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Taste Without Calories!

June 15, 2011 by · 3 Comments 


Okay, now that I have your attention, let’s get real. In life, there truly is little that has taste with NO calories, but if you are interested in limiting your calorie intake, there are several simple things you can do, whether you are at home or traveling on the road, to minimize your calorie intake without losing any of the flavor that we love about food.

You may recall that about six months ago I posted a blog about two traditional recipes that could be easily modified to reduce fat and calorie content. This post is a continuation of that, in the sense that it includes some similar ideas.

You see, being someone who loves to eat and also being of a body type (never svelte without concerted effort or an accompanying life crisis) and an age where I need to watch my fat intake, for about the past ten years, ever since we started “getting beyond a certain age,” my husband and I have been focusing on reducing fat and calories in our diet without losing flavor. Isn’t that the best kind of a modification?

I am writing to share a few more tasty ideas we’ve come up with through the years for maximizing taste and minimizing fat and calories. Here goes:

Light Butter1—Light butter—As a butter lover, this was something I tried with much doubt and trepidation. But about a year ago I tasted a light butter, with only. The brand we like to use is Land o Lakes which boasts 50% less fat and 47% fewer calories than regular butter. To me, the taste is the same. To our 18 year old daughter, it does not. However, I will note that she is 5’9” tall and weighs a mere 120 pounds; I am neither of those things. Even if Land o Lakes is not available where you shop, there are many other companies who make a light butter. To me, this is a very easy way to save fat and calories with no cost.

Fat Free Sour Cream2—Fat free sour cream—Again you will have to shop around a bit, but it is worth the effort. If you try about three varieties, you should be able to find one you like. Our current favorite is Morning Glory, but it is by no means the only one we have enjoyed. Occasionally we have had the experience of our favorite grocery store discontinuing a favorite brand, but we find within a matter of a week or two, we can find another favorite. We love to have an omelet on weekend mornings with a dab of sour cream on top. Now we can enjoy it without the guilt!

Cream Cheese3—Fat Free Cream Cheese—You have to be a little more careful here; some are better than others. For spreading on a bagel, most fat free varieties taste close to the original. For cooking, however, you may need to purchase the “Neufachtel” variety, with 1/3 less fat instead. When I make my Christmas morning coffee cake that calls for 8 oz. of cream cheese (yes, it’s very rich!) or my baked holiday shrimp dip, I use find I have better results with the Neufachtel type. We have recently discovered a Light Cream Cheese that even naturally thin Meghan will eat, Crystal Farms Light Cream Cheese. It boasts 50% less fat and 40% fewer calories than the regular variety and is definitely worth a try!

I had planned to do this all in one post, but I guess I have more to say about this issue than I initially thought. I will continue these ideas in my next post. Stay tuned…

And for more information and ideas about camping with your family read about Woodall’s 2011 guide to camping.


3 Responses to “Taste Without Calories!”
  1. Patti Faustini says:

    These are great tips, Diane! The only problem I have is with the phrase, “…dab of sour cream…” I don’t do dabs…I do cups!

    Happy tales,


  2. Tom Gray says:

    Hi, Diane.

    As far as I’m concerned, less fat = less taste!

    I don’t believe the entire anti-fat thing. It seems to have originated in the 80s with a series of low-fat high-carb diets proposed by the American Heart Association, before nutritionists learned about saturated vs unsaturated fats and the impact of simple vs complex carbohydrates.

    A few years ago, I was overweight and had high blood pressure. My doctor wanted me to go on medication for the rest of my life. I refused. Instead, I went on the South Beach Diet. I also began exercising regularly – a lot of walking and biking, and lately running and working with weights added in.

    The weight flew off — I lost 16 pounds in three weeks and have kept it off ever since (four years). My blood pressure is normal; at my last checkup, the doctor said, “I wish all my patients were this healthy.”

    I still try to keep low on simple carbohydrates (no sugary sodas, small portions for dessert). I still don’t eat as much as I used to (don’t need to, despite all the exercise). I eat lots of fruit and vegetables and whole grain products. But otherwise I eat whatever I like… including yummy, natural, flavorful fats!

  3. Diane Berry says:

    Patti–I hear you. And Tom, you are indeed a lucky man! I work out 7 days a week and must still carefully watch calories and fat. Wish I didn’t! Happy travels!

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