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Chefs' Diet Secrets

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Watch the Wine continued...

Half a bottle of wine, for example, is about 250 calories, Bowerman says. Drinking also loosens your resolve to eat well.

Talde switches between a glass of wine and a glass of sparkling water at dinner. He also drinks water from a wine glass to make it feel more special. “It doesn’t feel like I’m missing out on anything,” Talde says.

Good idea, Bowerman says. “It may be something just about feeling the stem of the glass that elevates the meal to something more special.”

She also suggests adding up the total number of drinks you have in a week and then cutting it by a third. “Can you cut out one night, rather than cutting back every single day?” she asks.

Keep It in the Bowl

Chef Nikki Cascone was a contestant on the Bravo Channel's fourth season of Top Chef. She says her naturally fast metabolism kept her slim for most of her life.

But after she had a baby, that changed.

Cascone finds that the chef’s lifestyle makes it difficult to eat well. “You’re never really off when you get to a certain level, especially when you own a restaurant. There are late-night hours, and it’s a very tense environment. I’ve had to train myself to eat healthy,” she says.

Cascone packs her meals into one bowl, filled with legumes, seeds, vegetables, and some lean protein (like chicken).

“She’s practicing portion control,” Bowerman says.

You could also control your portions by using a smaller plate. “It’s about the visual impact of looking at a full plate of food,” Bowerman says.

Tweak the Recipe

Diane Henderiks, RD, is a personal chef and culinary nutritionist. Her goal is to raise the culinary bar for healthy cooking. “I switch up ingredients to maintain the integrity of the dish without fat and sodium,” she says.

Henderiks’s motto is that any dish can be made healthier. She cooks with fresh and dried herbs, citrus juices, and nectars to make dressings low in fat and sugar. Ground turkey substitutes for ground beef, applesauce or yogurt is used in place of butter, broth or wine replaces oil, and marinades and rubs add flavor to meat without adding calories.

Cascone also uses a balsamic vinegar reduction (balsamic vinegar cooked on the stove top until it becomes a syrup) for a very low-calorie salad dressing.

For the home chef, these are great techniques that add up, Bowerman says. “Cutting fat and calories becomes habit.”

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Reviewed on August 14, 2014

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