Cutting down on “bad” fats and reducing your overall consumption of fat isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight. But it doesn’t have to be an impossible task. In addition to making the obvious move of switching to low- and nonfat versions of staples such as milk, mayonnaise, sour cream, and ice cream (doing so can save you anywhere from 1 to 22 grams of fat per serving), try to:
Eat naked chicken. Peel the skin off chicken (either before or after cooking) and cut the visible fat (before cooking) from all meat. If you pop the chicken or meat in the freezer first for about 20 minutes, the fat hardens and is much easier to trim.
Bake your fries. Instead of dunking potatoes in boiling oil or buying frozen fried potatoes chock full of saturated fats, make your own fries the healthy way. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Slice (you don’t even need to peel) potatoes into sticks about a half-inch thick, coat a cooking sheet with cooking spray, put the potatoes on it, then spray the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, then bake for 45 minutes or until brown and crisp, turning the slices once midway through.
Don’t pour, mist. Get a nonaerosol sprayer (like a Misto) and fill it with your favorite oil, or use a nonfat spray like Pam. Use for flavoring foods, coating pans and grills, or spraying directly on bread or salad (best done with a high quality olive oil in the Misto). Fake the cream. Instead of heavy cream or half-and-half in recipes, substitute nonfat condensed milk. You’ll get the creaminess without the fat.
Bulk up skim milk. Simply switching from whole milk to skim can cut your cholesterol levels 7 percent. But for some people skim is just too thin. To bulk it up, stir 2 to 4 tablespoons of instant nonfat milk powder into each cup of skim milk until it dissolves. Or try a protein-fortified skim milk like Skim Plus. It tastes creamier and thicker than skim, but still has no fat.
Do better than butter. Butter substitutes like Molly McButter really do taste like butter — give them a try.
Go whipped. Hate to give up butter altogether? Try whipped butter. It contains just 60 calories a serving compared to 100 calories for stick butter, and it has 5 grams of saturated fat compared to regular butter’s 7. Let it soften before using; it spreads easier, so you’ll use less.
Turn to Teflon. Nonstick pans enable you to brown or stir-fry meats and vegetables with far less oil or butter than regular pans require.
Substitute with applesauce. Applesauce substitutes well for some or all of the oil or butter used in muffins and cakes.
Stretch the meat. Add grated vegetables (try carrots or onions) to ground turkey or beef to stretch the meat, reduce the fat in burgers, and add some much-needed fiber. Learn to use soy, beans, lentils, mushrooms, and eggplant as delicious protein sources instead of meat in dishes like stews, spaghetti sauce, and lasagna.