Here are a few of my favourite foods that I ate when on a low fat diet.
Most breakfast cereals are low in fat and calories.
Avoid cereals with added sugar – these can have a lot of calories
Take care with muesli – Muesli can be good if eaten in small quantities. Check the fat and calorie content, particularly on those with extra nuts or the premium quality brands (such as Dorset cereals), which are very nice, but higher in calories and fat.
Cereal bars – these vary widely so look on the packaging. Some bars containing chocolate / yoghurt are higher in fat, but there are some specific “low fat” products, such as goAhead. The goAhead oat squares are particularly nice.
Bread based breakfasts
Toast is good when spread with a little low fat spread
Crumpets are also low fat
Toasted tea-cakes are okay as well
Croisants and pastries are often very high in fat so should be avoided.
Small quantities of cooked breakfasts can be within the allowance. A “full English” is unfortunately not on option, but the following can be used instead.
A single egg is quite good (about 6 to 7g of fat) depending upon how cooked. Boiling / microwave do not add any fat, fry light can be used if a fried egg is preferred.
Grilled back Bacon can be eaten in small quantities (single rasher with egg and slice of toast can be within allowance, but check individual products).
Sausages Weight watchers sausages are very low in fat and are quite nice. Some other low fat sausages, sometimes listed as half-fat can still be quite high in fat although do taste better.
Beans on toast is a good choice for cooked breakfasts.
Other breakfast items
Fruit goes well either on it’s own or with cereals. If using dried / concentrated fruit packets be careful with quantity as they can introduce a lot of calories.
Berries with 0%fat Greek Yoghurt is one of my favourites. 0g of fat. Check on the fat content of the Greek Yoghurt as some have 0%, some 3% and some much higher.
Some fish can be high in fat, some is okay – see Fish section for more details.
Biscuits can be bought in reduced fat varieties. Even where biscuits are low in fat then you may only be allowed a couple. As packets of biscuits can be quite large if you only have these as a one-off then you can end up with an opened packet of biscuits which can be a bit tempting.
These items marked as lunch assume a lighter snack based lunch. As the Alli diet works on sharing the fat evenly across 3 meals then this could be replaced by a dinner instead as long as the total days calories are also considered. Or of course this could be swapped around so that the “lunch” is eaten as the evening meal.
Homemade sandwiches tend to be better as you can opt to have no butter / low-fat spread and choose a light mayonnaise if required.
Most breads are okay – Bagels, Pittas make good alternatives. Obviously high fibre is preferable as well, but does not necessarily mean the bread will be lower in fat.
Cooked meats – Most packet pre-cooked meats (ham and turkey etc.) are low in fat, so I don’t normally go for the weight-watchers / diet meats. Some meats can be fatty (eg. salami), but most are okay.
Pates and spreads can be high in fat so check carefully.
Sandwich fillings – pre-made fillings can be high in fat. Even lower fat ones (eg. low fat prawn cocktail) are higher in fat than you can make on your own using low-fat mayo etc.
Cheese is very high in fat. Even half-fat cheese tends to be quite high so best avoided. Some spreads can be low fat. I particularly recommend a ham and extra-light Philadelphia sandwich.
Subway have a selection of low-fat subs. Ask for a copy of the menu which lists fat and calorie content of typical subs. Obviously “no cheese”.
Supermarkets, Boots and other shops pre-packed sandwiches. You need to be careful to check the fat content as some of these have over 30g of fat. The low fat ones are normally fairly clearly marked.
Freshly made baguette sandwiches can be good as long as they don’t put butter on them (see above for suggestions).
Crisps and snacks
Avoid normal crisps which often contain 12g or more of fat.
Low fat crisps are better – although I’m not really a fan.
Baked crisps are better still, very low in fat.
Diet pretzels or rice based snacks can be very low in fat, but I do not like the texture of the rice crisps.
Maize based snacks can be low in fat, and have low calorie contents. French fries tend to be the best from a calorie point of view, but Wotsits, Frazzles etc. have about half the fat content of normal crisps.
Normally for lunch I just have fruit for dessert, but I do occasionally have something more.
Fruit in Jelly is nice and has zero fat. The Hartley’s Raspberry in jelly is particularly nice, but the kids ones can be almost as good.
Rice pudding can be a nice warm dessert. The Ambrosia low-fat ones are nice. Miller rice are also very nice and in a variety of flavours, but they are larger and so have more calories (still low in fat).
This assumes eating at home. I’ve already written about how to diet whilst eating out, but that is very difficult. I generally just choose a healthy eating option and accept it as a slight exception to the normal diet. Good places are Harvester or Carvery (no roast potatoes – sometimes deep fried, but even if not high in fat).
I remember when ready meals first came out (popular with the boom in microwave ovens) and they were pretty poor quality then. When I started my diet I looked more at the healthy eating ready meals and am very impressed with how most have improved. I have been eating a lot of ready meals during the diet, partly because they are convenient way of determining the fat and calories but also because the portion sizes are fixed and so less likely to result in overeating. They also seam to make a larger meal than I do when measuring the ingredients if cooking my own food.
Supermarket own brand fresh diet ready meals are generally very good. The one thing to watch for is that they often have a short shelf life and may need to be eaten within two days. Waitrose/Ocado have a good “low saturated fat” range which are also low in fat in general and have some good varieties.
There are a new range of supermarket healthy choice ready meals which are not marked as low fat or diet, but usually have some fresh ingredients. These are normally fairly low in fat, but you need to check against each item. Some of these are particularly good.
Weight-watchers ready meals in general are not as good flavour wise as the supermarket own brands, but they often have a much longer shelf-life. Watch out for the labelling of the weight-watchers meals as some display saturated fat on the label rather than total fat content.
Frozen diet meals are not as nice. They are convenient to have a couple in the freezer for emergencies, but I wouldn’t choose to have these as the quality is not particularly good.
Some meals to avoid. The one I haven’t found a good low fat version of is lasagne. I’ve had to accept that I’ll have to wait until my diet is finished before I can have a good lasagne.
Whilst generally considered healthy some fish does have a high fat content so care needs to be taken when choosing fish.
White fish is normally low in fat.
Salmon fillets can be eaten as part of a meal, either poached or grilled.
Smoked salmon is high in fat. It can be added to a meal flaked, but care has to be taken using it for sandwiches etc.
Tuna is great as fresh fish grilled or BBQ, but is a little higher in fat than white fish.
Kippers / Mackerel / Oily Fish are all high in fat, so best avoided when taking the Alli tablets.
Shellfish and prawns are normally very low in fat so is great for use in a stir fries, curries added to rice as a paella.
If you care about the state of the seas then your choice of supermarket can make all the difference in finding responsibly sourced fish. Waitrose / Ocado and Marks and Spencer are particularly good, Sainsbury’s is not too bad, but other supermarkets such as Tesco, Morrisons and Asda have much less responsibly sourced fish. The environmentally friendly fish does not seam to be much more expensive and can make a big difference to the future of our seas. See:Can’t eat money – Fish, is this the End of the Line?
Chicken without the skin is low in fat and calories and is an excellent choice when on a diet.
Mince can be bought in lean low-fat versions. It still contains a reasonable amount of fat, so it needs to be carefully weighed to remain within the limits. Frozen mince can be useful as you don’t waste any of the pack.
Pre-cooked meats are good for use in a salad. Most packet pre-cooked meats (ham and turkey etc.) are low in fat, so I don’t normally go for the weight-watchers / diet meats. Some meats can be fatty (eg. salami), but most are okay.
Here are a few of my favourite easy to cook meals.
Piri-Piri Chicken use Nando’s sauce / marinade and serve with rice and salad.
Cottage / shepherds pie weigh the quantities adding fat and calorie values from each item.
Chicken / Veg Fajitas using a Fajita kit, but only 2 tortillas and no cheese or soured cream.
Jacket potato with beans or tuna (with low-fat mayo)
Some items that can be used as part of a meal or add as a side portion to the ready-meals.
Microwave Steamed Veg is particularly good to make a ready meal more filling or as vegetables to add to a meal.
Uncle Ben’s instant rice pouches are a convenient double portion size which is suitable for meals.
Frozen yoghurt is lower in fat and calories than ice cream (including low-fat ice cream).
Ben and Jerry’s Yoghurt is really nice. Lower in fat than the regular versions. Check the calorie and fat content as it varies a lot across the range (unfortunately phish food is quite high, but okay in small portions).
Weight-watchers have a good range of frozen desserts. Again watch the label as Weightwatchers often labels as saturated fat when it’s total fat that you are interested in.
Low fat cakes such as carrot cake are nice, but they are very small portions. Literally a single bite and they are gone.
TreatsBoots chocolate treats are the largest of the treat bars. They include crisp rice (Rice Crispies) to make the bars seam bigger and more filling.
Goahead caramel bars are very nice, but very small.
Slim-fast chocolate bars are good as well, they have a caramel one and one with peanuts (available from Waitrose / Ocado and some other stores).
This is not a comprehensive list, nor does it indicate any actual fat or calorie contents.