Make FAT­TEN­ING foods healthy

Healthy Woman - - NUTRITION EAT SLIM - Words Caro­line Okello

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.

French fries

Salad dress­ing

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.

Pie crusts

Red meat

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.

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