Light Versions of Traditional Recipes to Keep you Lean and Experimenting

Light versions of traditional recipes to keep you both lean and experimenting
Light Versions of Traditional Recipes to Keep you Lean and Experimenting

Last update: 11 July, 2018

We know that many people think that dieting and watching their figures means that they cannot eat good food. Do not worry — this is not true! You just need to cook light versions of the delicious recipes you love.

You might remember the smells that wafted through your house when your mother or grandmother cooked for your family. Those recipes were probably passed down through the generations and form an important part of your country’s culture and cuisine.

It is common to grab fast food on your way home from work — but it might be a nice change to incorporate some of your country’s traditional food into your diet. Although most traditional recipes have a high fat content, there are also many benefits to eating food from around the world.

There are also plenty of delicious and light versions of traditional recipes. Now, you can enjoy cultural recipes from your country or other continents while continuing your health journey.

Lighten up a Russian salad

The Russian salad (also known as an Olivier salad) is one of Russia’s excellent traditional dishes. It is commonly eaten in Spain, where you can find it in many bars as a tapas plate.

This salad has vegetables soaked in mayonnaise as its main ingredient. Mayonnaise should be eaten in moderation, so the traditional Russian salad recipe is not too healthy. If you are on a diet and still want to eat a Russian salad, here is an alternative recipe:

  1. Boil water and add two carrots, two small potatoes, a handful of green beans and a handful of peas. If you cut them before cooking them, they will cook quickly and you will save time.
  2. When the vegetables are cooked, drain the water from the pot and let them cool.
  3. Mix mayonnaise with Greek yogurt. Stir well until smooth and add to cooked vegetables.

The more Greek yogurt there is, in proportion to mayonnaise, the fewer calories the dressing will have. This is a very easy way to make a low-calorie Russian salad and you will hardly notice the different flavor. You can apply this technique to any dish that contains mayonnaise such as a patatas bravas or calamari.

Do not fry your ham croquettes

traditional recipes croquettes

You may think that ham croquettes should be prohibited in any diet, due to their high fat content. While the traditional version has lots of fried bread crumbs and cheese, this light version is healthier.

For the light version, make sure to bake the croquettes instead of frying them. We have opted for ham with this recipe, but feel free to substitute it for cooked turkey or chicken breast:

  1. Finely chop and cook a small onion and add finely chopped pieces of ham when the onion is almost ready. Make sure to only use ham loin to cut down on fat.
  2. Add a cup of flour and three cups of skim milk when both the onion and ham are ready, to make a dough.
  3. When the dough is uniform and easily detaches from the edge of the pan, leave it in the pan to cool.
  4. Once the dough is cold, mix in one egg and bread crumbs, shape the dough into small balls.
  5. Finally, put the balls on a baking sheet, and put this in the oven at 170 degrees, until the croquettes turn golden.

You should make a large amount of dough, so you can make the croquettes three or four times without starting from scratch. You can also freeze the dough balls instead of putting them in the oven and they will last for several days.

Options to make light versions of paella

traditional light recipes paella

Is there anything more Spanish than paella? This Spanish dish is traditionally from Spain’s coastal regions, but you can find paella anywhere in Spain and throughout the world. It can contain seafood, vegetables or meat.

To make the traditional recipe into a light version, just use these two simple tricks to reduce calories:

  1. Reduce the amount of rice you use, and instead, add more vegetables.
  2. Make a vegetable or seafood paella, instead of a heavy meat version. If you do want meat in your paella, choose less fatty cuts.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.