Mastering Low-Fat Cooking
While planning your meals, think healthy. The methods that you use to prepare your meals can make a big difference in the amount of calories, total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol content they contain. With a few simple changes and tips to cooking methods, you can cook “leaner” and still have great-tasting dishes. Use cooking methods that require little fat, such as braising, broiling, grilling, pan-broiling, poaching, roasting, simmering, steaming, stewing, and stir-frying. Simply trimming visible fat and skin from poultry) before cooking can cut fat significantly. If you leave the skin on while cooking, remove it before eating.
Other tips include running ground meat in hot water after browning and then draining to rinse off excess fat. You can also pat the meat with a paper towel or drain on a paper towel to remove excess fat. For meat that has little to no fat, try using marinades such as teriyaki sauce, orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice, tomato juice, defatted broth, or low-fat yogurt. Add fresh herbs and other spices, such as garlic powder, to marinades for more flavors. Did you ever notice that fat collects on top of stew, soups, chili, or other casserole dishes? Chill these dishes overnight, and the fat will rise to the top, making it easy for you to skim off. If you are not afraid to experiment, use half meat and half tofu, tempeh, or legumes to lower the fat in recipes and increase fiber. Stock your kitchen with nonstick saucepans, skillets, and baking pans so you can sauté and bake without adding additional fat. If you need to, use a nonstick cooking spray along with defatted broth, water, juice, or cooking wine to replace cooking oil and prevent sticking.
Grilling can be a great low-fat cooking method, but it does have a few downsides. Recent research has indicated that potential carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) may be present in grilled foods. To make grilled food safer, do not char meats or vegetables, use a low to medium heat, reduce time on the grill by baking or microwaving foods first, and avoid eating the blackened parts of grilled foods.