Chefs' Secrets for Healthier Cooking
4 top chefs share tips and recipes for lighter dishes that don't scrimp on taste and style.
'Such a Pretty Face' continued...
She has a similar rule about cooking burgers: "People always say that
extra-lean burgers taste dry – so they don't eat them," she says. The
mistake here: "Squishing" the burger with a spatula to push out the
"You think you are squishing out the excess fat, but what you are really
squishing out is all the flavor and juices -- that's why it's dry and
tasteless," she says. Instead, let the burger cook naturally, and leave the
And yes, she says, buying extra-lean instead of lean makes a difference.
"One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is buying lean ground
turkey instead of extra lean -- the packages say 7% fat vs. 1% and
they think 6% can't be all that much difference, but it is," says
Alexander. Flip the package over, she says, and you'll see that extra-lean
turkey has 15 calories from fat, while the lean has 90 calories from fat.
That's almost half the calories in a serving.
Another tip: Get the right tools for the best healthy cooking job.
"Invest in an ultrafine shredder and you'll find you can cover more
surface with less cheese. You'll get flavor in every bite, but far fewer
calories," she says.
Other healthy kitchen essentials, she says, include a food scale (so you
know how big your portions really are); an olive oil sprayer, to add flavor
with minimum calories; and a mallet to tenderize low-fat meats.
The Go-To Chefs
As one of the Culinary Institute of America's top instructors, Michael
Garnero is the go-to chef many turn to when they want to learn healthy
He says he's turned away from "no fat" cooking to what he calls
"smart fat" eating.
"No-fat cooking tastes terrible, but if you exchange the bad saturated
fats for healthy monounsaturated fats, the food tastes better, and you're doing
something good for your body," he says.
Still, even with healthy fats, it's possible to get too much of a good
thing. And Garnero has some tricks up his sleeve for cutting back on fat
without cutting back on flavor.