NHLBI Logo and Link spacer spacer
Home · Resources · Search · Textbook Map · NHLBI Home
Guidelines on Overweight and Obesity: Electronic Textbook
spacer spacer

VI.A.2. Food Preparation ­

What To Do

Low-Calorie, Low-Fat Cooking/Serving Methods

Cooking low-calorie, low-fat dishes may not take a long time, but best intentions can be lost with the addition of butter or other added fats at the table. It is important to learn how certain ingredients can add unwanted calories and fat to low-fat dishes—making them no longer lower in calories and lower in fat! The following list provides examples of lower fat cooking methods and tips on how to serve your low-fat dishes.

Low-Fat Cooking Methods

These cooking methods tend to be lower in fat:

  • Bake
  • Broil
  • Microwave
  • Roast—for vegetables and/or chicken without skin
  • Steam
  • Lightly stir-fry or sauté in cooking spray, small amounts of vegetable oil, or reduced sodium broth
  • Grill seafood, chicken or vegetables

How To Save Calories and Fat

Look at the following examples for how to save calories and fat when preparing and serving foods. You might be surprised at how easy it is!

  • Two tablespoons of butter on a baked potato can add an extra 200 calories and 22 grams of fat! However, ¼ cup salsa only adds 18 calories and no fat!
  • Two tablespoons of regular clear Italian salad dressing will add an extra 136 calories and 14 grams of fat. Reduced fat Italian dressing only adds 30 calories and 2 grams of fat!

Try These Low-Fat Flavorings—added during preparation or at the table

  • Herbs—oregano, basil, cilantro, thyme, parsley, sage, or rosemary
  • Spices—cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, or paprika
  • Reduced-fat or fat-free salad dressing
  • Mustard
  • Catsup
  • Fat-free or reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • Fat-free or reduced-fat sour cream
  • Fat-free or reduced-fat yogurt
  • Reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • Salsa
  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Vinegar
  • Horseradish
  • Fresh ginger
  • Sprinkle of butter flavor (not made with real butter)
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Sprinkle of parmesan cheese (stronger flavor than most cheeses)
  • Sodium-free salt substitute
  • Jelly or fruit preserves on toast or bagels
< Back · Home · Next >

Please send us your feedback, comments, and questions
by using the appropriate link on the page, Contact the NHLBI.

Note to users of screen readers and other assistive technologies: please report your problems here.