With half the calories, you can eat twice as much.
Did your new year start off with fantastic plans for a healthier and trimmer you only to dissolve into old habits returning and dietary plans being discarded? Well, it’s never too late to get back on track. If you can follow a new lower calorie plan for 7 nights, chances are you will be on your way to reclaiming your commitment to a healthier and happier you.
1. Stir fry chicken and fresh veggies
Begin by cutting 3 skinless chicken breasts into cubes. Season with pepper and cook with a tablespoon chili oil until juices run clear. Add your veggies beginning with the hardest vegetables first. Add broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, celery, onion, and then mushrooms. When vegetables begin to lose some of their crispness, you are almost done cooking (about 3- 5 minutes after adding the last vegetable). Add 2 tablespoons light and/or reduced sodium soy sauce to pan. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. If available, grate a few shavings of fresh ginger on top. Serve with white rice and add cashews to top.
2. Open face lean burger and baked potato
Purchase a pound of lean turkey mince at grocer or butcher. Fashion into 4 hamburger patties. Season well and grill. When finished cooking, arrange on plate atop 2 large lettuce leaves, one large slice of red onion, and a dollop of ketchup. Bake your potatoes (baking makes for a crunchier and more satisfying skin). Add a dollop of fat-free sour cream and an even larger dollop of your favorite salsa. Enjoy!
3. Tuna and rice
This meal is as delicious as it is unexpected! Cook one package of yellow rice per directions. On top of hot rice, add one large can of albacore tuna and mix in with rice. Now sprinkle with peanuts for crunch and enjoy! This meal also heats well the next day and is a perfect take to work lunch.
4. Spicy chicken tacos
Bake or boil 3 lean and trimmed skinless chicken breasts. Use cutting board to shred the chicken. Add chicken to a large skillet coated with a product like Pam and brown while adding garlic, salt and pepper. Meanwhile prepare toppings for the taco as you like; lettuce or cabbage, tomatoes and slices of avocado. Lay out tacos shells or tortillas and fill with chicken mixture and top with your ingredients. To save more calories, skip the tortilla and add the chicken mixture and toppings to any green salad. Use salsa as a dressing and enjoy!
5. Cheatin’ lasagna
Prepare lasagna as you would for any typical lasagna recipe. However, here switch out the higher fat and higher calorie ingredients with these “fakes”. For ricotta cheese; use non-fat cottage cheese. For meat; add cooked vegetables. For provolone cheese; cut the amount to half of what the recipe calls for and use a low fat mozzarella. Bake until bubbly!
6. Summer vegetable lentil soup
Cook dry lentils according to package instructions. When tender, add cut carrots, sliced onion, garlic, and a bag of frozen spinach. Add a teaspoon of chili powder, pepper, and a sprinkle of salt. Cook for at least one hour. Enjoy this hearty and low, low calorie soup.
7. Filling tuna salad on mixed greens
Begin by emptying one large can of Albacore tuna in a bowl. Add the chopped egg whites of two hard boiled eggs. Chop lots of celery and onion (to taste and preference) and add to bowl. Add one tablespoon lemon juice and 2-3 tablespoons fat free mayo of your choice. Add a sprinkle of Lawry’s season salt and several shakes of pepper. Stir well and refrigerate. Make whatever type of green salad you prefer (spinach is a great choice). Top with two mounds of tuna salad. Top with cashews.
Michelle Bridges shares on our favourite comfort food dinner ideas: classic cauliflower cheese with a healthy, low-calorie twist.
Cauliflower and cheese – what a flavourful combination. With the addition of broccoli, you get a double whammy of cruciferous goodness as well. The cheese provides protein and calcium, but use a low-calorie version to avoid too much fat.
Recipe from Superfoods Cookbook: The facts, the foods and the recipes – feel great, get fit and lose weight by Michelle Bridges, photography by Henryk Lobaczewski and Julie Renouf. Published by Viking, RRP $29.99.
Prep: 10 minutes. Cook: 45 minutes. Calories per serve 388
700 g cauliflower, trimmed and broken into large florets
1 large head broccoli (300 g), trimmed and broken into large florets
2 1⁄2 tablespoons cornflour
2 cups (500 ml) low-cal milk
1 cup (120 g) grated low-cal cheddar cheese
freshly ground black pepper
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
pinch cayenne pepper
mixed salad leaves, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).
2. Steam the cauliflower over a large saucepan of boiling water for 4 minutes. Add the broccoli and steam for another 4 minutes or until just tender. Place in a 5-cup (1.25 L) capacity ovenproof dish.
3. Meanwhile, combine the cornflour and 1⁄4 cup milk in a jug. Place the remaining milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Whisk in the cornflour mixture and cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes or until the sauce boils and thickens. Stir in half the cheese until smooth. Season with black pepper and nutmeg. Pour over the cauliflower and broccoli. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and cayenne. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden.
4. Serve with the salad leaves alongside.
What’s your favourite comfort food dish?
Naturopath Michèle Wolff, author of Digestive Solutions, shares an easy January cleanse recipe for detox salad. The salad rids the body of toxins, cleanses your digestive system and gives your body a boost of vitamins and nutrients. Eat it anytime you need a healthy pick-me-up!
Large handful of rocket
Large handful alfalfa sprouts
Large handful chopped parsley
Sprinkle of sunflower and sesame seeds
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Olive oil to taste
Crushed garlic, if desired
1. Combine all ingredients together and serve. You can also add a boiled or poached egg, and goat’s cheese for added flavour.
Michèle Wolff is a leading health practitioner and a qualified naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist and nurse, owner of Ultimate Detox Solutions. Her new book ‘Digestive Solutions – 101 Proven Methods to Solve Your Tummy Problems Naturally’ is available from bookstores and good online booksellers. Visit www.digestivesolutions.com.au.
We’re always looking for quick dinner ideas and this Michelle Bridges recipe for ginger salmon stir-fry with Chinese broccoli from her new book Get Real! is not only delicious but low in fat and calories. Winner!
Extract from the book Get Real!: Inspiring Stories and lessons from the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation Revolution by Michelle Bridges and photography by Jane Allen published by Viking RRP $24.99.
As with my other stir-fries, you can replace the fish with any kind of protein you like. I would recommend tofu or chicken as alternatives for this dish.
396 calories per serve
Prep time 15 mins Cooking time 10 mins
210 g salmon fillet, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 cm piece ginger, grated
2 tablespoons reduced-salt soy sauce
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 bunch gai lan (Chinese broccoli), cut into 5 cm lengths
1 medium red capsicum, thinly sliced
6 medium shallots, cut into 5 cm lengths
¼ cup fresh coriander leaves
1. Combine the salmon, garlic, ginger and half the soy sauce in a bowl.
2. Heat half the oil in a wok over high heat. Add the gai lan, capsicum and 1 tablespoon water, then stir-fry for 2 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender. Transfer to a bowl.
3. Heat half the remaining oil and stir-fry the shallots for 1−2 minutes or until bright green. Transfer to the bowl with the other vegetables.
4. Heat the remaining oil and stir-fry the salmon for 2 minutes or until lightly browned.
5. Return the vegetables to the wok, with the remaining soy sauce, and toss to combine.
6. Divide the stir-fry between bowls and scatter with coriander leaves to serve.
Mish Tip : Gai lan (Chinese broccoli) is a leafy Asian green and, like regular broccoli, it is extremely nutritious. If you can’t find it, simply replace with any other leafy Asian green.
Who doesn’t love nachos? But this addictive corn chip snack is laden with calories and fat. Luckily The Biggest Loser’s Michelle Bridges shares a recipe for low calorie nachos that tastes as good as the real thing.
Extract from the book Get Real!: Inspiring Stories and lessons from the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation revolution by Michelle Bridges and photography by Jane Allen published by Viking RRP $24.99.
Try this for a guilt-free snack. Nachos? No worries!
323 calories per serve
Prep time 20 mins Cooking time 25 mins
1 slice wholemeal mountain bread olive oil spray
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon chilli powder
1 medium celery stalk, chopped
100 g lean beef mince
100 g canned lentils, drained
200 g canned tomatoes, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
½ medium avocado, diced
¼ cup fresh coriander leaves
1 tablespoon low-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).
2. Cut the mountain bread into small triangles and place on a baking tray. Bake for 5−10 minutes or until crisp.
3. Lightly spray a frying pan with olive oil and place over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 2−3 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the chilli powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
4. Add the celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
5. Add the mince and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up any lumps, for 3−5 minutes or until browned.
6. Stir in the lentils and canned tomatoes. Simmer over a medium−low heat for 8 minutes or until most of the liquid has absorbed.
7. Combine the fresh tomato, avocado and coriander in a bowl.
8. Assemble the mountain bread crisps on a large plate and top with the beef mixture, salsa and sour cream.
9. Sprinkle with the parmesan to serve.
This low-calorie, vitamin-rich vegetable soup makes a delicious and filling lunch or dinner. Use the best canned tomatoes you can find, and top with a dollop of pesto for great flavour.
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 leeks, halved and thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, halved, cored and thinly sliced
1 can of whole tomatoes
2 bay leaves
Handful spinach or kale leaves
6 cups water
Leftover parmesan rinds
2 Tablespoons pesto
1. Heat a little olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, leeks and fennel and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the can of tomato, bay leaves and spinach or kale leaves, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the water and the parmesan rinds and bring to a simmer. Cover partially and cook over moderately low heat until the vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes.
2. Discard the rinds and bay leaves. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, add a dollop of pesto and serve.
Hint: Use this vegetable soup as a base to add other ingredients like cooked beans or lentils.
Collect and freeze parmesan rinds when you finish grating cheese, then add to soups and casseroles to infuse the dish with savoury flavour.