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Keep the bacon, lose the fat: tips on how to adjust fat content without sacrificing the flavor

By Katya Baxter, Nutritionist,

We all agree that fat makes food taste better. Yet, all too often recipes contain more fat than necessary to achieve the full flavor profile of a dish.

According to the Culinary Institute of America, keeping the overall fat content to about 20% of the dish in many cases will give you the flavor you want without sacrificing the quality.

If you decide to experiment with adjusting the fat content in your recipes, consider these simple suggestions:

1. Use healthier fats. When a recipe calls for added saturated fats, consider replacing them (at least partially) with healthier versions, such as pure plant derived oils.

2. Keep the bacon. Have purpose for ingredients high in saturated fats. For example, render bacon and pour off most of the fat before using it in a recipe. This will reduce the fat while keeping the flavor of the bacon.

3. Throw out the extras. For example, when making sauce, make sure to pour off the fat accumulated from browning or roasting your meats before adding other ingredients. When making stews, braises, stocks and soups, try to make them a day in advance and refrigerate overnight so you can then easily remove solidified fat.

4. Bring equipment to the rescue. Silicone sheets are great for low-fat baking because they eliminate the need to oil the pan. Use defatting pitchers or defatting ladles to remove fat from your soups or stocks when you don’t have time to refrigerate. Non-stick and cast-iron pans are also great for low-fat cooking because they don’t call for a lot of oil.

What techniques have you been using to reduce fat in your recipes?

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