Recipes for Life: A Grease Free Fare

The glow from America's love affair with fat is finally starting to fade A good thing, too. A diet rich in fat has shown to increase the risk for obesity, heart disease, breast, prostrate and colon cancer.

Healthy heart illustrationStatistics show this nation has dropped its fat intake from 44 percent of calories in 1986 to 34 percent of calories in 1996. This means we are well on our way to meeting the 30 percent or less of fat calories the American Heart Association and National Cancer Institute recommend.

We have some work ahead, however, when it comes to slimming down. One would think eating less fat would automatically decrease our waistlines as well. Right? Wrong. Decreasing fat in the diet is a good step in the right direction when it comes to losing body fat, but it takes decreasing our total calorie intake along with increasing our calorie expenditure to lose weight. Too many of us are simply chowing down larger portions of lower fat meals and snacks while we "work out" with our favorite piece of exercise equipment: The Remote Control.

Nevertheless, cutting down on hidden or added fat is a good place to start if you want to lose weight. One can go a long way in decreasing calories in any given recipe by reducing it's amount of fat as fat has two and a half times the caloric content of carbohydrates and proteins (nine vs four calories per gram).

Taste wise, one would never know the difference when eating a dish made with less fat. In fact, you can reduce the fat by onehalf in most recipes without any significant change in taste. The "Fried Chicken" recipe shows that low-fat meals can be packed with both taste and texture.

Cooking low-fat meals is simply a matter of substituting one ingredient for another. Try the substitutions and cooking techniques found in the "tips" section. Then use your imagination and be creative.

A word to the wise: If you are cooking for those who are "health-food challenged", don't tell them you have changed your cooking strategy until they have finished the meal. Some individuals can be converted to healthier ways if they taste the dish first. You've heard the expression "seeing is believing"? Well, the challenge of changing the dietary habits of others takes tasting..."tasting is believing"!

Tips For Cooking With Less Fat

Material © San Franisco Spine Center. Used by Permission.

  • Use non-stick pots and pans to prepare foods that require some fat. Use vegetable sprays or dip a pastry brush in olive oil to smear on a light coating of fat.
  • Use chicken broth, beef broth, wine or Worchestershire sauce to saute vegetables.
  • Try a few drops of sesame oil in a stir-fry or salad. This oil is very flavorful and a little goes a long way!
  • Serve cooked vegetables (like broccoli or cauliflower) with a few sprinkles of Parmesan cheese instead of butter.
  • Use non-fat yogurt, non-fat or low-fat sour cream instead or regular sour cream. This saves you 32 to 48 grams of fat per cup!
  • Buttermilk, contrary to what it's name implies, is lower in fat than whole milk and it adds a wonderful flavor to pancakes and baked goods. Just add 1/2 tsp baking soda to dry ingredients per cup of buttermilk used.
  • Substitute evaporated skim milk for cream in recipes.
  • Use lower fat cheeses for those recipes that call for whole milk cheese. Some good ones are string, mozzarella, norbo, Swiss lorraine, Yarlsburg, tybo and farmers cheese.
  • Make your own non-fat cream cheese: line a colander with cheesecloth; pour in non-fat yogurt. Cover loosely and let drip in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours. Add jam or spices for a great fat-free spread. Try it on bagels!
  • Save money by buying a whole chicken and cutting it up yourself. F.Y.I.: smaller chickens have less fat than larger ones.
  • Cook soups, sauces and stews ahead and chill in the fridge. Skim off fat, reheat and serve.
  • Marinate chicken, fish and tough cuts of beef in wine, lemon juice and herbs. It is the acid in the juice and wine that breaks down the collagen (tough stuff), oil in marinades is optional.
  • Lean cuts of meat are sirloin tip, eye of the round, round steak or flank steak. The leanest cuts for pork are Canadian bacon and pork tenderloin. The leg is the leanest cut for lamb. Marinate red meats in red wine, rosemary, basil and add a bay leaf.
Updated on: 03/04/16
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Introduction to Nutrition
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Introduction to Nutrition

Good nutrition helps you feel your best and reach your optimal health. But finding time to eat a balanced diet on a daily basis can be a formidable task. Though your life may be hectic, there are still many great, healthy choices to help you lose weight and improve your health.
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