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The Frugal Diet | Size matters

Stir fry

250 calorie – stir fry

I cooked stir fry this week and if you’re trying to lose weight that might seem like a meal that is too fattening. I actually did too much rice again and the size of portions is important. If we have a takeaway Chinese meal we tend to have extras and large portions. I cooked the boiled rice and use about a cup full to a cup full of water and so half that rice is actually water! The pork I used was very lean diced pork. I used a whole chopped onion that was fried with the pork in as little oil as possible in a non stick wok. Then I added even more fibre at the end by adding peas. Most of the flavour came from the dash of soya sauce and the sprinkling of 5 spice. The whole meal came to around 250 calories and although it might not look much served up in a rice bowl; it was filling and I even had a little fruit for desert.

Fruit and veg

The meals aren’t usually the problem for people trying to lose weight, but we try to reduce the calorific value of meals so the snacks can continue. Try to eat snacks that are healthy and low calorie. You can choose fruit instead of crisps for example. I had 13 Satsuma for less than a pound this week from Aldi; low calorie, bursting with vitamin C and delicious. They also have seedless grapes for just over a pound for 500 grams. Just eating your 5 a day of fruit and vegetables will help you stick to your daily calorie count. If you choose fruit and vegetables that are in season or on offer it doesn’t have to be too expensive. You could even grow your own!

Milk Chocolate

The absolute scourge of many people trying to lose weight is chocolate. One of the problems with cheap chocolate is the added milk, it’s milk chocolate. If you are a serious choco-addict then look for really good quality chocolate in places like Lidl or special sweet shops that isn’t milk chocolate. Some plain quality chocolate is an acquired taste, but you might find that you enjoy just a little. Don’t eat the whole lot, keep it in the fridge as a treat at the end of a successful week.

Milk and dairy

It’s not just milk in chocolate that can be a problem, milk is added to lots of products to fill them out. Cakes and biscuits are popular, but loaded with calories and much of that is fat from milk. Yoghurts and milk shakes are popular and promoted as being healthy, you would be better with a glass of orange juice which is loaded with vitamin C. I sometimes think dairy products should carry a health warning, they tend to be high fat and high in cholesterol. Look for low fat spreads based on soya, rather than  milk. Don’t buy ‘cream of’ soups either; make your own without milk!


Bread is a great convenience food, but I don’t eat that either because I stick to a gluten free diet. If you do eat bread consider whole meal and bread that is lower in calories. You need to read the labels on just about everything you buy that contains wheat, such as bread. Products that contain wheat tend to be high calorie and if you add milk and sugar, as many people do when having cereal for breakfast, you are adding lots of calories. Top that off with a cup of tea with milk and sugar and you have a high calorie, high cholesterol breakfast. Choose a healthy cereal with fruit and a soya or skimmed milk ( not too much), no sugar and have sweeteners in your tea. Try skimmed milk in your tea too. You can at least half the calories that you have at breakfast time, quite easily.

Throughout the day try to reduce the size of portions, less of everything. Try to eat slowly and enjoy the food that you have spent your money on. If you are treating yourself to a little expensive chocolate at the weekend, savour it! If you want a beer or a glass of wine in the evening a few times a week, you can, but again enjoy it and don’t be tempted to drink more than you intended. Be sure to go at least a couple of days, alcohol free too, just to prove to yourself that you can. The treats that we like tend to be things like alcohol, chocolate and things that are high calorie. You can vary your treats and have a little treat every day or save them all up for the weekend; but not both!

It’s nearly 11 o’clock in the morning and I don’t need to lose weight. What have I eaten so far? I’ve had a couple of cups of tea without milk, with sweeteners; no calories. I had cornflakes with a little soya milk and a boiled egg for breakfast. I also ate a peach as a treat! I have a pork chop, potato and broccoli for lunch. The pork will be virtually fat free, I shall have one medium sized baked potato and lots of broccoli. If I have an afternoon snack it will probably be a banana. I shall probably have eggs, chips and peas for dinner. The only junk I eat is gluten-free biscuits sometimes, sweets and crisps. I shall have my bag of crisps this evening! I can go up to about 2,000 calories without gaining weight, so I could even have a few beers this weekend. I shall have to choose, sweets or beer!

Remember to get some exercise, exercise means you can have more little treats! You can find more amazing blogs on the Home Page and do please comment and ask questions.

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