Trying to lose weight? Looking to eat more vegetables? Want to maintain or lose your weight while feeling full? Tips below for making the most of high volume low calorie meals!
SIDE NOTE: many high volume low calorie recipes are low fat, low carb and sometimes keto friendly!
Veggie Pasta and Vegan Meat Sauce – 336 calories
This is THE BEST! If you leave out the oil then this dish is only 266 calories. 10 oz of butternut squash is only 140 calories. 140 calories worth of pasta is only 1 oz dry or 2.4 oz cooked. 1 oz of dry pasta will NOT fill a bowl. 10 oz of butternut squash filled my bowl!
Zucchini noodles, no thanks. I know people love them. And with my hippie taste buds I could likely enjoy them too but I zucchini release water and makes the whole dish soggy. Butternut squash spiraled into pasta DOES NOT get soggy.
Side note: I used store bought butternut squash spirals for this video. It’s $6 for 11 oz. That’s almost $9/lb. If you buy whole butternut squash it’s $1.50/lb at the cheap food store. According to amazon you can get a great spiralizer for under $30. Do the math, buy the spiralizer. Yeah, I really should.
mushroom 150g 33 calories, 1/2 cup pasta sauce 128g 70 calories, 2/3 ts oil 10g 79 calories, 10.8 oz butternut squash spiral 296g 140 calories, salt, onion & garlic powder, Italian spices, single almond 3 calories = 658g // 1.4 lb of food for 336 calories
- Chop mushroom and pulse in a food processor
- Heat pasta sauce with mushrooms. Cook til mushrooms soften and add salt & spices
- Bake butternut squash noodles with a sprinkle of salt & pepper at 400 for 15 minutes. I mixed mine with oil but that’s optional.
- Top cooked butternut squash with mushroom pasta sauce
- Finely grate an almond for the visual effect of Parmesan and sprinkle on top (optional). ENJOY
Vegan Fajita Salad – 346 calories
This is sooo much food. I love the hot/cold combo. Plus cooked food on top of crunchy lettuce is really nice. I like iceberg for high volume salads because it’s so crispy and hydrating. And cheap as fuck from aldi. I usually add plenty of salt and spices to the veggies while they’re cooking and don’t need additional salad dressing.
mushroom 150g 35 calories, zucchini 188g 30 calories, frozen onion/bell pepper mix 118g 28 calories, salt + Mexican spices, 1.5 TB oil 180 calories, 8 cherry tomatoes 72g 13 calories, bag of salad mix 340g 60 calories = 888g // 1.9 lbs of food for 346 calories
- Saute onions, bell pepper, mushrooms and zucchini in oil with salt & spices til veggies are soft
- Top a large bowl of greens with your cooked veggies and fresh tomatoes. ENJOY
Vegan Veggie Stew – 189 calories per serving
I was considering making this a seitan sausage stew but really wasn’t sure what the calorie-to-portion ratio would be so I left the seitan out. TOTALLY should have added it in. This was meant to be 2 servings. I was going to split this with Mark but a quarter of this filled a bowl. I really had it in my head that I would enjoy 2 bowls (half the recipe) but was super satisfied with the first bowl. I even went under my calorie goal the day I ate this. THAT HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE. Can not stress how filling this stew was in additional to the other foods I ate that day were. Definitely plenty of room to add homemade seitan without cutting into the calories much. This recipe makes 4 bowls.
1 bowl = 189 calories
*If I had fresh garlic and basil I would have added that too.
2 yellow squash 442g 93 calories, handful mushrooms 214g 46 calories, 1/2 onion 84g 34 calories, 1 TB oil 14g 120 calories, 1 TB better than bouillon 45 calories, 28oz can crushed tomatoes 260 calories, 70g frozen spinach 25 calories, 1 can fired roasted diced tomatoes 105 calories, 1 TB corn starch 30 calories, dash salt, 1 cup water + 2 TB water, herbs of choice (I did italian, chipotle powder for a smokey/spiciness, fresh pepper and garlic powder)
- Chop onions and saute in 1 TB oil with salt til soft
- Chop veggies and add to onions. Add water, bouillon, crushed tomatoes and spices.
- Simmer about 20-25 minutes or til squash is soft
- Add 2 TB cold water to a bowl and mix in 1 TB corn starch. Mix into stew.
- Add spinach and canned diced tomatoes. Taste to see if you need more salt or spices. ENJOY
Inspired by Yellow Bliss Road
“High volume low calorie meals” are the name of the game. Fiber is filling and water is calorie free so vegetable meals revolve around fiber, water rich foods. Now I will be the first to admit that low calorie meals, regardless of the volume, may feel unsatisfying if you don’t account for your personal preferences. Filling but unsatisfying isn’t ideal so below are some tips to make your low calorie meals both satisfying and filling.
Some people naturally have a larger appetite and need a full belly. Other people can enjoy a slice of pizza or a single donut or a small serving of cookies while others want to eat the whole container. Some people straight up need volume to feel full and that’s me.
The magic of voluminous meals is the calorie to weigh ratio. For example the fajita salad above is 1.9 lbs (888 g) of food for under 350 calories. Fiber, water, flavor + macros of choice.
Here’s a couple strategies that I like to think about regarding high volume/low calories meals:
- add extra macro-nutrients to these recipes that fill you up. I’ve consistently read on calorie counting forums from many individuals have found that adding fat to meals helps keep then satiated. Some people prefer to have protein with every meal. I find 50 – 65g of carbs per meal can take a low calorie meal from simply being filling to satisfying. Figure out what you need. Maybe rotating or balancing your macro nutrients between meals is your ideal. Only you know.
- eat one huge low calorie meal then eat denser or more pleasurable foods through out the day. Or have a high volume meal as your main course with more pleasurable/calorie dense options for the side dish. The goal isn’t deprivation, the goal is creating a win-win with calories & flavors.
- Need more carbs? Add pasta, rice, potatoes, tortilla (chips), beans, etc
- Need more protein? Add seitan, tofu, beans, etc
- Need more fat? Add oil, avocado, nuts, olives, etc
- Need more flavor? Add fresh herbs, sauces, dressings, dips, seasoning salt, broth, etc
- Need more volume? Add lettuce, tomatoes, celery, cucumber, shirataki noodles (5-20 calories per serving), zucchini, tomatoes, cabbage, etc
In case you didn’t know this seitan one of the lowest sources of calories for a ton of protein. Vital gluten flour has almost identical macros/calories as plain chicken breast. So don’t feel like you need to skimp out on protein to keep your meals low calorie. 2 homemade fat free seitan sausages is only 120 calories for 23 g of protein . It’s cheap and crazy easy to make. My seitan recipes (as linked above) usually contain oil and other small amounts of calorie ingredients to help the overall flavor and texture but you can totally make them fat free.