For a long time now, low calorie foods have been hyped to be the best way to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. It is this philosophy that created the low calorie cooking movement, which, by simple definition, is to cook with low calorie ingredients.
The trick to low calorie cooking is to keep the taste. Here are 5 must-have low-cal ingredients that keep the flavor of your cooking intact, but eliminate the unnecessary calories.
Non-stick cooking spray
Non-stick cooking spray keeps food from sticking to the bottom of your pans, and is the low calorie substitute for traditional oils and globs of butter your grandmother probably used. Non-stick cooking spray can also be used as a substitute for the old grease-and-flour method when baking.
Plain non-fat yogurt
Plain non-fat yogurt works well in casseroles, dips, dressings and anywhere else you usually use sour cream. Non-fat yogurt is also a quick, easy and nutritious snack that is available year round. Like all dairy products, yogurt is a good source of protein and calcium; 1 cup has about 1/3 of the daily calcium requirement and roughly 10 grams of protein (15-20 percent of daily requirements).
Well, not the kind you were thinking of. Turkey bacon, Canadian bacon, or lean smoked ham provides a lower-calorie substitute but retains the smoky flavor traditional bacon is known for. There are 60 calories in 3 slices of this lean bacon, equating to only 20 calories per slice. One crumbled slice added to a salad or recipe cuts back on over 100 calories that you would gain by using just one strip of traditional bacon.
Low-fat (1%) or reduced-fat (2%) milk
Milk is one of the most nutritious drink options we have with a rich content of vitamin D and calcium. Low-fat and reduced fat milk essentially have all the benefits of whole milk, with a reduced amount of calories per serving. One 8 ounce glass of 1% milk has 100 calories, as compared to a glass of whole milk with 150 calories on average. Save the whole milk for the toddlers in the house while you enjoy a cold glass of the lower calorie version.
Tuna is an excellent source of lean protein (essential to building lean muscle mass and providing the body with energy) and omega-3 fatty acids. Tuna is also a quick and easy snack that you can make just about anytime. Choose a can of tuna packed in water over the tuna packed in oil as a means to reduce your calorie intake. One can of tuna in water contains only 60 calories, as compared to its counterpart packed in oil at 100 calories more.
These 5 low-cal ingredients are a must have for any low calorie cook and provide new ideas for old favorites.