Changes You Can Make to Cut Calories - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Changes You Can Make to Cut Calories

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Some simple tips may help cut calories from many foods:

Use Cooking Spray and Nonstick Pans

Using nonstick pans and dishes and a spritz of canola cooking spray means you'll need less fat in the batter or crust to keep food from sticking. All sorts of nonstick bakeware are available, from springform pans, to cake and muffin pans, to cookie sheets and deep-dish pie plates. When you use one of these pans, your lighter cakes, muffins and tarts will come out nicely brown and won't stick.

Keep a Carton of Fat-Free Sour Cream in Your Fridge

Fat-free sour cream is great in light recipes for three reasons. It's an easy replacement for real sour cream in recipes like pound cake or coffee cake. You can use it as a substitute for part of the fat in recipes for things like cookies (it works especially well for brownies), cake, or muffins. Further, manufacturers often add soluble fiber-like ingredients (such as gelatin, agar gum, xanthan gum, and locust bean gum) to keep fat-free sour cream stable. These ingredients also help keep it from separating when you whip it into your batter or heat it while baking. If your eight-serving recipe calls for 1 cup of butter or oil, and you use 1/2 cup of fat-free sour cream in place of half the butter or oil, you'll save about 110 calories and 13 grams of fat per serving.

Cut Down on High-Calorie Extras

Recipe add-ins and embellishments can sometimes be left out or cut in half. If a recipe calls for chocolate chips, for example, you can reduce the amount. If a recipe calls for dotting your pie with butter, you can safely skip this step. In a cake recipe, you can often get by with half the original amount of frosting (In a double-layer cake, just frost the top and middle and forget the sides). And in some cakes, bars, and cookies, you can eliminate frosting and substitute a light sprinkling of powdered sugar. Using 2 tablespoons of frosting instead of 4 will shave about 130 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, and 2 grams of saturated fat. Each tablespoon of chocolate chips omitted cuts about 50 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 2 grams of saturated fat.

Use Light Products

Try substituting lower-fat and lower-sugar ingredients in your baking recipes when possible. For example, if you're making a cake that calls for sour cream, use the fat-free version. Also try reduced-fat cheese, light cream cheese, less-sugar jams, light pancake syrup, light Cool Whip, light yogurt, light margarine or whipped butter, and fat-free half-and-half. Most of these products will help you cut calories and saturated fat along with the total grams of fat

Cut the Fat

In most baking recipes, you can cut the fatty ingredient (butter, margarine, shortening, or oil) by half. So if a cake recipe calls for 1 cup of butter or margarine, you can usually use 1/2 cup instead. Remember to replace that 1/2 cup with a moist but healthful ingredient, and choose an ingredient that complements the flavors of your recipe. My arsenal of secret weapons includes fat-free sour cream, low-fat buttermilk, orange juice, low-fat yogurt, applesauce and other fruit purees, strong coffee, and light cream cheese. Cutting fat cuts lots of calories, as each gram of fat translates into 9 calories (a gram of carbohydrate or protein, by comparison, has 4).

Cut the Sugar

In most baking recipes, you can replace half the sugar with Splenda (or a similar product). If you'd rather not use a sugar alternative, you can sometimes just cut the sugar by 1/4 and the recipe will still work out. For each tablespoon of sugar you cut out, you'll save 48 calories. So cutting 1/4 cup of sugar would save you a total of 192 calories.

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