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Reduce Fat Intake By Altering Recipes
By Allison Powe
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many reduced fat and fat-free foods have become available for consumers during the past few years, but cooks can reduce fat intake simply by altering recipes at home.
"Creative cooks who know which ingredients can be switched around in recipes can significantly alter the fat content in many foods they prepare at home," said Dr. Melissa Mixon, extension nutrition specialist at Mississippi State University.
The food industry has employed fat substitutes developed through research and modern technology during the past few years, but ordinary cooks can use more common solutions to improve their diets.
"Yogurt and buttermilk can be a great advantage for a health conscious consumer as fat substitutes in baked recipes," Mixon said.
Fruit purees also can replace fat. Prune puree is an ideal fat substitute in chocolate desserts such as brownies, and applesauce works well in lighter-colored baked goods such as muffins and cakes.
"Half of the fat a recipe calls for in the form of oil or solid shortening can be replaced with a fruit puree," Mixon said.
Mixon said there are many other healthy ingredients that can be substituted for unhealthier ingredients. She said consumers should experiment with recipes to make healthy foods they will enjoy.
"Make the most of herbs and spices rather than depending on butter or margarine for good taste. Sometimes healthy eating takes some adjustment time to develop new taste preferences," Mixon said.
Broth, water or orange, lemon or lime juice can replace oil. Mixon recommended stir-frying with these alternative ingredients.
"When recipes call for cream, use canned evaporated skim milk instead," she said.
Mixon also suggested adding oats, bran, shredded vegetables or sour fruit puree to meat dishes to cut fat.
"This filler lowers the amount of fat per serving in meat dishes. Use about a 1 part filler to 3 parts meat ratio," Mixon said.
Mixon said above all, remember to eat in moderation. Even foods that are low in fat may still have a significant number of calories.
"Eating low-fat foods are only part of a healthy lifestyle. Diets should consist of the right combination of foods from each nutritional group, and they should be accompanied by regular exercise," Mixon said.