Most of us have a vague idea that too much of butter is bad for health, but do we know how much is too much? Statistically speaking, two tablespoons of butter on a baked potato can add an extra 22 grams of fat. Two tablespoons of regular creamy Italian salad dressing will add another 18 grams of fat. There are better alternatives available, which do not compromise on taste either. For instance, instead of butter on baked potato, a generous helping of salsa will make it more mouth-watering and also give NO fat at all. More ideas on low or NO fat dressings include mustard sauce, non fat yogurt, reduced or no fat cream (if at all), fresh ginger and garlic, lemon juice or vinegar; there are ever so many ideas that can be tried out to suit every taste.
Spices to enliven the dish can also help cut back on traditional tastes, hence fatty additives. Try adding oregano and basil to a fresh salad, and you will not crave the taste of mayonnaise. Salsa does great as well. If you are a cheese person and absolutely cannot do without it, try sprinkling some grated Parmesan instead of cheddar cheese, it has a strong flavor and lesser on calories.
For bagels, toasts or scones, a better accompaniment than butter would be perhaps a fruit jelly or preserve, preferably homemade (stewed in its own juice).
As far as healthy methods of cooking are concerned, steaming and baking stay on top of the list. Baking generally does not require any extra grease, whether it is seafood, poultry or vegetables provide they are averagely sized pieces. All you need to do is arrange them on a tray (open or covered in foil), and the hot air of the oven does the rest. No extra oil or fat is needed to turn out a healthy and tasty dish.
In addition, grilling and broiling foods is also a better idea than frying or boiling. For one, in both these methods, very little, if any, oil is needed. Besides, the natural fats contained in the meats (specially the meats), usually drip away in the course of the cooking, and hence the result is a healthier food, tasty – since the meat was already cooked in its fat. The rack below, in most griller-broilers, collects this fat, keeping it away from your plate.
Sauteing and stir-frying are the two methods used most widely in Chinese and East Asian cuisine. The advantages in both these are the speed and complete retention of basic juices of the meats and vegetables. Of course, tougher meat like mutton or lamb needs to be boiled beforehand but by and large, stirring veggies in a wok retains their crunch, flavor and also the look. Done in a non-sick wok, very little, if at all, oil needs to be used.
Here are some more ideas to retain the taste and cut away the fat in your food. Try not to use egg yolk while eating eggs, try using two whites for one egg, it increases protein intake and reduces fat. When bread is the food of the day, try baking it with flavored veggies and fruits, to improve its look as well as flavor, for instance, spinach baked into bread gives it flavor, color and loads of nutrition too. Adding a pinch of spices like roasted ground cumin or oregano, even basil, also adds to its taste, and then, fat is just an option. It is always a great idea to experiment with spices, you discover new tastes and in most cases, consumption of unnecessary additives is discouraged. For example, using cardamom, cinnamon or vanilla will give an impression of sweetness, helping you to cut back on sugar. In any case, always try to use whole wheat grain or cornmeal to bake the bread, it acts as an internal scrubber as well as provides adequate proteins.
Marinating meats or even vegetables will be a healthy option if fresh juices and spices are used instead of oils and fat. It will help enhance both the flavor and the nutrition level.
While cooking, try to trim away all fat from the meat before it is cooked, and with stocks, refrigerate once after cooking, so the congealed fat can be removed before eating. Meats in fact can be made to give up most of their fat by grilling or roasting on the rack, poaching or simmering in broth. Vegetables are healthiest when just steamed, and they look and taste great too.
Try these cooking methods and see, how you can add zing as well as health to your meals without taking away the taste.