Every doctor and nutritionist will tell you to cut fat from your diet. You’ll lose weight, lower your risk for heart disease, and even feel less sluggish.
Now, if only your tastebuds would agree! Fat carries flavor, and it can be quite difficult to give up butter, steak and ice cream. The trick is to juggle your fat intake, choosing healthier (but relatively tasty) substitutions for every day cooking, so you can occasionally indulge in a pizza or hamburger without sending your cholesterol levels off the charts! Here are some tips for healthy cooking and healthy eating!
1. Cook with ‘smart fats.’
For cooking, use canola oil or olive oil, which have lower saturated fats than vegetable oil. You can also switch to non-stick cooking spray—even just a little amount will coat the pan.
.2. Use low-fat cooking methods.
Instead of frying your food, try steaming, braising, poaching or grilling. You can also cut meat into smaller pieces and sauté in a small amount of sauce instead of frying. Microwaving food also cooks without oil. Another alternative is to bake or roast meat, or use a turbo broiler.
If you must fry your food, drain the meat of excess oils on paper towels before serving. Deep-frying is also considered healthier than traditional frying. Since the oil is very hot, it cooks faster and doesn’t penetrate the meat.
3. Choose low-fat cuts.
Cook with skinless chicken breasts or extra lean meat. Try to trim excess fat from meat, too. If you’re using ground meat, select lean meat and then have it ground fresh. Traditional ground meat tends to have high fat.
If you’re roasting a chicken, don’t remove the skin right away—it will make it dry. Instead, retain the skin during cooking, and then discard it before serving.
If you are using meat with a little amount of fat, here’s one tip: broil the meat in a little water, so it releases its own fat. You can then use that fat to sauté the meat, instead of adding more oil to the pan.
4. Lower your meat intake.
Replace some of the meat content in burgers or meatloaf with ‘extenders’ such as beans, tofu, potatoes or whole grains. Try making one-dish meals that incorporate vegetables, or make smaller servings of a main course and add a salad or soup for a more filling meal.
One trick is to make a meal plan that revolves around fish, chicken and vegetables. So you don’t feel deprived, assign two or three meals for your ‘meat treat.’ However, the rest of your diet should come from healthier dishes.
5. Look for alternative ingredients.
If you love sausages, get turkey or chicken sausages instead of pork or beef. If you adore steak, use your favorite sauce on tofu or chicken. It’s also healthier to eat Canadian bacon instead of regular bacon.
Little changes make a big difference, too. For example, if you love porkchops, get the crunchiness by baking chicken cutlets (use breadcrumbs or crushed cornflakes instead of batter). Or, choose a delicious vinaigrette instead of a high-fat Thousand Island dressing.
That way, you retain the flavors while cutting back on fat.
6. Watch the dairy products and eggs.
Milk and eggs can sneak fat and cholesterol into your diet. Replace whole eggs with two egg whites, or get egg substitutes. Instead of creamy pasta sauces, serve your noodles with tomato-based or olive oil-based sauces. For omelettes, mashed potatoes and gravy,, use fat-free milk. Or, at the very least, replace heavy cream—often found in casserole and soup recipes—with evaporated milk.
7. Switch to healthier desserts.
Love pies and tarts? Instead of regular pastry, try making these dishes with phyllo pastry. It’s great for making turnovers, tarts, and strudel. Satisfy your ice cream cravings with sherbet or frozen yoghurt, or fruit served on crushed ice. You can also switch to healthier, low-fat sweeteners like applesauce, or use low fat buttermilk or non-fat yoghurt instead of milk.
8. Avoid temptation.
Or, you can eat what you love, but in moderation. Buy smaller, single-serving packs of your favorite cookies, or pints (not gallons!) of your favorite ice cream. Cut smaller slices of cake.