One of the key suggestions for intermittent fasting is planning your meals. Mapping out your meals with higher volume, lower-calorie options ensures that you never feel restricted and stay fuller for longer! And let us tell you, it is so much easier than it seems. Bulking up your meals with these 9 pantry staples means you always walk away feeling as energised as possible. Check out our guide on how you can bulk up your meals without the high-calorie punch.
Oats are having their moment in the spotlight right now, with people realising the versatility of this super affordable and healthy traditional breakfast food. Not only can you liven up the classic (and often looked down on) porridge with amazing toppings and flavours, but now oats are being used for so many things. They are a flour alternative, the main ingredient in a delicious baked oats dish, and are even being added to smoothies… the list goes on! Oats are one of the best ways to kick off your day to be a healthy one. Oats hold plenty of health benefits from aiding in lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels, to being high in fibre and protein, and low in fat and sugar.
Yoghurt is not only versatile in terms of what it can be used for, but the many flavours and brands out there now offering amazing low calorie, low sugar options are extensive! Yoghurt bowls topped with anything you fancy like granola, fruit, chia seeds or honey is so delicious and the perfect quick, summery option. Not only that, but they are great in baking and smoothies too. Yoghurt is great for your gut, being high in probiotics and is naturally high in calcium and protein too. Some of our favourite brands include any Greek yoghurt, Chobani, YoPro and Two Good – all coming in at under 100 calories per serve. Winning!
Non Starchy Vegetables
There is no surprise here that non-starchy vegetables are on the list of the best high volume, low-calorie foods to always have in your kitchen! We are big advocates for bulking up as many meals as possible with vegetables to fill you up and provide you with extensive amounts of essential vitamins and minerals. The more the merrier (and healthier)! There is a reason we have always been told to have five servings of vegetables every day. Some of the non-starchy vegetables we always have on hand include capsicum, cucumber, zucchini, carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, tomatoes, mixed leaves… the list goes on!
What do we mean by lower-sugar fruit? All fruit contains natural sugars (fructose) which provides them with that beautiful sweetness! When it comes to fruits, some are higher in fructose than others. For example, grapes, bananas and apples, even though they are still great and definitely recommended, are slightly higher in calories due to their higher natural sugar content. A few of our go-to fruits that provide a huge amount of bang for your buck when it comes to their volume to calorie ratio include berries, mandarins, oranges and kiwi fruit to name a few.
Another food that is versatile and packed to the brim with essential vitamins and nutrients is the trusty ol’ egg. Not only are eggs super affordable, but the number of ways you can enjoy them is huge. Each egg is approximately 80 calories, so whipping up poached or scrambled eggs with a whole bunch of non-starchy veggies is one of the best ways to start your day. Other meals like frittatas and omelettes are wonderful too – the perfect breaky or lunch that is sure to fill you up!
The next two foods mentioned are always great to have stocked up in your pantry ready to go. Tinned fish such as salmon and tuna is one of those foods that are perfect when you are on the run and need a quick lunch or dinner without too much prep (or microwave to heat up) but provide plenty of good nonetheless. Prep up salad or vegetables and combine canned tuna with it for a protein-punched, high volume, low-calorie meal. Or even stack up rice cakes or crackers with tinned fish and a little avocado for a healthy fat-filled quick snack!
Tinned Legumes and Tinned Vegetables
Similarly, tinned legumes such as beans, lentils or chickpeas and tinned vegetables such as tomatoes and corn are affordable, delicious and a great quick bulker that you can add to a whole variety of family favourite meals. Some examples include spaghetti bolognese, Mexican mince, curries, salads, stir-fries and soups! Legumes are a wonderful low-calorie plant-based protein source and are easy to use as a swap for meat-based meals too.
If you are a lover of fizzy soft drinks, a wonderful swap that will set you back very little to no calories is kombucha. Not only does kombucha come in a variety of tasty flavours, but the benefits to your gut are also immense, being a fermented drink. For the perfect lunchtime drink pairing or a Friday night tipple swap, kombucha is a great go-to to have on hand. We love the Remedy brand, coming in at 10 calories per 250ml! You could even try making your own, with this recipe here!
Finishing up the list today are the trusty rice cakes or Corn Thins. Rice cakes are the perfect crunchy base for a light snack or a larger loaded lunch – it is up to you! With Corn Thins coming in at just 27 calories per thin, pairing with some delicious topping combos such as peanut butter and banana, yoghurt and jam, vegemite and avocado or as mentioned above canned fish, you really can’t go wrong! Sweet or savoury – these are a great staple to have in your pantry for everyone to enjoy.
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