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Lightening Up Dishes

When I think about lightening up dishes, I immediately think of reducing fat in entrées – especially in meat dishes.

There are many ways to do this without giving up flavor. Choose a lean meat or meat alternative such as Simple Truth Frozen Meatless Crumbles. The texture and taste will be very similar to ground meat, especially if using it as a browned meat in tacos, sloppy Joes, casseroles or meatloaves. Let healthy additions of organic fresh tomatoes, peppers, squash and herbs provide the substance and flavors. If you choose to use lean beef, remember to drain off the fat. I even use paper towels to blot off extra fat from meats.

Prefer chicken? Select the convenient and fat-reduced Simple Truth skinless, boneless chicken breasts. A lot of fat can be hidden between the skin and meat. How about serving main dishes such as kabobs, chef salads and casseroles that use less meat per serving than a grilled steak or piece of chicken? Fish is also a great alternative for a fat-reduced entrée.

And of course the method of preparation has a huge “fat” factor. Grilling, roasting and broiling are much healthier options than frying. Sautéing? Use Simple Truth vegetable broth, water or a small amount of Simple Truth olive oil cooking spray. Same results with less fat.

Like eggs? Try using Simple Truth Free Range 100% egg whites. Not only will that reduce fat – they have no cholesterol. In fact, limiting your consumption of any animal-based product will help reduce fat and cholesterol levels.

There are also easy ways to reduce fat in baking. You can use applesauce or prune puree for up to half the amount of oil or butter in baked goods. In addition to reducing fat calories, this substitution improves vitamin levels. Bake time will be about 25% faster, too! Most recipes can have up to one-fourth of the oil or shortening shaved off without noticeable results. If you make the reduction over time, your family will hardly know the difference. Fat can also be reduced by using a different form of cream cheese. Opt for the low-fat or Neufchatel varieties for that next cheesecake. Even better, try pureeing low-fat cottage cheese as a replacement.

Are you a whole-milk drinker? That is 3.25% fat! It would be a drastic change for your taste buds if you switch from whole milk directly to skim milk. So, if you want to make the change, do it gradually. Try using our Simple Truth 2% milk for a month, then switch to the Simple Truth 1% milk. You can even cut out all fat from milk by choosing Simple Truth Fat Free or Soy Milk. I’ve tried the Vanilla Soy Milk in my cereal and actually prefer it to other kinds of milk. That surprised me, since my husband and I had the largest dairy farm in our county for three years – so of course we’re accustomed to drinking whole milk! Simple Truth currently offers eight milk and five soy milk varieties and all of them are Certified Organic. That’s good for the earth and us.

While shopping in the dairy aisle, look for low-fat, reduced-fat and non-fat cheese varieties. Recipes are easily made healthier by switching to a lower-fat cheese. Also, try substituting the Simple Truth Low Fat Plain yogurt for sour cream. The texture and performance will be the same, yet you’ll save fat calories.

Are you part of the yogurt culture? There are many low-fat and non-fat varieties available through Simple Truth. They still have protein and many have fruit already added. The Greek yogurts have really gained popularity and there are now fruit flavors of Lite-Greek that are absolutely wonderful. They have become my “better for you” option instead of a pudding snack.

What is your favorite way to reduce fat in a recipe?

Karen Ilhardt

Karen’s role as Home Economist in the Kroger Customer Connect (C|c) is to answer customer questions and write about recipes, ingredient substitutions, and Food Safety.  She holds BS and MS degrees from The Ohio State University’s College of Home Economics with a specialty in Resource Management.  Karen also has teaching credentials from Miami University (of Ohio) and Wright State University. 

After having been a food teacher for 20 years she transferred to the corporate world in 2011.  Farming and crafting have always been a part of her life.  Karen values being part of our food production and preparation processes PLUS  being able to share those experiences with others.  The Simple Truth Brand embraces the wholesome nature of the foods we select and consume which makes a perfect choice for Karen’s lifestyle.

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