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10 Ways to Reduce Fat

By Dr Christine Fenn

The main appeal of keeping your fat intake low and eating starchy carbohydrate foods instead is that you can enjoy so much more food. You can relish vast quantities of starchy, high fibre foods. Whilst a high-fat snack is over in seconds, you are still munching on an alternative carbo food. It is possible to eat a whole meal for the equivalent calorific value of one packet of crisps!

Red Meat

Use smaller quantities of meat in meals and larger quantities of beans, vegetables or pasta. Use lean cuts of meat or trim off any visible fat.

Poultry

Most of the fat content of chicken is just under the skin, so remove the skin before cooking and the fat comes away with it. Try organic chicken or turkey - the flavour of the meat is different compared with intensively produced birds which can be rather tasteless. You get a better eating experience, the birds get a better life!

Fish

This is such a fabulous food. We need to eat more of it, but save the fried variety for a real treat. Tuna fish risotto, salmon stir-fry or smoked mackerel with baked potatoes  make excellent meals. These oily fish are higher in fat compared with white fish such as cod or hake, but the fat is essential fat. We need a small amount of these essential fats every day. They are the omega 3 and omega 6 fats which are used by the body to balance hormone levels, reduce inflammation in joints and produce elastic connective tissue - which is the basis of wonderful skin.

Cheese

All hard and cream cheeses are high-fat foods. Reduce the amount of cheese in sauces and dishes by using smaller amounts of strongly flavoured cheese or adding the cheese to the top of the dish instead of in the dish. Try lower-fat cheeses such as Edam, Gouda and Jarlsberg cheese as well as cottage cheese. They make great sandwich or baked potato fillings mixed with chopped spring onion, watercress, pickles or chutneys.

Soups

Soften vegetables in a splash of olive oil before making soups. Use a vegetable stock or just add water and then season with herbs, a dash of Tamari or some Shoyu. These last two ingredients are used a lot in Chinese cooking and are made from fermented soya beans. They add a richness to soups - without a trace of meat or fat. Great for vegetarians. Also see lower fat soups.

Cream

Use low-fat yogurt instead of cream or use half and half. Use this for decoration rather as a main ingredient. See alternatives to cream.

Pastry

Avoid short crust, cheese or flaky pastry, they are all high in fat. Use filo pastry on the top of a dish only, or try a potato or an oaty crumble as an alternative topping.

Milk

Use skimmed milk or skimmed milk powder as much as possible in sauces and custards.

Sandwiches

Use less margarine or butter, or spread on one side of the bread only. Some mayonnaise-based or moist fillings do not need any spread.

Salads

Mayonnaise and salad cream contain a lot of fat. Make salad dressings with natural yogurt, herbs, spices, tomato juice, vinegar and lemon juice. Don't be afraid of using French dressing. Make your own from lemon juice, first presses organic olive oil, cider or wine vinegar, crushed garlic and a teaspoon of ready made mustard. Toss a mixture of wonderful green salad leaves with a few walnuts, flaked toasted almonds, pumpkin seeds and chopped fresh dates, apples and celery and mix in some French dressing for a fabulous salad. The small amount of fat that this salad does contain is essential fat - so enjoy the flavours, colours and wonderful fats! View our low fat salad dressings.

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