Whether for health reasons or athletic reasons, there comes a time in most people’s life where they need to lose weight. As a super (105+ kilo body weight category), I need to be heavy. In fact, my coach wants me to keep gaining weight. That’s why you’ll see a lot of recipes on this site that contain butter, cream cheese, full fat sour cream, and other fattening dairy products. But you’re probably not a super.
If you find yourself cutting weight for a competition, or trying to lose or maintain weight for other reasons, use common sense. Eat the right foods and make simple substitutions, keep your training hard, and the weight will come off. Here are some tips on how to reduce the calories in a recipe:
- Substitute butter for olive oil. Generally speaking, this should work for most cooking (not baking!) recipes. In fact, when my wife cooks at home, she generally uses half butter and half olive oil. The butter offers great flavor when sauteing, and adding the olive oil cuts calories but also has a higher smoke point, allowing you to cook at a higher heat.
- Double the veggies, halve the meat. In most dishes such as stir fries (like this one) or a stew (like this), adding more veggies will allow you to eat the same size portion, but with less calories.
- Cut out mayonnaise or sour cream, and use plain Greek yogurt instead. I’m not going to lie to you, it won’t taste the same. But, in time, you’ll get used to the difference. Not only is Greek yogurt lower in calories, it adds more protein to the recipe, too. This is great for dips, tuna and chicken salads, and even mashed potatoes.
- Use egg whites instead of eggs. Again, this is a good idea for cooking, but not baking. But whether you do this with your morning eggs or in a recipe like meatloaf, leaving out the yolk will save you calories and reduce the cholesterol in the dish.
These tips seem fairly common sense, but they can make a big difference in your caloric intake over a week. Keep in mind that you should be substituting REAL FOOD for REAL FOOD. Do not use low-fat or no-fat or low-calorie substitutes. These are created in a lab, manufactured in a plant, and offer few benefits.