In these health-conscious times, many Filipinos try to eat healthier and one of the ways they achieve it is by maintaining a low-fat diet. However, some find it unsatisfying as most low-fat meals are deemed complicated to prepare, and limited in taste and variety. Fortunately, there are ways to make low-fat diet meals that are both flavor-rich and beginner-friendly.
“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. “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.
“At Ajinomoto, we believe that maintaining healthy eating habits need not be complicated or restrictive. Through these beginner tips, we want to show that low-fat cooking is for everyone and that Filipinos can make a difference to their health without compromising their food experience,” adds Sales.