Friday, April 9, 2010

An Easy, Tasty Way to Cut Calories and Fat

Here is a simple way to slash major calories from some of your favorite comfort foods -- and you will not miss a thing.

When you are making lasagna, sloppy joes, chili, and other ground beef dishes, use chopped mushrooms instead of meat. If you are like the people in a recent study, you will naturally eat about 420 fewer calories with these mushroom-enriched meals.

People in the study also said the mushroom makeovers tasted just as good and kept them feeling full just as long as the beef versions did. And not only did the mushroom-based dishes mean a lower-calorie meal, but the mushroom eaters also ate fewer calories and less fat throughout the day than the beef eaters did.

Savory Substitutions
Switching beef for mushrooms is just one way to cut calories and fat. Here are some other easy substitutions that can help your health and tame your appetite:
  • Cheese pleaser :: Skip the whole-fat cheddar and try these healthier -- but just as creamy -- cheese options:
1. Boursin Light:
A home run for cheese fans and garlic lovers alike. Just a schmear of this creamy spread goes a long way on a whole-wheat cracker or slice of baguette.
2. Trader Joe's Fat-Free Feta:
These moist, cheesy crumbles make a perfect final flourish for a spinach salad tossed with berries, walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette.
3. Treasure Cave Reduced Fat Crumbled Blue Cheese:
Great on salads and burgers, yet it has roughly half the fat of regular blue cheese. As with all blues, you must be a fan of salty and stinky to enjoy this one.
4. Mini Babybel Light:
These rounds of creamy, semisoft cheese are perfect with a handful of grapes and a couple of almonds.
5. Jarlsberg Lite:
Replace your usual Swiss slices with these thin, deli-style slices -- they have a mild, slightly nutty flavor and an almost sweet aftertaste.
6. Sargento Reduced Fat Provolone:
This mild Italian favorite maintains a nice buttery taste with a minimal amount of fat.
  • Sausage saver :: Switch to these guilt-free supermarket sausages:
1. Jimmy Dean D-Lights Turkey Sausage
This comes already assembled, breakfast-sandwich style, complete with a whole-grain muffin, egg white, and cheese. It tastes so good, and even though the patty is small, the sandwich is plenty filling. Plus, the bread cooks up nice and fluffy in the microwave. Admittedly, it has more sodium and saturated fat, but it is a major improvement over a Sausage & Egg McMuffin, which is just 0.7 ounces bigger but has almost four times the fat!
2. Trader Joe's Sweet Bell Pepper & Onion Chicken Sausage
TJ's chicken sausage mixture tastes different from pork sausage -- but good different -- because it is full of flavor, not grease. One hefty all-natural link is enough to satisfy anyone with a good-sized appetite on Sunday morning. Boiled, broiled, or lightly sauteed in a nonstick skillet and plopped on a bun or sliced into pasta sauce, it makes a great lunch or dinner, too.
3. MorningStar Farms Sausage Links
These veggie links are too crumbly to mistake for real sausage, but they have a mildly spicy flavor with a hint of sweetness that is yummy -- and flavor is what it is all about. Your taste buds will not remotely realize that the links are made mainly of textured vegetable protein, egg whites, and corn oil.
  • Smart snack :: Just say no to Cheese Nips and Oreo Thins, and grab one of these wonderful 100-calorie treats instead:
Ø 5 Hershey's dark chocolate Kisses or 2 Dove Promise dark chocolate miniatures
Ø Mini pita bread with a quarter of avocado
Ø Two rice cakes with one wedge light cheese
Ø 1/2 cup nonfat cottage cheese with 1/2 cup blueberries
Ø 10 soy crisps with a small peach
Ø Toasted whole-grain waffle with a sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar
Ø 1 heaping cup of cherries or 12 dried apricot halves
Ø 12 almonds
Ø 1 Dannon Light & Fit Raspberry Smoothie
Ø 1 Klondike Slim-a-Bear fudge bar or 2 Dole frozen fruit juice bars
Ø 48 Rold Gold pretzel sticks
Ø 3 hard-cooked egg whites with a little Dijon mustard and a sliced tomato
Ø And if you crave nothing but pickles (for whatever the reason!), you can happily munch and crunch through 8 medium dills

Source ::
References :: Lack of energy compensation over 4 days when white button mushrooms are substituted for beef. Cheskin, L. J. et al., Appetite 2008 Jul;51(1):50-57.

1 comment:

  1. Yummy post Julie! : ) So many wonderful ideas to reduce your calories without giving up taste! I love all the snack ideas, there is so many to chose from!