Here are some great low calorie dinner ideas for those of you wanting to eat healthy, while at the same time not spending your whole paycheck on healthy foods.
The Jacket Potato is the king of low cost meals, but most people make them unhealthy by adding fat laden toppings. Healthy and cheap toppings include reduced sugar and salt baked beans, hummus, scrambled egg or even left over veggies from last night’s dinner. Garnish with a green salad to provide extra nutrients and also to fill you up. To keep your calories low choose a smaller potato but with more of the protein topping which will also keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Basic Curry and Rice
Cheap, filling and nutritious protein options such as lentils or chick peas work brilliantly in curries and the sauces are often easily made with spices, tinned tomatoes, yoghurt and even just stock. Choose basmati rice which has a lower GI than white rice and buy it in large quantities which means it works out much cheaper. Also keep a selection of spices in your cupboard. You can pad the curry out with whatever vegetables you have left in the fridge, anything goes- potatoes, carrots, broccoli. Cutting out the poppadoms, extra sauces, Indian breads and bhajis makes this much healthier than the take-out option.
Homemade Fish and Chips
Buy frozen fish fillets in bulk packets and remove them from the freezer as and when you need them. Cheap frozen fish includes salmon and pollack. To make the fish more interesting knock up a home-made crust using stale bread to make breadcrumbs and a layer of pesto. Homemade chips can be made healthier by being large cut and oven baked in olive oil. You can also use fifty per cent sweet potatoes and even some carrots to cut down on the potato calories. Simply chip the potatoes or carrots then boil for three minutes before transferring to hot oil in a baking tray and cooking for fifteen-twenty minutes at a high temperature. You can also look into a salt free diet .
Spanish Omelette and Vegetables
A Spanish omelette, sometimes known as a tortilla is a very easy, really cheap and fairly low calorie meal. It’s made using par boiled or pre sautéed potatoes which are then mixed with egg and poured into a frying pan for about half an hour at a low heat. The potato calorie can again be reduced by using some sweet potatoes and the eggs provide the protein keeping you fuller for longer. Steamed vegetables or salad both go perfectly with tortilla as well as reduced sugar and salt baked beans which are low in fat and high in protein.
One thing which holds people back from trying to cook low calorie meals is the worry that it may cost them more. The great news is – it doesn’t at all.
Using lower calorie carbs such as sweet potatoes and basmati instead of white potatoes and white rice will make a big difference and don’t cost too much more. In-season vegetables are always cheap and are often more versatile than people imagine. Be canny with your use of leftover food to save money and fill up on low cost proteins such as beans, lentils, eggs and chick peas.