Did you know that fat is an extremely important nutrient? It's our body's main energy source. We couldn't live without it. The problem is that in our modern diet we eat way too much fat, and we have a tendency of eating the wrong fats. This causes problems like arteriosclerosis (possibly resulting in heart attack or stroke), high cholesterol and obesity.
If you want to prepare a healthy meal to prevent the above problems, there are basically two things you need to consider to use fat in a healthy way:
The less fat the better.
Vegetable fats are healthier than animal fats.
These facts lead to 5 rules how to cook meals with a healthy fat content:
Use fat sparingly
Prefer healthy fats
Choose low-fat foods
Prefer cooking methods that use little or no fat
Use equipment that requires little or no fat
1. Use fat sparingly
This is most likely the most important rule for a healthy meal. The less fat you add the better. Forget about adding oil to your pasta water to prevent the pasta from sticking together, it anyways doesn't work. And you don't really need to add a lot of butter to your rice to give it a nice taste. Rather use spices to add some flavor. Think twice if you really need to add this amount of fat. If you don't, then leave it.
2. Prefer healthy fats
In most recipes, animal fats can easily be replaced by the healthier vegetable fats. Use a good margarine instead of butter and a blend of vegetable oils for all frying and roasting. Olive, canola and rapeseed oil and any products derived from them are the healthiest options. Olive oil also reduces the bad cholesterol levels. It tastes great with many vegetables (e.g. grilled potatoes, stir-fried marrows, peppers, mushrooms and carrots) and salads.
3. Choose low-fat foods
Animal products like dairies, eggs, meat (especially beef), poultry and fish contain mainly saturated fats which are rather unhealthy for our body. Processed foods and pastry also belong into this group. Cut these foods to a moderate amount, choose lean meats and low-fat dairy products, and eat larger portions of low-fat foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains and grain products as well as legumes.
4. Prefer cooking methods that use little or no fat
Frying in oil is certainly one of the unhealthiest cooking methods. Rather stir-fry or bake your food in the pan which uses way less oil. Steaming, stewing and baking in the oven can even do without added fat. There is, for example, a special type of chips that is specifically designed for oven-baking instead of frying (it's usually labeled "oven-bake chips").
5. Use equipment that requires little or no fat
Non-stick pots, pans and ovenproof dishes are an excellent asset for fat-reduced or even fat-free cooking, and there is a wide range available. Make certain you buy good products that will live up to the promise they make (the cheaper ones often lose their non-stick coating rather soon). There are also other types of cookware that have the same effect of denying the need of added fat to a great extend. A steamer is another option you might want to consider.
Now, if you follow these five rules explained above, your meals will contain less fat in general, and they will focus on the healthier fats, meaning your whole meal will be much healthier, and so will you. Always remember that nowadays there is barely a chance that you might not get enough fat. Even if you use it as sparingly as described here, you will still get sufficient. The secret to using fat in a healthy way is, as I mentioned before: as little as possible (that applies to both the fat your foods contain and the fat you add to them), and if you have to use fat, then choose healthy fats.
Bettina Berlin is a health professional specializing in healthy nutrition and quick cooking. Eating healthy and thus maintaining a healthy weight can significantly improve your health and help prevent many diseases. Is your life so hectic that preparing healthy food often seems impossible? Then visit http://www.elishas-quick-recipes.blogspot.com TODAY and get your FREE fast cooking tips and much delicious quick easy recipes!