Shed the pounds – but don’t go hungry
If we want to lose weight and eat healthily, we need to eat less fat and fewer calories – but that doesn’t mean we have to eat a smaller quantity of food. Here are my 10 top tips for cutting the calories to speed up your weight loss effortlessly!
- Did you realise that olive oil is 100 per cent fat? By adding oil to your salads or food preparation, you are seriously adding extra calories that you just don’t need! Use a very low-calorie dressing or try soy sauce or balsamic vinegar on your salads.
- Using a non-stick frying pan or wok to cook your meals is easier than you think. You don’t need to add any fat and, providing the pan is hot when you add your raw chicken or meat, it will seal in the juices and keep them moist and tasty. You can dry-fry onions and mushrooms and save yourself hundreds of high-fat calories. Onions and mushrooms are like little sponges when cooked in fat. They will soak up the fat and transport it straight to your body – but not if you dry-fry.
- Whenever you make a meat dish such as shepherd’s or cottage pie, cut back on the quantity of meat and add some low-calorie, grated vegetables such as carrot or parsnip and chopped onions. It’s also a great way to get your kids to eat more veg if they are not keen on eating them in the conventional way. No-one will miss out on the portion size or the flavour, but you will cut out a lot of calories.
- When preparing minced beef or lamb for a spaghetti Bolognese or shepherd’s pie, always dry-fry the meat first in a non-stick pan and, when the meat changes colour, drain it through a colander to remove the liquid fat. All the fat that drains away is saving you heaps of calories.
- Raw basmati rice has 86 calories per ounce (or 28 grams) and we don’t seem to get a lot of it for our portion when we are following a reduced-calorie diet to lose weight. Make it go further by adding fresh or tinned bean sprouts to your boiled rice. Bean sprouts are low in fat and calories and they are a useful filler. They are also great in salads.
- Tomatoes are a great friend of the dieter. Low in fat and calories but high in health-giving antioxidants, they provide versatility and taste to a variety of dishes. Whether you buy them fresh for salads or sandwiches; tinned, chopped or whole for cooking; liquefied as passata or concentrated as purée for sauces, tomatoes are good news! If you’re wondering what sauce to choose to pour over your pasta, go for a tomato-based one to save fat and calories.
- If you usually serve cream or crème fraîche with dessert, switch to Normandy fromage frais instead. Double cream is 60 per cent fat, single cream is 30 per cent and crème fraîche is usually around 40 per cent fat. Normandy fromage frais is much smoother than regular kinds so it tastes more luxurious and you can easily find it with less than 5 per cent fat.
- If you want to make a white sauce, rather than making a roux with butter and flour, use cornflour as a thickener instead. Whether it is a basic white sauce with onion, bay leaves and peppercorns, or something more exotic, just prepare your liquid base for the sauce with milk or stock and add flavourings in the usual way. Slake (that means mix) the cornflour with a little cold milk or water. Remove the unthickened sauce from the heat and add the cornflour liquid, stirring continually. Place back on a gentle heat for about two minutes.
- Add some low-Gi beans and pulses to casseroles and soups. Not only will they provide low-fat protein but they will also make the meal more substantial and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
- You can make delicious low-fat sandwiches by spreading low-fat salad dressing or pickles straight on to your bread and missing out the butter, margarine or low-fat spread altogether. It will save you loads of unnecessary calories and will still taste delicious.
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