By Kara Glasco, MS, RCEP, HFS
Punch up the flavor
Lemon juice, mustard, vinegar, and hot sauce are great additives to jazz up the flavor of any dish without adding many calories. I really enjoy adding lemon juice to my steamed veggies and sauteed greens so I don’t need to use butter. Anything vinegar based will always be very low in calories such as hot sauce and mustard. Try making a spicy marinade or mustard based rub instead of a ketchup or oil heavy marinade.
I love making buffalo chicken skewers and I marinate the chicken in only hot sauce for a buffalo flavor with hardly any added calories. All the same flavors as your favorite wings with no added carbs, fat, OR GUILT!!
Another tip is to increase the amount of vinegar to oil ratio in homemade salad dressings. I tend to make my dressings and marinades heavy on the vinegar because it acts as a meat tenderizer and makes a little go a long way. I suggest using two types of vinegar or acid in salad dressings for a more rounded and less harsh flavor profile. My favorites are balsamic, of course, lemon juice and any type of wine vinegar.
Another great way to save some calories in your sauce recipes is to swap out part of the fattening ingredients for chicken or vegetable broth. Broth has only 5 calories per tablespoon and is packed with yummy flavor. I suggest only swapping half of the liquids or fats for broth so you don’t completely change the recipes flavor profile. As I mentioned in my healthy substitutions article, http://fiteeza.com/sneaking-healthy-into-recipes I use low-fat condensed milk in place of heavy cream for a rich consistency without hundreds of extra calories.
I found this pesto recipe years ago, loved it the instant i tried it and will never make a traditional recipe again. This recipe is so light compared to the oil laden recipes most cookbooks use. The flavors really shine through as well because the ingredients aren’t smothered with all that oil. Traditional pesto has over 230 calories for 1/4 cup while this updated version is only 104 calories, what a savings!!!
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth (or homemade broth)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 or 2 medium garlic clove(s), peeled (depending on how much you like garlic)
1/2 tsp table salt
Over medium heat, toast pine nuts in a small pan for about 3 minutes. Toss frequently so they won’t burn. Pour pine nuts into a food processor. Add basil, broth, cheese, oil, garlic and salt. Process until it’s the smoothness and thickness of your liking. If you like, let it stand overnight for melding/thickening purposes. Serving Size is 1/4 cup.
Calories: 104 calories Fat: 9 g