Cooking The Low-fat Way for Optimum Health

Cooking The Low-fat WayHang the diet, eat your food, for now you can have your cake and your figure, too.

In medical circles, there is an old adage that says, “Man digs his grave with his teeth.”. It may be an old adage, but it still rings true. Our eating habits determine how healthy we are.

And consuming too much fat is the culprit behind many avoidable diseases.

The trick, says experts: go non-fat. If you can’t, go low-fat. Following are four smart, easy moves you can make to minimize your fat intake. Culled from various sources, they make a lot of sense. And they require no more than small adjustments on your part to carry out.

In time, you could be using these strategies as a matter of habit, and your taste buds will hardly know the difference. But your heart and all the vital organs will. Chances are, your friends will also notice the slimmer, trimmer, fitter you!

Smart Move # 1:
Change your buying habits

Learn to read nutrition labels and compare available brands and options. Opt for item that’s lower in fat, especially saturated fat.

What you buy, you eat–naturally. So avoid stocking up on fattening snacks like potato chips, candies, sodas, and cream-filled cookies. Instead, choose low-fat crackers and unsalted, dry-roasted nuts and seeds. If you must have chips, look for ones that are low in salt and baked, not fried, the best snacks are fresh fruits and vegetables.

Choose meats labeled “lean,” “extra lean,” or “select.” There’s less marbled or “invisible” fat (that you can’t remove) from these cuts. For beef, lean cuts are anything with “round” or “loin” in its name, such as bottom round, top round, eye of round, top loin, sirloin, and tenderloin. For pork, center or tenderloin cuts are leanest.

For ground beef, ask for ground round, or rinse ground meat in warm water first (to cut the fat content). Avoid processed meats like sausages, bacon, and salami.

Buy more fish than meats. Plan around having more fish meals than meat dishes throughout the week.

Go for skimmed or low-fat milk which have the same calcium content as full cream milk. Always choose dairy labeled fat-free or low-fat.

Use only fat-free or low-fat salad dressings. Better yet, keep a bottle of balsamic vinegar handy. Mixed with a little brown sugar, this makes a delicious salad dressing sans the calories and fat.
Check the labels on baked goods and avoid those made with whole milk and egg yolk.
Buy margarine instead of butter.

Smart Move # 2:
Modify your recipe

Substitute two egg whites for one whole egg, or three egg whites for two whole eggs. One egg yolk contains about 225 mg of cholesterol. Egg whites has no cholesterol.

Substitute one cup whipped cream with three stiffly beaten egg whites.

One cup heavy or whipping cream can be replaced with one cup skimmed milk. Always use skim or low-fat milk in place of cream in a recipe.

In meat dishes, you can replace sour cream with low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese without sacrificing taste.

In baking, if a recipe calls for butter, use canola or mild olive oil instead. And to keep breads and cakes moist, use fruit purees (like applesauce) or non-fat sour cream in place of butter.

For every ounce of chocolate required, use three tablespoons coca as substitute. Way less sugar.

If a recipe calls for cheese, opt for a sharp cheese and then reduce the amount used since you get a stronger flavor anyway. Cook with non-fat cheese when you can, but if you want a creamy texture, mix non-fat with regular cheese because the former doesn’t melt very well.

Smart Move # 3:
Alter your cooking methods

Use fats and oils sparingly for frying. Better yet, use spray oil and non-stick pans. Cook at low heat.
Sauté with broth or wine instead of cooking oil.

Steam your vegetables, boil or poach your eggs, and bake, broil, grill or microwave your fish and meats. Avoid frying foods.

If you must deep fry, see that the oil is hot. Otherwise, the food will absorb a lot of oil.

Cook soups, stews, and gravies ahead of time. Just before serving, remove congealed fat and reheat.

Smart Move #4:
Change the way you eat

Fill up on vegetables, beans, and pasta to lessen the amount of meat you consume. Or, treat beans and vegetables as your main dish and concoct delicious recipes around them.

For ideas, scour the bookstores for themed cookbooks or look up a “low-fat recipes” website on the net.