Simple choices at the grocery store can give you a head start when switching to low-fat eating. Choosing low-fat dairy options like skim milk and low or no-fat foods like yogurt, cheese, and mayonnaise can make a significant difference. Low-fat meats like chicken, turkey, and fish are also preferable over meats with high fat content, or you can purchase the leanest red meat possible. Some cooks may prefer to make his or her own fat-free dressings and condiments at home with olive oil and vinegar or plain yogurt as a base.
Healthy cooking methods are an important part of low-fat eating. Instead of using butter, margarine, or vegetable oil to saute or marinate, use broth or water, and throw in herbs and spices for flavor. Steaming, baking, and broiling with broth and herbs also works well. Another great tip is to always remove the skin from meat, and skim the fat from soups and stews.
Replacing fatty ingredients with healthier options can be an extremely effective way of low-fat eating. You can easily substitute or cut cream or whole milk with skim milk, and use egg whites instead of whole eggs. Low-fat sour cream and plain yogurt are effective substitutes for creamy dips. Stocking your pantry with flavorful staples like onions, garlic, and a large variety of herbs can make it easy when looking for low-fat substitutions in cooking.
Always try to use foods with a high sugar content sparingly, especially beverages. While flavored beverages and fruit cocktails may not contain it directly, unused sugar converts to fat in the body, and certain types do so more easily than others, like high fructose corn syrup. Reach instead for water, a fat and calorie-free beverage that hydrates you and boosts metabolism.
Low-fat eating doesn't have to be limited to dining at home. While preparing meals at home does give you more control over what goes into your food, choices that you make when ordering from a menu can supplement a healthy diet. You should try to order items without sauces, dips, or dressings, or ask for the condiment on the side so that you can control how much you use. You can also request for items to be grilled or steamed instead of fried and remove skin or breading yourself if need be. Requesting an extra small-sized plate on which to serve yourself can also help, since restaurant portions are typically very large, and you can limit fat intake by eating less.
Sticking with low-fat eating doesn't have to mean that you abolish fat completely from your diet. While trans fats and saturated fats contribute to heart disease and raise cholesterol, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, in fact, reverse this. Foods like olive oil, avocados, and nuts, as well as nut butters, fatty fish, and soy contain healthy fats. Whole dairy, fried foods, and commercial-baked goods, on the other hand, have trans or saturated fats that should be avoided or used sparingly.