Eating healthy is a goal for many people. Regardless of a person’s age, the trend toward adopting a more healthy lifestyle is here to stay, and it often begins with altering our diets.
But what are some ways we can tinker with our diets without having to completely remove the foods we love? Fortunately, there are several easy ways to trim some fat from a daily diet without having to say goodbye to our favorite foods.
You can still eat meat, just choose wisely. Lots of people, particularly when they get a little older, are quick to assume a diet void of red meat is a healthy diet. However, red meat can still be enjoyed, but it’s best to choose extra-lean cuts of red meat and to eat meat in moderation. Even when you purchase extra-lean cuts, it’s still a good idea to trim all visible fat from both meat and poultry.
Supplement soups without adding fat. Particularly in the colder months, soup is an appetizer and even an entree of choice. However, garnishing soups with bacon, high-fat creams or fried croutons can make an otherwise healthy soup a lot less so. In lieu of the traditional garnishes, choose enhancements like fresh herbs or salad leaves. They’ll add extra flavor but won’t add any fat.
Use marmalade or jam instead of butter. Fat can be trimmed from your morning breakfast as well. Instead of buttering your muffin or toast, choose healthier options such marmalade or jam. It’s also a good idea to avoid adding butter to snacks.
Make desserts healthier as well. Eating healthier doesn’t have to involve deserting dessert either. Desserts can still be enjoyed by just changing some ingredients. For example, fat can be reduced in most cake recipes simply by cutting the amount of butter in the recipe. Use half the amount of recommended butter, and replace the other half with a dried fruit puree, which can be purchased at most grocery stores. The cake will stay just as delicious and you’ll be able to enjoy it, confident that it’s better for you.
Use egg whites instead of whole eggs. Most cooking recipes include whole eggs. However, replace whole eggs with egg whites, which have no fat and can be whisked into most recipes. You won’t notice a difference in the taste, but you’ll be healthier for having made the change.
How to cook your way to a trim figure
Are you carrying extra pounds that you’d like to send away? Do you hate diet food? If so, you’re not alone. Despite a booming weight loss industry, obesity is on the rise, and many people are fighting the battle against weight gain while missing foods that give them comfort and satisfaction. Devin Alexander, television chef, cookbook author and weight loss expert, offers her top 10 tips to losing weight in your own kitchen while enjoying the scrumptious foods you crave.
Looking at Devin Alexander today, it seems inconceivable that she was once 55 pounds overweight. And yet, by the time Devin was a teenager, she tipped the scales at over 175 pounds. Dieting just seemed to make matters worse, though Devin continued to valiantly try the next new diet plan.
Finally, out of frustration from being deprived of her favorite foods on her latest diet regimen, Devin got creative and started “playing around” in the kitchen. Always interested in food and cooking — a trait she attributes to her Italian grandmother, who taught her how to cook when she was very young — Devin began transforming decadent recipes into delicious, healthy dishes. Before long, Devin was cooking up a storm, making great-tasting, healthy food that truly satisfied. And it worked. Devin lost the weight and hasn’t gained it back in over 15 years.
Today, Devin has her own cooking show on FitTV cable network and has authored four cookbooks: “The Most Decadent Diet Ever,” “Fast Food Fix,” “The Biggest Loser Cookbook,” and her most recent cookbook, “The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook.” Devin contributes to national magazines, including Women’s Health and Clean Eating.
Whether you’d like to lose or maintain your weight, Devin offers these tips to help cook healthier versions of many favorite foods:
1. Healthy cooking begins with having the right equipment, especially nonstick cookware and bakeware. My personal favorite is Infinite Circulon, a beautifully styled collection that is both dishwasher safe and compatible with all types of ranges, including glass and state-of-the-art induction cooktops. I’m also a huge fan of Circulon bakeware. The nonstick cake and loaf pans, muffin tins and cookie sheets are incredibly durable, distribute heat evenly and clean up fast and easy. In my opinion, cooking and baking should be simple, hassle-free and guilt-free.
2. Get pumped with a delicious and nutritious breakfast. Losing weight was just about impossible for me until I started eating breakfast. A morning meal revs up your metabolism so you burn calories more efficiently throughout the day. A solid breakfast with the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats gives you energy and keeps you satisfied for hours. Try my “Bacon & Egg Breakfast Quesadilla.” Yes, you can have bacon and lose weight! Watch how easy it is to make this dish by viewing my Web cast on www.circulon.com.
3. Weigh your food to master portion control. Let’s face it, calories do count, and a kitchen scale can be tremendously helpful in guiding you to see what smaller portions look like. Especially in the beginning of retraining your way of eating, a scale helps to be sure your version of 4 ounces is truly 4 ounces.
4. Misting trumps pouring olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is very good for your heart, and because it’s unsaturated, it’s wise to replace butter and other saturated fats with olive oil whenever possible. Nonetheless, one tablespoon has more than 100 calories, so in my kitchen, I use it sparingly. The easiest way to enjoy olive oil guilt-free is to use a sprayer to mist your salads and other foods.
5. Minis make my day. I’m big on making mini-sized treats and snacks, and you’ll see a whole bunch of tempting “mini” recipes, such as “Tiny Tacos” and “Banana-Coconut Mini-Muffins” in my cookbook, “The Most Decadent Diet Ever!” My philosophy is that eating a whole mini-size muffin is much more satisfying than half or a third of a standard size muffin. Search out cookware and bakeware that fits the mini mentality.
6. Fire up the grill. Grilling gets high marks for adding flavor to food without adding fat and calories. It’s one of my favorite cooking techniques, whether it’s done outside on a gas or charcoal grill, or inside using a grilling pan. There are lots of great grilling pans on the market today to give foods appealing grill marks anytime of year. Check out the new Circulon “Cook Great, Look Great” 11-inch Square Deep Grill Pan. The pan’s deep grooves guarantee you’ll get a professional-style sear that’s the hallmark of juicy, great-tasting burgers, steaks and other favorite grilled foods.
7. Tasty substitutes to high-fat foods. Today’s marketplace is full of great tasting alternatives to high-calorie, high-fat foods. Here are some of my favorites: Yogurt in place of sour cream and mayonnaise. Look for plain, all natural low-fat yogurt, preferably strained for a thicker, creamier consistency that’s more like sour cream. Reduced-fat or light cheese, such as blue cheese, cheddar and mozzarella. Just a little sprinkle of shredded or crumbled lower-fat cheese makes just about any dish taste decadent. Smoked sausage, kielbasa and pepperoni made from lean turkey. Sausage can be very unhealthy if it’s not made from lean meat, so check the package for nutritional information. Lower fat versions are ideal for soul satisfying pasta, chili, soup, or stew.
8. Go for the leanest cuts of beef. I love a juicy burger, the kind you need to eat with a napkin. Contrary to popular opinion, you can enjoy juicy burgers and steaks using the leanest cuts. The trick is to make sure you season the burger or meat properly, and place it on a grill that’s well heated to sear in the flavors. Still skeptical? Try my scrumptious “Blue Cheese Mushroom Burger,” made with reduced-fat blue cheese. The recipe is available in “The Most Decadent Diet Ever!”
9. Oven roasting bags rule. You may remember oven bags from the days when your mom cooked for you. They were a big hit in the ’70s, and I think they’re perfect for making lean, yet tender roasted turkey breast. Try roasting a bone-in turkey breast half, an often overlooked, but excellent option for healthy cooking. Leftovers are terrific for low-fat sandwiches, salads and creative pasta and rice dishes the next day.
10. Indulge in great-tasting comfort food. When pressed for time and in need of comfort food, it’s easy to spend money and waste calories at a fast food restaurant. Avoid this unhealthy trap by recreating favorite dishes at home with a lot less fat. Fast food recipe makeovers are my specialty, having researched and written a book with more than 75 mouth-watering selections. Have a hankering for Subway Meatball Marinara? I’ve got a better-for-you recipe you won’t be able to tell apart from the original. It’s a terrific make-ahead recipe that you can double for family meals during the week ahead. If you’re short on time, you can even use a low-fat jarred marinara sauce instead of making my homemade version. For step by step instructions for this dish, view my Web cast on www.circulon.com.
For more information on how to cook great and look great, please visit www.circulon.com.
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