A common way to measure if one’s eating habits are healthy is to keep track of one’s calorie consumption. Ideally, any individual looking to lose weight must ensure they maintain a low-calorie diet.
A low-calorie diet is one that restricts your intake to 1200-1600 calories for men, and between 1000 and 1200 calories for women. We got in touch with Alpa Momaya, Sr. Nutritionist at HealthifyMe, to understand low-calorie foods and diet a little better.
Benefits of low-calorie diets
One of the key benefits of low-calorie diets is to help control your weight. The idea behind achieving weight loss is to burn more calories than one consumes. Having low-calorie diets helps maintain one’s calorie deficit, eventually leading to weight loss.
Consuming fewer calories everyday also helps you ensure that balance is maintained in your diet. This way, you tend to eat fruits and vegetables, lean meat, healthy fats, and low-fat dairy products.
It is necessary to ensure that the foods you consume are not too high on calories. The following foods are great examples of low-calorie foods that will help you lose weight.
Extremely popular due to its taste, apples are also extremely nutritious. One cup(125 g) of apple slices contains 57 calories, and 3 g of dietary fiber. Since the body needs to burn energy to digest the fruit, apples can play a major role in one’s weight loss goals.
Among the most nutritious vegetables on the planet, broccoli has several health benefits, and can assist in the treatment of diseases. A member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, one cup (91 g) of broccoli has only 31 calories. Additionally, the vegetable accounts for over 100% of any individual’s recommended intake of vitamin C.
Carrot, as a vegetable, is commonly associated with good eyesight. They’re rich in beta carotene that is converted into vitamin A. Getting enough of the vitamin is essential for good vision. One cup of carrots has only 53 calories, and can account for over 400% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A.
In addition to being low in calories, cauliflower is also rich in nutrients. They are particularly rich in vitamin C, with 1 cup(128 g) of raw cauliflower accounting for over 77% of the recommended daily intake. The same quantity has only 25 calories.
Commonly found in salads, cucumbers are extremely refreshing vegetables that are also used to flavour water along with herbs and fruits. Since they are mostly made of water, a half-cup(52 g) contains only 8 calories.
Lemon is mainly used to flavour water and salad dressings. However, they do more than just that. The high antioxidant content in them help fight and prevent diseases. They are also low in calories with 30 g containing only 8 calories.
In addition to the foods mentioned above, you could also include the following low-calorie recipes in your diet.
LOW CALORIE BAKED VEGETABLES IN WHITE SAUCE
Prep time – 30 minutes Serves – 3
For The Low Calorie White Sauce –
- 1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped bottle gourd
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
For vegetables –
- 2 cups cubed mixed vegetables(carrots, broccoli, peas, corn, green beans)
- Salt and pepper to taste
For The Topping-
- 2 tablespoon grated low fat paneer
- 1 tablespoon grated cheese
For the low calorie white sauce –
- Combine the bottle gourd and 2 cups of water in a pan and cook on a medium flame for 8 to 10 minutes or until the gourd turns soft.
- Blend it in a mixer to a smooth purée. Keep aside.
- Heat the butter in a broad non-stick pan, add the whole wheat flour and sauté on a medium flame for 30 seconds.
- Add the milk, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 1 to 2 minutes, while stirring continuously with the help of a whisk till no lumps remain.
- Add the gourd purée, mix well and cook on medium flame for 1 minute, while stirring continuously.
- Add the salt and pepper powder, mix well and bring to a boil, while stirring occasionally. Keep aside.
For the vegetables-
- Steam the mixed vegetables until al dente.
- Add the low calorie white sauce and mix well. Adjust the seasoning.
- Transfer it into a baking dish and sprinkle the paneer and cheese on top.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 10 minutes. Serve hot.
Rich in protein and calcium, makhana or fox-nut combines beautifully with low-fat milk to make a creamy and delicious kheer.
Prep time – 5 minutes, Cooking time – 20 minutes, Serves 4
- 1 lt low fat milk
- 1/2 cup makhana (puffed fox nuts)
- 3-4 dates, chopped finely
- 1 teaspoon chopped pistachios
- 2 teaspoon chopped almonds
- 1 teaspoon green cardamom powder
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder
- Dry roast the fox nuts till they are crisp.
- Cool, and blend coarsely in a grinder or with a rolling pin.
- Boil the milk in a deep non-stick pan. Add the dates and coarsely crushed lotus seeds. Mix well and cook on a medium flame for 2-5 minutes, while stirring occasionally.
- Add the nuts and spices, and mix, serve warm or cold.
In conclusion, it is ideal to consume foods that are low in calories in order to maintain one’s weight and to ensure that one receives all the nutrients needed in a balanced diet.
Note: This post on low-calorie diets is a guest post.