Pescetarian / Vegetarian with a carb problem
I have been an on again-off again pescetarian/vegetarian for the past five years, switching from no seafood to yes seafood. Currently I am in my ‘I will eat seafood again’ mindset. When people find out I don’t eat other meats many assume I am extremely health conscious and eat very well. ;) Nope.
Well, to cut to the chase, I tend to gravitate toward A LOT of simple carbs, pasta, CHEESES, high calorie sandwiches (Pot Belly’s oil-dripping vegetarian, anyone?), dense salads with plenty of creamy dressings, burritos, veggie burgers, ice cream. And if I go out for sushi, I tend to get something deep fried… I’m not averse to any type of food, I just need food to be flavorful and filling.
Does anyone have any special vegetarian (or even pescetarian) meals they absolutely love, that’s low calorie yet filling? I feel like meals that fit that criteria are rare or too painstaking. Or does anyone have any special food tricks they’ve learned over the years from being vegetarian? I'm the heaviest I've ever been as a pesc/veg and need help! :o
I make a raw kale salad and bake some salmon - the combo is good for a meal a day for a week. I don't add the salmon until I eat that day's portion. I also do veggie soups with tofu - super filling and I get a wide variety of veggies in. For the most part I just do not do simple carbs. It is not worth the craving for more more more
Since this is a vegetarian forum, we do ask that people don't post non-vegetarian recipes or advise people to eat non-vegetarian foods including fish. I'd recommend asking for fish recipes in the general food talk sub-forum
For me, I think this blog has great filling, low calorie vegetarian foods.
All different kinds of thick soup (carrot, spinach, tomato, lentil, split pea, cream of zucchini or broccoli, black bean, cauliflower/potato, etc) are my go-to and if you're okay with beans, a lentil or veggie chili with plenty of veggies mixed into it.
I also love lettuce/greens wraps and cucumber subs. You can fill them with any savory sandwich filling.
Stir fry is always a good option and doesn't need noodles or rice. If you haven't tried making zucchini noodles, I'd highly recommend it. If you don't want to invest in special equipment, just use a veggie peeler and peel it down to ribbons, then top with marinara. I even add a bit of neufchatel to the marinara to make a pink sauce that is incredible.
If you want to eat a non carb-heavy lighter version of pizza or burritos (I highly recommend these zucchini enchiladas, use high fiber/low carb 80-90 calorie wraps or flatouts - Ole Wellness brand or La Tortilla Factory, and I hear fiber one has one as well.
The cucumber subs and zucchini noodles look amazingly innovative. I've been trying to experiment with spaghetti squash as a replacement for pasta, but it hasn't been turning out right.
Does anyone work with tempeh, seitan, soy curls, etc.? I have tried these items occasionally but am unsure if they are even healthier or low in calories.
I play around with tempeh and seitan, and I dabble in more esoteric proteins :)
I really like tempeh crumbled into a hash with a few quartered red potatoes and a LOT of veggies like bell pepper, mushroom, onion and tomato. It is a wonderful big breakfast but I prefer it for dinner. I make it slightly saucy with a bit of water or tomato juice, otherwise it can get a bit dry without adding oil (I only use a small amount of olive oil). Tempeh has about 200 calories per 100 grams and more protein than tofu by weight, so it's a great choice. I don't like it in big slabs or chunks, I prefer crumbles or using it like a ground meat to make veggie burger patties (add lots of veggies again, some cooked brown rice, spices and a binder like egg or a vegan sub).
Seitan lends itself well to replacing meat in most recipes, especially stir-fry, fajitas, BBQ, etc. It holds together under high heat, and will gradually take on other flavors during cooking, like in a stew. If you grill or BBQ it alone, marinate it a long time (I do it overnight if possible) to get good flavor in it. Put a bit of oil in the marinade too, it will stick like the dickens to your grill otherwise.
I too have a veg*n carb problem. All I can say is, I'm working on it. I really really love vegetables, grains and legumes, so I can feel entirely fulfilled by eating them. But the darn sugar monster attacks and sometimes I cave immediately. Work in progress, that's me.
I used to eat a lot of tempeh, seitan, mycoprotien, TVP, etc, but I'm gluten free now, so I only buy them once in a while for the kiddo for emergency food in pre-made nugget, burger, sausage, or sandwich form.
I've been enjoying soup a lot lately. Assembling the ingredients yourself rather than buying it ready-made will give you the opportunity to control the sodium and carb levels. Just microwave vegetarian protein crumbles/strips, fresh or frozen veggies, spices, and salt-free vegetable broth in a bowl. The whole thing takes less than five minutes, it's cheap and filling, and you can alter the taste with different variations on ingredients. I can't wait to try the zucchini noodles with this.
I eat a ton of vegetable omelets and egg burritos with soyrizo. I use quite a bit of Egg Beaters to keep my cholesterol down, but I also use real eggs a lot. I enjoy MorningStar Griller's Prime burgers with vegenaise and a heaping cup of sprouts on top - no bun. (I know the MorningStar brand is not organic but because they give me ease and variety their foods are a mainstay for me - I eat one Morningstar product a day.) I eat very little cheese.
When I am craving variety I order Indian food: chana masala & saag paneer are two of my favorites.
When I am craving something carb-y I add a GG's Scandinavian crispbread, a low carb tortilla, or something from Great Low Carb Bread Company.
I have a superb recipe for low-carb foccacia bread which I can use to make sandwiches and pizzas. The recipe is from a web site and I am not sure if I am allowed to post the link here. I can PM you the info if you like.
I also have a fabulous recipe for vegetarian crockpot chili beans. It is not particularly low carb, as beans are legumes and contain carbs. But they are not "starchy" carbs! And they are sooo good for you.
I am pescetarian too, not through choice just what worked for me as my diet evolved.
I also stalled out on this diet recently due to carbs, specifically hummus and guacamole. I would eat a tub of each a day plus tsatsiki sometimes. This worked until I hit 170 but then the weightloss brakes came on.
My advice is to replace your yummy carbs with sources of yummy protein. I eat a lot of eggs (boiled, scrambled, does not matter). And I eat oats. Salsa and low calorie hot sauces also do the trick for me. My weight has started to drop again since making this change.
Dude, beans and lentils. They are dirt cheap if you buy them dry (just soak beans overnight, and discard and replace the soaking water before you cook them). They are tasty (mash with a bit of garlic and olive oil, toss with veg and spices, throw a handful of red lentils in your soup and cook for 10min, throw cooked beans in the microwave with cheese and enjoy with salsa, etc.). They are filling, have loads of fiber, rate low on the glycemic index, and are suuuuuper high protein gram for gram. Also, beans and lentils are kind of 'get out of jail free' carbs in terms of insulin response. They're also all great to try sprouting; seriously, it's fun. :D
There are, of course, those who say no to beans due to dietary beliefs (eg. paleo) or 'anti-nutrient' concerns (which are somewhat allayed by soaking beans first). But I will assume that since you are a veggie you are not a paleo eater, and you're asking about new foods so you know how to prepare them in a healthy way!
Tempeh is also great, because soy really shouldn't be consumed unless it's fermented.
Also, eggs; baked with veg in a frittata, fried, boiled, scrambled...it's all good.
Possibly quinoa (cook with apple juice and cinnamon for a switch-up) and oatmeal (whole oats!) as well.
Just play with your food; go hang out with some vegans for a while to get really hard-core tips, and then just being a veggie will be that much easier with all your new food ideas!
Here's a recipe i love. I'll give it to you in the rough and you can figure out the details.
RED LENTIL AND ROCKET SALAD
Red lentils cooked but not to a mush. they should still hold their shape so the first time you may have to watch the cooking. They are generally the quickest lentils to cook. Cool them down as soon as you take them off the stove to help with this. Maybe flush them with cold or iced water.
Make a vinaigrette dressing. This is very tasty so look up some french vinaigrette recipe on the net so you know how to do its. It basically consists of extra virgin olive oil. and red wine vinegar. You can also use balsamic vinegar. Include one clove of finely chopped garlic black pepper and a pinch of salt.
Mix the dressing through the lentils. Just a tablespoon or two on about half to one cup of cooked lentils depending on how hungry you are.
On top of that, put your undressed rocket leaves. Chopped roughly.
Try it like this before going on an adding anything else to the recipe. This is very strong tasting salad. Have a piece of crusty sourdough bread alongside as well.
Also find a recipe for traditional turkish red lentil soup. its THE BEST. There is almost nothing in it but red lentils. Most red lentil soup recipes i read use tons of other ingredients. This is not turkish lentil soup.
When you eat this soup make some tatziki from good quality natural yoghurt with garlic crushed in it. You can have that on the side with sourdough bread.
I suspect most of the calories in your food is not coming from carbs but from fat. e.g. cheese is not a carb food, creamy dressings are fats. and so on.
So don't give up pasta. Just be more careful. stick with lentils, beans, pasta, rice, even wholegrain bread. You need these comparatively low cal foods to give you bulk.
Maybe try giving up cheese for a while. And bring it back later but use less of it.
Try to learn some arts in the ways of making food tasty but not decadent. And yes it generally does take a little bit of effort but creativity and thought is probably more what's lacking. And of course a bit of restraint.
The other night i made a beautiful salad, we had greens, tomatoes, maybe cucumber, and then i put in an apple, and just a few walnuts on it. Any sort of seeds or nuts, just a sprinkling tossed into a salad gives a big taste punch. For the dressing, it was just olive oil and red wine or balsamic vinegar. Its is very easy to make a decent salad if you have a nice selection of ingredients on hand. I learnt from my trip to france this year how much a difference a few small chunks of cheese can make to a salad. A sprinkling of crumbled fetta is a taste bomb. I use this quite a bit.
Try not to be heavy-handed with seeds nuts and cheese because these are all high fat i.e. calorie. but they are worth using because they have strong flavour, good texture and usually high nutrition.
You might be somewhat addicted to salt. Cheese is usually quite high in salt as is most take away food so don't eat too much take away. Get used to eating your own food.
There's nothing wrong a sandwich, even a cheese sandwich. I find it very sustaining. But most sandwiches you buy a poor quality. So if you have to buy a sandwich, try going for a salad sandwich with things like grated carrot, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, canned beetroot which is yummy and an australian thing and see how that grabs you. I don't know what they'd be like over there but here they can be quite good, filling and full of nutrition.
Avoid the creamy dressings for a while. Sounds like you just need to make some better choices and if you find that hard here are some other options you could consider. I love korean food. See if you can find one and try bee him bop. stay away from the sushi if you find it too tempting to go for the deep fried, try a better restaurant or take away that serve more real food and not a westernised version. Go on an adventure and check out all the other food places. Go vietnamese. Eat their lovely roll things dipped in chilli oil. Eat more asian but go for the smaller more authentic places if you can. Anyway go to the quality not to the food halls. Food hall food is usually bad.
I make a few nut/bean burgers; nut loafs, and quinoa patties with veggies on Sundays so that they are easier/faster to fix during the week when i busier. If I don't have time to cook, i throw a couple in the oven to warm/crisp up and have a nice salad.
I'm so glad to see there are other pescitarians on 3FC! I started my pescitarian diet on January 1st. These have been my go to recipes for quick, nutritious meals.
Vegetarian Apple Stir-Fry
2 Granny Smith apples
1 cup sliced carrot
1 cup snow peas
1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts
2 tbs canola oil (I use extra virgin olive oil instead)
1 tbs basil
2 cups cooked rice
soy sauce to taste (optional)
Start steaming your brown rice ahead of time.
Heat canola oil in frying pan on medium heat.
Add carrots peanuts and basil stirring frequently for 5 minutes.
Add snow peas and cook for another 5 minutes stirring frequently.
Add apples and stir.
Top rice with mixture.
Add soy sauce if you prefer
1 (16 ounce) package uncooked egg noodles
2 (12 ounce) packages extra-firm tofu, drained and diced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 onions, sliced
1 (12 ounce) container cottage cheese
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 sprig fresh dill weed, chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place egg noodles in the pot, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and saute the tofu 5 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Set aside. Place the onions in the skillet, and cook until tender. Mix in mushrooms, garlic, and soy sauce, and cook until heated through.
In a bowl, mix the cottage cheese, sour cream, and dill. Stir into the skillet. Return tofu to skillet, and continue cooking just until heated through. Serve over the cooked noodles.
mock tuna salad
1 can chick peas (garbanzo beans), drained and mashed
2 tbs light mayo
1 tbs spicy mustard
1 tbs sweet relish
1 green onion
I use this for sandwiches or on top of a salad
hawksgal12- Thanks for those recipes! I'm definitely going to try the apple stir-fry and the tuna salad.
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