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You're Cooking Healthfully in the New Year

10 easy kitchen resolutions to make this year

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5. Discover fat-free half-and-half. I love this product because I can use it in soups, sauces, casseroles, and bakery recipes. It can be used as a replacement in most any recipe calling for liquid whipping cream or half-and-half. If you're leery, try blending it with regular half-and-half (for example, use 1/2 cup of each to equal 1 cup total).

6. Buy higher omega-3 eggs if you can find them. They do cost a bit more than regular eggs, but unless you're a big egg-eater, this will probably amount to an extra $3 or so per month (my family goes through a dozen eggs every two weeks). Several brands are available around the country. The brand I buy, EggLand's Best, has the following per large egg:

  • 4 grams fat (regular eggs have 5 grams)
  • 1 grams saturated fat (regular eggs have 1.5 grams)
  • 180 mg cholesterol (regular eggs have 213 mg)
  • 25% Daily Value of vitamin E (regular eggs have about 6% Daily Value)
  • 100 mg plant omega-3 fatty acids

7. Use a no- or low-trans-fat margarine with 8 grams of fat per tablespoon for cooking. Compare this to regular butter and stick margarine, with around 12 grams of fat per tablespoon. I've got to admit I haven't been a big margarine-lover in the past, but a couple of great-tasting products on the market have won me over (although I still use butter in recipes where it's required for flavor). The water content is a little higher in these margarines, but they still work well in most recipes -- even cookie and cake recipes. The two brands I tend to use, because they taste best and have better fatty-acid profiles, are:

  • Take Control
  • Land O' Lakes Fresh Buttery Taste Spread

8. Reach for Mrs. Dash Seasoning Blends. Whether you're stir-frying some veggies, whipping up an omelet, or spicing a stew or casserole, Mrs. Dash Seasoning Blends add flavor without sodium. There are many blends to choose from, but my personal favorite is the Garlic & Herb. One-fourth teaspoon contains 0 calories and 0 mg sodium.

9. Select leaner meats for your recipes. Just by choosing leaner cuts of beef and pork, you can cut the fat in half and trim back on saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories too. The leaner cuts will work just as well in most recipes, whether you're making stir-fry, casserole, stew, chili, enchiladas, or whatever. If you're grilling or broiling a lean steak, tenderize it by marinating it (using a low-fat marinade) for a few hours in the refrigerator. Use ground sirloin, or ground beef that's 93% fat-free, for a much leaner option in your ground beef recipes. For poultry, try skinless thighs and breasts to shave half the fat.

10. Add drained, canned beans to your stew and casserole dishes when possible. Beans are loaded with fiber, protein, and powerful phytochemicals. You can add them to Mexican dishes, salads, casseroles, and stews. It's easy when you use canned beans -- just drain and rinse! Each half cup of beans (such as kidney beans) boosts fiber by 8 grams!

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Reviewed on December 21, 2006

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