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Converting Your Recipes To Low Fat

Enjoy your favorite recipes and eat healthy!

We all have favorite recipes that we love to prepare and enjoy. But many of these great tasting recipes don't exactly fall into the "healthy foods" category. But you can enjoy your favorite recipes and eat healthy at the same time! All you need to do is make a few small changes to the recipes and you can eat to your heart's content!

The fat content in most recipes can be minimized by following a few simple guidelines:

  • When you purchase ground beef for hamburger recipes, make sure to get the extra lean variety. Extra lean hamburger has quite a bit less fat than the regular kind.

    You can also use ground turkey in place of hamburger in your recipes. Turkey does have a slightly different taste, but it is very healthy and usually costs a bit less than hamburger. It's also very low in fat. Use it in your recipes and enjoy all you want!
  • White meat chicken contains much less fat than dark meat. Boneless, skinless, chicken breasts are best because they contain little fat. And of course, you can always substitute turkey for chicken.

    Boneless turkey breast is less expensive than chicken breast, and lower in fat as well (although chicken breast is also low in fat). Chicken or turkey will work equally well in most any recipe. 
  • When cooking pork recipes, remove as much fat as possible before you cook the meat. Real ham can be replaced with "turkey ham". Turkey ham, of course, is actually made from turkey meat. But it really does taste like ham, and it can be used in recipes that call for ham. Most people can't even tell the difference between the two. And best of all, turkey ham is very low in fat compared to regular ham (notice a theme here?). 
  • You're missing out if you've never tried turkey bacon! Regular bacon consists almost entirely of fat, and it provides no virtually no nutritional value.

    Turkey bacon isn't a pork product at all, rather it is made from turkey meat. It contains very little fat (usually about 97% fat free). It isn't loaded with a lot of nutritional value, but it's relatively low in fat and provides a little protein. While it tastes quite a bit different from regular bacon, it is still very good and makes most any recipe taste great! 
  • You can purchase tuna packed in either oil or water. If it's packed in water, it contains virtually no fat. But if it's packed in oil it contains quite a bit fat. Tuna recipes are both tasty and healthy!
  • Low-fat cream of chicken and cream of mushroom soups are readily available at any grocery store and can be used in a multitude of delicious recipes. Be sure to read the labels to find out which one is lowest in total fat grams per serving. 
  • For recipes that require milk, skim milk (or 2%) can be used without sacrificing flavor. 
  • For recipes that use cheddar cheese, choose one of the many low-fat or non-fat varieties. The low-fat type will work well in most recipes. Non-fat cheeses usually melt poorly and won't be very useful for preparing your "cooked" recipes. 
  • Low-fat or non-fat cottage cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, and cream cheese can be used in your recipes without sacrificing any flavor. 
  • Butter can be eliminated entirely from many recipes. When browning hamburger, onions, or other foods, you can coat your frying pan with a non-stick spray. You can also substitute beef or chicken broth for butter to cook with.
  • When baking, you can substitute low-calorie margarine for butter, but the texture doesn't always come out just right so you'll need to experiment a bit. Many non-fat margarines currently on the market aren't very well suited for baking.

    Just remember: With baked recipes, it's not always the calorie content per item that matters, but how much you eat! Remembering that fact has helped me keep my weight under control better than any low calorie recipes.
By following these simple guidelines, you can eat healthy meals without sacrificing your favorite recipes. A little ingenuity can go a long way when converting your fat-laden recipes into genuine health foods!

Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom. Visit her at www.creativehomemaking.com.

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