Friday, January 15, 2010

Low Fat Cooking

I was looking through the comments you have been leaving in some of my previous post and came across this very interesting one concerning fat-free broths. So, I thought that it might be a good idea to address the subject in a bit more detail. As a matter of fact, I want to share with you all a few other tricks to help you lower the fat content of your meals. Fat is a very important macronutrient in our diets, but it does contain a lot of calories. Just so you know, one gram of fat has 9 calories! Compared to carbohydrates and proteins that only have around 4 calories per gram, fat has relatively a lot of calories. This is why, when losing weight, we want to limit our fat intake quite a bit since we are only allowed so many calories a day. A way of reducing fat intake is to cook with less fat, of course. Here are some tricks you can use in the kitchen:
  1. Use low-fat sour cream or yogurt instead of regular sour cream
  2. Chose cheeses that are lower in fat or fat-free. Use low-fat cream cheese instead of mascarpone (You’d be surprised at just how many calories mascarpone has)
  3. Use evaporated milk instead of cream and choose milk that is lower in fat (skim or 1%)
  4. Choose lower fat or leaner cuts of meat
  5. Food may be steamed in a steam basket or inside a foil or parchment package avoiding the need for added fat to prevent sticking
  6. Sauteeing can be done in a non-stick saucepan with a bit of oil or using broth instead
  7. Baking, broiling and grilling do not require additional fat
  8. Allow for fat to drip away from food
  9. Fat can be removed from broths by refrigerating them and then removing the gelatinized fat on top. You can also use a gravy strainer (see picture) to get the broth at the bottom without getting the fat at the top and, consequently, getting a low-fat broth. If you want a fat-free broth, make sure to remove all the fat on top as well as the tiny chunks that may accumulate at the bottom. 
  10. When baking, butter can be replaced by 65% of its volume as fruit puree. For example, if the recipe is calling for 100 grams of butter, you could use 65 grams of applesauce to replace those 100 grams of butter. However, try to keep some of the butter as part of the recipe so that your baked good does not end up too soggy. 
  11. Non-stick utensils will remove the need to add fat to prevent sticking
  12. Use spray-on oils when possible
  13. When having eggs, have one whole egg and one egg white instead of two whole eggs
  14. If you use oil in cooking, measure it. When you measure it, you are more aware of how much oil you’re actually using and this makes you unconsciously use less.
You can reduce the fat content of you meals by a great deal just by following these recommendations. Hope you find them helpful. And, keep those comments coming. I truly enjoy reading them.

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