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The Frugal Diet | Controlling the calories


I had to stick to a strict diet for decades for health reasons. The trick is to make it a permanent thing, a lifestyle choice. It’s a mistake to lust after foods that are bad for you. I’ve used a picture of one of my salads again this week. I have fewer chips on this one. It’s packed full of vitamins and fibre. It’s low fat, fairly low in carbohydrates and above all, it tasted good. I also tried to make it look nice, I could have tried harder! Mixing hot and cold food is a good idea and if you want to lose weight fast, add more lettuce and cut the chips a little. This meal is less than 250 calories and that should be your target for main meals like lunch and dinner. It’s not a good idea to eat less than 1,000 calories a day; everyone can lose weight on 1,000 calories a day. You might want a little snack between meals though and so it’s a good idea to aim for 250 – 300 calories per main meal.

It can be difficult to work out how many calories are in a meal, but those chips are around 60 grams and so would have about 120 calories. A more normal portion of 100 grams would have about 200 grams. If you buy a medium portion of chips from my local chip shop, then you have 400 calories; fish and chips would be around 700 calories. Most meals out and take away meals are high in calories and many foods have extra sugar and fat added to them.

If you try to save money as well as stick to your diet, you can put the few pounds you save in a jar and watch it mount up as an incentive. If you have to choose between buying fish, chicken or red meat to cook. You will probably find that the chicken is the cheapest. I bought a kilo of chicken legs yesterday for about 2 pounds. If you remove the skin before you cook the chicken, you remove lots of fat, also cut off any visible fat. We all tend to eat too much protein too and so half that chicken leg is enough for a meal. I save the drumstick to eat at suppertime, eating a little every 4 or 5 hours stops you getting hungry and snacking on junk.

If you really miss those fish and chips on a Friday; why not cook some. I bought some cod and haddock frozen 2.79 a pack from Aldi. You don’t coat the fish in batter of course, just microwave it for a couple of minutes (less if it’s thawed) turn it over and do it for another minute or two. The chips can be oven chips, just 60 grams don’t get greedy! Then add a portion of garden peas to add more vitamins and fibre.

At the end of each day, you can estimate how many calories you have consumed including drinks and snacks. If you are under the 1,000 calories, you can have some supper! If you stuck to 250 calories for main meals and maybe 150 for breakfast and wasn’t tempted by naughty snacks, you might even be able to have a glass of wine or a beer. Choose low alcohol wine or better still beer that is no more than 4% alcohol. A  440 ml can of beer is about 140 calories. The beer I drink sometimes, is lower in alcohol, but it’s a 500ml bottle or can and so around the same number of calories. It makes you think;  sometimes you have to choose beer or food! You might also have to choose chocolate or food; maybe just a little chocolate, a really good one. You might decide on one beer, but one that you will really enjoy and not every night. If you have artificial sweeteners in your tea and coffee that might help you get to the end of each day and still under your calorie limit.

If you are trying to lose weight, do so gradually, 1 Kg a week is good (about 2 lbs). Remember to get some exercise, not too rigorous to begin with. Maybe just walking or exercise by doing a bit of weight lifting. Lifting a couple of cans of baked beans 100 times a day should do it! Make the decision to make your new diet part of your lifestyle. Eat more fibre, remember to eat your 5 fruit and vegetables each day. Try to choose low calorie veggies like cabbage rather than root veggies like carrots, soft fruits like grapes rather than bananas. If you are a man and quite active, you can make your target calorie count higher at up to 2,000 calories. The same applies to women who are very active, maybe make your target 1500 calories. A 1,000 calorie a day target would be unsuitable for an athlete obviously. Whatever your reason for sticking to a diet, it’s advisable to get medical advice before you start.

There are more amazing blogs on the Home Page. Please comment, if you have any questions. If you need to know how many calories in a food, type the question into a search engine…

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