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Tips to swap out fat, keep flavor in recipes

October 25, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
You know the drill: You go to a bakery, you order a sweet and a diet cola in the hopes that you're going to save yourself a few calories. The same holds true when at home with regular recipes, if you know what to swap.Let's say your recipe calls for cream. Instead, try evaporated milk with corn starch to thicken and slash that fat.

Potatoes are a great food, but cauliflower costs you less calorie-wise - actually 53 fewer calories per half cup. Add to mashed potatoes, or it's great pureed in soup.

And when you want something rich, thick and creamy, butter works, but trade the greasy stuff for fat-free Greek yogurt, and you'll save 750 calories per dish and 58 grams of saturated fat.

Rather than top your dessert with chocolate, try grilled fruit, like pineapple and peaches. Both are sweet fruits, but grill them, and they're even sweeter.

If a recipe calls for bacon, get that smoky flavor through paprika, and you'll cut 30 calories by using the spice and have lost the saturated fat your body doesn't need.

Homemade salad dressing can have so much flavor without the extra sugar and salt of bottled. Try using lemon or orange juice and rice vinegar with an olive oil.

While olive oil is wonderful, if you marry it with balsamic vinegar, you can use quite a bit less: 14 calories per tablespoon versus 120 calories.

When a recipe calls for a half-cup of nuts, toast just a quarter-cup; it really brings out the flavor, and your recipe won't miss the extra.

Some other sneaky little tricks: crumble tofu in meat for tacos, burritos or an egg scramble.

If the family says, "Eww" to tofu, mixing beans can help. They won't necessarily lower calorie content, but you'll have no saturated fat, and you'll up the fiber for sure.

And when making a bean dip, puree beans and add nonfat sour cream. It has so much less salt and oil than store-bought dip.

You may have heard this before, but it bears repeating: In any baked-goods recipe, you can literally cut half the fat by replacing it with things like applesauce, baby food, prunes, apple butter or crushed fruit. You'll still keep the moisture and the flavor without as much fat.


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