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Our lives are not in the lap of the gods,
but in the lap of our cooks.

Lyn Yutang

5 Low-Cal, Peak-Performance Recipes

Besides exercising regularly, you have to eat right to lose weight and be fit. That means cutting back on calories without sacrificing nutrition. To optimize your cardio and sculpting workouts, you need healthy food that fuels your performance, satisfies your appetite, and helps you achieve the slimming and toning results you want. Here are a few delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes—each under 300 calories per serving—from our trainers and nutrition experts that do just that.

Pita Pizza

By Chalene Johnson, creator of Turbo Jam®

1 whole wheat pita
1/2 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup nonfat mozzarella cheese, grated
1 cup veggies of your choice (mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, garlic, bell pepper), diced
2 oz. grilled chicken breast, or other lean meat or protein source, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice pita around the edges, making two open-faced discs. Bake discs for about a minute until slightly toasted, but not really brown. On the inside (bumpy) side of the bread, spoon sauce, followed by veggies, meat, and finally cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Makes two pizzas, but you can eat them both—if you did your workout today!

Nutritional Information (for one pizza)
Calories 233 Protein 22 g Fiber 5 g
Carbs 29 g Fat Total 4 g Sat Fat 0 g

Lean and Mean

By Tony Horton, creator of Power 90®, Power Half Hour®, and P90X®

3-4 oz. fish (tuna, swordfish, salmon) or lean protein
1-2 cups green veggies of your choice (broccoli, spinach, kale, collard greens, etc.)
1/2 cup cooked whole grain brown rice (boiled or steamed, optional)

Juice of 1 lemon (and zest, optional)
Garlic powder or minced fresh garlic to taste
Pepper to taste
Rosemary to taste
Dill to taste

Marinate fish covered in the fridge at least two hours before grilling with one of the following ingredient combinations:
  • Lemon and pepper
  • Lemon and rosemary and (optional) pepper
  • Lemon and dill and (optional) pepper
  • Garlic powder and pepper

Discard used marinade. Grill the fish and steam the veggies. Serve and eat. If desired, use the ingredient combinations to season veggies and rice.

Nutritional Information
(varies with choice of fish; subtract 100 calories and 22 carbs if not including rice)
Calories 297 Protein 33 g Fiber 11 g
Carbs 40 g Fat Total 1 g Sat Fat 0 g

Hawaiian-Style Salmon

By Kathy Smith, creator of Project: YOUTM

Four 4-oz. salmon steaks
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tsp. canola oil
2 cored pineapple slices, diced
1 shallot, minced
2 Tbsp. minced cilantro

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rinse salmon steaks and pat them dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the oil on the steaks and reserve. Cut a piece of parchment paper (one for each salmon steak) in circular shapes about 12 inches in diameter, fold in half, and place the fish steaks at the center of the half circle. Top with the remaining ingredients. Fold the other half of the parchment over the ingredients and crimp the edges to seal. Place parchment "bags" on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (per serving)
Calories 226 Protein 23 g Fiber 1 g
Carbs 5 g Fat Total 8 g Sat Fat 1 g

Lemon Garlic Chicken

By Carrie Wiatt, P90X® Nutritionist

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. molasses
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 lbs. skinless chicken thighs
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Parsley sprigs
Lemon wedges

Combine first four ingredients in a nonreactive dish and add chicken. Cover and marinate in refrigerator one hour, turning occasionally. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove chicken from dish, reserving marinade, and arrange in a shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Pour reserved marinade over chicken; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, basting occasionally with marinade. Bake without basting for 20 minutes more or until chicken is done. Serve with lemon wedges and garnish with parsley, if desired. Serves 3.

Nutritional Information (per serving)
Calories 226 Protein 34 g Fiber .5 g
Carbs 13 g Fat Total 7 g Sat Fat 0 g

Bean Burger Recipe

By Denis Faye, Wellness Expert and Beachbody Message Boards' Advisor

1 (15 oz.) can of beans, drained
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup salsa
1 carrot, sliced
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp. chili powder
Pepper to taste

Choose any beans you like. We suggest black beans. Steam carrot until soft, and mash with beans in a large bowl. Add everything else. Mix well. Shape into 6 patties. Add additional salsa or egg white if not sticking properly. Cook on a nonstick skillet or George Foreman Grill for 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned. If you figure out how to grill these on an open BBQ without them falling apart, write us and let us know. Serves 6.

Nutritional Information (per serving)
Calories 165 Protein 10 g Fiber 9 g
Carbs 31 g Fat Total 1 g Sat Fat 0 g

For lots of healthy, low-cal recipes, visit the Recipe Archive at the Team Beachbody® Club. Not a member? Click here to start your membership right away!

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Low-Fat Cooking Techniques

Excerpted from the P90X® Nutrition Guide

Learning just a few basic skills can make you a low-fat chef with good habits you'll use for life. Cooking with liquids other than fat can trim the fat content of a dish by up to 1,000 calories. This can have a positive effect on your total health and well-being, and maybe even prevent illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. And on top of all that, you can lose lots of weight.

A Better Sauté

Eliminate the fat used in traditional sautés by substituting flavorful liquids for butter, margarine, or oil. Choose from chicken or vegetable stock, dry sherry, red or white wine, fruit juice, vinegar, soy sauce, or a combination of two or more.

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of liquid in a sauté pan over medium-high heat.

  2. When the liquid begins to steam, add ingredients and stir.

  3. Continue to sauté, stirring frequently, until the liquid in the pan evaporates. Quickly add 2 more tablespoons of liquid, stirring to scrape up the glaze at the bottom of the pan.

  4. Continue to cook, adding liquid as necessary, until done.

Pasta and Noodles

  1. Always select pasta made without oils or eggs.

  2. Skip adding oil and salt to the cooking water.

  3. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water, adding pasta to the pot gradually so the water continues to boil.

  4. Two ounces of dry pasta yields 1 to 1-1/2 cups cooked, depending on the type of pasta.

Grilling, Baking, and Poaching

  1. Grilling is the fastest cooking method, and is best suited for thicker cuts. Begin with a preheated grill or broiler, turning meat over when the grilled side is done (fish should flake; poultry should begin to brown). Cook the other side. Depending on thickness, grill 5 to 7 minutes per side; the second side will probably take less time than the first.

  2. Baking is a slower cooking method. Bake most cuts at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes.

  3. Poaching involves a slow simmer in liquid—such as water, stock, or wine—that you can flavor with herbs, onions, shallots, or garlic. Poaching is a gentle cooking method that works well for delicate cuts like chicken breast, fish fillets, and shellfish. In a wide saucepan, heat enough liquid to just cover your ingredients until it reaches a very slow simmer. Add ingredients in a single layer and cook uncovered 7 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through.

For added flavor and moisture, brush seafood, meat, or poultry with fresh citrus juice, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, or fresh herbs before grilling or roasting. Or use an oil-free marinade—for best flavor, marinate at least two hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

For more tips on low-fat grilling and eating, see Joe Wilkes' "11 Tips for Cooking Out Without Pigging Out."

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on a newsletter article, just email us at mailbag@beachbody.com. Check Steve Edwards' Mailbag for his responses to reader comments.

For Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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