Countdown for Christmas is on and with it the planning of party menu. Not only are there some wonderful healthy variations on the Traditional Christmas dinner, but there are some fabulous Party Food recipes that are just right for this busy time of year.
Just because a recipe calls for a specific ingredient doesn’t mean you must use that ingredient. Your favorite recipes can be modified to make them more nutritious or lower in fat by reducing or substituting ingredients that are more acceptable. This fact sheet will show you a few ways to decrease the amount of fat, calories, sugar and salt in your recipes.
When You Shop
- Plan your food shopping in advance, keeping in mind what you are going to need in your quest for fat and calorie-control. Then stick to that list.
- Buy low-fat versions of dairy products such as skim milk.
- Consider fish and poultry as alternative to red meat; they are someone lower in saturated fat.
- Most store-stocked salad dressings are primarily fat, with most of it coming from oil. Some also contain eggs, cream and cheese. A fat-free dressing will usually list water as its first ingredient, followed by vinegar, sugar in one of its forms (e.g. corn syrup), spices, and sometimes lemon juice or tomato paste.
- To ensure the ground chicken you eat is low in fat, buy lean, skinless portions and grind the meat at home yourself.
Fat Trimming Tools
Skewers: It allows you to exercise instant fat and portion control. Your meal-on-a-stick can contain a few juicy bites of meat or fish while its bulk is made up of colorful vegetables-capsicum, cherry, tomatoes, onion, quarters, corn.
Roasting Rack: Its fat-cutting favour works on the simple principle that, as meat or poultry roasts upon an elevated rack, the fat drips into a pan below, leaving the roast with less fat than if it were allowed to sit around in its own grease.
Non-Stick Cookware: A non-stick pan allows you to cook food using just a thin film oil. For instance, instead of coating a chicken breast with batter and frying it (which can double the fat), sauté it in a non-stick fry pan and you can virtually eliminate the fat.
A Cheese Grater: It will help you to measure out judicious amount of cheese, the most popular varieties of which can contain as much-or-more-fat as well-marbled red meat. The grater should also incorporate a slicer that will make ultra-thin cheese slices with less fuss than a knife.
Wherever possible, avoid using butter, lard and other sources of saturated fat. Replace them with small amounts of unsaturated fats (e.g. vegetables, oils such as corn oil, groundnut oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil or olive oil).
- Bake, rather than deep-frying, onion rings for, say, a steak accompaniment.
- Toast, rather than frying, bread cubes for croutons.
- Replace one whole egg with two egg whites in recipes for cookies, cakes and shortbreads. The fat (and cholesterol) are in the yolk, not in the white.
- Include sweet spices such as cinnamon and all-spice to make up for the flavour that is lost when fat is reduced. Grated orange rind perks up flavour, too.
- Use fruit juice instead of some of the fat in cakes.
- Make single-crust pies: for instance, try a crust made with 1 cup of cream-cracker crumbs and 3 tablespoons of soft margarine.
- Make soft drop cookies ; they generally contain less fat than rolled cookies
Give that old Vinaigrette a new, slim look by altering proportions. Instead of the traditional three-to-one ration of oil to vinegar, try a one-to-one ration or even lower say, one part oil to two parts vinegar. You will get around 30 calories per tablespoon instead of the 90 you get in the standard version.
For a creamy, thick texture in dressings and dips, substitute sour cream and mayonnaise with pureed non-fat cottage cheese or low-fat cream, low-fat yogurt, skim milk or buttermilk as a base. Flavour with herbs and spices.
Sauces & Dips
Instead of mayonnaise-heavy tartar sauce for fish, try pureed cooked red peppers.
Beans can also give a dip a creamy texture without the fat. One hors oeuvres creation to try: Kidney beans pureed with garlic, red chilly powder, powdered cumin seed, lime juice, olive oil and salsa; stir in chopped onion and coriander leaves.
Make a guilt-free dip for crudités by beating in a few tablespoons of chopped spring onions into a cup of yogurt cheese.
Fill Up The Fiber
Buy baked goods made with whole grains such as rye breads, crack-wheat bread or oatmeal muffins.
Serve fruits set in jelly, in place of fruit juices.
Sprinkle bran on soups, on sandwiches, on sliced fruit…. on just about anything your imagination and inclination suggest.