Tuesday, April 03, 2007
10 Tasty Tricks
1. Use low-fat -- not fat-free -- cheese.
When all of the fat is cut out, it's replaced by chemicals to create that same creamy mouthfeel. Light cheeses have enough fat to retain flavor and mouthfeel with minimal additives.
2. Butterfly-cut beef cubes before marinating.
There's no need to eliminate beef from your diet entirely. Instead, keep portion sizes to about 3 ounces, and marinate beef before cooking for more satisfying flavor. Cut beef into uniform cubes, then slice each cube almost all the way through the center so it opens up like a butterfly. This allows marinade and heat to penetrate for better flavor and faster cooking.
3. Dry salad greens after washing.
If you don't, the remaining water will dilute the dressing, making you want to add more (which means more calories). Use a salad spinner, paper towels, or a kitchen towel to dry greens thoroughly.
4. Experiment with soy.
Protein-rich soy is a chameleon -- it takes on the flavors of other ingredients in a dish. Saute sliced firm tofu with veggies or add it to a broth-based soup. To cut fat and calories (while keeping taste!), replace the raw egg yolks in Caesar dressing with silken tofu, or make chocolate mousse using soft tofu instead of heavy cream.
5. Stock up on canned beans.
Unlike dried beans, canned beans are presorted, soaked, and cooked, making them a great time-saver. Before using them, drain and rinse beans -- you'll wash away the excess sodium used to keep them fresh.
6. Embrace phyllo.
Flaky phyllo dough has a rep for being high in fat -- probably because it's used to make decadent dishes such as spanakopita and baklava. But the fat actually comes from melted butter that's brushed onto the dough. Use a butter-flavored cooking spray such as Pam instead, and you'll get a buttery, golden-brown crust without the fat and calories.
7. Raid your spice rack.
Whenever possible, cook with herbs, spices, and mustards to add flavor and aroma for negligible calories. Spices and herbs lose pungency in about a year, so investing in some fresh, new ones now (try penzeys.com) is a great way to jump-start a commitment to healthy, tasty eating.
8. Opt for frozen veggies in winter.
They're packaged at the peak of freshness, making them a better choice than the vegetables in the produce section, which have likely traveled cross-country and lost freshness and flavor along the way.
9. Get more omega-3s.
These healthy fats boost immunity and reduce the risk of stroke, cancer, and more. Sources include tuna, salmon, walnuts, and canola oil. Or try new Barilla Plus Penne, a multigrain pasta made with omega-3-rich flaxseed, which has a similar taste and texture to white pasta.
10. Make only one dietary change a week.
Your mind and body need time to adjust to any change. For instance, if you decide to start getting more fiber, don't suddenly quadruple your intake -- it can lead to serious gastrointestinal distress.
Eat-smart tips from Arcoraci and Marjorie Livingston, R.D., a registered dietitian and nutrition professor at the Culinary Institute of America.
Labels: Diet Tips