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    America's Most Popular and Convenient Meals

    Eat Right! Diet Right! Healthy Shopping List

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    ABCs of Cutting Fat
       excerpted from More So Fat, Low Fat, No Fat: Recipies for Family and Friends That Cut the Fat but Not the Flavor!
       Copyright © 1993 by Betty Rohde

    Helpful Hints

    1. Read your labels for the amount of fat. Items alike and side by side will have differing amounts of fat in each product.

    2. Just because the label says "skim milk" does not mean that it is free of fat. Choose the one that lists zero fat on the label.

    3. "Light" or "Lite" or "Low-fat" labels -- skip them. Read the amount of fat contained and go for the fat-free labels, listing 0 fat grams. The markets are carrying more and more of these each day.

    4. Any beef cut that ends in the word "loin," such as "tenderloin," is one of the leaner cuts.

    5. Sugar can be reduced by at least one third in baked goods without affecting the final product.

    6. Make mashed potatoes with skim milk and Butter Buds. Also, use some of the water they were cooked in to whip them fluffy. Or you can make mashed potatoes with skim milk or low-fat buttermilk instead of milk and butter. Very good. The buttermilk will give them a butter flavor.

    7. Experiment with nonfat yogurt and no-fat sour cream. In hot dishes, add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch for every cup of yogurt to keep it from separating on heat.

    8. Use ground turkey instead of ground beef. Substitute turkey or chicken cutlets for veal. Watch your turkey -- buy only fresh-ground, or have your butcher grind it for you. The kind that comes in rolls like pork sausage has too much fat. Read the labels!

    9. Try whipping very cold or partially frozen evaporated skim milk in place of heavy cream. (Chill the beaters and bowl in the freezer first.)

    10. Use mashed potatoes instead of cream to thicken sauces, soups, and gravies.

    11. Refrigerate soups and stews until fat congealson top to make fat removal easier. If time does not permit, use a paper towel to soak up the surface fat or use a defatting pitcher. They pour from the bottom and leave the fat in the container.

    12. Chips: For low-fat chips, cut corn or flour tortillas or pita bread into wedges. Bake until crisp. Use instead of potato chips.

    13. You can substitute applesauce for oil in any pie, cake mix, or brownies.

    14. Use the equivalent amount of egg substitute or egg whites for the number of eggs called for in baking.

    15. Sauté: To sauté anything -- veggies, et cetera -- just cook it quickly in 1/4 cup or so of water until transparent or tender. It works just as well as oil, and without the fat.

    16. To cook beans or greens the Southern way, or to make stew or soups, cook whatever meat is desired for flavor -- ham, beef, chicken, etc. Defat the liquid with defatting pitcher or refrigerate overnight and take congealed fat off the top. Then cook the beans or whatever in this liquid for the desired flavor without the fat.

    17. Tomato juice will stimulate the kidneys and prompt them to filter out quantities of fatty deposits from the bloodstream, according to Global Mini Mag.

    18. Because fat enhances the flavor of food, spices should be increased by 50 percent when developing low-fat versions of traditional cookies.

    19. Sour cream substitute: 1 cup of no-fat cottage cheese mixed with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of skim milk. Blend well. There's also a recipe for Mock Sour Cream on page 213.

    20. Hold the frosting: Dust your cake with cocoa and cinnamon or confectioners' sugar.

    21. Instead of using sour cream in your recipe, substitute an equal amount of (skim) buttermilk.

    22. Instead of potato chips, eat Crispix cereal. No fat, and they are good with your sandwich.

    23. When making your sandwich, if you watch what you're doing, you can have a very low-fat sandwich. Fat-free bread, mayonnaise, cheese, lettuce, pickle, and meat that is 98 percent fat-free. What more do you need?

    24. Some candy is fat-free; read the label. Candy corn, dinner mints, marshmallow peanuts, hard candies, etc.

    25. When you brown ground turkey, sausage, or beef, put the browned meat in a colander and rinse with hot water. Shake off any excess water. This will help to wash away just a few more grams of fat.

    26. Dark-meat chicken has 50 percent more fat than white meat. I use only boneless, skinless white meat. You say it costs more, figure this: you throw away the skin, the bones, and aren't going to eat the dark meat. How much did that cost? You might as well just pay for what you are going to eat and feel better about saving fat grams and time in preparing.

    27. Broccoli has beta carotene as well as sulforophane, a powerful natural chemical that helps protect against cancer. I eat broccoli at least once a week. No fat -- no heart disease -- no cancer -- no kidding.

    28. Use more rice, baked potatoes, cereals (fat-free), vegetables, and pasta in your diet. Not only do these foods contain virtually no fat but they are more efficient and readily available fuel for your muscles and they help sustain energy levels over long periods of time.

    29. Count your fat grams and you don't have to worry about the calories. I never counted anything except the fat grams -- my doctor says that is all you need to worry about. But here is the formula just in case you want to do the math trick (which I never did; it is too hard, keeps you confused. All I did was say 1 gram plus 2 grams plus 3 grams, etc. That is the simple way and it works!!!

    Multiply the number of grams of fat by 9 and divide by the total number of calories in the dish. For example, if a frozen dinner provides 300 calories and contains 12 grams of fat, the percentage of fat calories is 12 x 9 divided by 300 = .36 or 36 percent.

    Fat contains 9 calories per gram -- more than twice as many as carbohydrate or protein, each of which contain 4 calories per gram. Foods rated at 20 percent fat or less are recommended for regular consumption. Foods rated at 20 percent to 40 percent are to be used in moderation provided that most of your diet comes from lower-fat foods. (The exception is fish, which protects your cardiovascular system.)

    Many foods that we think are high in protein are actually higher in fat. Frankfurters, sausage, most lunch meats, and hamburger, for example, are high-protein foods that are 50 percent to 80 percent fat in terms of percentage of calories.


    1. Avoid fat foods.

    2. Eat lots of whole grains, whole fruits, beans, and most vegetables, which are good sources of high-fiber foods. Dietary fiber has a bulking effect that can aid in appetite control.

    3. Exercise. The calories burned during exercise boost your metabolic rate and increase your body's capacity to burn fat.

    "The single most influential dietary change one can make to lower the risk of these diseases is to reduce intake of foods high in fat and to increase the intake of foods high in complex carbohydrates and fiber."

    The Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health (1988)

    "It is calculated that, if intake of dietary fat were reduced from the present 40 percent of total calorie intake to 25 percent, about 9,000 lives would be saved annually."

    National Cancer Institute, Annual Review of Public Health

    "Eating less fat can reduce the risk of colon, prostate, and breast cancer."

    National Research Council, "Diet and Health" (1989)

    ABCs of Cutting Fat

    ALTERNATIVES: Save fat and calories by switching from regularly used cheese, sour cream, etc., to fat-free.

    BALANCE: Balance your food choices. If you eat a meal that is higher in fat than you know you should be eating, make the next one low-fat or no-fat. If you have something moderately high in fat, balance it with steamed veggies or items with no fat.

    CELEBRATIONS: Don't fall victim; choose low-fat or no-fat dips, tortilla chips, angel food cakes. There are so many chips, etc., on the market you can really just about have everything you would normally but fat free.

    DRESSINGS: Fat-free bottled dressings taste just as good as their heavyweight brothers and sisters. Carry them with you in your purse -- they can be used on everything. (Well, maybe not ice cream.)

    EXERCISE: Exercise is as important as a good diet (I hate it!!). Walking will do just as well, but walk briskly for 30 minutes three or four times a week.

    FAST FOOD: Forget it, folks. If you find yourself in this position, choose the salad bar with caution. Remember to take your own dressing.

    GUILT: Don't be too hard on yourself. Food is meant to be enjoyed -- just be careful how good a time you have. And be more careful how you prepare it. If you go overboard one day, ease up the next.

    HALF: If you can't resist something illegal, halve it or share with a skinny friend. (We all have one of those!)

    ICE: Try fruit ices, sorbet, or sherbets.

    JUNK FOOD: Keep healthy nibbles on hand. Try low-fat and no-fat pretzels, baked tortilla chips, etc.

    KICK THE HABIT: Once you kick the fry habit, you've got it made. A few minutes more to prepare, a lot less fat grams to wear.

    LABELS: Read all labels before buying. The 0 fat labels are what you're looking for. If it says "zero fat grams" it is in my basket, I don't care what it is! My husband just warned me, "Stay out of the dog food section. Please."

    MIDMORNING: If a midmorning snack is a part of your day, pass up the pastry; go for fruit or an English muffin.

    NONSTICK: These pans greatly reduce and/or eliminate fat when cooking.

    OIL: Oil gets 100 percent of its calories from fat. Use with caution and care, and choose canola, olive, and/or safflower. Better yet -- omit!

    PORTIONS: Reduce your portion size to help reduce your own size.

    QUESTIONS: Ask lots -- about "Do you have fat-free?" at restaurants and/or grocery stores or "Will you get fat-free?" The more we ask, the more they will carry or have at restaurants.

    REFRIGERATE: Broths, stews, and soups, to collect any sneaky fats that are hiding from you.

    STEAM: Change to steamed vegetables. Steaming saves vitamins and nutrients and uses no fat.

    TRIM: Remove all visible fat and skin before cooking meats.

    UNADORNED: You'll really be amazed at how much flavor you're missing by drowning vegetables in butter, sauces, and dressings. Let the real flavor shine through. Eat them steamed or raw.

    VARIETY: Don't get into a slump and think you can only eat special or limited foods on a healthy diet. Shop wise and eat many varieties.

    WHITES: Substitute 2 egg whites for 1 egg in any recipe. It works, and you'll never know the difference but your heart will.

    XXXX SUGAR: Confectioners' or powdered sugar is labeled XXXX sugar. Keep it on hand to sprinkle on cakes or to make a little light sauce for angel food cakes or fresh fruit. (Also means kisses when you send hugs 0000.)

    YOGURT: Frozen fat-free now comes in many flavors. It's great. Look for fat-free yogurt and ice cream; some is fat-free and sugar-free, and is delicious to say the least.

    ZIPPER BAGS: Cut up veggies to have on hand and store in zipper bags. How did we live without them?

    Tips for Working Women


    • Breaded chicken tenders
    • Oriental frozen stir-fry vegetables
    • Frozen chopped onions
    • Frozen chopped green peppers
    • Fat-free chicken broth
    • Canned tomatoes -- stewed
    • Dried macaroni
    • Frozen breaded fish fillets
    • Frozen chicken patties for burgers


    Keep snacks in your purse, briefcase, gym bag, car, etc. Eating a fat-free snack several times a day is better than one burger or candy bar. I eat as much and as often as I want as long as it is fat-free.

    • Bagels
    • Breadsticks
    • Dry cereal -- fat-free
    • Fig bars -- fat-free
    • Granola bars -- fat-free
    • Popcorn cakes
    • Rice cakes
    • Pretzels -- fat-free
    • Raw vegetables
    • Vegetable juice
    • Fresh fruit
    • Dried fruit
    • Frozen juice bars
    • Fat-free ice cream
    • Fat-free frozen yogurt
    • Nonfat yogurt
    • String cheese -- fat-free
    • Skim chocolate milk
    • Lunch meat (95% to 98% fat-free)
    • Water-packed tuna
    • Turkey breast meat

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