Get Cooking

Break the rules

  • So don’t always follow a recipe-modify it to meet your needs.
  • You can cut out the extra, and it will still taste good, I promise. Try these approaches to make your dishes way healthier while still retaining their flavor:
    • Cut out a third of the fat
    • Cut the salt in half. Then continue to reduce it slightly each time you prepare a favorite recipe, until you have gone as low as possible while still retaining the food’s flavor.

Swap it out

 

  • Instead of reducing the amount of unhealthy ingredients, you’re going to replace them with healthier, lower-calorie ones:
  • For savory dishes, instead of using butter or oil, try low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
  • For baked goods, instead of using butter replace it with:
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Mashed banana
  • Prunes
  • Olive oil or coconut oil (They’re not lower in calories, but they provide health benefits that corn oil doesn’t)
  • For baked goods, instead of using frosting, use a meringue or low-fat yogurt
  • Instead of using cream, try coconut milk (from the carton not the can)
  • Instead of using jam or syrup, use pureed fruit
  • Instead of using full-fat sour cream or mayonnaise, use low-fat yogurt
  • Ditch the sugar and instead use:
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Agave
  • Organic maple syrup (It’s not low in calories, but at least it has health benefits)
  • Raw honey (Again, it’s not lower in calories, but it offers health benefits)
  • Stevia
  • Xylitol (It’s as sweet as table sugar with 40 percent fewer calories and 75 percent fewer carbohydrates; it’s not thought to spike blood sugar)
  • Erythritol (This sugar alcohol contains almost zero calories and has no effect on blood sugar; it’s primarily used in baking.)
  • Replace white flour with:
  • Spelt flour
  • Whole-wheat flour
  • Almond flour

 

 

  • Spice it up
  • Using dry rubs to season your meats is a great way to save calories, as they help you avoid fattening dressings and sauces. You can purchase many good premade rubs. Mrs. Dash is a great brand and it’s sodium free. If you feel like putting in a little extra effort, here are some good options you can throw together yourself.

 

Jerk Rub (Ribs, Chicken, or Fish)

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1 ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper

Southern Rub (Pork)

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard

Citrus Splash (Chicken or Turkey)

  • ¼ cup fresh rosemary leaves
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • Zest of one orange
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 pinch salt

Chili (Beef and Chicken)

 

  • 2 dried chipotle peppers (use 3 to heat it up a little)
  • 3 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried cilantro leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground dry orange peel

 

Dry off

The goal is to use as little oil or butter as possible to save on unneeded calories. As I’ve already mentioned, avoid frying your food; the healthiest methods are baking, broiling, grilling, and steaming.

Keep a kitchen scale handy

I know weighing out your portions sounds so tedious, and it makes eating more of a chore than a pleasure. But accuracy is critical for calorie counting, and you’re on a slim mission here, after all. Here’s the good news: much as with food journaling, you likely won’t need to do this for more than several weeks, as you’ll eventually learn how to accurately eyeball portion sizes.

Get yourself a pack of measuring cups

Don’t just pour the cereal out of a box and hope you measured the serving size accurately. Measure out how much you’re going to eat.

Get an oil mister

Mister will allow you to grease your pan with as few calories as possible

Buy a steamer

Steaming is a great method for slim food preparation

Scoop up an herb mill

This little bad boy will help you shred freshness to season your food. You can just use dried herbs, but fresh have more phytonutrients and less salt.

Get yourself a muffin tin

Muffin tins are great for making small portions of your more fattening foods like quiches, plus they’re great for portioning out side dishes