If it isn’t somewhat obvious, I really like to eat. And one of the things that I don’t like about trying to lose weight is that pesky idea that you actually have to eat less. This ½ sandwich and a cup of soup business just doesn’t cut it for me. And 2/3 of a cup of cereal is the serving size listed on my box. Really? Because you see, when I eat sensibly it actually makes me want to eat more…because I’m hungry…because I’m not eating as much. See what a vicious cycle it is. If only there were a magical food that burned more calories to digest than were in it (unfortunately, the myths about negative calorie foods just aren’t true). While there isn’t a food that is magic, there are several things that I have found that are low calorie enough where you can eat a substantial amount without going overboard on your daily caloric intake.
I’m sure there are plenty more but these are the ones that have really helped me along so far:
Eggplant - An entire 1 lb eggplant has a total of 88 calories. A serving of bread crumbs is 110 calories. Theoretically you could cut up an entire eggplant, bread it, and bake it for less than 200 calories. Add a serving of marinara sauce on top and voila, for about 300 calories you have a large amount of eggplant parmesan.
Spaghetti Squash - Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways. At 165 calories for the entire thing (which is on average about 5 CUPS), this vegetable is sure to satisfy the hungriest of hungry people (or two). Roast it, microwave it, boil it, eat with spaghetti sauce or just with some salt and pepper.
Broth based soups - Broths are very low calorie (chicken is 10, vegetable is 15 and beef is 17 per cup). Add some cut up vegetables, some spices, and even a little meat if you’d like and it’s easy to stay low on the calorie count. You can eat several cups and still have room for a small salad or maybe something cheat-y.
Shrimp - For 3 oz of shrimp (about 15 large ones) you’ll have to track 83 calories and 0.9 grams of fat. For the same amount of roast beef (about the size of a deck of playing cards), you’re looking at 180 calories and 6.5 grams of fat.
Egg White Omelets - 6 oz. of egg white substitute is 92 calories. Add some cut up green peppers, onions, or whatever else you’d like and that’s a whole lotta omelet. Pair that up with a whole grain English muffin (120 calories) topped with a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese spread (35 calories) and you’ve got a substantial breakfast for less 300 calories.
Steel Cut Oatmeal - There are roughly 170 calories in a cup of cooked steel cut oatmeal. I can eat a lot of food and can’t finish two cups of the stuff. And it’s delicious. I just discovered this (I had always tried the instant or quick kind and wasn’t really a fan). Now I just add a little Splenda and sometimes some brown sugar and it is SUPER filling.
Cantaloupe and Watermelon - A lot of fruits and vegetables are great, these two are just my favorite. They are super sweet, filling, and I enjoy the textures. You could eat an entire cantaloupe for 150 calories and 1/16th of a watermelon has 87 calories.
California Roll - If you have access to somewhere that sells sushi, California rolls are amazing. They are rice, crab, avocado, and cucumber all rolled up into one delicious log. I realize that log is not a very appetizing word but I was tired of using the word roll. I didn‘t want to overdo it. Two rolls (which are ten pieces) are 260 calories and super filling. Surprisingly, Kroger has some in their produce section that is quite delicious. I haven't looked into other kinds of sushi, I am not that brave yet.
Portabella Mushrooms - I realize that this last one is somewhat polarizing. You either love em or you hate em. I don’t just love them. I L-O-V-E them. Substitute your hamburger with one of these (preferably grilled) and you have an 18 calorie patty of love. (I’m laughing at myself now, it’s o.k. if you do too.) They are also great with spinach or just sautéed by themselves. Try it, you’ll like it.
OK. I am sure that there are others that I am forgetting but these are definitely some of my main staples for those days when I feel like a little bit just isn’t going to cut it. I hope that you try some of them. And if you have any of your own, feel free to share them here.