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The Easiest Diet: Cutting Calories

Some people may feel that you stop cooking while on a diet, but the opposite is true. People who are serious about taking off weight, and keeping it off, read more about nutrition and experiment with recipes to cut calories and improve flavor then others.

This is the time when it's really important to prepare food attractively and vary your menus. Boredom is the biggest cause for falling off a diet. And when I say diet I don't mean eating hard-boiled eggs and cottage cheese for 5 days. I mean a balanced, varied diet of eating less and cooking with fewer calories forever. If you are aware of calories it's easy. You may even find yourself eating a larger quantity and certainly a better quality of food.

There are many painless substitutions you can make to save calories. For instance by using well chilled evaporated skim milk instead of whipped cream in molded salads and desserts that contain gelatin you save 40 calories per tablespoon. Try unsweetened dry cereal as a topping for fruit or ice cream instead of nuts or coconut. If you replace the graham cracker crumbs with dry cereal in a piecrust you'll save 94 calories per 1/8 piecrust. Plain skim milk, either powder or liquid, saves 12 calories per cup over fortified skim milk, 57 per cup over 2% milk and 71 calories per cup over whole milk.

Substitute diet soda or fruit juices for cokes and alcohol. Cut down on salt. I always use less then the amount called for in a recipe unless it's a bakery type item. Try different herbs and spices instead. Use yogurt in recipes that call for sour cream.

When you substitute 2 slices of Canadian bacon for 2 slices of bacon you save 65 calories. Substituting 4 ounces of broiled chicken for 4 ounces of fried chicken you save 85 calories. Having 1 cup of chicken noodle soup instead of 1 cup cream of chicken soup saves you 105 calories. A poached egg over a fried egg saves 30 calories. Substituting 1 cup of ice milk for 1 cup of ice cream will save you 80 calories and 1/7 of a pumpkin pie for 1/7 of a pecan pie will save 215 calories. 1 cup popcorn for 10 potato chips saves 75 calories.

All the substitutions I've listed taste just as good and are better for you. Individually they may not sound like big savings, but remember, every little bit helps.

I also cook a lot with diet margarine and nonfat dry milk. And I always skim off surface fat. Cut the edges off the steak and when browning meat, drain it well and then blot the meat with a paper towel. Make sauces, soups and stews a day before and refrigerate. Before reheating lift off the congealed fat. Believe me, when you see that you won't want to eat it!

Young chickens (broilers and fryers) have fewer calories than roasting and stewing chickens. Light meat without skin has less fat than dark meat. When browning chicken it's not necessary to brown in fat. Just place the pieces in a shallow pan skin side up and bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes on one side, 10 minutes on the other and 5 more back on the first side.

Fish is lower in calories and higher in protein and nutrients than beef. And pound for pound, lean cuts of meat contain more vitamins and protein than fattier cuts.

Cut down on sugar! Eating it creates an unnatural desire for more. That quick burst of energy you may feel is phony. Almost immediately the body's own blood sugar is lowered and your energy is lower than before. Eat fruit instead. An apple is much more filling than a candy bar. And it takes more calories to chew and digest celery than there are in it!

To get the most vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables, buy in small amounts and eat soon. Quick use assures the highest quality and maximum benefits. Cook in a small amount of water and reuse the water. It contains many of the water-soluble vitamins extracted during cooking. You can rewarm leftover vegetables in this water or use it in soups, gravies, sauces or molded salads. The water from canned vegetables is also full of vitamins and can be used in the same ways.

Following are 2 recipes that will save you a lot of calories every week:

Mock Sour Cream

Mix well in a blender: 1 cup cottage cheese, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon skim milk and a dash of salt. Makes 1 cup and saves 12 calories per tablespoon.


In a blender, mix: 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 raw egg yolk, 1 teaspoon mustard, 2 small diced shallots, a pinch of salt and a pinch of white pepper. Crumble 2 hard cooked egg yolks into the container and blend until smooth. Fold egg mixture into 1/2 cup low fat yogurt and refrigerate. Makes 3/4 cup at only 21 calories per tablespoon.
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