As more and more Filipinos try to eat and cook healthier food in the time of pandemic, maintaining a low-fat diet is a must.
Low-fat diet, or the restriction of fat consumption, helps in the overall calorie intake and to improves cholesterol levels. However, most people tend to have the notion of preparing low-fat meals as complicated, not to mention the common thinking of them being bland in taste.
“Most of us think that low-fat meals are bland and unappetizing. However, low-fat cooking and diet planning can be more enjoyable than you think,” says Deborah Sales RND, Ajinomoto Philippines Corporation’s Science Communication Executive.
Good thing there are ways to make low-fat meals flavorful for health-conscious Filipinos. “With the right information and tools, Filipinos can easily prepare and enjoy low-fat meals without sacrificing their flavor.”
Here are simple tips to help health-conscious Filipinos ease their way toward low-fat, flavorful cooking:
Pick low-calorie alternatives
Finding low-fat substitutes to your usual ingredients can kick-start healthier eating habits without making drastic changes. For starters, you can swap your regular oils to non-stick cooking spray. For dairy, opt for low-fat, fat-free, or skimmed milk-based items. Meanwhile, you can try low-fat or fat-free frozen yogurt or frozen fruit bars to replace your regular ice cream.
Smart choice of protein from animal sources
Contrary to misconception, a low-fat diet can include red or white meat as it is essential in a balanced meal. It’s just a matter of choosing the leaner cuts. For instance, a chicken’s breast (pitso) has a lower fat content than its wings, thigh, and legs. For pork, tenderloin (lomo) has lower fat content compared to legs (pata), ribs, belly and ham. Lastly for beef, the sirloin and tenderloin areas (tagiliran, hulihan) have lower fat than the chuck (paypay), brisket (pecho), and ribs.
Switch to low-fat cooking methods
By simply adopting cooking methods that use little to no fat, you can make the most out of your low-fat ingredients. Instead of the usual frying – try to sear, grill, roast or bake your lean meats and seafood to bring their flavors and drain excess fats. On the other hand, sautéing, steaming or stir-frying your vegetables will help in retaining their natural flavors and nutrient content, while using less oil.
Incorporate umami into your cooking
From seasonings, breading mixes to cooking sauces, using umami-rich seasonings such as Ajinomoto products can easily turn your low-fat dishes into flavorful yet hearty meals. Also known as the “fifth taste,” umami makes food savory and delicious.