Meals at home and with family do not have to be fat-laden affairs. Nor do they have to be boring, tasteless times of celery mashing around the table. A few subtle adjustments in your food choices will make a big difference on the scales.
Think Lean Meat
Don't give up meat, just make smarter choices in buying it. Meat is much leaner today than it has been due to trimming efforts on the part of meatpackers. Beef labeled as "loin", "round" and "extra lean" are your best choices.
According to The Wisconsin Beef Council, cuts like top round, tenderloin or sirloin qualify as lean, healthy selections.
Roasting, baking, grilling, braising and broiling are healthy meat-cooking methods. Use non-stick pans and choose cooking sprays over oil or butter during preparation. Another way to reduce fat is to strain cooked ground beef and rinse it with hot water. Drain it well before you continue the recipe.
Lean Chicken Choices
When we think lean we often look to chicken. Be smart. Many of us turn a potentially diet-friendly staple into something considerably less than healthy. Say no to fried patties,
chicken fingers, nuggets and franks. Switch to broiling, roasting, baking or steaming fresh chicken. Use a non-stick pan with cooking spray, broth or wine.
Keep in mind that poultry dark meat contains about twice as much fat as white meat. Also, the skin is full of fat. You can remove the skin before cooking or choose skinless varieties. Simply make a rule or take off the skin before you eat it.
Lean Turkey Is A Smart Choice
If you're preparing a turkey, why not cook the stuffing separately? You will reduce its fat content by preventing the turkey fat from soaking into the dressing. Try to use less butter or margarine when preparing the stuffing. Don't forget to skim the fat off of the gravy with a gravy separator or by
refrigerating it. Leave the drumsticks for the kids. As with chicken, choose light meat over dark and you'll save quite a few calories.
Steam It Green
Serve steamed vegetables instead of heavy casseroles or cheese-based dishes. Steaming or microwaving veggies means you don't have to add any fat during preparation; choose lemon juice, herbs, or vinegar over margarine. Use herbs and spices or imitation butter sprinkles as seasoning instead of butter, oil or cheese. If steamed vegetables don't suit your taste buds, reduce the amount of oil you use if you sauté them. Broth or flavored vinegar makes a great substitute for oil.
Grains Are Great
Whenever you have the chance, choose whole grains as your bread choice. For example, you could choose whole grain breading for stuffing preparation, whole grain dinner rolls, whole wheat bread for sandwiches, and wild rice instead of white.
All types of white bread are high in refined sugar and pack in more calories than grains. These refined sugars are some of the "bad carbs" we hear so much about these days. If you still crave white bread occasionally, choose a "lite" or diet version, which will save you a few calories.