Two Chubby Cubs recipes: Feasts for under 500 calories

These recipes from smash hit weight-loss bloggers Twochubbycubs are all about pleasure not punishment.

Meet the Two Chubby Cubs

Social media stars James (right) and Paul Anderson, aka Twochubbycubs, have proved that weight loss doesn’t have to be about deprivation. Here’s how they did it…

We’ve seen Twochubbycubs grow from a tiny blog to a behemoth with almost half a million followers (twochubbycubs.com and @twochubbycubs). And we’ve been on a unique journey. When we moved in together [they married in 2011], we steadily became more spherical. It was only when we started thinking about what we were doing wrong that we decided to try something different. We’d spent years substituting tasty ingredients for awful replacements in the vain belief that we were making lifestyle choices. We were kidding ourselves – we were constantly snacking on unhealthy food to try to fill the void. 

twochubbycubs
Haarala Hamilton

So, with a bit of research, we decided to eat ‘properly’ and the weight fell off. It was a revelation. We discovered that by eating decent meals we didn’t need the rubbish on the side. Our meals were something to look forward to and a pleasure. We didn’t feel deprived. And the results spoke for themselves – we lost nearly 19 stone between us. 

 If you follow our example – don’t scrimp on ingredients, and learn to love food rather than endure it – you’ll be on a happier weight-loss journey. Twochubbycubs has always been about having a laugh and not taking this dieting nonsense too seriously. Life’s too short to be po-faced about what you eat, and we’ve reflected that ethos in our new book. We hope you enjoy these meals – all 500 calories or under per serving – and the chat that goes with them (James always comes first; Paul pops up for the notes). Give eating well a go, see how you get on, and tell us at the blog! 

Two Chubby Cubs recipes under 500 calories

Mongolian beef

This recipe gets pulled out over and over by our followers – it’s a ‘fakeaway’ that takes no time to make, doesn’t have a huge list of ingredients and tastes amazing. You might be tempted to swap the sugar for sweetener but don’t. Food is there to be enjoyed, not endured! An oil sprayer is a given when you’re on a healthy eating plan, but avoid ‘cooking spray’. Instead, invest in a ‘mister’ and fill with your favourite oil – olive, rapeseed and groundnut are great all-rounders.

two chubby cubs Mongolian beef
Haarala Hamilton

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Prawn stir-fry

This is an odd one for us to include because, brrr, prawns, right? We have a hate/hate relationship with the little things here at Chubby Towers. However, we were given one of those fancy subscriptions where they send you a box of ingredients, a pleasing recipe card and enough packaging to make a forest cry. Included was a prawn stir-fry – and it was delicious. Perhaps it was the threat of starvation facing us as we looked down at the tiny ‘recommended portion size’ – but we overcame our prawn hatred, and vowed there and then to try to include prawns in our regular rotation.

two chubby cubs prawn stir-fry
Haarala Hamilton

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Fish curry

The running theme through our book is that we aren’t keen on fish; however, we’re also endless adventurers so will give anything a go once. We’re firm believers in the fact that you can’t say you don’t enjoy something until you’ve tried it, at least when it comes to food. So if you’re out there going ‘urgh’ at the thought of this simple, light fish curry, I implore you to at least try it. Choose good fresh fish if you can. 

two chubby cubs fish curry
Haarala Hamilton

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Lighter spanakopita

It is an absolute knacker to try to make a slimming version of this buttery Greek dish, so although we’ve reduced the fat and calories we’re using our ‘a little of what you fancy does you good’ motto, and combining it with the ethos that you’ll probably eat two portions the same as us and at least this way it’s not too deleterious to your slimming.

two chubby cubs lighter spanakopita
Haarala Hamilton

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Lemon chicken with orzo

We get asked a lot what we make when we just ‘can’t be bothered’ and, honestly, that feeling occurs more often than you might think. Finding recipes and trying new things will always be exciting, but sometimes you just need a meal you know will work, tastes good and requires minimal effort. This is one of those. Orzo is rice-shaped pasta and is easy to find in supermarkets, but you can swap it for whatever tiny pasta you can find. We shan’t judge. If you have any leftovers, shred the chicken down, mix with any leftover orzo and leave to dry out a little in the fridge overnight. The next day, form them into ‘burgers’ and gently fry them – fantastic with some sour cream.

two chubby cubs lemon chicken with orzo
Haarala Hamilton

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Lamb and halloumi meatballs

Meatballs have been a staple of our blog – partly because they’re an easy dish, partly because they’re fun to make. Don’t be afraid of lamb mince – it does have a higher fat content than pork or turkey mince but that adds the flavour. You can lower the fat by having a butcher make the mince for you. You should make friends with your local butcher; ours loves the sight of us – I think we’ve paid for his caravan twice over.

two chubby cubs lamb and halloumi meatballs
Haarala Hamilton

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Chilli cheese jacket potatoes

Can you beat the humble jacket potato for a quick lunch? Rolled in a little olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt then baked slowly for as long as you can get away with. A world away from those potatoes you get in certain cafés that have been baking since the Boer War. Crunchy on the outside, absolute mush in the middle, covered with beans and that plastic orange cheese that has no sooner come from a cow than I have. These jacket potatoes, topped as they are with a rich chilli and baked twice, are a treat. 

two chubby cubs chilli cheese jacket potatoes
Haarala Hamilton

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Chicken achari

For years I thwarted any attempt to use chicken thighs because I liked an uncomplicated bite and the thought of gristle and bone touching my teeth was an absolute no-no. I thought I was alone with my fussiness until I met Paul, who also had a similar phobia. However, this recipe won us round because after years of totally disregarding chicken thighs, we noticed that you can buy boneless ones. And what a difference in taste. A breast is fine for most things but chicken thighs lend themselves to a dish like this – the more ‘meaty’ flavour works well with the spices and really lifts the dish. 

two chubby cubs chicken achari
Haarala Hamilton

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Tomato and chickpea stew

This tomato and chickpea stew recipe came about thanks to one of a few wonderful sets of neighbours that we have, who I’ll namecheck just to make sure they keep looking after the cats when we go off on our jaunts. I jest, they’re truly lovely folks: Wilf and Wilma. One other perk of having our excellent neighbours is that barely a week goes by in the summer without a surfeit of vegetables being handed over from their allotment. Some weeks it’s enough aubergines to make a convent blush, others it’s 87 leeks and a wheelbarrow of turnips. This recipe stems from a glut of tomatoes that Wilf left on my doorstep – although you’ll see that we have used tinned tomatoes in this recipe rather than fresh. That’s because we wanted a ‘quick’ take on our recipe. If you have the time, about 500g of fresh, skinned cherry tomatoes will make this dish sing. When I say fresh, mind, I mean it. Greenhouse or bust.

two chubby cubs tomato and chickpea stew
Haarala Hamilton

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Buy the book with a 20 per cent discount

TwoChubbyCubs The Cookbook: 100 Tried and Tested Slimming Recipes by James and Paul Anderson is published by Yellow Kite, price £20. To order a copy for £16 with free p&p until 30 April, go to mailshop.co.uk or call 01603 648155.