Fat, along with salt, gives many of our favorite foods their flavor. How can you cook and serve recognizable dishes that taste great, but don’t have all the fat?
Instead of trying to eliminate all fat, learn how to reduce saturated and trans fats in your dishes with a few substitutions and creative spins on recipes. To help you start tweaking your recipes and menus, brush up on a few basics about fats in foods.
The more expensive the beef, the more fat, which gives it its tenderness. The opposite is true of ground beef; cheaper hamburger has more fat. Choose less-expensive, leaner cuts of meat and marinate them, cooking them over lower heat to let them get tender. Instead of serving a piece of beef with side dishes, as beef to flavor stir fries, salads, stews, soups, chili or pasta. You’ll still get to enjoy beef, and you’ll get less fat.
Choose the breast meat for the leanest turkey or chicken. Try ground turkey, instead of beef, for burgers, meatloaf, tacos or spaghetti sauce.
Coldwater fish are a rich source of heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. Try adding tuna to pasta, salmon to salads, or use mackerel, trout, herring, halibut or sardines for your protein. Shellfish, such as shrimp, crab and lobster, are also good choices, but have more cholesterol than fish.
Add nuts to salads or eat them as a snack. Almond or peanut butter are high in calories, but contain mostly monounsaturated fat.
Vegetables are good sources of natural fats. Most cooking oils come from vegetables. Use larger pieces of carrots, onions, peppers and other vegetables in recipes and let them caramalize to provide a hearty, sweet taste to dishes.
Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products, such as yogurt, milk and cheese.
Look for monounsaturated and polyunsaturated cooking oils like olive, peanut, canola, safflower or saffron. All cooking oils are 100 percent fat, but some are healthier than others.
Read this story on Heart Healthy Comfort Foods to learn how to serve favorites like burgers and fries, pizza and pasta with all of the flavor but much less fat.