What is this?
This is a collection of "recipes" I've been inventing that attempt to satisfy all the government nutritional daily recommended intakes (DRIs) while minimizing calories. I also avoid eggs and most meat, so that is another constraint. See the FAQ for more information.
I put "recipe" in quotes because (1) the portion size is for one day of food for one adult (2) I largely ignore seasoning instructions. I personally use ample seasoning when cooking, but I don't have any special insights there, so I'm just going to say Be Warned: literally following these instructions without seasoning will result in bland dishes no one will want to eat.
The website cronometer.com was invaluable when creating these.
Diet Blend1082 calories, 89g protein, $7.50
|Broccoli, Cooked from Frozen||8.4 cups||433|
|Soybean Oil, Unhydrogenated||1.75 tbsp||211|
|Mushrooms, Cooked from Fresh||3 cups||131|
|Milk, Skim, Fat Free||1.6 cups||133|
|Shrimp, Cooked from Frozen||0.21 cups||61|
|Pumpkin or Squash Seeds, Shelled, Salted||2.7 tbsp||114|
Lentils & Broccoli1503 calories, 110g protein, $4.54
|Lentils, Boiled||3 cups, whole pieces||689|
|Frozen Broccoli||5.6 cup, chopped||289|
|Soybean Oil||2.4 tbsp||289|
|Skim Milk||2 cup||167|
|Fresh Portabella Mushrooms||2 cup, sliced||70|
- Put 1 cup of lentils and 2.5 cups of water in a pot. Simmer until the water is gone.
- In the meantime, turn on the stove and put a pan on the stove.
- Put the oil in the pan.
- Chop the broccoli and mushrooms and put them in the pan.
- After a while, put the lentils on a plate and then put the broccoli and mushrooms on top.
- Serve with a glass of milk.
Rice & Shrimp1417 calories, 83g protein
|Brown Rice, Cooked||1.5 cups||373|
|Skim Milk||3 cups||250|
|Soybean Oil||2.1 tbsp||253|
|Red Bell Peppers||5.5 cups||208|
|Frozen Shrimp||0.7 cups||121|
|Fresh Mushrooms||2.5 cups||109|
|Frozen Broccoli||2 cups||103|
Potatoes & Fish1509 calories, 78g protein
|Skim Milk||3.3 cup||275|
|Soybean Oil||2 tbsp||241|
|Catfish, Farmed||5 2/3 oz raw||206|
|Red Bell Peppers||4.5 cup, chopped||170|
|Frozen Brussel Sprouts||1 cup||94|
- Thinly slice the potatoes.
- Chop the peppers and brussel sprouts.
- Turn on the stove and put a pan on the stove.
- Put the oil, potatoes, and vegetables in the pan.
- Add the fish later (most people don't like it overcooked).
- Serve with a glass of milk.
Split Pea Soup1529 calories, 89 protein
|Split Peas||3 cup||694|
|Soybean Oil||2.15 tbsp||259|
|Skim Milk||2.8 cups||233|
|Red Bell Peppers||5.6 cups||212|
Have you really been asked these questions?
What are your credentials?
I have none.
Do these "recipes" actually satisfy every nutritional recommendation?
I ignore two nutrients: sodium and vitamin D. Ignoring sodium makes sense since you're probably getting enough of it from the other stuff you're eating. If not, just add salt to the "recipes".
Ignoring vitamin D is harder to justify. The truth is it is extremely difficult to get vitamin D from food alone and quite easy in most places to get several times what you need from the sun. Nevertheless, I'm considering revising this since vitamin D promotes longevity.
Do these "recipes" satisfy the DRIs for everyone?
I targeted the nutritional needs of 19-30 year-old males since that's my demographic. DRIs are generally larger for males than for non-pregnant females, so I expect these "recipes" would work well for the vast majority of the non-infant non-pregnant population.
Why does every "recipe" contain soybean oil and milk?
Soybean oil is the best source of polyunsaturated fats I've found. These fats are great at promoting longevity and are recommended by the US government. The fact that cooking with oil makes the food taste much better is a happy side-effect.
Regarding milk: I don't eat eggs or most meat, so milk is one of my best and cheapest sources of B12. Milk is also a great source of lots of nutrients since it's literally all infants eat. Finally, milk is the least bad animal product to eat by far.
How did maximizing for nutrition yield recepies that weren't completely horrible?
It didn't. I had to make judgment calls. The optimal meal would've consisted mostly of broccoli.
This is too hard/messy. Why not just drink Soylent et al?
Price is one reason. These meals are far cheaper than Soylant or Huel. For instant, Soylant powder costs nearly $20 for 1500 calories whereas the ingredients for these "recipes" cost around $5.
Variety, social acceptableness, and taste are all other good reasons.
Finally, the difficulty in preparing real meals can be reduced by doing things in bulk. The obvious way to do this is to take turns preparing with other people: with 7 people, each person can cook dinner once per week.
The other way to do things in bulk is to do the non-heat-related steps once a week. This mostly means cutting the vegetables and putting them in sealed containers in the fridge. Then, making these recipes later takes less effort and makes less mess.
Are you vegan? vegetarian? pescatarian?
Kind of? I don't eat any land animals. I don't eat octopus, calamari, or most fish. I do eat catfish, skate, shrimp, clams, and oysters. I consume dairy and eggs, but avoid egg-heavy food like omelets.
The above dietary restrictions are based on my complex, nuanced, and likely wrong understanding of animal ethics.
I basically adopt a utilitarian outlook and assume the moral weight of an animal is (very) roughly proportional to the number of synapses in its brain.
Various Protein Sources
|Food||Calories For 30g of Protein|
|Chobani, Nonfat Greek Yogurt, Plain||174|
|Firm Tofu, Cooked||259|
|Milk, Fat Free||302|
|Brussel Sprouts, Cooked||346|
|Milk 1% Fat||374|
|Fava Beans, Cooked||387|
|Parmesan Cheese, Grated||444|
|Black Beans, Boiled||447|
|Green Peas, Cooked||454|
|Milk, 2% Fat||455|
|Artichoke Hearts, Canned||551|
|Whole Wheat Bread||607|
|Wild Rice, Cooked||759|