As Filipinos, how can you not have rice with your favorite ulam? At 242 calories a cup, rice can immediately eat up your daily calorie intake. Sure, replacing it with brown rice gives you a little less carbohydrates and more fiber, but it doesn’t make a huge difference when it comes to weight loss.
Alternative 1: Cauliflower rice.
There are many recipes available online, and it usually involves chopping the cauliflower until it reaches the consistency of couscous or rice grains, and then sautéing it with onions and other seasonings. A cup is only about 150 calories. If you don’t use oil, it goes down to 50 calories a cup.
Alternative 2: Quinoa.
At 160 calories a cup, this vegan staple has higher protein and fiber content.
One of the biggest culprits of weight gain, a cup of cooked spaghetti noodles has 220 calories, and we haven’t analyzed your sauce of choice yet.
Alternative 1: Shirataki noodles
We call it skinny pasta here at Cosmo. It’s gluten-free vegan noodles made from the root of Konnyaku Imo, a Japanese plant. A 3-oz. serving has less than a gram of carbs and 0 calories! The only downside is that it’s thin, translucent, and gelatinous, which means you need to make up for the dire lack of flavor with a thick sauce. We found a Shirataki noodle brand called Miracle Noodle at Healthy Options, and it’s available in angel hair and fettuccine single-serve packs for P175 each.
Alternative 2: Squashetti
If Shirataki is too pricey for your budget, try Squashetti, boiled (or baked) squash that’s shredded to look like spaghetti. We won’t fool you and say that it tastes just like pasta, but if you’re looking to cut down on major carbs, squashetti makes a great alternative at 42 calories a cup. It’s best with red or oil-based pasta sauces.
TACO SHELLS OR PITA WRAPS
A seemingly innocent fried taco shell goes from 260 calories and above. And if you think that ordering a pita wrap instead of rice with your chicken kebab is healthy, think again. A typical white wrap has 210 calories, only 32 calories short of a cup of rice.
Alternative: Leafy green wraps.
Go DIY in your kitchen by stuffing a leaf of iceberg or romaine lettuce with your favorite taco fillings. They don’t call iceberg lettuce “crunchy water” for nothing.
POTATO CHIPS AND JUNK FOOD
It’s easy to zone out while mindlessly eating chips. Before you know it, you’ve gobbled up half the bag of Doritos and 420 calories.
Alternative: DIY baked vegetable chips at 125 to 165 calories per serving.
Check out our recipes here.
Usually served in stacks of three or more, 6”-diameter buttermilk pancakes are about 175 calories apiece without factoring in the butter and maple syrup yet.
Alternative 1: Almond flour pancakes.
By substituting regular flour with almond flour, you’ll get a higher dose of protein with 1/3 less carbs and sugars.
Alternative 2: Oatmeal cottage cheese banana pancakes.
There are many healthy pancake recipes available online, but we found this awesome version that stood out. It uses a mix of oatmeal, cottage cheese, and mashed bananas to make the pancake batter.