Watching your waistline? There’s no need to wave goodbye to tantalising taste and texture. You can easily create satisfying flavours with these mouth-watering ideas …
Mixing your own salad dressing is a great way to control its fat and kilojoule content. A basic dressing is one part oil to three parts vinegar, but you can ramp up the flavour by adding lemon juice, garlic, cracked pepper, Dijon mustard or chopped chilli, or all of the above! But go easy — one tablespoon of dressing per meal is a healthy portion size.
Cream that fat
Prepare a luscious creamy pasta – without cream! Simply sauté some diced onion in a frying pan, add uncooked pasta, then pour in some warm reduced-salt stock to just cover. Keep stirring, and the pasta’s starch will create a lovely thick sauce.
Catch the gravy train
The meat juices in the bottom of your roasting pan are full of fat. For a gravy alternative, use a no-added-salt stock. For red meat, mix stock with mustard, pepper and a splash of red wine. For white meat, use herbs, garlic and a dash of lemon juice, thickening gravy with a teaspoon of dissolved cornflour.
To stir up rich, creamy curries, replace fatty coconut cream with a low-fat Greek-style yoghurt or coconut-flavoured evaporated skim milk. You’ll get stacks of protein and calcium, and send fat packing!
If you tend to base your sandwiches on butter or table spread, try using hoummos, low-fat cottage cheese or avocado. These heart-healthy options pump up the flavour with fewer kilojoules.
Give meat a fruity tang
A lot of us marinate meat to tenderise it, especially when we’re stir-frying or barbecuing. But marinades don’t have to be dripping with oil. To tenderise meat in a healthier (and easier!) way, rub it with the cut side of a tangy fruit before cooking. Try using pineapple, lemon, kiwifruit or even papaya.
Spice up your spuds
Forget mashing salt and butter into your spuds! For healthier tasty mashed potatoes, use a dash of skim milk, a dollop of light sour cream and a sprinkling of cracked pepper. To make healthy homemade oven chips, cut a sweet potato into chunky wedges, lightly spray with olive oil and season with Moroccan or Portuguese spices before baking. Serve wedges with a dip of low-fat Greek-style yoghurt, lemon juice, chopped fresh mint and garlic – yum!
Go for the big cheese
Instead of grating half a block of mild cheddar over your food, top it with a scatter of parmesan. Its powerful flavour provides a lot less fat and far fewer kilojoules.