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10 Ways to Make Your Favorite Meal a Healthy Meal

guest February 27th, 2013, 11:10 AM
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This guest blog was written by Theresa Brereton, Visiting Nurse Service of New York Regional Nutritional Manager.

Looking for easy ways to make your favorite meals a little healthier? Try these 10 simple tips—you won’t have to give up the things you love when you learn a few heart-healthy cooking skills.

Roast
Try it for meats and vegetables. Use a rack so meat/poultry does not sit in its own drippings. Baste with fat-free, unsweetened liquids like wine, or salt-free or low-sodium tomato juice or lemon juice.

Bake
Add a little extra liquid to meats and vegetables, then cook using covered cookware.

Braise or stew
Add more liquid than when baking and cook on top of the stove or in the oven. Refrigerate the cooked dish, remove the chilled fat before reheating.

 

Baked fish is a healthy meal.

Baked fish is a healthy meal.

Poach
Simmer fish, skinless chicken or eggs in liquid, like broth or juice.

Grill or broil
Use a rack so fat drips away from the food.

Sauté
Use nonstick vegetable spray. You may add a small amount of fat-free and salt-free or very low sodium broth or a tiny bit of canola oil rubbed in the pan with a paper towel.

Stir-fry
Use a Chinese wok with a tiny bit of peanut oil.

Steam
Steam veggies or meat in a basket over simmering water.

Here, some additional suggestions for cutting fat and calories without sacrificing taste:

  • After browning, put ground meat into a strainer lined with paper towels and drain off some of the fat.
  • To make gravy without fat, blend a tablespoon of cornstarch with a cup of room-temperature fat-free and salt-free or very low sodium broth by shaking them together in a jar. Heat the rest of the broth and add the blended liquid, simmering until thick.
  • Make scrambled eggs or omelets using only one egg yolk per portion, and add a few extra egg whites to the batch. Or use an egg substitute.
  • Remove oils by draining canned tuna, salmon or sardines, then rinsing them in water. Choose canned fish packed in water with no added salt (or low sodium).
  • Don’t overcook vegetables. Steam or bake them instead of boiling so they keep more of their natural flavors and nutrients.
  • Mix creamy salt-free or very low sodium salad dressing with plain low-fat yogurt.
  • Use finely chopped vegetables to stretch ground poultry or meat.
  • Use herbs and spices to add flavor to foods.

Read more of Theresa Brereton’s advice on eating healthy in our VNSNY Twitter chat transcript.

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