So, you’ve decided you need to lose a few pounds? This doesn’t mean you have to punish yourself by eating bland, tastelaess foods! Generally, people who try to survive on these boring foods, are unsuccessful in their weight loss attempts, because eating like that is not sustainable.

Here are some tips and recipes to keep your meals low-calorie and nutritious, without losing flavour:

Ditch the oil

Try using less oil when cooking. How? Let’s look at frying onions. If you would usually cover the whole base of the pan, try using a teaspoon of oil for each person you’re cooking for; e.g. if you’re cooking for four, use just 4 teaspoons of oil. Heat the oil before adding the onions, so that when you do, the onions will sizzle, browning them and sealing in the flavour. Toss frequently to coat as much as possible. Turn the burner right down and let the onions continue to soften in their own natural juices. Add Oregano or Thyme for extra flavour. Once the onion is translucent, continue as usual with the meal preparation. You’ll find that reducing the oil doesn’t detract from the flavour at all, while substantially reducing your calorie intake!

If you enjoy fries and can’t see yourself giving them up completely, use this healthier, baked alternative to deep fried potatoes chips.

  • Peel potatoes and cut into wedges
  • Par-boil the wedges with a little salt (do not overcook)
  • Arrange the wedges on a non-stick baking sheet
  • Lightly coat the wedges with olive or canola oil
  • Season to taste
  • Place in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about ten minutes at a time, removing and turning regularly until soft. Remember to season all sides before replacing in the oven
  • Once the wedges are soft, turn on the grill and brown until golden and crispy
  • Enjoy – guilt free!

Reduce the carbs

It’s a well-known fact that carbohydrates convert to energy in the body. Unused energy is “stored it for later” in the form of fat. Over a few weeks or months, the “stored energy” translates to a good few pounds of extra body weight. So, here are some simple ways to reduce intake, without going hungry or feeling deprived:

  • Use Cauli-mash. Cauliflower is a great alternative to mashed potato, with a fraction of the calories and not carbohydrates. Simply boil the cauliflower until it’s soft, then blend or mash it until it has a smooth, fine consistency. Season to taste and add a small knob of butter. This is a great topping for shepherd’s pie, or accompaniment for your meatballs!
  • Cauliflower pizza bases. Say what? You read right. Cauliflower can be used as a carb-free alternative to traditional pizza base. Here’s how to make them:

    • 1 head cauliflower, stalks removed
    • ¼ cup grated parmesan
    • ½ cup mozzarella, shredded
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
    • 2 lightly beaten eggs

Pulse the raw cauli in a blender before steaming it until soft. Remove from the steamer and place it in a cloth or towel to remove excess moisture. Combine all other ingredients in a bowl, then add the cooled cauli and work into a firm “ball”. Place on a baking sheet (with non-stick spray) and flatten into a flat, round pizza base. Bake for 20 minutes, then add your healthy toppings. Enjoy!

Lastly, here is a tasty dish, high in protein, low in fat and carbs, to prove that healthy can still be tasty:

Tasty Stir Fry (Serves 2-3):

  • 2 Filleted chicken breasts, diced small
  • 100g Lean bacon, diced
  • 150g Sliced mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • Zucchini “spaghetti”
  • 50g reduced fat feta, crumbled
  • Mini Rosa Tomatoes, halved
  • 15ml Olive oil
  • Mixed herbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat half the oil in a pan. Add onions and herbs and gently brown. Add mushrooms, stirring frequently, until their natural moisture has cooked away.

Add the other half of the oil and allow to heat through before adding the chicken and bacon. Brown the meat and simmer for a while, before adding the zucchini “spaghetti”, which will cook in its own juices. Add salt and pepper to taste and allow to simmer gently on a low heat, until the chicken is cooked through. Now add the feta on top and finally the halved tomatoes. Leave on a low heat until the feta begins to melt, and the tomatoes are well poached. You could add fresh rocket or basil on top for extra flavor.

From the above, you can see that eating healthy/slimming food does not mean you have to swap tasty food for limp, boiled vegetables, or a piece of celery… If you follow these tips you can have the best of both!