Frozen grapes, baked apple, celery sticks? Pfft… 100 calories may not go very far, but these yummy options are way more fulfiling. By Yuen Yi Ying
According to the Health Promotion Board, the average woman should have just 1,600 calories a day. But with seemingly innocuous dishes like wanton noodles clocking in 411kcal per serving, we don’t have a lot of wiggle room if we get hungry during the day. Ahead, we get creative with some tasty low-cal options!
*Calorie data sourced from the Health Promotion Board and United States Department of Agriculture
Hearty Tomato Slices
Image: Yuen Yi Ying
Large, juicy and meaty, beefsteak tomatoes will keep you full for hours without packing on the calories. Our favourite way to have them: cut horizontally into half-inch slices, with a drizzle of olive oil and a light pinch of sea salt and pepper. These are a great appetiser too, and cutting into them with a fork and knife is so satisfying. The only problem is avoiding the temptation to soak up all the leftover juices with some country bread – very, very good, but that will tip you over the calorie count!
1 Beefsteak Tomato (180g) – 33kcal
1 tsp Olive Oil – 40kcal
Total calorie count: 77kcal
Comforting Yogurt and Pomegranate
This is a nice light bite when you’re too hungry to sleep but don’t want to feel stuffed. And it takes barely any time to put together. Just spoon out the yogurt, and top with pomegranate seeds which sweetens the snack while adding juicy crunch. Besides aiding with digestion, yogurt has trytophan to help you relax and sleep better. The pomegranate is full of antioxidants too, promoting glowing skin and keeping your heart healthy. Need more sweetness? You could drizzle on some honey, but that’s an additional 15kcals per teaspoon.
4 tbsp Greek Yogurt – 60kcal
1/4 cup Pomegranate – 36kcal
Total calorie count: 96kcal
Addictive Pickled Beets
Even if you don’t like pickles, you’ll love this dish for its toothsome bite and refreshing taste. The hint of vinegar adds just the slightest tang, but infuses the vitamin-packed roots with plenty of flavour from the spices. Essentially, you’re eating only the beets, and each 2-inch-wide gem is just 44kcals, so you could have a couple and have calories to spare!
Boil the beets for 45 minutes to an hour until you can pierce them easily with a knife. While the beets cool, combine 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar with 1/2 cup of water in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add four tablespoonfuls of sugar, one star anise, a stick of cinnamon, a teaspoon of black peppercorns and a dash of salt. Stir to combine until the sugar and salt dissolves. Peel and slice the beets into quarter-inch slices and marinate in the pickling liquid for at least half an hour.
Tip! We like to make a big batch at a go, and these will keep in an air-tight sterilised container for a couple of weeks or so. They’re great in salads, with hard boiled eggs, topped with dill, even grated over stir-fried canned sardines and onions.
2 beets – 88kcal
Total calorie count: ~88kcal
Crunchy Herbed Almonds
Way better for you than chips, these give you the salty crunch you’re looking and are a lot more healthful. They boost your fibre and vitamin E intake, and you’ll also get a good dose of satiating protein so you don’t need as many as you think.
Mix 1/2 a teaspoon of olive oil with one teaspoon of dried thyme and a pinch of salt. Add 10 raw almonds and toss to coat. Toast them in a pan over medium-low heat until the nuts are fragrant and golden.
1/2 tsp Olive Oil – 20kcal
1 tsp Thyme – 3kcal
10 Almonds – 70kcal
Total calorie count: 93kcal
Yummy Broccoli and Tartar Sauce
Eating steamed broccoli may sound boring, but dipping it in tartar sauce really livens things up. It’s a good way to get more of the cancer-fighting veggie without feeling like you’re eating rabbit food. A small head of this fibre-packed brassica is only 49kcal, and it’s really filling but not heavy. If you ask us, it’s the perfect 4pm snack that’ll tide you over to dinner without making you drowsy.
1 small head of broccoli (5″-wide, cut into bite-sized pieces and steamed) – 49kcal
1.5 tbsp of tartar sauce – 47.25kcal
Total calorie count: 96.25kcal