Fat is an essential part of a healthy diet. It provides energy to our body and supports cell function. However, it is easy to consume too much fat in our daily diet, which can cause weight gain and increase the risk of several health problems like heart diseases, diabetes and some cancers.
But don't panic!
Here are a few simple tips and tricks that can help reduce fat in your cooking.
1. Use Healthier Cooking Methods
Try baking, roasting, grilling, steaming, boiling, or stir-frying. These cooking methods are a lot healthier as they require little or no added fat.
Avoid pan-frying or deep frying. Foods that are fried in oil are high in saturated fats which is bad for our heart health if consumed regularly. If you really want to fry, remember to use paper towel to absorb any excess oil dripping from the fried food.
2. Substitute with Low Fat Ingredients
Choose low-fat products in cooking to help reduce fat intake. Just substituting a portion would make a huge difference. For example:
• Sour cream and mayonnaise can be swapped with plain or low-fat yogurt.
• For cheese, try limit the amount used for cooking or swapped with reduced-fat or low-fat cheeses like cottage cheese and feta.
• Whole milk can be swapped with low-fat milk or skim milk.
• Limit the use of coconut milk (santan) in cooking as it is high in saturated fats. If you need to, replace full fat coconut milk or coconut cream with lite coconut milk or low-fat milk which contains less fat.
3. Choose the Right Fats
Some fats are better for our health. Unsaturated fats are healthier fats so try including them in your cooking instead. Example of healthier unsaturated oils are canola, sunflower and olive oil. At the same time, limit the usage of hydrogenated fats like butter, lard and shortenings which raises your blood cholesterol levels.
4. Go for Lean Protein
Choose cuts of meat that are lean, with little visible fat and not heavily marbled. You can also trim off any visible fat before cooking. For poultry, removing the skin before eating can significantly lower fat intake. Besides, you can try substitute a portion with soy-based products like tofu and tempeh in your recipes as they are good sources of protein with lesser fat count than animal products.
Cook your stews, gravies and soups a day or a couple of hours before mealtime and cool them in the fridge. Then, remove the layer of fat that hardens on top before reheating to reduce the fat content.
Use a non-stick pan or wok when cooking.
Measure oil with a teaspoon instead of just pouring to control the amount you use, or use an oil spray.
Try adding a little broth, stock or water to keep the pan or wok moist if needed.
Separate the dressings, sauces or gravies and serve it on the side. This will give you more control over how much you eat.