10 Low-Fat Tricks

Low-fat living - the cunning way


Posted: 5 June 2002

1. Remove the skin from poultry before you serve it. This simple tip will save you as much as 5 grams of fat in every serving of chicken and turkey. Also roast meat on a rack so that excess fat can dribble out onto a tray below – this will prevent the fat from being reabsorbed into the meat.

2. Skim the fat off gravy and sauces. Gravy is particularly high in fat, containing around 10 grams per serving. The best way is to prepare it a few hours before you need it and refrigerate it. The fat will naturally settle on the surface and can be skimmed off easily when cool.

3. Intensify the taste of butter by heating it until it is brown before adding it to your ingredients. You’ll find you won’t need to use as much of it.

4. Normal croutons in soup or salads add as much as 8 grams of fat. Make low-fat alternatives by coating cubes of bread with a water and oil mix and sprinkling with fresh or dried herbs. Bake at 180°C for up to 10 minutes and store in an airtight container.

5. Avoid eating thin, frozen chips. Fried in saturated animal fat, they typically contain 15 per cent fat. Because they are thinly cut, they have a greater surface area and absorb more fat than thick chips. Frozen chips take in more fat too. Try the oven variety which typically contain around five per cent fat.

6. Make sure oil is heated well before you add anything to it. If you put food into cold oil the food absorbs most of the oil before it gets hot and you’ll probably have to add more.

7. Avoid mayonnaise-based salad dressings. A large portion of crunchy green salad contains around 80 calories with no fat. Two tablespoons of blue- cheese dressing sends the calorie count rocketing to 280 calories with 90 per cent fat. Make your own or opt for a fat-free vinaigrette instead.

8. Watch out for high-fat soups. Researchers at John Hopkins University in Baltimore found that eating soup before a meal results in lower fat consumption. Not only that, but people who choose soup as a starter take in 25 per cent less fat in the meal that follows than those who eat high-fat appetisers. But they weren’t talking about soups made with cream. Avoid creamy soups and instead opt for vegetable-based broths. Some low-fat versions are now on sale and, made with low-fat skimmed milk, they are a healthier option.

9. Pizza toppings can turn a low-fat, high-carbo meal into a high-fat feast. Avoid olives, bacon, salami and too much cheese, all of which contain a lot of fat. For healthier toppings choose piles of fresh vegetables.

10. When you are buying snack foods, reading the labels for fat content is important. Many snacks in health food stores are labelled as containing ‘purely vegetable oils’ which obviously sounds healthier than saturated fat, but are they? Not necessarily. Often this vegetable oil is coconut or palm oil, which consist of 86 and 49 per cent saturated fat respectively. Coconut oil is even more saturated than beef fat and lard. Even labels that claim that a product is cholesterol-free can be misleading. Vegetable oils such as coconut and palm oil don’t contain cholesterol but can raise cholesterol levels in the blood.


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