Calorie Counters - More low-calorie ideas please!

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12-08-2011, 11:33 PM
I am running out of low-calorie ideas to eat for lunch and dinner. And I need more ideas for when I go out on weekends. What do you guys eat at restaurants and what cocktails do you guys drink to save some calories? Thanks for any advice.

12-11-2011, 05:28 PM
I keep my cocktails to simple stuff. Like gin and soda with a twist (no sugar in that). And I just have one, later in the evening. I eat before I have cocktails. If I save eating for after the cocktails, I make really stupid choices!

I ask for dressing on the side for salads at restaurants, hold the cheese, no dried fruit (like those yummy dried cranberries). Be careful if they put nuts on the salad too. I ordered a salad at Elephant Bar last week and the menu called for walnuts, but somehow I missed that they were candied walnuts! I choose grilled lean meats like chicken or sole, or choose salmon if it's wild. No sauce on it. I try to get the smallest size possible. If they're more than 5 oz, I ask if anyone wants to split it with me or I plan to take some home. And I cut the portion off first and set it aside.

I'm learning to eat naked veggies. No dressing on salads. I love greens, so I braise them in chicken broth instead of adding butter or oil. I don't eat any processed foods so I can avoid hidden salt, sugar and refined carbs.

I'm not afraid of healthy fats, like raw nuts, avocados, olives. I can cut way back on carbs and eat less overall. I make sure to eat plenty of vegetables, a wide variety, because I'm getting my micro-nutrients that way. When I have adequate nutrition, I can get by on less food. I don't worry so much on finding massive quantities of low-cal foods. I'd rather eat really high-nutrient quality foods, just less of them. Trying to make my mission not be about getting stuffed. Want to just feel satisfied when I'm done eating and not having to deal with being too full to think after a meal.

12-11-2011, 07:31 PM
Ask the bartender what "light" options they have for mixed drinks. My husband used to be a bartender, and a lot of times they will make you drinks with reduced calorie or sugarfree juices/mixes if you ask.

I also have switched from Rum & Coke to Rum & Diet Dr. Pepper.

12-11-2011, 07:57 PM
Wow, great ideas. Thank you!
@geoblewis I definitely stopped putting dressing on because it's so many extra cals. The only problem is that ALL I eat are salads. I have tried a variety of different salads to mix it up, but I'm getting bored. I am going start putting avocado, nuts, olives in my salad though. Thanks for the idea!
@Dedej Do you think rum or vodka has more calories? vodka is pretty light. Have you ever heard of belvedere, voli, or bethenny's skinny drinks? I heard they were light.

Misti in Seattle
12-11-2011, 08:01 PM
I have learned that most restaurants will fix you a grilled chicken breast and steamed veggies if you ask for it... even if it is not on the menu.

Also, salsa... or better yet, pico de gallo... is a great substitute for salad dressing!!

Misti in Seattle
12-11-2011, 08:07 PM
You might be interested in a coleslaw I make... ingredients can vary but stuff such as any or all of the following

green and red cabbage slaw
broccoli and or cauliflower slaw
shredded carrots
grape tomatoes
a mix of nuts (whatever you prefer)
dried cranberries, cherries, strawberries, etc.
chopped cauliflower
chopped broccoli
pickled beets
chopped onion
chopped red bell peppers
chopped celery
chopped cucumber
chopped zucchini
anything else that sounds good. Add a steamed/boiled egg and a bit of cheese or meat for a great chef salad.

The nice part about this is that it lasts a long time in the refrigerator and does not go bad like lettuce does. I LOVE this stuff!!!

12-11-2011, 10:14 PM
Misti - what dressing to you pair with that slaw?

If you go to a diner you can always order a sandwich on whole wheat (or any variety of good choice bread) and go crazy with the veg. You can have healthy choices omelets, or go for a generic plate of protein/veg/starch with a side of salad. We have a place down the street that makes awesome french onion soup--the "crouton" is a 1/4 slice of whole wheat toast and the soup, while high in sodium, is low in calories, and they add 1 slice of part skim mozzarella. For me, its a pretty low calorie healthier treat.

You can make stuffed peppers or cabbages using lean beef, just a bit of rice, and add some onion and carrots to the meat mixture -- cook in a can of tomatoes run through the blender and a can of water. Delicious.

Home made chicken soup is a good winter standby too because you can load it with veg and just add some carefully measured noodles to your personal bowl. Especially without the noodles, its a belly full of food for a low calorie bang.

Misti in Seattle
12-12-2011, 09:18 AM
Actually right now I just used the bottled coleslaw dressing; not such a big deal since the rest is so healthful. BUT of course it is a mess of fat and calories so I am looking for a good substitute that is not so bad.

12-12-2011, 09:34 AM
I also typically get a salad, dressing on the side.

Also, I'm big on the baked potatoes, butter/sour cream on the side (if you can't live without it). While potatoes have a bad rap in America, in Europe they are still a staple. They are actually vitamin rich, filling, and low in calories, at least in comparison to bread. For example, a very large potato will have approx. 300 calories.

I love baked potatoes with just salt and pepper.

It is a healthy whole food that is hard for restaurants to "tamper with". It will also take a while to eat. If you order a baked potato with a small side salad, using a moderate amount of dressing and a tad bit of butter, you can safely eat out for 450 cal. and you don't have to feel deprived.

As far as alcohol is concerned, I used to love cocktails, but I just can't fit them into my calorie alottment without feeling deprived that day and the next.

I thought I would really miss it, but I actually feel better without it. And I can have fun without it, even if the others are drinking - something I never knew before.

12-12-2011, 11:22 AM
This may not be helpful at all..but what I do is eat less calories at breakfast and lunch and save half my calories for dinner. Then I share a meal with my boyfriend or a friend and have a light beer. Even if the meal has 1200 calories, if you only eat half that's only 600.

12-12-2011, 12:51 PM
I love salads, but only when it's hot out!

I eat pretty much any dish, I just make sure to make it in a way that is calorie conscious for me.
I love soup and always eat a bowl of it for lunch (and sometimes breakfast and dinner, lol). Here are my favorite websites with calorie counts listed out if you want to browse for ideas:

When I go out and don't have a chance to check a menu beforehand, I typically just order a grilled protein (chicken/fish/shellfish) and ask them to sub out the starch for another veggie.

For alcohol, I always drink vodka/club soda with a lime. Sometimes a splash of cranberry juice too. For home, sometimes I splurge with champagne.

12-12-2011, 03:45 PM
1. Rye and Diet Coke. (ALL BARS HAVE THIS).

2. Tequila. 350 calories. 5 shots.*

*don't ask

12-12-2011, 04:08 PM
I'm a huuuge fan of baked potatoes too. I do a 'lighter' version of sour cream and chives by opting out of the butter and using non-sweetened low fat yogurt (I think you guys call it Greek yogurt? The plain one that tastes salty rather than sweet) instead of sour cream. It's pretty damn good, especially if you mash it all together on the plate the way I do it! :D

I tried the dressing on the side (and dip your fork instead) for my salad today and it worked wonderfully too! You guys saved me 140 calories today so thank you!

As for alcoholic drinks, well a shot of vodka is about 52 calories, mix it with diet soda and its a decent way to enjoy your time. Wine is about 110-130 per serving (5 fl oz.)

12-12-2011, 09:50 PM
Thank you for all the links! And giving me more ideas. @munchy.. great sites :)

12-13-2011, 12:03 AM
Baked potatoes are a good point Unna. There are a couple of places around here that will stuff them for you with just about anything...chicken breast, broccoli, onions, mushrooms, etc... and I just hadn't thought of trying it out.

12-13-2011, 09:33 PM
mmm baked potato.... without butter and adding broccoli. Pico de gallo instead of dressing is a great idea too, thanks!

Misti in Seattle
12-13-2011, 11:28 PM
Something really good.... get the lighter sweet potatoes (not yams), chop one and boil it just enough that it starts to get barely tender. Take it out and place it into a metal pie tin or baking dish. Brush it with olive oil and load it with pico de gallo, and bake. Yum!

You can also lightly slice (raw) potatoes or sweet potatoes... or yams if you prefer... so that they are round like potato chips. Put into a bowl, spray with butter flavor cooking spray, add seasoned salt or whatever season you prefer... perhaps a bit of chive or whatever... spread flat on a cookie sheet and bake. Delicious.