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Try to lighten up your cooking

October 10, 2012

By PAMELA REDWINE

— Keep it low in fat. Measure your cooking oils, don’t just pour them freely. Oils are very calorie dense. Use a non-stick skillet to further reduce the fat you use.

— Go very light on the cheese. Opt for small amounts of flavorful cheeses like Parmesan or Romano. Use fat-free ricotta in place of regular ricotta cheese.

— Stick to small amounts of lean meat. Switch out high-fat items like sausage or ground meat with low-fat alternatives. Fish, seafood, and white meat poultry without the skin are all healthful choices.

— Emphasize vegetables. Use meat as a flavoring or a side dish, not as the main attraction. Remember, MyPlate advises that you fill half your plate with fruits and veggies at each meal.

— Choose whole grains. Choose whole grain pasta and brown rice instead of their refined counterparts. After all, whole grains contain more fiber and nutrients.

— Make a low fat salad. Salad fills you up without a lot of calories, especially when the salad is also low in fat. One study found that eating a large, low fat salad before a meal helps people consume fewer calories during the rest of the meal.

— Use broth instead of cream. Broth makes an excellent sauce for pasta. Add basil, thyme, and rosemary for more flavor.

— Go easy on the bread. Bread is calorie dense and it is easy to eat too much of it. Offer small rolls instead of whole loaves of bread at dinner. When you make sandwiches, use just one slice of bread instead of two.

— Serve fruit for dessert. Instead of baking calorie-laden treats and keeping them around the house, offer fresh fruit for dessert and snacks. Keep fruit ready to go so that it is your first choice when you open the refrigerator.
 
Recipe of the Week

Blueberry Flax Pancakes
 
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup flax seeds
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups skim milk
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
 
Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add milk and stir until smooth, then gently fold in blueberries. Lightly spray a 12-inch nonstick skillet with cooking oil spray and heat over medium high heat. Spoon four separate 1/4 cups of batter onto the skillet. Cook until the batter bubbles, then flip pancakes. Cook until golden brown. This dish is especially delicious when garnished with powdered sugar and low calorie syrup. If you use frozen blueberries, be sure to defrost them first so that there are no chilly surprises in your pancakes.

Serves 12, Each serving is made up of one pancake and contains: 107 calories, 2g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 1mg cholesterol, 20mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate, 4 g sugar, 4 g protein, 3 g fiber.

Pamela Redwine is a nutrition and food safety agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. Article provided by Oktibbeha County Extension Service; for more information call 662-323-5916.

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