Replace Meat In Your Diet
Day by day, you can take deliberate steps to trim the fat in your diet by shifting away from meat. Whether or not you cut it out entirely, you’ll discover that what starts out as a bit of a challenge can become an enjoyable new habit.
- Cut back on portions of red meat. Begin mathematically. Eat one-fifth less red meat this week. Take off another fifth next week. Perhaps, at the same time, you can substitute low-fat chicken or turkey breast or fresh fish for beef or pork, As you continue to reduce your portions, you can gradually turn meat into a mealtime “garnish.” A realistic step? Yes it is, at least for most of us. You might set an initial goal of having no more than one serving of lean meat, fish or poultry a day, limiting your portion to three or four ounces (the size of a deck of cards).
- Eat fresh-baked bread and rolls. Consider making it a pleasurable weekly habit to bake some homemade bread. The aroma of bread baking is one of life’s pleasures. Every meal can be accompanied by 100 percent whole-grain baked goods. The natural flavor of whole grain bread is often so delicious that you’ll be able to go light on the margarine or butter, and then, before long, skip it entirely.
- Go for more flavor enhancers. No one wants to change his diet unless the new meals and snacks have fresh, knockout tastes. Keep a condiment tray in the refrigerator, stocked with your favorite hot and spicy fixings – garlic, spices, salsas, chutneys – and flavor each meal the way you want it to taste.
- Add variety and zip to your salads. Look for vegetables with color and great new flavors. When you stop by your local produce stand or explore the farmers market, be on the lookout for hundreds of possible additions to mealtime salads. Deep green spinach, purple kale and arugula are some increasingly popular options. You can always count on carrots, tomatoes, onions, broccoli and cauliflower. But what about a light sprinkling of diced apples, chopped nuts or very low fat shredded cheese for added taste?
- Be willing to try new fat-free salad dressings as they show up in the supermarket, and watch for them in gourmet shops. You have the option of making a quick dressing with a very small amount of olive oil followed by a good splash of balsamic vinegar or lemon juice, plus your favorite seasonings.
- Fill in with fruits and veggies. By adding fresh produce to foods you already enjoy, you make a shift to low-fat eating while hanging on to some flavors you love. If tuna or chicken salad is your favorite, try making it with fat-free mayonnaise and chopped green or red peppers. Then add slices of tomatoes, onions or cucumbers – or all three. Serve on a bed of fresh green-leaf or romaine lettuce. In less than a minute, you can have an extra serving of vegetables while preserving the main part of your favorite-tasting salad or sandwich.
- In stews and casseroles, add less meat and put in some extra vegetables, grains or pasta. If you’re used to high-fat slices of ham or salami served on thin bread or crackers, replace the meat with crispy fresh slices of cucumbers, carrots, celery or zucchini. If you’re serving an appetizer, try some broccoli or cauliflower florets, along with some guiltless spicy salsas and low-fat or fat-free creamy dips.