July 19, 2024


The importance of exercise

Healthy Food Alternatives

8 min read
Healthy Food Alternatives

Many would be slimmers feel that the foods to make them slim are the more expensive items on the shopper list. However, this need not be true.

You can prepare inexpensive, low-calorie meals using let-overs if you wish, and still stay slim. Nor is there any need to prepare and cook an extra meal for one, You can join the family confident that you can make the same meal with just a little extra calorie watching on your part. There is no need for a slimming diet to be different from or more expensive than, that of your family. Eat the same meals but do avoid the high-carbohydrate and fatty foods. If you incorporate the diet into your daily pattern of living, your weight is easier to maintain.

Putting Healthy Eating Guidelines into Practice

Meats: –

Choose lean cuts of meat, such as topside, blade, rump, fillet, gravy beef, veal steaks, pork fillet and trip lamb varieties, such as lean lamb chump. Choose the leanest mince

Ø Drain the fat from mince during or after cooking.

Ø Trim visible fat from meat before you cook it

Ø Keep meat proteins small (100g) and bulk up meals with vegetables and legumes, bread, rice or pasta. Cook vegetables light or steam them when possible to retain their nutrients.

Ø When roasting meats, trim the visible fat from the meat and place meat on a rack in a baking dish with 1-2 centimetres of water. For additional flavour add herbs and wine to the water. Alcohol is harmless when used with heat in cooking.

Cheese: – Select low fat cheeses varieties, cottage cheese or ricotta, reduced fat or low fat milk. Do not just try these once, as it may take a while tor your taste bud to adjust. Try low-fat yoghurt you can hardly tell the difference in taste.

Oil: – Olive oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oil and grape-seed oil are good vegetable oils to choose.

Grains: – Choose wholemeal bread, pasta, flour and rise instead or white

Breakfast Cereal: – Should be high in fibre.

Salt: – Choose low salt (sodium) or no added salt products by comparing food labels and selecting products that have no added salt.

Dressings: – Make your own dressing and mayonnaise using low-fat yoghurts, buttermilk, tomato paste, vinegar, lemon juice, ricotta cheese, mustard and fruit pulp. Buy dressings labelled No-Oil or Low Fat

Margarine or Butter: – Use avocado, chutney, cottage cheese, and low-fat mayonnaise

Cream: – Use evaporated skin milk with gelatine and chill before whipping.

Sour Cream: – Low-fat yoghurt, buttermilk, evaporated skim milk or lemon juice.

Frying: – Use a non-stick fry pan and cooking spray or brush the base of the pan with oil instead of pouring oil into the pan.

Tips to help reduce your fat intake

Grilling instead of frying

Use a rack filled with a little water when grilling, roasting or baking meat. Marinate very lean meat in a mixture of soy sauce, wine, herbs, garlic or spices. These will prevent the meat from drying out while grilling.


Is an ideal way of cooking most vegetables? The food is quickly cook y the steam and does not need any fat.


Microwaving is a great way to cook. The microwave allows foods to keep their flavour and moisture while they cook.

Stir Fry

Use a wok or non-stick pan. Use a spray-on oil, water, wine or stock to fry your vegetables and then quickly mix in your lean cooked meat.


Casserole cooking is a slow, gentle moist way of cooking that can also be low fat. Before cooing, trim the fat off the meat or skin off the chicken. Do not add any extra fat to the casserole. Allow the casserole to cool and skin any extra fat off the surface. Casseroles divided into serving sizes and frozen are ready prepared meals for people in a hurry.

Baked Vegetables

First par boil vegetables, spray with vegetable oil, place in a dry pan and cook in an oven on high until crisp.


If you use the meat pan juices to make gravy, pour the juice into a cup and place in the freezer, when it is cool but not frozen remove the solid fat layer that forms on top. The remaining juice can be use to flavour your gravy.


When using mince, brown it first in a dry pan and drain off the excess fat before adding the other ingredients.


Add low fat yoghurt or cottage or ricotta cheese to vegetables.


Substitute cream with evaporated skin milk or blend skim milk with ricotta cheese.


Creamy sauces can be made with Skim milk powder in double strength that adds a creamy texture without the extra fat.


Try low fat natural yoghurt instead of mayonnaise in recipes.

Salad Dressing

Make a mixture of lemon juice, herbs, mustard and vinegar it makes a great and tasty dressing.


Avocados have a rich and creamy texture, they taste delicious and what is more, they are good for you. Packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, avocados make a great addition to a hearty diet. Make avocados part of your daily diet

Ø Replacement for butter or margarine on toast or crackers

Ø Slice and serve with fresh seafood

Ø Use as a topping to Mexican dishes such as tacos

Ø Mashed and served as a dip on vegetable platters

Ø Mash and serve on jacket potatoes

Ø Add to salads for a creamy taste and texture

Ø Add to tomato based pasta sauce.

Recipe Solutions

Buttermilk: – Plain yoghurt mixed with low fat milk

Buttermilk Alternative: – If you need buttermilk for a recipe, and need to make your own: – Pour together 1 tablespoon of each white vinegar and milk into a measuring cup, and then fill up the rest with milk. Let stand for 15 minutes until it thickens


Ø Cake layers are often brushed with liqueur. The best substitute is syrup or sweetened juice.

Ø Next time you bake a cake dust the tin with dried coconut instead of flour

Ø Throw in a couple of tablespoon of your favourite jam over the top. When cooking the jam soaks through giving the cake a delicious flavour.

Ø Every time you open the oven door the temperature of baking drops by 50% and cakes can drop I the centre and others will take longer to cook

Ø Adding grated carrot, fruit, or chocolate, mashed banana or a can of mixed fruit salad will enhance the flavour of a plain packet cake mix

Ø Adding a drop of oil to a packet of cake mix will keep it moist and light.

Ø Mix 100s & 1000s through a vanilla cake mix. They will melt during the cooking process releasing a great rainbow colours effect. Kids love it.

Ø Decorating made easy: – Place a piece of chocolate in the corner of the microwave-roasting bag and melt it, snip off the tip at the corner of the bag and drizzle a pattern over the cake.

Cabbage: –

Ø When cooking cabbage avid the smell around the house put in a couple of slices of lemon in a small bucket of water and place it in the kitchen.

Ø Cabbage & Brussels sprouts smell when cooking, place a slice of stale bread crusts over the cabbage, it will absorb the odours.

Casserole: –

Next time you cook a casserole, try slicing small French stick into 12mm slices, spread one side with mustard and press gently into the top of the cooked casserole leaving the top exposed. Place under the grill until golden brown.

Chicken: –

Next time you season a chicken; add 2 teaspoons of grated orange rind to the mix delicious.

  • For a fat free roast chicken, sprinkle with paprika and place chicken in oven with no oil, but a little water to the bottom of the pan will keep it moist
  • When you cook apricot chicken, add a packet of chicken noodle soup. The flavour is superb
  • Marinate chicken wings for 1 hour. Half cook in microwave oven on high. They are now ready to go on the barbeque saves time barbequing, and taste delicious and do not burn.
  • Add ½ Cup of crushed cornflakes to the crumb mix for a golden crunchy taste
  • For a nice stuffing: – Peel and finally chop a granny smith apple, add a good handful of sultanas and a teaspoon of cinnamon

Chips: –

  • Low-fat chips can be make by peeling and slicing potatoes thickly, place them on a greased pan (Canola spray is best), and cook in a moderate oven for 40 minutes.
  • Kids at times could not finish the packet. Resealing the packet and store in the freezer can save it. Oil does not freeze so this keeps them crunchie for weeks.
  • Cut an unpeeled potato into thick wedges; dip into seasoned egg white and place skin side up on a baking tray. Bake on 180c for ½ hour or until tender and crisp
  • Chips made from freshly cut potatoes soak up less fat than frozen chips. Oven chips are the healthiest of all.
  • Potato Chips brown more quickly if a pinch of salt is added to the fat.


  • Roasting the beans reduces their moisture content and releases the flavour and aroma. The fruit, a pulpy berries, turn red when ripe. Each contains two beans. Coffee beans turn various shades of brown when roasting
  • To make a perfect cup of coffee always put them in order of coffee, sugar, milk before adding boiling water.
  • Coffee is getting more expensive. If you place some change in a jar every time you have a cuppa. The money comes in handy when you run out.

Coconut: –

  • Coconut ice: – Pour coconut ice mixture into ice cubes trays for perfect bite size servings
  • Coconut milk: – use coconut milk instead of dairy milk in your cakes makes great flavour.
  • Toasted coconut and lemon juice sprinkled over the curry helps bring out the flavour.

Croutons: –

  • Make your own using stale bread. Take away the crusts, butter the bread, cut in cubes and place in oven 200c for 4 minutes, turn over and toast the other side.
  • In the microwave, heat 2 tablespoons butter on high for 1 minute. Using white bread cut the slice in cubes, shake well to coat and then cook on high for 2 minutes, stirring once while cooking.

Crumbs Bread: –

Make your own and save. Do not throw away stale bread. Remove crusts and bake in slow oven 120c until dry and then crush with rolling pin

Dressing Low joule: –

Mix together the plain yoghurt, a squeeze of lemon juice, a little grated cucumber, a little chopped mint and seasoning.

Dried Fruit: –

Stop them from sinking to the bottom of your fruitcake. Toss them in cornflour before adding them into the cake

Fruit: –

At times, fruit salad or fruits are soaked in wine or liqueur. For a substitute, replace this quantity with Syrup, Orange and /or lemon juice and rind.

Mary C Newton

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