Thursday, March 5

Less is More

'Less is more' is a good motto to have in the kitchen. Less salt, less sugar, less calories, less in serving size. Moms, as cooks, are in control here and can influence their family in many small ways.

Eating healthy did not come easy for me. I was born with a SWEET tooth. I have had to gradually change my eating and cooking habits over the years.

Some of the basic ways I changed my habits included:

Replacing couple of tablespoons of white flour with whole wheat flour everytime a recipe calls for flour. Normally, no one would notice the difference. I would increase the whole wheat flour gradually in many recipes until I was using only whole wheat flour if my family didn't complain about the texture or taste!

Often I will not add salt to anything I cook. Table salt can be added if it is really necessary, but often times a meal doesn't need the extra sodium.

I rarely 'pack' the brown sugar into the measuring cups as many recipes call for. If I am making it just for the family, the added sweetness usually is not missed.

I make my own white sauce instead of using canned soup. It reduces the sodium, additives and fat in a recipe. It is definitely cheaper too. Here's a basic recipe:

In a small, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat.
Blend 2 tablespoons of flour into the melted butter.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
Cook over low heat, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes. Cooking for this length of time will minimize 'flour' taste.
Slowly add 1 cup of milk, stirring constantly.
Continue cooking slowly until smooth and thickened.
For thin white sauce, follow the instructions above, but use 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of flour. Thin white sauce is used in cream soups.
For thick white sauce, follow the instructions above, but use 3 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of flour. Thick white sauce is used in souffl├ęs.

I read labels! Saturated fat is usually what I am looking for. Tortillas are a great place to experiment with your low-fat tolerance. They come in all diffferent fat content. I use the no fat version when I use them in a main dish. I use 1 gram of fat tortillas when eating as a bread.

I use "Smart Balance" (not the lite) when I bake instead of butter often. A friend of mine who is a cardiologist says she tells her patients to use this instead of butter all the time.

Consider the responsibility you have if you are the cook for your family. Little habits can make a big difference in the health of the ones you love and often will be more economical as well.

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