Cooking Light: Low-Fat Techniques

Trying to cook healthy can often be a sticky situation. But it's not as difficult as you might think. There are plenty of things you can do to reduce your bottom line when it comes to fat and calories. The first fat-trimming trick is to invest in a decent quality nonstick pan. Cooking with a nonstick pan requires little oil and enables you to prepare your food without vegetable, canola or other high-fat oil. This is beneficial because just one tablespoon has 199 calories and 14 grams of fat. Although olive oil is better with 40 calories and 4.5 grams of fat, perhaps the best heart smart option is to prepare fish, chicken or beef in a non-stick pan using a fat-free cooking spray such as PAM.

And that's just the beginning. You can also steam, bake, grill, braise, boil or microwave your food. Add extra vegetables to your meals wherever you see fit. To add flavor but not fat to your food, opt for fresh or dried herbs to kick things up a notch. When baking, choose applesauce over butter. Other smart substitutions include yogurt cheese over cream cheese and cottage cheese over sour cream. In place of whole milk, use fat free or one percent milk. Splenda makes a healthy substitute for sugar. If you're preparing a pie, go for a graham cracker crust instead of traditional pie crusts which are often prepared with high-fat shortening. For recipes that call for canned fruit, select brands that are made in water or their own juices. By using a bunch of small changes, you can reap big rewards.