More Flavor, Fewer Calories
Looking for ways to make fewer calories deliver more nutrition? Search for recipes that help you trim energy intake. Make sure to read all available nutritional information. You can even find phone apps that help you count calories and track other nutritional information such as vitamins, fiber, and sugar.
Sometimes, you may need to use a little of “the real thing” to get the flavor you crave. Start by reducing fats and sugars rather than cutting them out completely. Here are some tips for cooking to add flavor without too much fat or added sugar:
- For some foods, like cheese or salad dressings, try reduced-fat instead of fat-free products. You may want to try using a ratio of two-thirds reduced-fat product to one-third real thing.
- Try using one-third less sugar in your recipes or using a sugar substitute like stevia.
- Make your sweet treats count. Cook with fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy ingredients in muffins and in desserts like banana pudding or sweet potato pie.
- Add whole-wheat, soy, flax, or oatmeal to pancakes for more flavor and fiber.
- Try roasting or smoking vegetables to give them more flavor without added calories.
- Herbs and spices give foods distinctive flavors. When food is flavorful we may be satisfied with a smaller amount. Experiment with herbs like marjoram, thyme, or rosemary to see what tastes good to you. Buy herbs and spices on sale to stock your shelf with many possible ways to flavor your foods.
- Garlic, onions, and celery add a lot of flavor with few calories.
- When cooking a rice or pasta side dish, add frozen spinach or canned mushrooms to cut calories and add flavor.
Try new recipes and experiment with flavor profiles! Check out this low calorie, low sodium Apple Coleslaw recipe:
- 2 apples (1 red, 1 green), cored and chopped
- 1/2 head of green cabbage, shredded (3 cups)
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3/4 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
- Optional: raisins or grapes
- Mix yogurt and honey in a large bowl.
- Add other ingredients, mix together lightly.
Makes 12 servings.
Serving size: 1/2 cup
Cost per recipe: $3.38
Cost per serving: $0.28
Nutrition facts per serving: 45 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 25 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 1 g protein
Find more healthy recipes like this on the Oldham County Extension website.
Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.
Written by Janet Mullins, Extension Specialist for Food and Nutrition, and Lauren State, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant. Recipe from Debra Cotterill, Director of Kentucky Extension Nutrition Education Program.