Healthy and low-fat cooking tips

Many cooks are concerned about preparing healthy, low-fat meals.

Desserts present a special challenge, since many sweet dishes are made with butter, milk, cream, and other high-fat dairy products.

Healthy and low-fat cooking tips-CookingEggs

There are simple ways to reduce the fat content of most desserts. One of the best ways to cut down on fat in desserts is to choose fruit-based recipes. Fruit is naturally low in fat and calories—and is packed with vitamins and other nutrients. When a recipe calls for butter, you may be able to use oil or margarine instead. Before making such a substitution, consider the recipe. The taste or consistency of many desserts may noticeably change if you substitute margarine or oil for butter.

When making baked goods, you can often substitute applesauce for part of the fat content. For example, in a recipe that calls for 1/2 cup oil, you can replace half the oil with applesauce. Other good substitutions are pureed squash, apricots, or prunes or cooked,grated beets. These ingredients add moistness without adding fat.

Omitting egg yolks reduces the fat in recipes considerably. Lightly beaten egg whites can replace some or all of the eggs in most recipes.

In general, you can replace 1 large egg with 2 egg whites and 2 medium eggs with 3 egg whites. Egg substitutes are also available.

An easy way to trim fat from a recipe is to use skim milk or buttermilk in place of cream or whole milk. Buttermilk, like skim milk,is low in fat. In baked goods, for every cup of buttermilk you use add 1 tsp. of baking soda to the dry ingredients.

In recipes that call for sour cream, you can substitute low-fat or nonfat yogurt. Another way to reduce fat is to use part-skim ricotta cheese in place of regular ricotta. Coconut milk, used in many Asian recipes, is available in “light” versions that are lower in fat. Low-fat or nonfat nondairy toppings can be substituted for whipping cream.

Finally, a simple way to reduce fat is simply to cut about 25 percent of the fat in a recipe and increase the liquid content slightly. It may take some experimenting to get the proportions right.

There are many ways to prepare desserts that are good for you and still taste great. As you become a more experienced cook, try experimenting with recipes and substitutions to find the methods that work best for you.

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