Cut the Fat, Not the Flavor
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Cut the Fat, Not the Flavor

Trim the fat from your food and the pounds will follow.

You can't lose weight just by following a low-fat diet; foods without fat have calories too. But we do waste plenty of calories by adding fat to foods or by choosing foods that have a lot of fat. Here are a few ways to go lean:

  • Saute or stir-fry veggies without added oil in a nonstick pan (vegetables yield their own fat and juices as they cook). For every teaspoon of oil you cut out, you save 45 calories, enough to shed five pounds in a year if you do it daily.
  • Make smart swaps that cut fat but not flavor. Choose reduced fat or fat-free salad dressing to save up to 10 grams of fat and 90 calories per tablespoon. Use light margarine instead of regular -- it has half the fat. Make skim chocolate milk rather than buying a carton of two-percent chocolate milk -- you're saving both fat and calories.
  • Choose well-trimmed meats and cut off visible fat prior to cooking. Buy the leanest ground beef you can find (usually 93 to 95 percent lean) to put into spaghetti sauce, chili, and meat loaf; other ingredients will keep the meat moist. For burgers, 85 to 90 percent lean works best and keep the burgers from getting too dry.

Low-fat cooking tips

  • To grill fish, place in a grilling basket that you've sprayed with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Or brush lightly with a flavorful olive oil and broil in the oven.
  • When cooking vegetables, add a couple of tablespoons of broth rather than oil.
  • Cook rice and other grains without added fat (here, too, you can use broth for added flavor). Before you start, spray the pot with cooking oil to help prevent sticking.
  • Brown ground beef or ground turkey and drain off the fat before you add it to sauce.
  • Cook poultry with the skin on to keep the meat moist; remove the skin before eating.