Do you know how to reduce calories in cooking? All too often dieting is viewed as a dreadful hardship. Pain, torture and agony become part of the ordeal, as families are denied all of their favorite foods and recipes. Such restrictive diets offer only short term hardship without any long term success. It’s unrealistic to think you can eliminate all the foods you enjoy from your dally diet.
Instead, try to analyze your cooking and eating habits. Become more aware of the caloric value of foods and the hidden calories that recipes often contain. Then, through following some general tips and substituting ingredients, you can easily reduce calories in your cooking.
You can alter the cooking process to incorporate weight reduction into your lifestyle. For example, when seasoning vegetables, try substituting lemon juice, chopped parsley, chives, mint or butter flavoring for the regular butter or margarine. For baked potatoes, season with salt and pepper and then moisten with hot, two per cent milk, flavored with onion juice.
If you must use butter or margarine, gradually reduce the amount you add. Vegetables are always an inexpensive and nutritious area to add extra servings and will also reduce calories in your food.
Fowl is a lean meat serving, especially when prepared without the skin. When the skin is not eaten, 100 calories can be saved and reduced per serving. When preparing eggs and omelets, cook them in a non-stick skillet. When grease isn’t added in the frying process, at least 25 calories can be saved per egg.
When milk is added, use skim milk, or half milk, half water mixture. Keep your daily serving of meat within reasonable amounts. That’s two servings of meat or meat alternates daily. Two to three ounces of lean beef equals one serving. Most cuts of meat are high in fat content and therefore large servings are very high in calories. Choose lean ground beef at the supermarket, even though it costs a bit more. In the end, there is less wastage and you end up with more meat for your food dollar.
Bologna, salami, and luncheon sausage are very high in fat content, so use them in moderation. Roast, broil or braise meat rather than frying. You will be eating less and reduce calories in cooking. Trim away all the natural fat on meat before serving. One tablespoon of meatlat has 120 calories.
Avoid bread crumb coatings on meat, fish and poultry. Instead, use a light dusting of flour seasoned with as many herbs and spices as you like. If you are dipping the food into a liquid first, use slightly beaten egg whites or skim milk.
Serve your roasts and fowl with low fat gravy. Drain off the drippings one half hour before cooking is complete. Add two to three tablespoons of ice water and chill in the freezer until the fat solidifies. Scrape off the fat and use the juice only as a gravy base. If you don’t have enough, blend in some beef broth. The same method can be used for reducing calories in stews, casseroles and spaghetti sauce.
To further reduce calories, make sure you refrigerate your food after cooking, and one or two days later lift off the hardened fat. Heat and serve. Often stewed foods will improve their flavor after a waiting period. Try basting meat with club soda rather than a high fat substance. Use cornstarch to replace flour when thickening gravy. Both have the same caloric content, but only half the amount of cornstarch is required.
Crisp fry your side bacon. Prick the bacon slices and arrange in a cold pan; fry on medium, pouring off the fat as it collects. When crisp, drain the bacon on paper. Two slices of side bacon have 378 calories raw, but only 97 calories when crisp fried.
Reduce the amount of sugar you add to food. Use skim milk in your coffee and tea or try sipping your tea with lemon. Sugar substitutes can be used in moderation, but instead try to get used to a “less sweet” flavor in your beverages. For the cocktail hour, order a dry wine (85 calories per glass) rather than hard liquor (105 per jigger) or beer (175 per bottle).
Replace soft drinks with unsweetened fruit juice or ice water.
Buy your bread unsliced, and slice it very thinly yourself. Serve sandwiches open-faced, on one slice of bread. Use low calorie, skim or partly skimmed cheeses and cheese spreads. Avoid using butter or margarine in sandwiches; simply spread a moist sandwich filling over one or both slices of bread.
Sandwich spreads can be moistened with low fat cottage cheese, plain yogurt or your favorite low calorie salad dressing. Make the most of your sandwich spread by adding lots of chopped celery and onions. Or use crisp lettuce, cucumber chips, green pepper strips, dill pickles, carrot sticks and other calorie-shy snack foods.
When deciding on a dessert for that family dinner, choose a date and nut loaf, rather than a frosted butter cake. Reduce the amount of sugar in your own recipe – sugar can be cut to 2-3 the amount without noticeable changes in flavor and texture. Cakes are usually rich enough without icing, but if you prefer a sweet topping, sprinkle your baked goods lightly with icing sugar. Use non-stick pans to avoid the calories that come from greasing.
There are endless ways to reduce calories in cooking. You can cut out many unnecessary calories and still serve delicious meals to your family. Experiment with your own modifications. Low calorie cooking will then be incorporated as one part of your total diet scheme. The diet must also be balanced, including good sources of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
Regular exercise is another important area in your low calorie cooking; both to lose weight and to maintain the weight you desire. Low calorie cooking will help you look at your food-habits and change some of the factors contributing to your weight problem. It will be a life long scheme, so make it a realistic one, adaptable to your family and lifestyle.