How can I make low-calorie meals?

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Jessica Crandall
Nutrition & Dietetics

Working with a Registered Dietitian can help you achieve lower calorie meals with variety. Low calorie meals are easy to accomplish. With some planning and a few swaps a recipe can be changed to lower calories and fat. The following swaps can be made in recipes to decrease calories and fat:

  • use non-fat milk instead of whole milk
  • use low-fat cheese
  • bake items instead of frying, for example bake “fried” chicken instead of deep frying in oil
  • increase fruits and veggies to fill up on lower calorie foods
  • use egg whites/egg substitute instead of whole eggs








Doreen Rodo
Nutrition & Dietetics

One way to decrease calories in a casserole like Macaroni and Cheese or Fettuccine Alfredo would be to use evaporated skim milk instead of cream. You can also try low-fat cheeses, but no-fat cheese doesn't work as well. Use lean ground turkey or chicken when making tacos, meatballs, meatloaf or chili. Limit the amount of dressing that you put on a salad and use canola, olive or sunflower oil to make your dressing. You can also add more vegetables and less meat to a stir fry. Avoid frying foods and try to grill or bake instead.

Almost any dish can be made low-fat and low-calorie with a few recipe tweaks. Here are some tricks that every calorie-conscious cook should know:
  • Make vinaigrette dressing with one part oil, one part balsamic vinegar and one part strong black tea or citrus juice, such as orange or grapefruit.
  • Roasted garlic makes a rich, buttery spread that can substitute for mayonnaise in potato, pasta and chicken salads.
  • Use aged cheese. The stronger the flavor, the less you need. When a recipe calls for a mild cheese such as mozzarella or Monterey Jack, substitute with a lesser amount of aged cheddar, Asiago, imported Parmesan or an aged and smoked cheese.
  • Toast nuts for greater flavor. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and toast the nuts on a cookie sheet in a single layer for five minutes or until you can smell them.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.