Medical Assisting Program Chair, Pam Renkel, Suggests Helpful Nutrition Strategies
Blogger note: This article, written by Medical Assisting Program Chair, Pam Renkel, first appeared in the Minnesota School of Business-Shakopee student newsletter. Leslie Nicol, Student Services Coordinator, is editor.
With the New Year upon us, many people have resolved to eat healthier and pay attention to nutritional choices. Pam Renkel has compiled a list of helpful, healthful recipe tips to help shave calories and provide nutritious options.
These suggestions can transform many favorite unhealthy recipes into healthy ones. This can be done without diminishing the taste or texture of the foods you enjoy. This does mean you need to do the cooking!
Fat: For baked goods, use ½ the butter, shortening or oil and replace the other half with
unsweetened applesauce, mashed banana, or prune puree. You can also find commercially prepared fruit-based fat replacers in the baking aisle of most grocery stores.
Sugar: Reduce the amount of sugar by 1/3 to 1/2. Add spices such as cinnamon,
cloves, allspice and nutmeg, or flavoring such as vanilla extract or almond extract
to boost sweetness.
Salt: Reduce salt by 1/2 in baked goods that don’t require yeast. Salt is very
important to the desired action of yeast. For most main dishes, salads, soups and other foods, you can reduce salt by ½ or eliminate it completely. Your taste buds will adjust over a few weeks, and you will become accustomed to the flavor of the food without as much or any salt!
Substitutions for nutritional boosts
Pasta: Use whole-wheat pasta instead of enriched pasta. You’ll triple the fiber and reduce the number of calories.
Milk: Prepare a dessert with fat-free milk instead of whole milk to save 66 calories and almost 8 grams of fat per cup. Puddings and bread puddings all taste wonderful made with skim milk.
Meat: When making casseroles, scale back on the meat, poultry or fish and increase
the amount of vegetables. You will save on calories and fat, and gain more vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Cut back on some ingredients
Toppings: Eliminate items you generally add out of habit or for appearance. Frosting, coconut, or whipped cream toppings are all high in fat and calories. Make a fruit puree out of plums or peaches (remove the stone), or add a topping berries to add brightness and flavor.
Condiments: Pickles, mustard and olives are high in salt – so watch the amount. However, dill pickles and mustards are very low in calories. Olives, butter and mayonnaise are high in fat. Ketchup is high in sugar and salt. Use less soy to decrease salt, and there are some that are sodium reduced.
Cheese: If a recipe calls for 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, use ½ cup and you will not
really see a difference.
Change cooking and preparation techniques:
Healthy cooking methods include braising, broiling, grilling, poaching, sautéing, and steaming.
Basting liquids can be fat laden if not careful. Use small amounts of wine, fruit juice,
vegetable juice or fat-free broth instead.
Non-stick cookware and spraying pans with nonstick spray will further reduce the
amount of fat and calories added to your meals.
Downsize the portions
Slow down your eating time. Chew food more and you will eat less as your body has a
chance to register the fact that your stomach is filling. Hormones are
released by the digestive tract to signal your brain that you are full.
Rushing through a meal does not give that mechanism enough time to do its job.
Check portion sizes. Train yourself by using smaller plates, spoons and cups. 3-4
ounces of meat or fish is the size of a deck of cards. A serving of whole-grain pasta is about the size of a hockey puck. You might actually want to use measuring devices made for cooking to really understand what the serving size of the ½ cup of ice cream looks like!!
Eating out can be hazardous to your waist-line. Fast food establishments are publishing
their calories counts. Some are also adding “healthier choices.” Split dishes with a dining companion, or ask for a doggy bag before you begineating and pack up half of your meal to eat tomorrow. Think about the type of food serve at an establishment before deciding to enter. Do they have some healthful alternatives that really taste wonderful? Maybe they have really yummy homemade soups (not the cream kind), which would be better for you than some other alternatives.
Planning ahead will really help in your desire to be or become more healthy!