometimes a few dashes of hot sauce are good in this. Then I cover it and nuke it on high for about 8 minutes.

    Lots of bulk there for very, very few calories. I just calculated it in my cookbook program; it came up 55 calories, 6 carbs, but a lot of salt (1500 mg or so...) if made with regular broth rather than low sodium.
     
  6. rjhunt

    rjhunt

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    I make my own stock, so salt is not an issue. I really enjoy bok choy... steamed with a light asian sauce. Yum! What computer cookbook do you use? I have the MasterCook, CookingLight V. 3.02. Do you ever check the nutritional information in your database to see how accurate it is? I've noticed some differences and mistakes in the MasterCook version that I have.

    Becca
     
  7. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    I use Living Cookbook v. 1.2. So far it's been pretty accurate, but I have entered only a dozen recipes or so. It's kind of tricky with the ingredient entry section, and I'm still getting the hang of it. But it's easy to edit ingredients, a real plus.

    The Bok Choy Chop recipe is a quick, everyday kind of thing I used to throw together a lot. Not haute cuisine, but fills the tummy fast with few calories.