Spring break is merely one week away and we’re all in a frantic search for some last minute tips to achieve our best bikini body. We’ve all been forcing ourselves to go to the gym for the past several weeks, passing up on dessert after dinner, and constantly scrutinizing the size of our tummies in the mirror. Now that spring break is right around the corner, we have to strive to work a little harder. What better way to cross the finish line of confidence than to include these tasty low-calorie meals into your diet?
These simple meals will do more for you than just keep you looking great. They’ll keep you energized, feeling full, and feeling confident about your body! And say goodbye to the cravings you get at midnight that make you want to run to your kitchen in search of anything sweet, because I’ve included a healthy dessert as well. So eat your heart out, Collegiettes!
Meal One: Sunny-Side Up Eggs and Bacon
What do I love most about this meal? You’ve guessed it. The bacon. But the bacon I used in this meal isn’t just regular bacon. It’s turkey bacon. Turkey bacon has about half of the calories of regular bacon and half the fat, so it’s a great alternative that tastes just as good. Another thing I love about this meal is the almond milk. Almond milk is the perfect substitute for regular milk and there are so many benefits that not many people know about. Contrary to popular belief, certain brands of almond milk, Silk, for one, actually have more calcium than regular milk. Almond milk also has a fraction of the calories. A typical glass of whole milk has 150 calories. That’s about five times the amount that Silk has! So swap out your regular cow’s milk in the fridge for almond milk — you’ll be happy you did.
What you’ll need:
- Two eggs (150)
- Four slices of turkey bacon, (halved) low sodium (100)
- One cup of Silk unsweetened almond milk (30)
Prep: (10 minutes)
- Slice four strips of turkey bacon in half (this just lessens the cooking time) and add them to the pan, on medium heat.
- While your turkey begins to cook, crack two eggs sunny-side up and allow them to cook. Add a pinch of salt and pepper for taste.
- Once you notice the turkey bacon start to shrivel, flip the bacon over on its other side and let it sit for about three more minutes.
- Your eggs should be done a little bit before your bacon is, so slide the pair out of the pan and onto your plate.
- Add the bacon on the side, pour a generous helping of almond milk (it’s only thirty calories a glass!), and enjoy.
Meal Two: Pan-Seared Salmon on a Bed of Romaine Lettuce
This lunch will take you just ten minutes to make and it’s so nutritious you won’t want to pass it up. There are so many reasons to love salmon. Besides the great taste, this fish is packed with nutrients. It’s high in Vitamin A, D and B6. It’s loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids, which have been found to have a big impact on brain health and ADHD. Not to mention that salmon has a crazy amount of protein (around 60% of our daily needed intake) to keep us feeling strong and energized. There are so many benefits in this one meal and it has such low calories — what’s not to love?
What you’ll need:
- One filet of raw salmon (250)
- Romaine lettuce or lettuce of your choice (10)
- Lemon and salt to dress salad (0)
- One teaspoon of olive oil to dress salad (40)
Prep: (10 minutes)
- Warm your skillet over medium heat.
- Season your salmon with some salt and pepper or whatever seasoning you prefer. Once the skillet is hot place the salmon seasoned-side down.
- While the salmon is cooking, chop up your lettuce and lay it at the bottom of your plate.
- In a small separate bowl combine lemon juice from half a lemon, a teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir them up and drizzle the dressing on your lettuce.
- After about four minutes, flip the salmon over to the other side and let it sit for about another four minutes. The top of your salmon now should look brighter red-orange than it looked when it was raw.
- After your salmon is cooked on either side, take it out of the pan and place it on top of your lettuce for a light, lovely lunch.
Meal three: A Colorful Dinner — Grilled Chicken, Sweet Potato Fries, and Asparagus Spears
This plate has so many things going for it. There’s a protein, a starch, and a green vegetable. There are so many different flavors that coincide so nicely together to make the perfect dinner that you’re just going to have to make this meal over and over again. Now, I know a lot of people who don’t like asparagus, but a big chunk of those people have also told me they’ve never tried it before! So don’t knock it until you try it! You might just like it. And let’s talk about those sweet potato fries. Who doesn’t absolutely LOVE sweet potato fries? Nobody! Sweet potato fries are a really good alternative to regular potato fries for a lot of reasons. They have more fiber than regular potatoes, they have less calories and carbs, and they provide more vitamins and minerals.
What you’ll need:
- One chicken breast, no bone, about .5 lb (200)
- Half a sweet potato (60)
- Ten spears of asparagus (40)
- Salt, pepper, oregano
- One teaspoon of Olive oil (40)
Prep: (35 minutes)
- You’ll want to preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about ten minutes. While it’s preheating, cut your sweet potato in half and store the other half in the fridge. Dice the sweet potato into strips that resemble fries as thin or as thick as you want to make them. Drizzle your fries with one teaspoon of olive oil and then top them with salt and pepper. Make sure all of the fries are nicely coated and then pop them in the oven for about fifteen minutes.
- While the sweet potato is cooking, heat your grill (or sauté pan) to about medium heat. Season the chicken graciously with salt, pepper and oregano. Once the grill (or pan) is hot place the chicken seasoned-side down and allow it to took for about five minutes.
- You’ll want to remove about an inch off the ends of the asparagus spears because those are tough and inedible. Once they’re off, heat a skillet to about medium and throw the spears in. Once you hear a sizzle start moving them around so the other sides of the asparagus are evenly cooked. Season them with a bit of salt.
- Check out your fries. If they look nice and golden at the top they’re ready to flip. Take a pair of tongs (or if you’re brave enough, use your hands) and flip the fries so that the side that has been facing the baking sheet is now facing the top. Stick them back in the oven for another ten minutes.
- After five minutes have passed, turn your chicken over and allow the other side to cook for about another five minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the top is looking nice and golden and the inside is not raw.
- Remove all of your items from their locations on the stove, plate them, and enjoy!
Meal Four: A Quick-Fix Lunch — Pan-Seared Tilapia, Quinoa, and Corn on the Cob
For me, the food on this plate that takes the cake (no pun intended) is the quinoa. Quinoa is fiber-dense and rich in so many nutrients that are vital to the human body. It actually contains about twice the fiber of most grains on the market today. It’s also exploding with protein and contains most of the amino acids that we need. As if all of those things aren’t enough, quinoa is also naturally gluten-free! There is nothing this super-food can’t do. And when you pair it with another nutrient-dense food like tilapia? This plate becomes unstoppable.
What you’ll need:
- One filet of tilapia (120)
- ¼ of a cup of quinoa (160)
- One ear of corn (60)
- Salt and pepper for taste
Prep: (15 minutes)
- In a pot, bring about a cup of water to boil and add your corn on the cob. Let the corn cook for about five to seven minutes.
- In a separate pot, add ¼ of a cup of quinoa to ½ a cup of water on high heat. After about five minutes you’ll notice the water begin to boil. Then, lower the heat to a simmer and cover your pot. Let the quinoa cook until the rest of the water in the pot evaporates.
- Now, start on your tilapia. Set your heat to about medium and sprinkle the tilapia with the seasoning of your choice. I used salt and pepper to keep it simple and tasty. Once the skillet is hot, place the tilapia in the pan, seasoned-side down. Allow it to cook for about four minutes and then flip it over to the other side. Tilapia usually takes less time to cook than other fish because the filets tend to be thinner than most. Once you notice that the tilapia becomes firmer and has some color to it, remove it from the pan and set it on your plate.
- By this point, the water in your quinoa should be all gone, so you can add it to the plate as well. Finish the plate off with the corn and get ready to enjoy your fabulous, healthy meal.
Meal Five: Bananas Foster a la Mode
This dessert might just be too good to be true. Seriously. If you are only going to try one meal on this list, please let it be this one! This gift to mankind is just too good to pass up. Now, you’re probably thinking, “What is this abomination? You’re teasing us with delicious looking sweets when we’re supposed to be eating healthy!” BUT I assure you, this meal actually is very healthy and it’s still less than three hundred and fifty calories, as promised! But don’t take my word for it, read the ingredients and the calories next to them, and you’ll be making this in no time.
What You’ll Need:
- One banana, medium (105)
- One tablespoon of Heart Balance light butter, or other low calorie butter (40)
- One tablespoon of brown sugar (25)
- One scoop of fat free vanilla ice cream (90)
- 1/8 of a cup (about 15 grams) of sliced almonds (65)
Prep: (15 minutes)
- Over medium-low heat, melt your tablespoon of light butter.
- Once the butter is melted, add your tablespoon of brown sugar.
- Once you see the butter and brown sugar shimmering, peel the banana, and place it in the pan and allow it to caramelize for about four minutes.
- Turn the banana over and allow for the other side to become caramelized.
- When the banana is golden yellow and smelling fantastic, gently remove it from the pan and onto a plate.
- Now, use the same pan and begin caramelizing your almond slices in the same sugar-butter mix the bananas were previously in. Cook them for about three minutes or until the almonds start to brown.
- Top the banana with your scoop of fat free vanilla ice cream, top the ice cream with the sweet, crunchy almonds, and indulge!
- Send your thank you letters in the mail.