How many times have I heard “It’s ok, it’s olive oil, it’s good for you” while someone is pouring lashes of it in their cooking or drizzling it over their salad? (Actually my mum says this too me every time she chucks some in a curry!). Ok I admit that olive oil is the healthiest form of oil but no need to glug it down your throat like there is no tomorrow. Like all oils, olive oil is exceptionally high in calories and fat content so you should use it sparingly. But consuming large quantities of it is going to do nothing to improve your waistline, blood pressure or cholesterol. Instead, the secret is to exercise good low-fat cooking methods. Learn to prepare food differently by using cooking techniques that require no added fats. Keep away from frying or sautéing food. So what changes can we make to ensure that we are getting the benefits of olive oil and be just as healthy as our Mediterranean friends across the sea who have a much lower risk of heart disease and a tendency to remain healthier for longer?
Some hints and tips on altering cooking habits without sacrificing flavour and taste
Roasting and Baking
Both techniques are low-fat cooking methods that use hot dry air to cook food usually in an oven. If you do need some oil to cook the food then use sparingly with a brush.
This is a relatively quick way of cooking as the food is directly under heat. It’s a great way of cooking food as fat can simply drain away from the food as it cooks.
This is by far one of the best ways to prepare food – especially when it comes to vegetables as you don’t lose as many nutrients as you would through boiling. Fish is also a favourite candidate for steaming. If you don’t have a steamer, its possible to steam foods in the microwave using a covered dish.
A great way to cook fish, chicken and eggs by cooking in a small amount of simmering water or broth.
In addition to employing low-fat cooking methods, the fat content of recipes can also be reduced by using low-fat substitutes.
Other cooking tips at a glance…..
- Use chicken broth to stir-fry instead of oil.
- In place of butter, use non-fat cooking spray to brown.
- Baste roasts with wine or fruit juice.
- Use extra lean ground beef for burgers and meatballs, or substitute ground turkey.
- Get the same taste with less cheese if you get mature cheddar instead of mild.
- Get tuna packed in water instead of oil.
- For recipes that need milk, make use of skimmed milk
- Use yoghurt or light sour cream instead or sour cream
See with a little know-how, it’s easy to reduce the fat content of recipes without sacrificing flavour and get into the habit of making low-fat meals part of a regular diet and healthy lifestyle. Bye-bye fat!