Reducing The Amount Of Fat In Your Cooking

If you want to reduce the amount of fat in your cooking, but aren’t sure where to start, this guide will give you tips you need.

Let’s face it, most of us can do with a little less fat in our diets. Until recently I thought that I was cooking in a fairly healthy fashion and that our family’s diet was good and varied. Then, prompted by a news article, I did a little experiment: for three days I cooked as normal, but made a note of the amount of fat in each meal.

The result was quite shocking! Two teaspoons of butter on my toast = 8g of fat, 50g almonds scattered over the salad = 15g of fat, olive oil in my salad dressing = 15g fat, cheese added to my salad = 37g fat, 1 portion of chips = 37g fat, 1 packet of crisps = 33g of fat. And that wasn’t nearly the day’s total.

With a recommendation to consume no more than 30g of fat per day, I could see why I couldn’t shift the wobbly bit round my hips! However much I worked out, I inadvertently and innocently put it all back in my cooking. I still think that our family has a good, varied diet. I still cook and will continue to do so. All I have to do is to be a little more aware of the ‘hidden’ fats, the oil, the butter, the oh so innocent add-ons.

So I’ve come up with some ideas to remove excess fat from our otherwise healthy food:

make the ultimate fat-free chips: cut your chips then run them under the tap. While still wet, sprinkle liberally with dried herbs, crushed garlic and salt. Bake in a hottish oven (gas 7 or equivalent) for 30-40 minutes. Shake the tray every 10mins or so to stop from sticking or use a non-stick pan. Enjoy!

vegetable based pasta sauces can be made entirely fat free. For a fat free tomato sauce, for example, heat a few tablespoons of water in a pan, add salt, pepper and chili to taste (or use a teaspoon of low-fat bouillon powder) and "fry" your chopped onions and celery in it. When the water is gone, the onions are soft. Add chopped garlic and tomatoes, plus any herbs you like, and cook until the tomatoes break down and turn into the right saucy consistency.

vegetable soups can easily be turned into fat free dinners - just chop your veg and simmer in water flavoured with herbs or low-fat bouillon. For a spicy soup, such as tomato and chickpea, or carrot and coriander, dry fry your spices before crushing them in a pestle and mortar and adding them to the soup.

stewed, or fresh fruit, with fat-free yoghurt makes a great pudding. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon for a different taste.

the brine from pickled jalapeno chillies makes a great fat-free salad dressing, as does sweet chilli dipping sauce. Alternatively use just lemon juice, salt and garlic. This goes well with fish. A salsa made from raw onion, tomatoes and chili is great with the fat free chips. And roasted peppers, skinned, de-seeded and stirred into fat-free soft-cheese make a great dip.