Adjusting to a lifestyle of light eating is really a matter of using smart cooking techniques and substituting low-fat ingredients for the high-fat ones. Apply these techniques to your own favorite recipes so that you still can enjoy them, but in a lighter style.
- When sautéing or stir-frying, you need a lot less fat than you think. Use a non-stick skillet or wok, then a small amount of margarine or, better yet, non-stick spray coating. If you prefer to use oil, olive oil is a good choice because it appears to have a cholesterol-lowering effect. Check out the Beef Stir Fry on our website and in the September 2018 newsletter.
- Opt for grilling or broiling tender cuts of meat (cuts that contain loin in the name), rather than sautéing or pan-frying.
- Use cooking techniques that require little or no added fat, such as broiling, grilling, poaching, steaming, or baking. Use fat sparingly. Fat serves to prevent foods from drying out, particularly during baking or broiling/grilling. Start by brushing a small amount of oil or margarine over the food; then during the baking or grilling process, use a fat-free salad dressing or marinade, mustard, chutney, fruit preserves, or salsa to keep the food moist. Crusty Parmesan Herb Zucchini
- Often a recipe begins with sautéing or browning vegetables or meat, then adding liquid or vegetables to braise the food. Start by using just a teaspoon or two of fat or non-stick spray coating for browning in a non-stick skillet, then add a couple of teaspoons of liquid and cover, cooking the food over low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened.
- Drain off any excess fat from sautéing or browning before adding the remaining ingredients.
- Cook vegetables quickly to preserve their texture and vitamins-opt for steaming, stir-frying, or microwaving, rather than boiling.
- Roast vegetables, when you have the time. It helps bring out their natural sweetness. Prepare more than you need as a side dish; you can toss the extras into a salad or pasta dish the next day. Look for the Lemony Roasted Vegetables and Spicy Roasted Carrots on our website and in the September 2018 newsletter.
- Cook fruits and vegetables in their skins whenever possible to preserve fiber and nutrients.
- Cut down on salt—never add salt during the cooking process. Wait until you serve the dish, and salt it at the table with a low-sodium product, if needed.
- Rinse and drain canned shrimp and vegetables before adding them to a recipe; you’ll remove much of their salt.
- Take advantage of reduced-sodium chicken broth for stir frying, sautéing, braising, or poaching meat or fish.