17 best cooking tricks to cut calories in your dishes and lose weight
best cooking tricks to cut calories in your dishes and lose weight , We know that there is no magic to lose weight and that miracle diets always fail and can even be dangerous.
Why, then, do they re-emerge every year?
Simply because nobody likes to go on a diet and we want almost instant results, when the reality is that the only answer is to change your habits .
Consistency pays off much sooner than we might imagine, and acquiring healthy lifestyles is a long-term investment. The theory to lose weight can be complex or very simple:
The caloric deficit is the answer .
And the great sacrifices are not necessary; With these tricks you can easily reduce the calories in your dishes to help you meet your weight loss goals.
Make vegetables the protagonists of the dish
Reducing vegetables to an anecdotal presence is a mistake that the menus of the day in hospitality tend to fall into. If any healthy and balanced diet should already prioritize vegetables , they become even more important when it comes to losing weight.
The Harvard plate clearly indicates this, and we can increase the presence of greens and vegetables in our meals even more – without completely neglecting proteins, fats and complete carbohydrates. Here the potatoes do not count , we talk about plant products low in calories, high in water and fiber, which satiate and provide many vitamins and minerals.
If we eat a single dish, the vegetables should occupy more than half of the surface ; If our menu is more varied, we can make a completely vegetable first dish -salad, gazpacho, cream, sauté …- and also include them in the second, again with a predominant presence.
Simply substituting the typical white rice or the garnish pasta for some grilled vegetables and we will have significantly reduced the calories. If it seems “boring” to us, we can always combine several vegetables with different preparations, for example raw split tomato with roasted aubergines, sautéed mushrooms with steamed broccoli, etc.
Eat more raw foods
It is a trick that we can apply fundamentally to vegetables, without forgetting nuts, fruit and certain fish.
Most vegetables can be consumed raw and this has several advantages: some nutrients are used more, they are more satisfying and they are very useful . We also save cooking.
By applying heat, food is transformed, releasing its natural sugars, changing its texture and enhancing flavors, but its volume is also reduced . They can also be more “addictive”, prompting us to eat more without realizing it.
Always consume whole fruit instead of juice or smoothies (and without peeling)
The authentic juice – the best homemade – natural can have a place in a balanced diet, but it should never replace natural fruit. And if our goal is to lose weight, it would be convenient to forget about the liquid version and always consume the fruits in the natural, including the skin when it is edible.
The reason is very simple; Juices, smoothies, smoothies and shakes “fit in” more easily .
To prepare a glass we need much more product than if we took it raw raw, and we also finished it earlier, with the risk of ending up drinking too much.
Consuming an orange, a bite-sized apple or a peach, we will invest more time, we will spend a few more calories chewing and we will be satisfied sooner.
We will be more satisfied after taking the fruit than if we drank the juice version, also adding all the fiber from the pulp and skin.
Reduce the consumption of added sugar as much as possible
It is no secret that sugar is an enemy of diets , also because we usually consume it indiscriminately, camouflaged or accompanied by other highly caloric and not very nutritious elements, such as poor quality fats in pastries.
The ideal in any weight loss diet would be to eliminate sweets, especially ultra-processed ones, or at least those that are empty calories and, above all, reduce your intake . Having a nutritious homemade cookie every now and then , the fitness version of a waffle or an ounce of dark chocolate is not going to ruin our diet, it can even have positive effects.
But it is advisable to monitor the intake of sugar through other foods. Something as simple as eliminating sugar from coffee, tea or glass of milk, yogurt and cereals or oats, allows us to reduce daily calories. And so we re-educate the palate to less sweet flavors.
Use plain yogurt and whipped fresh cheese instead of cream and mayonnaise
Speaking of yogurt, it is a great ally in any weight loss diet and for any person in general, allergy problems or intolerances aside. Always in their natural version, both yogurt and skimmed smoothie are rich in protein, filling and low in calories .
Their creamy texture and neutral flavor make them very versatile ingredients to replace cream and mayonnaise sauce in all kinds of recipes. Both will be used to cook, prepare lighter dressings or thicken and enrich creams , curries, pasta sauces, etc. We can also use them as a base to spread on bread and toast, accompany vegetables or fish and seafood.
With vanilla and cinnamon they can be part of a dessert with fruit, and with a little good olive oil, lemon or vinegar, fresh herbs and a touch of salt, they become wild cards for all kinds of savory dishes.
Comparing several products of the same category, both between varieties and between different brands, will help us to choose better. We will avoid surprises and we can even find large caloric differences between two apparently the same products.
Garnish with herbs and spices
Fat, salt and sugars are the elements most used by the industry – and the kitchen of all life – to make food more tasty. It is a matter of getting used to the truest flavor or rediscovering the natural bitters and acids, but if we find it bland at first we can resort to calorie-free dressings .
The fresh and dried herbs and spices are all great resource to fill the aroma and flavor our dishes. Beware of commercial mixtures that sometimes add other ingredients -sugar and salt, usually-; we are interested in 100% natural spices. They will have more aroma if we buy them whole and grind them at the moment.
In the case of fresh herbs , although they can be incorporated halfway through cooking, they give better results if they are added at the last minute or before serving, so that they do not lose their natural aroma and texture.
Steaming, grilling or baking instead of frying
Although a well-done fry can be healthy, the truth is that it will inevitably add more calories than other cooking techniques. It also takes more work, so giving up fried has its positive side, beyond the scale.
The oven is also a great ally that can also enhance the flavor of many vegetables and other foods, such as fish or chicken. Whether with this appliance, with a robot, the microwave or the typical steamer of a lifetime, steam cooking is another technique to claim . Much better than boiling in water, a method not very recommended if we do not want to lose flavor and texture.
Marinate instead of batter
What makes fried foods so tasty is largely the pre-batter. Many people continue to use it even to cook on the grill or in the oven, but if we save it we will also be subtracting calories.
To keep food appetizing, we can resort to marinating and marinating techniques . Almost any product will benefit from an aromatic rest, from meat and fish to vegetables or tofu. Citrus juices, vinegar, soy sauce, miso, yogurt, mustard, spices, and fresh herbs work wonders.
Change the butter for avocado and take advantage of its versatility
Yes, avocado is a caloric fruit, but it is due to its high content of healthy fats that are actually positive in weight loss diets . And being a fatty food, its calorie intake is much lower than that of butter , a dairy fat with which it shares its creamy texture, if we use it ripe.
This creaminess is perfect to use avocado as a replacement for butter and margarine in sandwiches and sandwiches, sauces , smoothies, patés or sweet preparations. The avocado pulp crushed with cocoa and vanilla is a great dessert , and it will also be used to make false truffles or brownies for a whim.
Include more legumes in all meals of the day
The FAO dedicated a whole year to pulses and every year it reminds us: we should recover their consumption and increase their intake by many more servings a week. Satiating, nutritious, low in fat, with few calories , they are a perfect food for diets, if we cook them well.
It is clear that lentils with chorizo and bacon are not the most suitable, but legumes cooked to the point, both in hot and cold recipes, can be incorporated into light dishes that leave us more than satisfied . A salad enriched with a portion of chickpeas or beans will be much more satiating and will prevent our stomach from rumbling after a few hours.
And if we find it difficult to think about legumes beyond the pot, we can try crispy baked chickpeas, or use their flour to prepare crunchy snacks or crêpes even for breakfast . Legume flour pasta is another good resource to give more variety to meals by reducing calories and gaining nutrients.
Increase fish consumption
Although in Spain we have a long tradition of including fish in our diet, its consumption has been decreasing in recent years. And the truth is that it is a great source of protein and other nutrients with very little fat , which in the case of blue species are also of quality.