Losing weight and getting in shape doesn't have to mean eating tasteless health foods. You can easily modify the recipes you love to cut back on calories. Need some help? Here are ten ways to eat healthier versions of your fav foods:
1. Use low-fat milk
Instead of using heavy cream for dishes like fettuccine alfredo, use low-fat milk thickened with flour. To make a cream substitute, combine 1 cup low-fat milk with four teaspoons flour. It'll save you more than 600 calories per cup.
2. Cook with less oil
Extra virgin olive oil may be healthy for you, but it contains 120 calories per tablespoon. Try using less oil to cut back on calories.
3. Skip fried foods
Don't deep fry foods -- try oven-frying them instead. You can dip chicken, fish or vegetables in milk, buttermilk, or egg, coat with seasoned flour, and then spray with canola oil cooking spray. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, and bake until crispy. Your dishes will have 40 percent fewer calories than deep frying.
4. Ditch the salt
You shouldn't consume more than 2,300 mg of sodium a day. It's easy to replace some of the added salt with lemon, lime, or chopped fresh herbs. Always look for low sodium options of your favorite foods, too.
5. Reach for whole grains
Planning on baking some muffins? Replace all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour in recipes to add extra fiber and boost essential B vitamins, zinc, and magnesium. Use whole-wheat pastry flour in cakes, pie crusts, and cookies.
6. Swap butter for olive oil
To keep saturated fat in check, swap out butter for olive oil whenever possible. Butter has seven times more saturated fat than oil. Replace at least half of the butter with oil in recipes.
7. Go for egg whites
Egg whites only have 16 calories compared to 54 calories in an egg yolk. Try using two egg whites in place of one whole egg in recipes to reduce calories and fat.
8. Make your own low-fat ice cream
Instead of purchasing ice cream at the store, you can easily make your own low-fat ice cream by mixing low-fat milk with gelatin to mimic the texture of full-fat ice cream -- you'll save 90 calories and 10 grams of saturated fat.
9. Add grains and vegetables to dishes
If you're using ground beef in recipes, you can lower calories by adding whole grain and diced vegetables, such as mushrooms, peppers, brown rice, and quinoa to the meat to bulk up portion size. Try adding one cup of grains or vegetables per one pound of meat.
10. Reduce the cheese
Using less cheese in recipes easily knocks off calories and fat. Opt for bold-flavored cheeses, such as extra sharp cheddar, to give more flavor impact with fewer calories and less fat.
Lighten up on comfort food
In short, going on a diet doesn't mean you have to sacrifice taste. You can easily make healthier, lighter versions of comfort food. Choose low-fat, whole grain options whenever possible and incorporate more vegetables into recipes.