Lower Fat, Not Flavor
Tips for increasing flavor without adding fat and calories.
- Substitute ground turkey in recipes calling for ground beef to lower the fat content. Be sure to choose turkey labeled as extra-lean or 95% fat-free or higher.
- Make soups and stews the day before you plan to serve them. After your preparation is complete, refrigerate them so fat will solidify on top. Remove this fat before reheating.
- Be sure to remove the skin from poultry. Chicken parts can be skinned, then breaded and baked. This is a good low-fat substitute for fried chicken.
- To lower fat, calories and cholesterol, replace full-fat cheeses in recipes with those that are less than 6 grams of fat per ounce. Or if you prefer full-fat cheese, cut the amount you use in half by using shredded or stronger flavored cheeses (such as sharp Cheddar or Parmesan).
- To add flavor and juiciness, try marinating meat and poultry in wine-flavored vinegar, juice or fat-free dressings instead of oil-based marinades.
- Rather than adding butter or margarine, flavor vegetables with fat-free broth, garlic, lemon juice, minced onion or flavored vinegars.
- Choose whole grain bread, pasta and crackers to increase the fiber in your diet. Substitute whole wheat flour for up to half of the all-purpose flour called for in a recipe to add fiber to baked goods. Fiber adds bulk, which tends to help you feel full without a lot of added calories.
- To lower cholesterol and fat in recipes, substitute 2 egg whites for 1 whole egg. This will save 213 milligrams of cholesterol for every large egg you replace.
- For perfect grilled vegetables, grill them 4 to 5 inches from medium heat. Prevent the vegetables from drying out by brushing them with fat-free salad dressings or a small amount of olive oil. Spray the grill rack with nonstick cooking spray before heating the grill to keep the vegetables from sticking and to make cleanup easier.
- Try making herb ice cubes by adding 1 tablespoon fresh herbs (basil, thyme, oregano, etc.) to the water in ice cube trays. Store the frozen cubes in freezer bags. Add them to tomato sauces, soups and pasta dishes as needed.
- When recipes call for heavy cream to enrich a sauce, try using low-fat sour cream, fat-free half-and-half or evaporated skimmed milk instead, to decrease the fat content. However, don't substitute these products in recipes where the cream is boiled to reduce it.
- Unsweetened applesauce can often be used to replace half the fat in baked goods. It ensures a moist product and drastically reduces the amount of total fat in each serving. The 1/2-cup single serving packages are super convenient. Keep a 6-pack on your pantry shelf.
- Even though most nuts are good for you, they are high in calories and fat. Use them sparingly. To make a small amount go a long way, always toast the nuts to make them more flavorful and aromatic.
- Oats and vegetables can be added to any ground meat dish as fillers and to lower the fat content. Try this method for hamburgers, shepherd's pie, meat loaves and meatballs.
- Roasting is a wonderful way to bring out the natural flavor of vegetables. Try a combination of different root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, butternut or acorn squash, sweet potatoes or turnips. Drizzle the cleaned and cut-up vegetables with a small amount of olive oil; sprinkle them with your favorite herbs and then roast.
- Egg whites have the same leavening and binding properties as whole eggs, but without the fat from the yolk. Use them in a variety of dishes, such as quiches, casseroles, custards, cheesecakes, muffins and cookies.
- To lighten up deep-fried appetizers such as egg rolls, use wonton skins and ravioli wrappers to enclose the savory fillings. Then bake them, instead of deep-fat frying.
- Citrus juices are well known for their tenderizing properties and the spark their tartness brings to dishes. Grated citrus peel (the skin without the underlying bitter white pith) gives an additional flavor boost. A little goes a long way.
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