"Meal times should be an experience - never a chore."
Finding low-fat recipes for people with cholesterol problems can prove challenging. After extensive research certain facts became evident and although it makes sense to follow simple dietary rules most of us are reluctant to make changes - especially when it comes to what we like (and like not) to eat.
The guidelines below should help you ease into an eating pattern that suits your condition.
Non-stick cooking spray should become your much-loved friend. Butter and cooking oil are not good for a cholesterol problem. Canola and olive oils are acceptable. There are varying opinions about margarine and butter, and it's said that light spreads, which are trans-fat free, are a healthier option. In baking, regular butter and margarine are difficult to reproduce, so add fruit purees, low-fat or fat-free sour cream, non-fat yoghurt or low-fat buttermilk instead. A much denser product will result. Try my low-fat All Bran banana-bread recipe. It is deliciously healthy and extremely moist with a dense banana texture. In recipes with eggs, I suggest an egg substitute or substitute with mashed bananas and a ¼ teaspoon of baking powder. Tofu is a satisfactory alternative in baked dishes such as quiches and brownies. Remember each egg in a recipe can be successfully substituted with one tablespoon of corn flour mixed with 3 tablespoons of water. Take small steps when adopting this new method - you want it to be sustainable. I suggest you start by halving the amount of butter and eggs. At least that's a step in the right direction.
Always choose extra-lean meat. For something different try ostrich. It's important that you trim all the fat off the meat. At your next braai add low-fat, healthy, chicken kebabs to your menu and a side serving of yoghurt tatziki, as well as some low-fat ostrich kebabs with a slightly-spicy, dried-mango dipping sauce. There's no need for anyone to feel 'left out' at a braai. A simple tip before serving any meat is to place the cooked portions on paper towel to remove any excess fat. It's a good idea to use chicken for its versatility and high-protein, as well as vitamin and mineral content. Try my very simple nutrient booster which I call "skinny" chicken soup. It's a thin soup with mushrooms and shredded chicken. Left-over or extra chicken can be used in the following day's lunch salad. If you find you're missing a creamy soup or stew, make it with evaporated milk or even sour cream. Yoghurt for your dips, spreads, dressings and stews works well too.
Frying is not an option so steaming, poaching, slow-cooking, braising, baking, grilling and boiling it has to be. Suddenly the options don't seem quite so limited. Supplement weekly meat dishes with vegetarian and easily-digested fish options. Did you know fish is higher in vitamins and minerals than most meat dishes? Include it in your breakfast ideas too. Try poached haddock with soft-and-fluffy scrambled egg, made with one whole egg and two egg whites. It provides a healthy start to your day when your aim is to cut back.
With Christmas around the corner you can serve turkey, chicken or even vegetarian sausages and/or bacon. Change can be fun, exciting and interesting.
Another great substitute is fat-free cream cheese for your favourite cheese-cake recipe. You have to admit this 'diet' isn't really so bad after all! You can also roast in-season fruit and serve it with low-fat mascarpone cheese. Oven-bake an apple filled with lots of raisins and chopped roasted nuts. This is delicious with fat-free evaporated milk - even for those without dietary requirements. Desserts don't have to be full of sugar and fattening. To satisfy your sweet tooth, think fruit sorbets instead of ice cream.
When making a delicious burger patty, remember to bulk up with whole grains, beans and/or vegetables. I also suggest you coat chicken and fish in breadcrumbs rather than a batter. Always oven bake rather than fry. Use phyllo instead of puff pastry to cover your next pie and always remember to oven fry or roast your potato chips.
I look forward to hearing about your unusual dietary requirements because I'm interested in food and its effect on people with intolerances to certain ingredients. Meal times should be an experience - never a chore. If you have special dietary requirements visit us at Hartford House and we'll serve you a five-course meal that promises to tantalise taste buds across the board. I hope to see you here - and happy eating.
Take these recipes and try them.