Low Fat, Low Calorie Recipe

Written by Sky Taylor, Diet Bites

A one-food recipe for your weight loss plan that's low in caloric and dietary fat content.....


Serving one-food meals or one-dish meals is a great way to keep down the fat and calories at meal time. The basics of these type meals is to combine several healthy ingredients that are naturally low in calories to create a one-dish meal which is tasty and satisfying.

Our favorite one-food include the following: burritos, light casseroles rich in hearty vegetables, broth-based soups packed with vegetables and lean proteins, one-bowl salads that contain a mix of spring greens, healthy proteins, tomatoes and light reduced fat salad dressings.

Even the potato - such a basic simple food, can be a one-food meal. Fill with reduced fat margarine, light sour cream, lean bacon bits (the real deal), chopped tomatoes, broccoli florets that have been steamed - and don't forget the sea salt and cracked pepper.

Even hot dogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, sandwiches and toaster melt recipes can be enjoyed by the dieter when healthier ingredients comprise the recipe.

One-food meals can be prepared in the crock pot, oven, stove top, microwave, toaster oven - or even on the grill.

Let's take a look at one of our favorite one-meal selections and also learn how we can reduce the caloric values, the fat content - and still end-up with a hearty, healthy meal that will dazzle the dieter.


The wrapper is a healthy flour tortilla shell which counts towards a Grain Group serving. The filling - well, the filling is very filling, a typical mixture of beans, spices, chopped onions, garlic along with popular ingredients like beef and cheese.


While most burritos are naturally nominal in caloric content because they are created with fairly-healthy basic foods, we can still find smarter methods for slashing caloric and dietary fat content.

Let's define a starting point for our lower calorie recipe for burritos. A Taco Bell bean burrito contains 387 calories, 11.19 total fat grams, 57.78 total carbohydrate grams and 7.8 dietary fiber grams. Their Burrito Supreme with beef contains 469 calories and 19.96 fat grams while their chicken recipe contains 444 calories and a slight reduction in dietary fat at 15.92 grams. Let's move to the Supreme Steak version: 454 calories, 18.03 total dietary fat grams.

Let's view another very popular and beloved Mexican fast food eatery - Taco Bueno. They have a myriad of burrito combinations on their menu. Their basic bean burrito contains 604 calories and 29 total fat grams. So we're starting to see situations where the this entree can indeed climb in caloric content, as well as in the fat gram department. When we remove the chili from the recipe, we're not down to 549 calories. Their Chicken Potato Burrito is much kinder where dieters are concerned at 327 calories and 18 total fat grams. And their Party Burrito also makes a stellar choice for dieters at 374 calories, 18 total fat grams. But please, unless you're planning to share - avoid the 'Big Ol' Burrito' choices. The beef menu selection contains almost 800 calories and about 50 grams of fat. Enough said.

Rosa's Cafe also has some excellent choices for dieters on their menu. Their basic Bean & Cheese Burrito contains 320 calories. Their Beef & Bean contains 300 - and the Combination selection only 290 calories. We've never ordered anything at Rosa's Cafe that we didn't absolutely enjoy to the fullest.

Now that we have a good idea of the caloric values in popular burritos, let's see if we can skinny-up the recipe for our homemade version.

Diet Bites Big Ben Burrito, a low calorie recipe

burrito recipeThe Recipe Ingredients

1 flour tortilla shell (80 calories)
1/4 cup of mashed beans (50 calories)
1/2 slice of reduced fat cheese (30 calories)
Mexican Seasonings: chili powder, ground cumin, cilantro, onions, picante sauce or salsa
Optional Ingredients: reduced fat sour cream, additional salsa, jalapeno peppers

How to Prepare This Recipe

Heat the flour tortilla shell either in the microwave between two damp paper towels, or on the stove top in a pan sprayed with butter flavored cooking spray. Remove when limber and warm - but do not allow the shell to reach a torched, hardened stage or it will not be as appetizing or very easy to fold and roll.

Note that there isn't a recommendation for the amount of seasonings to be added. These are ingredients which you can control to suit your personal taste. If you want a mild result, then add the following: 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro. Do a taste test and add more spices if desired.

Place the heated beans onto one side of the flour tortilla, add chopped onion, cilantro, salsa and the 1/2 slice of cheese and roll to form the burrito. Serve with the optional ingredients if desired.

This very filling recipe for a one-food dish contains about 175 calories - about one half the calories as burritos found at popular fast food establishments.

But wait - we're not finished yet. Let's ensure that our one-food meal contains foods that live in all the healthy official Food Groups. At this point of our recipe we have fulfilled the nutritional guidelines in these food groups: Grain (tortilla), Protein (beans), Dairy (cheese), Vegetable (onions, cilantro). And if we add the sour cream and jalapeno peppers, we'll be adding more nutritional value for minimal calories.

We are lacking in the Fruit Food Group so let's add some chopped tomatoes to our recipe and let's add more volume in the Grain Group servings by adding 1/4 cup of cooked rice to the shell before rolling. Now we're cooking with nutrition!

How to Lower Calories in Recipes

Let's review how we managed to keep caloric values low, as well as fat content based on the ingredients used in this recipe. Seeing this information can assist when you put together your own homemade recipes.

The first rule to reducing caloric values without reducing nutritional values is to check the nutritional labels on the packages.

Flour Tortilla Shell: While corn tortillas contain about one-half the calories as flour, a decent burrito requires a flour tortilla shell. Look for those which are lowest in calories - and they can be challenging to find. We purchased ours at the local Walmart food center and they are generally always in stock. The larger shells will contain a significantly increase in all values; some will triple our 80 calorie shell - up to 250 calories or more per flour tortilla shell.

Beans: Your favorite bean can be used in this recipe. If canned beans are used, simply drain - measure out 1/4 a cup and mash before adding the seasonings. Beans contain a blast of healthy fiber and by making them a part of this low calorie recipe, we're also ensuring that we'll be feeling full for several hours following our meal.

Cheese: Take special note of the word 'reduced'. Whenever we use ingredients that are reduced in fat, the caloric content is automatically reduced.

As to vegetables added such as cilantro, onions and peppers - feel free to go ape-wild in this area as they are naturally low in caloric content - as well as dietary fat. If you don't like your onions raw - then grill them on the stove top using a sauce pan and just a tab of cooking spray so they won't stick. If you find that cooking spray leaves an undesirable after-taste, then add just a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil for sautéing, or peanut oil or canola oil - as these are the healthier oils based on fat distribution in the oils.

Good luck on your weight loss plan. We're always here to assist with your diet whether it's information you seek, weight loss tips, motivation - or even easy to prepare recipes that will assist in inspiring you to create your personal masterpiece.

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