Thursday,19 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1179, (9 - 15 January 2014)
Thursday,19 July, 2018
Issue 1179, (9 - 15 January 2014)

Ahram Weekly

Cooking clever

Let’s talk about better living! Our new interactive family corner aims to expand our lifestyle horizons with practical little pearls of wisdom from the editor and input from our readers.

Cooking foods in a healthy way is an important part of good eating. What we add to our foods when cooking at home makes all the difference. Before you start, scan the recipe to see if there are any unnecessary calories. There are endless ways to boost the nutritional value and reduce the calorie count of almost any recipe. The first step to healthier cooking is to take recipes as suggestions.

Here are some experts’ creative ideas to help you cut calories in your kitchen:

1. Sauté — the skinny way: A couple of tablespoons of vegetable broth can be used instead of oil or butter in your stir-fry or as the basis for a sauce. This will add a nice flavour to your dish, as well as a little moisture — and you’ll save calories to use elsewhere.

2. Say no to skin:Three ounces of chicken breast meat with skin has almost 150 calories; whereas three ounces of chicken without the skin has 50 fewer calories. You can cook with the skin to retain moisture (add fresh herbs or citrus zest underneath it to really bake in some flavour), but be sure to remove the skin before you eat to save on calories and saturated fat.

3. Squeeze on the citrus:To add a powerful flavour punch with minimal added calories, use citrus on steamed veggies instead of butter or over a salad instead of a dressing. It’s even great on fruit salad in place of sugar and adds some zip when squeezed onto a pasta salad. Wash a lemon, orange or lime, then use a zester or grater to add the zest to dishes such as baked seafood.

4. Be choosy about cheese: Try a reduced-sodium feta, sharp Cheddar or aged Parmesan. Light cheese wedges are useful when you’re watching both fat and calories. Try mixing one of these soft cheeses into your scrambled eggs or noodle dishes instead of loading on the shredded mozzarella.

5. Go yoghurt:Tasty, fat-free yoghurt is a healthy replacement for sour cream. Try this switch in herbed and spiced dips, tacos, nachos, or throw it in a cooked dish as a thickening agent. You’ll save 45 calories for each two-tablespoon serving.

6. Purée your produce:Add body to soups and sauces with puréed vegetables instead of heavy cream, evaporated milk, butter or cheese. This move will also add fibre and nutrients to your dish for very few calories. A purée of carrots will add texture to meatless spaghetti sauce with very few added calories.

7. Get cosy with cottage cheese:Substitute half the amount of needed crumbled cheese, such as feta or ricotta, with reduced-fat cottage cheese. This will retain taste, texture, protein and calcium while ditching some of the fat and calories. This works well for most baked pasta dishes.

8. Pump up the veggies:You can easily reach the recommended five servings of fruits and veggies when you’re cooking at home. Veggies can complement any dish on your menu, adding nutrient-packed bulk to the meal for few calories. Add chopped asparagus and mushrooms to your next omelet, red peppers (or a frozen stir-fry mix) to baked casseroles, or any kind of beans to a pasta salad. Include fresh or frozen spinach in pasta sauces and soups and broccoli in your casseroles.

9. Cut the cream: When making cream-based soups, substitute fat-free half-and-half for any heavy cream. The switch gives the soups a creamy taste and velvety texture without all the saturated fat of heavy cream. This works great in pasta sauces as well.

10. Make your own marinade: Marinate lean meats in vinegar and citrus combos (with a bit of oil added) rather than a pre-made oil-based dressing. You can also try a fruit juice or wine. These agents will still tenderise and flavour the meat, and a mix of herbs and spices will bring out even more flavour. (You’ll also save sodium by not using the store-bought varieties). Try cutting the meat in strips before dousing it to really let the marinade take effect.

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