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Carbohydrates

TASTEFUL TIPS

Use pan sprays regularly. Spray the pan when it is cold, then place over the flame. You can reduce fat considerably by taking this first step. Once the pan is hot, you can add a small amount of healthy olive oil for flavor.

  • Replace refined starches with whole grain: Try brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, whole-wheat bread and crackers, whole-wheat cous-cous, and oatmeal instead of cream of wheat. You can buy quick cooking brown rice that can be ready in 15 minutes.
  • Add diced vegetables to soups, chili, meat loaf, casseroles, tuna or chicken salad and pasta sauce to reduce overall calories and boost nutrition.
  • Season steamed vegetables with lemon, vinegar, herbs, garlic, onion and spices rather than relying on butter or sauces.
  • Add fruits to salad for a change. Try fresh orange or tangerine sections, apples or kiwi. Use deep green leafy vegetables, instead of iceberg lettuce, for more nutrition.
  • Frozen vegetables and fruits are just as nutritious and fresh, may be less expensive, and allow you to eat foods that might not be in season any time of the year. For example, loose-leaf frozen spinach or chopped vegetables can easily be added to soups and stews.
  • Take advantage of the healthy convenience items such as prewashed salad greens, precut fruit and baby carrots. They may cost more, but if you keep buying fruits and vegetables and throwing them away because you don’t take time to prepare them, it may be less expensive in the long run. If your market has a salad bar, you can buy prewashed, precut vegetables like broccoli, mushrooms, cauliflower and carrots, which you can take home and steam or stir-fry.
  • Visit a local farmer’s market. The produce is usually much fresher than what you find in the supermarkets, which means vegetables won’t wilt as quickly and the foods retain their nutritional value. You can find new varieties of fruits and vegetables to try, and you will be eating foods that are in season.
  • You can thicken soups without added butter, flour or cream. Place some of the broth and vegetables in the blender and then stir back into the soup. Or, make your own “cream” soups by cooking vegetables with broth, onions, garlic and seasoning–then puree it all in the blender with a little evaporated nonfat milk or soft tofu for a delicious creamy soup.
  • Try different mustards and vinegars for seasoning salads and vegetables without fat.
  • Double the recipe for dishes that freeze well, such as soups, stews, and casseroles. That way, when you’re tired and don’t want to cook, you can pull something healthy from the freezer rather than pulling into the drive-through.
  • You’ve heard it many times, but don’t shop when you are hungry. It’s too tempting to pick up the wrong foods. Make a list and stick to it, for the most part, but be flexible.
  • Supermarkets are carefully laid out to tempt you–so don’t get tempted by the candy at the checkout. Also, studies show that people who buy large containers of foods tend to serve themselves more from those containers, so try to keep portion sizes consistent if you buy economy-sized packages.
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