Factor Out the Bad Fat

Cutting down on “bad” fats and reducing your overall consumption of fat isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight. But the 12-week Plan starting on page 206 will help you get there. In addition to making the obvious move of switching to low- and nonfat versions of staples such as milk, mayonnaise, sour cream, and ice cream (doing so can save you anywhere from 1 to 22 grams of fat per serving), try to:

Eat naked chicken. Pee! the skin off chicken (either before or after cooking) and cut the visible fat (before cooking) from all meat. If you pop the chicken or meat in the freezer first for about 20 minutes, the fat hardens and is much easier to trim,

Bake your fries. Instead of dunking potatoes in boiling oil or buying frozen fried potatoes chock full of saturated fats, make your own fries the healthy way. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Slice (you don’t even need to peel) potatoes into sticks about a half-inch thick, coat a cooking sheet with cooking spray, put the potatoes on it, then spray the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt. and pepper to taste, then bake for 45 minutes or until brown and crisp, turning the slices once midway through.

Don’t pour, mist. Get a non aerosol sprayer (like a Misto) and fill it with your favorite oil, or use a nonfat spray like Pam. Use for flavoring foods, coating pans and grills, or spraying directly on bread or salad

Fake the cream. Instead of heavy cream or half-and-half in recipes, substitute nonfat condensed milk. You’ll get the creaminess without the fat.

Bulk up skim milk. Simply switching from whole milk to skim can cut your cholesterol levels 7 percent. But for some people skim is just too thin. To bulk it up, stir 2 to 4 tablespoons of instant nonfat milk powder into each cup of skim milk until it dissolves. Or try a protein-fortified skim milk like Skim Plus. It tastes creamier and thicker than skim, but still has no fat.

Do better than butter. Butter substitutes like Molly McButter really do taste like butter—give them a try

Go whipped. Hate to give up butter altogether? Try whipped butter. It contains just 60 calories a serving compared to 100 calories for stick butter, and it has 5 grams of saturated fat compared to regular butter’s 7, Let it softer before using; it spreads easier, so you’ll use less

Turn to Teflon. Nonstick pans enable you to brown or stir-fry meats and vegetables with far less oil or butter than regular pans require

Substitute with applesauce. Applesauce substitutes well for some or all of the oil or butter used in muffins and cakes

Stretch the meat. Acid grated vegetables (try carrots or onions) to ground turkey or beef to stretch the meat, reduce the fat in burgers, and add some much-needed fiber. Learn to use sey, beans, lentils, mushrooms, and eggplant as delicious protein sources instead of meat in dishes like stews. spaghetti sauce, and lasagna

The Pizza Problem

Americans aren’t the French, but we still love cheese. From the convenience of American cheese slices and mozzarella cheese sticks to the decadent creaminess of a runny Brie, cheese is hard to ignore. Perhaps that’s the reason that between 1975 and 1999, the amount of cheese eater per person per year doubled, from 15 pounds to more than 30 pounds. Must be all those double cheeseburgers and extra-cheese pizzas.

It could also be a contributing factor to the obesity epidemic. Just 1 ounce of cheddar cheese contains 9 grams of fat, 5 of them saturated. And nonfat cheeses . well, let’s just say that the wrapping tastes about as yummy. You don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater, however. Just follow these tips:

Go where the flavor is. Hard, flavorful cheeses like Parmesan and especially Romano (the freshly grated stuff, not the stuff in the green can) pack a wallop of flavor, so you can use less. Two grated tablespoons contain less than 4 grams of fat, about 2 of them saturated.

Stilton, or feta goes a long way crumbled over salads.

Shred ‘erm. You’ll also use less if you sprinkle on reduced-fat shredded cheese instead of layering on slices.

Be a softie. Some soft cheeses, such as ricotta and goat cheese, are often lower in fat than other cheeses,

Go American. American cheese has just 4 grams of fat per slice and 60 calories, which makes it a great alternative to cheddar.

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