“Low fat” foods can still have great taste

Too much fat, sugar and salt are linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions. Here are some ways to cut down on fat while keeping the flavor in your foods!

We hear and read about it all the time: “Don’t eat fat”; “Cut down on sugar”; “Salt isn’t good for you.” Our bodies need these nutrients in order to function properly, but many of us eat far too many of them. Sugar, fat and salt are linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions. Here are some specific ways to cut down on fat and keep the flavor in your foods!

  • Read the Nutrition Facts label on foods. Eating less saturated fat (usually solid at room temperature), trans-fats and cholesterol reduces our risk for cardiovascular disease and some cancers. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a two-page handout to help consumers understand and use the Nutrition Facts Label, as well as an entertaining and educational video  that can be used to assist in making informed food choices.
  • Replace the fats you do eat with healthy oils. Some examples are canola, safflower, flaxseed and olive oils.
  • Get a rack or grate for your baking pan. You can roast chicken or meat on it and let the fat drip away.
  • Check out the low-fat sprays available. They can be used to coat a skillet or baking pan.
  • Steam vegetables in the microwave. No special equipment is needed; just add one to two teaspoons of water to raw veggies in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave for three to five minutes, until they are as tender as you wish. Top with a spray substitute or a twist of lemon instead of butter or margarine.
  • Low-fat dressings often taste as good as their full-fat relatives. Or how about a drizzle of flavored vinegar and a spritz of a healthy oil?
  • Focus on eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains unless it’s added during preparation most have very little fat.

Which ideas can you incorporate into your daily life?

For more information about nutrition, disease prevention and other issues of interest to Michigan families contact a Michigan State University Extension educator in your area, either by visiting the MSU Extension website or calling toll-free at 888-MSUE-4-MI (888-678-3464).

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