08 Jan International light recipes to compensate Christmas excesses
The holiday season is finally over leaving us feeling massive after eating so much food.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, it’s that cherished time of the year where I can spend time with family and friends who I haven’t seen for a while.
There are songs, glittered decorations, table games and cheesy films.
And then there’s food. Lots of exquisite food.
But now, I bet you are also punishing yourself with recurrent thoughts about all the excess eating and drinking you have done in the previous weeks.
You can stop being harsh on yourself and just plan to lose all those undesired kilos.
Walk more and eat lighter. That’s it. Easy right?
Well I know it isn’t, since when you check online for low-calorie dishes all you can find is gloomy looking salads (hardly appealing to eat with this cold weather!) and depressing plain chicken breasts.
Eating delicious dishes with only a few calories is possible. You just have to put in a bit of time in the kitchen and stick to your promise of eating more healthily.
I have created a compilation of the best low-calorie recipes from around the world, so you can add fun and diversity to your diet plan. All of them have only 200-400 calories.
Let’s see them and start salivating together!
Pisto from Spain
This is a recipe that my mum used to cook very often and afterwards I also did as a young professional living abroad and earning very little money.
Because it’s cheap, has also very few calories and it’s really tasty and healthy.
This dish is suitable for vegetarians and for vegans if you don’t add the eggs at the end.
It’s also very easy to prepare, you’ll see.
3 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 red peppers
1 green pepper
4 small courgettes
4 large tomatoes
A pinch of sugar
4 large eggs
Peel the onions and garlic, peel the courgettes and remove the seeds from the peppers. Cut all these vegetables into small pieces. Grate the tomatoes as well.
Put a frying pan over medium heat with 3 tablespoons of virgin olive oil. When it’s hot, add the onion in pieces, and when it starts to be soft, add the courgettes, peppers and garlic.
Lower the heat so that it is done slowly. Let them cook a few more minutes all together. Add the grated tomato, salt and 1 pinch of sugar to the frying pan.
Continue frying everything over a low heat until the vegetables are tender. The process will take approximately 20 minutes. Taste and rectify with salt if necessary.
In a frying pan, heat enough oil to fry the 4 eggs, and when it is very hot add the eggs. When they are fried, place them on top of the pisto.
Serve directly from the pan to the dishes.
Lentil Soup from India
Don’t let the list of ingredients put you off, this amazing soup is really easy to prepare and these ingredients can be found easily in most places.
It’s a very healthy and delicious recipe and it’s not even 200 calories per serving. It’s also suitable for vegans.
1/3 cup red lentils masoor dal
1/4 cup petite yellow lentils yellow mung dal or use red lentils
3.5 cups water
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1 hot green chili finely chopped
1 cup chopped red or white onion
5 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 small chunk of ginger finely chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp or more cayenne/red chili powder optional
1 large tomato chopped small
1 tsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp or more salt
1/3 cup packed chopped cilantro
Wash the red and yellow lentils, drain. Combine in a saucepan with water over medium heat. Cook for 18 to 20 minutes or until yellow lentils are tender. Reduce heat to low and simmer.
Meanwhile make the tempering. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Let them start to sizzle and pop. The cumin seeds should change colour and get fragrant. Add chili, onion, garlic, ginger and a pinch of salt. Cook until translucent for about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Add coriander, turmeric, cayenne and mix well. Add tomatoes, lemon juice and a tbsp of water and mix. Cook until the tomatoes are saucy. Mash the larger pieces. About 6 minutes.
Add the pan content to the lentil saucepan.
Add salt and half of the chopped cilantro, and continue to simmer the soup for 3 to 4 minutes or until bubbling. Taste and adjust salt and spice. Add a dash of lemon juice if needed.
Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with rice or flatbread.
The good thing about soups is that you can cook big amounts and it can last some days in the fridge.
So the effort will be worth it!
Greek-style Roasted Fish with potatoes
Fish is a healthy and low-calorie option. Cook it like the Greek and get a big round of applause from your guests.
This is what you need
5 small potatoes (about 400g), peeled and cut into wedges
1 onion halved and sliced
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
½ tsp dried oregano or ½ tbsp chopped fresh oregano
2 tbsp olive oil
½ lemon cut into wedges
2 large tomatoes cut into wedges
2 fresh skinless pollock fillets (about 200g) You can also use any other white fish like cod or hake
small handful parsley roughly chopped
Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Tip the potatoes, onion, garlic, oregano and olive oil into a roasting tin, season, then mix together with your hands to coat everything in the oil. Roast for 15 mins, turn everything over and bake for 15 mins more.
Add the lemon and tomatoes, and roast for 10 mins, then top with the fish fillets and cook for 10 mins more. Serve with parsley scattered over.
American Super Healthy Salmon Burgers
American recipes can also be healthy and natural. Let’s see how to make these original salmon burgers with a Thai twist.
4 boneless, skinless salmon fillets, about 550g in total, cut into chunks
2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
thumb-size piece fresh root ginger, grated
1 tsp soy sauce
1 bunch coriander, half chopped, half leaves picked
1 tsp vegetable oil
lemon wedges, to serve
Tip the salmon into a food processor with the paste, ginger, soy and chopped coriander. Pulse until roughly minced. Tip out the mix and shape into 4 burgers. If you don’t have a food processor you can always use your own muscles and mix all ingredients in a bowl and mash them until you obtain a consistent mix.
Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, then fry the burgers for 4-5 mins on each side, turning until crisp and cooked through.
Serve your burgers with a nice tomato and rocket salad on the side with a vinaigrette sauce.
Risotto with shrimps from Italy
Risotto is always a good idea and if we don’t add parmesan cheese then it becomes a very light and tasty dish.
It’s also very easy to prepare and everyone will just love it.
1 litre of vegetable stock
A pinch of black pepper
Half a lemon rind
400 gr shrimps
½ glass of dry white wine
A pinch of chives
350 gr Arborio rice
Blanch the shrimps in salted water for 3-4 minutes, drain and set aside. Peel and finely chop an onion, fry it in 20 g of melted butter and when it is withered add the rice which you will toast for a few minutes.
Add half a glass of white wine to the rice and then add the juice of a lemon. Always stirring, finish cooking the rice by adding a ladle of vegetable stock each time it is needed (when the liquid is consumed).
Mix well and stir often. Try the rice to test when it is cooked. A few minutes before turning off the heat, add the grated rind of half a lemon, the previously cooked shrimps (keeping some aside for garnish) and black pepper. Once the heat is off, add a knob of butter to stir. Decorate the dish with the remaining shrimps and sprinkle with chives.
Chipotle Chicken Tacos from Mexico
Mexican cuisine is one of the best in the World. At least for me. The mix of flavours and sauces makes it irresistible.
With this recipe you will enjoy the best of Mexican kitchen adding only a few calories to your body.
Isn’t life gorgeous?
500g skinless boneless chicken thighs
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion chopped
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp chipotle paste
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
½ small pineapple cored, peeled and chopped
½ small pack coriander, chopped
corn or flour tortillas
Tabasco Chipotle sauce
In a food processor, roughly blitz the chicken thighs into chunky mince. Alternatively, chop into bite-sized pieces.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add half the onion and the chicken mince. Season well and cook for about 5 mins on a high heat to brown, breaking up the meat with a spoon. Add the spices, vinegar, chipotle paste, passata and sugar. Cook for another 5 mins, then remove from the heat.
In a small bowl, mix the remaining onion, the pineapple and coriander. Serve the chicken and the pineapple salsa with warm tortillas and hot sauce.
Some of these recipes are from this list.
There you can find many more low-calorie recipes to enjoy tasty food while you get back to your normal size.
But remember, the most important thing is to love yourself and keep the size you feel most comfortable and healthy with and not what the media tells you.
Enjoy good food and keep healthy!