Processed Food Alternatives
'Real Food' on a Budget
Cutting the Carbs
I am so tired of going to shop for healthy, low fat food for my family and spending every cent I have. I need to watch the fat intake for one of my children. She has a medical problem and can't digest fat as well as others. I feel that this is positive, because it make the whole family eat healthy. Do you have any advise on how to save on buy this expensive food?? I have such a hard time paying for it! Thanks!
To the woman who wanted to feed her family low fat healthy food inexpensively- the way to go is vegetarian -beans, grains, veggies, fruit are low-fat and extremely healthy. There are a number of recipe sites and newsgroups that deal with eating lowfat veggie. firstname.lastname@example.org has lots of recipes. Books dealing with this are written(available in the library) by Gabe Mirkin, Dean Ornish, Dr.MacDougall, Steve Raichlen, etc. These are healthy ways to eat better, eat much less fat, save money and save your life.
You can eat low fat and not have to "buy" low fat. I cook from scratch and just cut down on the fat I put into the recipies. I brown meat for stew in water or vegetable broth rather than oil. I cut fat from meat as much as I can before cooking. I use a colander in the microwave to brown ground beef this way. The fat drips out the bottom and isn't absorbed into the food. I still buy non-fat mayo, but I've found that learning moderation in fat intake is cheaper.
First, don't buy prepackaged low fat *anything*! Most substitute sugar for fat (in baked goods) or starch and water for fat (in main dishes). Second, get a good basic cookbook (More With Less, for instance, or some of the newer heart-healthy ones -- check at the local library instead of buying them), and start cooking fruits, vegetables, pastas, and rice. Switch to low fat or nonfat dairy products. Use tomato sauce instead of cream sauces on pasta and in casseroles. Use meat and cheese as a flavoring, not as a main source of calories. Also take a look at the vegetarian cookbooks at the library. Perhaps your family isn't ready for this big a leap, but the recipes will give you ideas on how to reduce the amount of meat/fat in the recipes your family likes.
Yes, we, too are limited to a 10% (or less) fat intake in our diets due to health problems. We have found that if you don't buy the "low fat"-"no fat" processed foods and just simply buy the raw fruits and vegetables. The most expensive it really gets here is for some of the macrobiotic stuff like the tofu and the "Smart Dogs" by Lightlife. We have found that it's so much better (not necessarily easier) but cheaper, too, to just make the stuff by scratch.
There are always quick little tricks to the trade here also, like getting the frozen vegetables instead of doing it all by hand if you're going to cook it anyway. Otherwise, stick to the raw stuff on sale or in bulk. Sam's is really good for this, especially their fruits. BJ's for their vegetables. (I wouldn't suggest the salads in a bag, though. They dunk the stuff in a bleach solution before bagging them. That's how they're able to last so long on the shelves.)
You can adapt most baked goods by substituting something for the butter or oil called for. For example, in a sweet, such as brownie, use prune puree or mashed bananas or apple sauce instead of the fat. If the recipe calls for 1 cup butter, use one cup of applesauce. You may need to play with this, but it does work. For savories, such ar corn bread, etc, I use canned creamstyle corn.
You can also do without eggyolk in cooking. There are 5 grams of fat in each egg yolk! For each whole egg, use 2 egg whites instead. Or if the egg is used to bind as opposed to helping the product rise, you can use 1/4 cup soft tofu.
In recipes that call for sauteeing onions and garlic, etc, in oil before adding other ingredients, leave out the oil, you can sautee in a small amount of broth, wine, balsamic vinegar or apple juice. These liquids add wonderful flavor and no fat.
Gravies or white sauces turn out very well using skim milk or skim evaporated milk for a richer taste.
For a great bread or cracker spread, drain one can of any white beans (navy or northern are good) put into food procesor and blend until smooth, adding the saved liguid as required for proper consistency. To flavor, add a few cloves of roasted garlic or a tablespoon or horseradish. Or add your favorite herbs. Salt and pepper to taste.
Several years ago, my husband and I were in an occupation that focused on greasy, fat-laden meals. We were "introduced" to the concept of lowering the fat in our diets. Upon examination of our fare, we discovered that many of the foods we ate were processed and/or canned. Processing and preparation of foods typically adds in fat, salt, and sugar that average consumers might never otherwise put in homemade recipes. It has been my experience in pricing some types of foods, that "low fat" foods (SnackWell's, for example) are *higher* priced than their fattier couterparts.
Here are some ideas that we put into place for our family:
How well has this group of suggestions worked for my family? Taken in combination with an almost-daily walk of about a mile around our neighborhood, I've lost about 20 pounds and my husband has lost about 25 pounds, all in the last 10 months. I wish you great success!
Don't buy the pre-packaged "low fat" foods like low fat devil's food cookies and etc. Make them yourself. In fact, if you read the ingredients the way most of them get around lowering the fat is by adding sugar! Substitute canned applesauce for the fat in baked goods like cookies, cakes, and muffins. (You can buy the canned prune puree for the same purpose, but it doesn't taste as good as applesauce.) You can even buy the individual applesauce snack packs to use when cooking. Most recipes only need 1/2 cup, so you don't end up wasting the whole jar if no one feels like eating any.
If your child can't have any fat, you can use applesauce for all of the oil/shortening in the recipe, but it leaves the baked goods a little rubbery. I like to use half fat, half applesauce. Ex. If the recipe calls for 1 cup of oil, I would use 1/2 c. oil and 1/2 c. applesauce.
If the item you are making is savory rather than sweet and wouldn't taste right with applesauce, use mashed potatoes instead. (An example of this might be a cheddar cheese herb quick bread loaf) I buy a bag of instant mashed potatoes and mix up 1/2 cup or so as I need it--again, there is no waste.
In the meat department, substitute ground turkey for hamburger. Your family will never know the difference, it is much lower in fat, and very economical. It's rarely more than $.99 a pound. Frequently, I buy it on sale for about $.69 a pound. Look for it in the frozen foods section.
For snacks, buy "light" microwave popcorn--exactly the same price as that full of fat. Eat more fruits and vegetables for snacks. Bread is also low fat and makes good snacks. Toast it and spread with jam (leave off the butter). Cereal is lowfat and makes a good snack also. Plain old Jello is also fat free. Make your own pudding and leave out the margarine. Instead of buying fat free ice cream, buy sherbet.
In recipes calling for eggs, just use the whites (the yolk is the part with the fat in it).
Instead of frying things, just spray a non-stick skillet with Pam. Food will not stick and will be much lower in fat.
In response to LB who wanted less expensive ways to eat low-fat and healthfully:
These are some suggestions for the reader who has to buy both low-fat and low-cost:
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