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Yum! Flavorful Low-Calorie Recipes

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Yum! Flavorful Low-Calorie Recipes

We all know about the four basic flavors we taste: sweet,
salty sour and bitter. In 1908, Dr. Kikunae Ikeda of Tokyo Imperial University,
now the University of Tokyo, began experiments as to why some foods, especially
kelp (kombu), were delicious in a special way, different from those four basic
flavors. He discovered that kombu contains an amino acid called glutamic
acid
, and coined the term “umami”, or savory, to describe the taste. In the
1980’s, additional studies legitimized umami as the “official” fifth taste.

What does this have to do with low-calorie dinners, you ask?
Well, it means that, even if your portion is small, umami can make up for the
rest in flavor. Tomatoes and meat are Western examples of foods that are umami.
With this in mind, if you’re going low-calorie, create meals that are big on
umami, and small on calories, and you might find your appetite more easily
satiated.

These three small dishes are super-low in calories. Umami
makes up for portion size. Satisfying your mouth will help satisfy your
stomach!

Snap Zucchini Parmesan

From Spark
People Recipes

Ingredients for One Serving (a very light meal or appetizer):

  • 1 cup sliced zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon fresh shredded parmesan
  • 10 squirts butter or olive oil spray

How to Make It:

Line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper. Spray with
the oil. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and pop the whole thing into the oven. Stay
close as it broils until the cheese is bubbly.

Nutritional
Info:

  • Servings
    Per Recipe: 1
  • Calories:
    51.6
  • Total
    Fat: 1.6 g
  • Cholesterol:
    3.9 mg
  • Sodium:
    128.5 mg
  • Total
    Carbs: 7.3 g
  • Dietary
    Fiber: 2.5 g
  • Protein:
    3.2 g

Turkey/Veggie Egg Muffins

From Half
of Gabby

This is a quick, easy recipe for when you’re in a hurry,
since they can be made the day before and eaten for breakfast or even for a
light dinner servedwith a salad. Each muffin packs 11 grams of protein.

Ingredients for 18 Muffins:

  • 1 lb
    ground turkey
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup
    shredded mozzarella cheese (or any low-fat cheese)
  • ¼ cup
    unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 finely
    chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup
    finely chopped mushrooms
  • ½ cup
    finely sliced green onion
  • 3
    tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1
    tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and
    pepper, or desired seasoning, to taste
  • Spray oil
    for muffin tin

How to Make It:

Preheat
oven to 350°. Prepare muffin tin with spray oil, coating each cup evenly. Brown
ground turkey. Drain meat after browning, and set aside, as you’ll use the pan
for the onions. Add veggies to the pan and sauté 5 to 6 minutes on medium heat.
As these are cooking, whisk together eggs and parsley in a large bowl. Add
cheese, cooked turkey and veggies to the egg mixture and mix to combine well.
Fill muffin cups ¾ full (they will not rise very much). Bake 20 to 25 minutes,
until set. Feel free to experiment with different meat/cheese/veggie
combinations but make low-calorie choices if you want to keep it light.

Nutritional
Info:

  • Servings
    Per Recipe: 18
  • Calories:
    105
  • Total
    Fat: 0.7 g
  • Total
    Carbs: 7.3 g
  • Protein:
    11 g

Hearty Vegetable Soup

From Spark
People Recipes

Feel free to experiment with any seasonal vegetables for
this hearty, yet light, soup.

Ingredients for 8 Servings:

  • 1 Tbs extra
    virgin olive oil or spray oil
  • 2 diced
    carrots
  • 1 sliced
    leek, white part only, or 1 diced yellow onion
  • 2 diced
    celery stalks
  • 2 minced
    garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 Tbs
    fresh thyme or 1 1/4 tsp dried
  • 3
    quartered red potatoes
  • 1 cup
    baby spinach
  • Salt and
    pepper to taste
  • Red
    pepper flakes to taste
  • 9 cup
    water
  • 2 small
    zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup
    fresh or frozen green beans
  • 1/2 cup
    small pasta
  • 2 plum or
    Italian tomatoes, deseeded and chopped

Ingredients
for Basil Topping:

  • 1 Tbsp extra
    virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup
    fresh basil leaves
  • 3 Tbsp
    parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and
    pepper to taste

How to Make It:

Add olive
oil to a heavy-bottom stock pot and warm on medium heat. Add carrots,
leek/onion, and celery, sautéing for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add
garlic and thyme and cook another 5 minutes, adjusting heat as necessary. Add
potatoes, spinach, salt and red/black pepper and combine all. Add remaining
ingredients, except the topping, and cook until potatoes are soft.
Additionally, this entire recipe can be placed in a crock pot and cooked until it’s
hot and the potatoes are tender. For crispier veggies, add the zucchini, baby
spinach and frozen green beans later, as they’ll be mushy if cooked longer.
While soup is cooking, place topping ingredients in small food processor and
puree until smooth. Ladle soup into bowls and swirl topping into each bowl
until just combined.

Nutritional
Info:

  • Servings
    Per Recipe: 8
  • Calories:
    159.7
  • Total
    Fat: 4.5 g
  • Cholesterol:
    1.5 mg
  • Sodium:
    96.2 mg
  • Total
    Carbs: 26.3 g
  • Dietary
    Fiber: 6.4 g
  • Protein:
    5.4 g

While it seems
tough to find good, low-calorie recipes, it’s not only possible, it’s
surprisingly easy, especially if you keep the concept of umami in mind. Savory
flavors go a long way in helping you win the battle against overeating by
keeping down the calories!

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