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Filed under: Family Camping, Menu Planning & Cooking, Preparation & Readiness

Taste Without Calories…Continued

June 19, 2011 by · 4 Comments 


Back on June 15th, I started talking about some simple modifications we have made in our diet to minimize fat and calories and maximize taste. In that first piece, we discussed switching to light butter and fat free sour cream and cream cheese. What follows is the continuation of that discussion:

Hellman's Lite Mayonnaise4—Hellman’s Lite Mayonnaise—This has been the only mayonnaise we have had in our home or camper for in excess of 15 years! And, as we love to add mayo to our ham sandwiches, we buy a small jar of Hellman’s Lite before embarking on any RV trip! I have had many people tell me that they just can’t use light mayo; they just don’t enjoy the taste. I have a friend, in fact, who has tried it and says she just can’t get used to it. However, this same friend absolutely LOVES my potato salad and whenever I make it, I give her an extra little bowl to take home which she devours immediately. Of course it is made with Hellman’s Lite mayo! I don’t make a point of telling her this when I give it to her, but I have told her in the past that that is the only brand and type I use. I think it is just because she is aware it is lite when she’s using it that she doesn’t like the taste!

If you have any doubters in your family, try an experiment. Substitute a lite variety of any of these items, mayo, cream cheese, sour cream, and see if they complain. I have a strong suspicion they will never notice. And if they do, it might just be that the taste is a little different, not bad at all! A small price to pay for all of you eating a little healthier!

Regular salad dressings

Measure portions of regular dressings to control calories

5—Salad dressing—This is one I am extremely touchy about. I have yet to find one of the mayo-based or creamier salad dressings that I enjoy in a reduced fat or fat free variety. My husband is happy with most of them but none of them will do it for me. However, a bit of research put this into perspective for me. Research indicated that when you have a big bowl of healthy colored vegetables: lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, carrots and the like, two tablespoons of regular salad dressing will not detract from the health or nutrition of that meal. The key is portion control. If you take the time to measure the salad dressing to ensure it is just two tablespoons, you need not worry about whether it is regular or fat free as the benefit you will be doing your body with the nutrition you are providing will not be diminished.

6—Another hint we have been experimenting with for about the past nine months is cutting the meat called for in a recipe in half. You still get the flavor and taste of the meat but if you add vegetables in place of the second half of the meat, you cut the fat and calories of the meal nearly in half, depending upon other ingredients you add, and do not lose any of the servings. Even our meat loving son hasn’t complained about this change.

7—Next, when buying meat, choose leaner cuts and mixtures. It may cost a bit more money, but if you are buying less meat anyway, you will not be investing any more money in the cost of the meal. In addition, if you purchase a less-marbled cut of beef or a lean ground beef or ground round, you and your entire family will be healthier and your health care costs may be reduced.

Lite Cheese8—Reduced fat cheese—Love, love, love. As a girl from Wisconsin, whose parents were both raised on dairy farms, cheese was one of the first loves of my life. When faced with cutting it out entirely or severely reducing the amount I eat, I eagerly but skeptically embraced the exploration of lower fat alternatives. Nearly all of the cheese we buy for our home is now reduced fat and we notice no taste difference. To me, this is a no-brainer. Totally fat free cheese is also available, but tends to be a bit dry.

Dressing ingredients9—A “lite” dressing for a summer pasta salad, in place of traditional mayo: Combining 1/3 cup EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil), 1/6 cup lemon or lime juice, your preference, salt, pepper and spices you prefer (I like to use oregano, basil, parsley—not necessarily all at once) is a wonderful “dressing” for a pasta salad that can become dinner on a hot summer evening, whether on the road or at home. These ingredients are things we take along on all of our trips anyway; our RV is always stocked with them, so it requires no special shopping expedition and provides a wonderfully simple and healthy summer meal.

For more information about family camping adventures check out Woodalls camping articles.


4 Responses to “Taste Without Calories…Continued”
  1. butterbean carpenter says:

    Howdy Dr. Berry,

    I notice you use Spice Classics brand spices.. As it is sooo much cheaper than THE name brand

    how do you compare them taste wise?? We have been using them for years and are very satisfied

    with the flavors.. Do you ‘cull’ your spices every year?? Portion control IS THE NAME OF THE GAME!!

    Smooth roads, clear skies & balmy breezes !!!!!!!!!!

  2. Diane Berry says:

    Hey butterbean–yes, whenever we must buy spices and cannot find them in bulk, (which is even cheaper yet!) we choose Spice Classics and have never been disappointed with the flavor. Name brands are highly overrated! The ones we use regularly, we run out of and do not need to cull. Spices we rarely use (ie pumpkin pie spices and the like) I try to buy the quantity we will need for that use and just a bit more. Enjoy! Thanks for your comments!

  3. Pat Malone says:

    Hi, Diane – One way to conserve on dressing for salads is to serve on the side instead of on the actual salad. I joined Weight Watchers a few years ago and they suggested you do this. Just dip the prong of your salad fork into the small side of dressing prior to forking up a forkful of salad. You get the taste without an over-abundance of salad dressing. They also taught me portion control by using parts of your hand to figure out what portions of various items you are eating. It works – I’ve lost 52 Lbs. AND HAVE KEPT IT OFF FOR ABOUT 8 YRS! I’ve not attended a WW’s meeting for at least 6-yrs. but still practice what I learned!!!


  4. Diane Berry says:

    Hi Pat–Awesome tip! Will try that out. Good for you! Congratulations!!! Thanks for the tip!

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