Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Reduce and replace key to healthy eating

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It's time -- time for that spread of holiday food and its accompanying butter, cream, sugar, and salt. Is it even possible to practice health-minded cooking during such a time? Of course it is, say chefs and dietitians, who agree that most recipes can be modified to increase their health value without sacrificing taste.

"Reduce and replace" -- that's the key, says Darlene Dougherty, former president of the American Dietetic Association. She's not talking major recipe overhauls here, just minor nips and tucks. Here are some of her easy, anytime tips.
  • Replace butter with unsaturated oils such as olive, canola, and soy oil.
  • Use non-fat or low-fat milk instead of whole milk and opt for reduced fat cheeses too.
  • Substitute lean cuts of meat for fatty ones. Remove fatty skins.
  • Bake, boil, and steam rather than fry. Sauté with a dash of oil, wine, or tomato puree.
  • Cut back on egg yolks, which are high in fat and cholesterol.
  • Start with less fat, sugar, and salt and then adjust for taste.
  • Season with herbs, spices, lemon juice, or minced tangy vegetables, instead of salt and butter.
  • Forgo cream-based soups, sauces, and gravies, or make them with skim milk. Choose vegetable-based soups and sauces.
  • For baked goods, use applesauce or other fruit purees for butter and oil -- this maintains fluffiness. Cut back on sugar by one-half or more.

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