Make FATTENING foods healthy
Studies show that chips are among the most fattening foods, with their combined salt-fat content. But you can change this. “You can eat small portions on occasion and use healthy cooking methods and ingredients if you're preparing it at home,” says Judith Munga, a lecturer in the Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics at Kenyatta University. Instead of using traditional potatoes, use arrowroots, beetroots or sweet potatoes as they are full of fibre. If you are using sweet potatoes, for example, leave the peels on to preserve their dietary content. Instead of deep frying, use healthy cooking methods such as baking or grilling. Coat with olive oil and lower sodium content by seasoning with herbs.
Salad is as healthy as the dressing you are using, and there are healthy alternative ingredients you can use when making vinaigrette or creamy dressings. For vinaigrette, use monounsaturated fats like olive and canola, as they are known to improve blood cholesterol levels. If you are making the creamy version, use low-fat buttermilk or light sour cream. “Plain yoghurt is also a great substitute for mayonnaise,” says Dr. Catherine Nkirote Kunyanga, a lecturer in the Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Technology in the University of Nairobi. She adds that you should be mindful of the serving you have. Two tablespoons are usually enough.
Oily fish You can enjoy your fries, pastries and chocolate in healthier versions if you prepare them the right way. Here’s how
White flour, sugar, fat – all these ingredients increases the calorie content of pies. Judith advises using healthy oils like olive to make them. “Use whole wheat flour instead of refined flour,” she adds. Whole wheat flour is full of fibre, which leave you fuller for longer. Judith also advises making the pie with a bottom crust only. That cuts down the amount of calories. Replace some flour with nuts or oats and cut down the sugar by using naturally sweet fruits. Red meats have more cholesterol and saturated fat than white meat. Experts advise consuming it in moderation. Also, avoid burning it as studies show that consuming burnt or charred meat can cause cancer. Choose lean cuts as they have less fat. Trim off visible fat before cooking and use as little oil as possible. Avoid cooking meat at high temperatures as this may produce carcinogenic chemicals. Instead of seasoning with salt, use spices or acidic ingredients. Oily fish contain omega-3 fats which are beneficial and necessary for protection against diseases. They include salmon, sardines and mackerel. Dr. Kunyanga says that cooking methods such as deep frying and the type and amount of oil that you use can affect the nutritional value of oily fish. “Since it has its own fat, you can use cooking methods that don't require extra oil. These include baking and grilling,” she says. Cream equals calories. But you can still get the rich texture with healthy substitutes such as reduced-fat and reduced-sodium ingredients. In place of butter or margarine, use heartfriendly options such as olive oil. Sauces are never the main dish so portion control is key. When making creamy soups, swap the butter with pureed vegetable. They add flavour and cut on the fat.
Creamy sauces and creambased soups
Pastries are usually low in fibre and ingredients such as butter, sugar and fat doesn't do them any favours either. The trick is not to make them a daily treat. When making them, use whole wheat flour and healthy oils. You can replace processed white sugar with natural sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup.
Studies show that a daily dose of dark chocolate may lower blood pressure, as it has a higher cocoa content. Cocoa contains a compound called flavanol that has powerful antioxidant qualities. “However, don't replace chocolate with healthy meals, and have it only on occasions,” says Judith. You can add chocolate chips to food such as hot oatmeal. You can also get your chocolate fix by adding cocoa powder to smoothies or yoghurt.