For anyone interested in healthy eating, the trend to cut fat in our diets is nothing new. With the recent popularity of books like The China Study and movies like Forks Over Knives, even more of us are becoming aware that a lower fat—or even fat-free—diet can help prevent a huge array of illnesses as well as prolong a healthy life. Of course, none of us wants to sacrifice flavor for a lower fat content in the food.
Common ideas include swapping some of the fat in a baked good for applesauce or mashed banana; or ordering salad dressing on the side, then dipping your fork first into the dressing, then the salad, to drastically reduce the total amount of oil you consume.
Here are other innovative ways to trim the fat from your recipes:
Go for naturally high-fat foods. Vegetable oils are extracted from whole foods and, as a processed ingredient, are generally not very good for us. It’s best if the fat in your diet is already naturally present in the food itself. Choose avocado, nuts or seeds as your best options here. Instead of spreading butter on toast, go for nut butter made from 100% nuts (half the calories and no cholesterol).
Use zucchini or other smooth veggies instead of oil in sauces and dressings. Half a zucchini blended into a salad dressing allows you to reduce the oil by half. And when blended, the zucchini is super creamy—no one will know!
Use beans to stretch spreads or sauces. When blended, cooked beans also provide a creamy texture that can replace some of the fat without changing the taste. Chocolate bean butter instead of peanut butter? Yes, please! Or add ¼ cup pureed beans to that gravy recipe, or blend into soup.
Add creamy richness to sauces with tofu, beans or some vegetables. Instead of cream or high-fat sauces, add silken tofu, beans, or even some vegetable purees. This pasta alfredo uses beans and cauliflower for an incredibly silky and rich-tasting sauce.
Spray, don’t slather! Rather than spreading butter or margarine on a muffin or bagel, spray a little flavored olive or avocado oil using an atomizer. Same taste, but much less of the fat and calories.
Once you begin to cut the fat and replace it with other flavorful, more nutritious ingredients, you won’t miss it at all. And neither will your waistline.