Everyone wants to cut fat from their diets. Even if we don't care about shedding pounds, we are aware that a low-fat diet is healthful. But it's not easy to eliminate fat.
First, don't try to eliminate fat. Healthy adults and children can handle diets that are 20 to 30 percent fat. Fat contributes to flavor, texture, and a sense of satisfaction. If you're not satisfied, you might overeat!
One of the best ways to insure you and your family eats a low-fat diet is to cook meals at home. You can control the food and the cooking techniques - and the food surely will taste better than fast-food pizza or burgers!
Before changing your diet in a significant way, check with your doctor. This is always good advice.
Here are some commonsense ways to cut the fat:
1. Plan meals that include more vegetables, legumes (dried beans and lentils) and complex carbohydrates (rice, pasta, potatoes) than meat.
2. Eat more poultry than red meat.
3. Eat fish and seafood.
4. Trim meat and poultry of excess fat before cooking. Skin chicken and other poultry.
5. Use ground turkey breast instead of ground beef. Or combine turkey breast with ground pork for moistness. Drain ground meat after cooking.
6. Cook food in heavy, well-made nonstick pans.
7. Use cooking spray instead of liquid oil to grease pans.
8. Broil, grill, steam, braise, roast, and bake food. Keep frying and sautéing to a minimum.
9. Rely on chicken and vegetable stock to moisten dishes when you sauté or pan-fry. Begin with a little oil or butter, but add stock or water as the food cooks to prevent sticking.
10. Experiment with herbs, spices, and other flavoring such as chilies, garlic, mushrooms, ginger, shallots, and fruit juices.
11. Rely less and less on butter and cream.
12. When you can, switch to low-fat or skim milk, low-fat or nonfat yogurt, and reduced-fat cheeses. Be careful here: not all can be substituted for full-fat products.
13. For extra flavor, cook rice in chicken broth and don't add butter or cheese.
14. Forgo cheese and cream sauces for pasta. Instead, add generous gratings of Parmesan cheese to vegetable-based sauces.
15. Add onions, tomatoes, or low-fat yogurt to baked potatoes. Flavor mashed potatoes with only small amounts of cream and butter, augmented with chicken broth and low-fat yogurt.
16. Use water-packed tuna instead of oil-packed. Mix it with reduced-fat mayonnaise and fresh herbs.
17. Substitute egg whites for whole eggs when possible. You can make scrambled eggs and omelets with two or three egg whites for every whole egg.
18. Use fat-free condiments for added flavor: mustard, chutneys, jams, jellies, preserves.
19. Develop a taste for sorbets and sherbets instead of ice cream.
20. Serve fresh fruit when it's in season. Who needs chocolate cake?
Actually, everyone "needs chocolate cake" every now and again. Don't deprive yourself of the high-fat foods you love. Eat them less often and in smaller amounts.
If you think about the freshness and goodness of the foods you serve your family, you will easily cut the fat. Try to cook food that is as close to its natural state as possible - in other words, avoid over-processed foods.
Serve lots of fruits and vegetables, grains, and breads. Don't think of fatty foods as "bad" but instead consider them sometime treats.
Once you begin cutting the fat, it will seem like a logical way to cook. And your whole family will feel and look better!