Still feeling frustrated about living in a high fat society? Finding low fat solutions can be difficult, and we have covered eating out and going to parties in part one of this article. The next logical step is to focus on changing your daily habits. Below are some methods for grocery shopping and low-fat cooking substitutions.
Grocery stores are like casinos: full of tempting things that are bad for you and your health. They are purposely designed that way. The next time you go grocery shopping (and remember – don’t ever shop on an empty stomach), keep that in mind. Enter the store with the mindset of knowing that lighting, pretty packaging and the design of the store is laid out with only one thing in mind: marketing.
Become a “perimeter shopper.” Everything you need for healthy sustenance lies around the perimeter of the store: Fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, and what grocery stores label as “health foods,” i.e., whole grain versions of some of the snacks we like to eat. Technically, there is nothing in a grocery shop aisle that we need to survive and eat healthy. Breads, cookies, crackers, sodas, pre-packaged meals high in sodium, candy and meals in boxes are what you will find.
Next time you’re shopping for groceries, take time to visualize the way the store is planned. Look around and see where things are placed. Plan your attack. Certainly some things we need will be found in the aisles, but as a general rule, stick to the perimeter of the store.
Cooking and Baking
There are dozens of low-fat substitutions available to us these days. It’s often difficult to differentiate between full-fat and low-fat items, especially when homemade. Try some of the following substitutions and see if any of your family or friends notice.
- Cooking spray for oil: One of the easiest, most basic substitutions is to start using cooking spray in lieu of oil. For example, instead of starting the pan for your morning omelet by pouring oil in it, spray the pan with a nice coat non-stick oil. Invest in a non-stick pan and use it with cooking spray when pan-frying chicken breast and vegetables. You will discover a new dimension of taste that will save you about 100 calories and 10 grams of fat every time.
- Egg whites for whole eggs: Most recipes allow for the substitiution of 2 egg whites per egg.
- Soups: Potatoes for cream. Try pureeing your soups with cooked potatoes instead of cream. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the taste and cut out hundreds of calories per serving.
- Yogurt for sour cream: If a recipe calls for large amounts of sour cream, use drained non-fat yogurt with just a little cream mixed in instead.
- Evaporated skim milk for thick cream: A half-cup of cream has an astronomical 400 calories. Those calories are almost all from fat. Evaporated skim milk has about 100 calories for the same amount.
- Applesauce or prune puree for butter, shortening or oil: This works. Try subsituting applesauce in baked recipes that call for oil by using applesauce or pureed prunes for half the amount of called-for oil. You’ll literally cut fat and calories in half.
- Pureed fruit for syrup: Instead of drowning your waffles in butter and syrup, try using trans-fat free butter spreads and a little jam or pureed fruit.
These are just some suggestions for low-fat substitutions. Be creative and come up with some of your own. Keep the above list handy when grocery shopping and cooking, and learn to know instinctively that there is almost always a lower fat alternative for anything you make or prepare.