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Slimming down your Recipes

by Denise Gabbard
(Richfield, OH )

Healthy Party Nibbles

Healthy Party Nibbles


When it comes to losing weight, or just eating healthier, we all know that it isn't easy, especially if you cook for a family. It is difficult to keep the family happy and also eat the healthy foods that will encourage weight loss. However, with some simple tricks, you can slim down your favorite recipes to make them healthier for all of you, without your family sneaking off for fast food.

1. Use skinnier ground meat. Substitute ground turkey for ground beef, pork, or veal. If you have picky meat eaters, mix 75% ground turkey and 25% of the ground meat you normally use, and they will not be the wiser.

2. Another trick for removing some of the fat from your ground meat; when cooking ground meat for use in recipes, first brown it, then place it in a colander and rinse with hot water to remove some of the fat.

3. Cut out sodas altogether. The regular forms are filled with sugar, and the diet versions have aspartame and Splenda, two substances which are known to be unhealthy. Instead try the new fruit and vegetable combo juices. They come in many fruit flavor combinations, like Peach Mango, Pomegranate and Blueberry, and Strawberry Banana. In addition to a serving of fruit in each 8 oz. glass, there is also a serving of vegetables in there that you will not taste. Delicious, and only 50 calories.

4. Another drink lightening tip: cut your juice with club soda. It gives it a little bit of fizz and you have a refreshing drink with less calories. Orange juice is great this way, as is grape juice. You can also freeze the mixture in Dixie cups and add Popsicle sticks for yummy summer treats.

5. Slim down breakfast meat by choosing turkey bacon, turkey sausage, or even meatless sausage links. (Yes, you should try them, they really are pretty good, and much healthier.) Of course, adding lots of veggies to omelets also will help lower the amount of meat in them.

6. Lighten up your party nibbles. Chips and dips can be calorie bombs, but they don't have to be. Try using baked vegetable or potato chips, or offering vegetable nibbles like cucumbers, red and green bell pepper strips, baby carrots, and celery sticks as dippers. Lighten up
your dips by using salsa, or make them with lower fat versions of cream cheese and mayo.

7. Experiment with spices to enhance the flavor of your foods without adding extra fat and calories. You would be surprised how much more you might enjoy your foods when they aren't smothered in high-fat butter or cheese.

8. Slim down Mexican menus by using fat free sour cream and re-fried beans, substituting your ground meat for lean ground turkey, and use a lower fat sharp cheddar cheese so that you'll use less and still get all the flavor. Use smaller amounts of meats and cheeses, and load up your tacos and burritos with lettuce and fresh diced tomatoes.

9. Unlike cow's milk, almond milk is low in fat, and low calorie, at only 40 calories per eight ounces. It is gluten, casein, lactose, and cholesterol free, and has no saturated fat. If you haven't tried it, you should do that, as some people like the taste better than regular milk. You can use it on your breakfast cereal, in your coffee, and even in cooking and baking with great results.

10. Cut down on fats by eliminating a lot of the oil or butter called for in recipes. In baking, you can often get good results by substituting applesauce for oil called for in cakes. When cooking meat or vegetables, if the recipe calls for oil, try using a veggie broth or even a touch of cooking sherry.

11. For marinating steaks or other cuts of meat, get rid of the oil and try using juice or flavored vinegar to add flavor.

12. When a recipe calls for cream, you typically can use a combination of cottage cheese and non-fat powdered milk. Combine 8 ounces cottage cheese with 3 tablespoons powdered milk and puree in a blender for five minutes.

13. For deserts, use sugar free cake mixes and do not frost. Use soy based whipping cream, or the substitution above, to make a light fluffy topping and add fresh sliced fruit. Alternatively, sprinkle with just a touch of powdered sugar.

Of course, using less oil to prepare foods is easier when you have a great nonstick cookware. Get great pots and pans to use without added oil and butter to save hundreds of calories per meal.

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