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Delicious and Satisfying Meals That Keep You to a Balanced 1200-Calorie Diet So You Can Lose Weight without Starving Yourself


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Book Details
 744 p
 File Size 
 2,431 KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 Text © 2011 Dick Logue
 Design © 2011 Fair Winds Press First

About the Author
After being diagnosed with congestive heart failure, Dick Logue threw himself
into the process of creating healthy versions of his favorite recipes. A cook since
the age of twelve, he grows his own vegetables, bakes his own bread, and cans a
variety of foods. He currently has a website and
weekly online newsletter with more than 21,000 subscribers world-wide. He is
the author of 500 Low Sodium Recipes, 500 Low-Cholesterol Recipes, 500 High-
Fiber Recipes, 500 Low-Glycemic-Index Recipes, and 500 Heart-Healthy Slow
Cooker Recipes. He lives in southern Maryland.

Why 400-Calorie Recipes?
No doubt that is the first question that came to your mind when you
saw this book. The answer is simple, a 400-calorie meal is just what
you need to lose weight, a meal that satisfies you and keeps your
hunger at bay until the next meal but only contains 400 calories. You
might call them “mega.” Of course, there is more to it than that. The
goal of our meals is to help you be healthier, lose weight, and do it all
without feeling deprived or hungry.

Does this sound too good to be true? It’s not! The key is to eat foods that contain
all the nutrients you need and that stick with you until the next meal. Each meal
we offer here is approximately 400 calories, so you can eat three of these filling
meals, or even four, and still only get 1200 to 1600 calories per day. In the next
chapter, we’ll explore in detail how all this works, talking about calories,
nutrient density, and the kind of foods you should and should not be eating. But
for now all you need to know is that it does work.

This is not something that I created. It is based on the research of a number of
doctors and nutritional experts. One of the most important is Dr. Barbara Rolls, a
professor of nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Rolls has published
a number of articles and research papers on the subject of diet and weight loss.
She says that people feel full because of the amount of food they eat not because
of the number of calories or the grams of fat, protein, or carbohydrates. So the
trick is to fill up on foods that aren’t full of calories. She has done a number of
experiments to confirm her findings. She found that given free choice, people
tended to eat the same amount of food each day. By varying the amount of high
volume, low calorie foods compared to high calorie, low volume foods, people
were able to eat the same amount and feel just as satisfied while eating as much
as 400 fewer calories per day. She uses the term energy density to describe the
number of calories in a given quantity of food.

In order to see how significant this is, let’s take a quick look at how people lose
weight. There are lots of different diets and lots of different theories, but the
bottom line is that if we burn more calories than we take in, we lose weight. If
we eat more calories than our bodies use, we gain weight. About 3500 calories is
equivalent to a pound. So in order to lose a pound a week, we need to keep our
calorie intake to about 500 calories a day less than our bodies use. So Dr. Rolls’
findings mean that people could lose almost a pound a week not even watching
how much they eat, just replacing some of the foods with high energy density
with other foods with lower energy density. An example is a pasta salad. If it
contains a lot of pasta compared to vegetables, it will have a high energy density.
If you replace some of the pasta with additional vegetables you will still have the
same volume of food and feel just as satisfied but with fewer calories. That is
one of the main concepts that went into creating these recipes.

So the obvious question is how many calories we burn in a day. There isn’t any
simple answer. It depends on a number of factors including age, gender, activity
level, and your current weight and height. There are a number of sites online that
contain a calorie needs calculator that will do your specific calculation. But I can
tell you this, no matter what I put into them I didn’t come up with anything less
than 1500 calories per day. That figure was for a small, older, sedentary woman.
For my own calculation, I came up with more than 2200 per day to maintain my
So how does all that relate to this book? I’m suggesting that if you want to lose
weight, you can eat three satisfying meals a day of about 400 calories each,
maybe throw in a healthy snack or two, and end up with a total daily calorie
count of less than 1500 calories. In my case, that would translate to a weight loss
of about a pound and a half (0.68 kg) a week. Of course as the auto commercials
used to say “your mileage may vary”. Your answers to the calorie calculator are
going to be different than mine and your expected weight loss will be different.
But unless you are a person already so thin that you don’t need to lose weight,
you will almost certainly be eating fewer calories than you burn.
Of course it isn’t quite that simple. Since I came to create recipes because of a
need to eat heart healthy food, I have some ideas about how we should structure
these mega meals for maximum health, not just weight loss. In the next section,
we’ll discuss some of those.

Our Approach to Weight Loss
I’ve identified six key areas that I looked at as I created these recipes. As I said,
the goal is a healthy diet that will help you to lose weight. We’ll look at each of
those areas in more detail in the next chapter.
Low Energy Density
We can eat the healthiest diet imaginable, but if we eat too many calories we
aren’t going to lose weight. That statement isn’t quite true. The other concepts of
healthy eating actually support this goal also. High fat foods are generally
unhealthy to eat. They also provide more calories for a given quantity of food.
Fiber contains few calories, so high fiber foods are not only good for you, but
they are also a way to speed your weight loss.
High Nutrient Density
This is in some ways the opposite of energy density. What it measures is the
amount of nutrients in a specific quantity of a given food. A system of rating
nutrient density called the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) was
developed by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, a New Jersey physician who specializes in
preventing and reversing disease through nutrition. The rankings are based not
only on vitamins and minerals but also phytochemicals, compounds that are
thought to promote good health but have not been established as essential
nutrients. This includes things that you have probably heard of like antioxidants
and beta carotene.
Focus on Fresh, Minimally Processed Foods
There has been an increased focus on avoiding processed foods in recent years.
This has resulted in things like the caveman diet and Paleolithic diets. I’m not
going to go so far as to suggest that, but I will say that I believe processing
reduces natural nutrients and replaces them with chemicals, some of
questionable safety. The Canyon Ranch spa cookbook I own suggests “Don’t eat
anything your great-grandmother didn’t,” and that seems like a reasonable
approach to me. That being said, I do use artificial sweeteners to help hold down
the calories in some recipes with significant amounts of sugar, so I do make
Low Sodium
Some of you may know (especially if you’ve skipped ahead to the next section)
that I got started creating recipes and eventually writing books because I was on
a low sodium diet for congestive heart failure and I was dissatisfied with the
kind of food I could eat. Not all of the recipes here are as strictly low in sodium
as my personal diet. I’ve used regular baking powder and cheese and included a
few recipes with ham and other high sodium ingredients. But I’m still convinced
that most people get more sodium in their diet than they really need.
Low Saturated Fat
To a large degree I’ve tried to hold down the total fat level in these recipes as
much as is practical. But all fat is not created equal. Fats such as those found in
olive and canola oil and vegetables like avocados may actually be beneficial. But
it is pretty much universally accepted that both saturated and trans fats represent
health risks and I have tried to limit them as much as possible.
High Fiber
Eating foods high in fiber is another of those things that has multiple positive
effects. In the first place, it’s healthy from both the heart and digestive point of
view. But it also plays a part in our attempts to lower the energy density of
meals. Fiber-rich foods such as legumes and whole grains tend to have a lower
energy density and a higher nutrient density, so that’s good all around.

How This Book Came About
Some of you may already know about me, either from my website at or from the other books I’ve written. If so, you
know that I have focused primarily on heart healthy cooking. I started thinking
about low sodium cooking after being diagnosed with congestive heart failure in
1999. One of the first and biggest things I had to deal with was the doctor’s
insistence that I follow a low sodium diet . . . 1200 mg a day or less. At first, like
many people, I found it easiest to just avoid the things that had a lot of sodium in
them. But I was bored. And I was convinced that there had to be a way to create
low sodium versions of the food I missed. So I learned all kinds of new ways to
cook things. I researched where to get low sodium substitutes for the things that
I couldn’t have any more, bought cookbooks, and basically redid my whole diet.
Along the way, I learned some things. And I decided to try to share this
information with others who were in the same position I had been in. I started a
website,, to share recipes and information. I sent
out an email newsletter with recipes that now has over 20,000 subscribers. And I
wrote my first book, 500 Low Sodium Recipes.

By that time I had progressed to other areas of interest in healthy cooking. When
my cholesterol became too high to please my cardiologist, I had to learn about
low cholesterol cooking. When I was told that my blood sugar levels indicated
that I was a borderline diabetic, I became interested in the role of carbohydrates
in your diet. I became more aware of the work that had been done on glycemic
index and glycemic load and began incorporating these concepts into the food
we prepared and ate. Both of these interests turned into another 500 recipes book.

But I was also concerned about my weight. And so was my wife. I was
following the exercise plan my doctor had given me, but I wasn’t able to lose
those last 10 pounds or so that I wanted to, even though I thought I was cooking
healthy meals. So once more, I went back to the research. And there I discovered
the work of Dr. Rolls and others with similar ideas. So we began incorporating
these concepts into our cooking. It turns out it was easy to maintain a heart
healthy diet while looking at nutrient density. Many of the same things that made
food heart healthy also made it a good choice for these meals. And as we began
to pay more attention to these ideas and began to lose that weight that had been
so stubborn, the idea of another book developed. And here it is, 500 mega meals
to get you started on losing weight and feeling better.

How Is the Nutritional Information Calculated?
The nutritional information included with these recipes was calculated using the
AccuChef program. It calculates the values using the latest U.S. Department of
Agriculture Standard reference nutritional database. I’ve been using this program
since I first started trying to figure out how much sodium was in the recipes I’ve
created. It’s inexpensive, easy to use, and has a number of really handy features.
For instance, if I go in and change the nutrition figures for an ingredient, it
remembers those figures whenever I use that ingredient. AccuChef is available
online from They offer a free trial version if you want to try
it out, and the full version costs less than $20US.
Of course, that implies that these figures are estimates. Every brand of tomatoes
or any other product is a little different in nutritional content. These figures were
calculated using products that I buy in southern Maryland. If you use a different
brand, your nutrition figures may be different. Use the nutritional analysis as a
guideline in determining whether a recipe is right for your diet.

Where’s the Salt?
One question that may occur to some people looking over the recipes in this
book is “Why is there no salt in any of the ingredient lists?” That’s a fair
question and deserves an answer. As I said in the Introduction, I first got
involved with healthy cooking because my doctor put me on a low sodium diet.
It took some time and lots of experimentation, but I learned how to cook things
that both taste good and are easy to prepare that are still low in sodium. Along
the way we literally threw away our saltshaker. There’s one shaker of light salt,
which is half salt and half salt substitute, on the table. My wife uses that
occasionally. Two of my children have given up salt completely, not because
they need to for medical reasons, but because they are convinced like I am that
it’s the healthy thing to do. When I started looking at creating 400-calorie meal
recipes, going back to using salt wasn’t even something I considered.
Most Americans get far more than the 2300 mg of sodium a day recommended
for a healthy adult. This happens without our even thinking about it. In creating
these recipes, I was not as strict about the amount of sodium as I usually am. But
I also didn’t add any salt. I think if you try the recipes you’ll find that they taste
good without it. If you are tempted to add some salt because you think it’s
needed, I’d suggest you check with your doctor first. I believe that most of them
will agree that in the interest of total health, you are better off without the salt.

Table of Contents

Introduction Why 400-Calorie Recipes?
Chapter 1 Changing the Way You Think about What You Eat
Chapter 2 A Few Basic Building Blocks
Chapter 3 Traditional Breakfasts
Chapter 4 New Ways to Think about Breakfast
Chapter 5 Lunches and Light Meals
Chapter 6 Dinners: Chicken and Turkey
Chapter 7 Dinners: Beef
Chapter 8 Dinners: Pork
Chapter 9 Dinners: Fish and Seafood
Chapter 10 Dinners: Vegetarian
Chapter 11 Dinners: Soups, Stews, and Chilis
Chapter 12 Mix and Match Meals
Chapter 13 Mix and Match: Main Dishes
Chapter 14 Mix and Match: Starters and Side Dishes
Chapter 15 Mix and Match: Desserts
Chapter 16 Mix and Match: Bread
Chapter 17 Cooking Terms, Weights and Measurements, and Gadgets
About the Author


First published in the USA in 2011 by
Fair Winds Press, a member of
Quayside Publishing Group
100 Cummings Center
Suite 406-L
Beverly, MA 01915-6101

Digital edition published in 2011

The information in this book is for educational purposes only. It is
not intended to replace the advice of a physician or medical
practitioner. Please see your healthcare provider before beginning
any new health program.
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