Pictured: Loaded broccoli brings bits of goodness without taking calories too far.
As the site continues to grow, I get more contact from readers wondering how they can make some of the high fat dishes low carbers tend to enjoy lower fat to fit their healthy lifestyles. I know not everyone sleeps with their fists filled with bacon at night like I do (don’t judge), so how can you cut the fat if you’re watching your calories or following a lower fat regimen?
1. Leaner protein-er
If you see a recipe for chili or tacos or other beef-based dishes, try subbing in chicken or fish instead, as I did for this easy, gluten free pizza crust. There’s no crime in chicken chili or fish tacos.
Tip: These meats tend to be slightly more dry so be sure to take that into consideration and use food moisturizer (OK, so that doesn’t exist).
Tip: Turkey pepperoni packs less fat per round than your standard pork.
2. Cheese choices
If you’re using a high fat cheese (like my mascarpone, pictured right), consider switching to a lower fat or skim cheese. You might also check out soy or rice based cheeses as well, though they will likely add a few carbs to the equation. My pizza crust recipes use low fat mozzarella and they turn out fabulously.
Tip: If you follow a ketogenic/lower carb lifestyle, pay attention to those labels. You might swap out a high fat cream cheese for a low fat one, only to find out the number of carbs per serving has tripled. When manufacturers remove fat, they tend to up the sugar content.
Tip: Go with a more flavorful cheese. Feta, sparingly sprinkled across a pizza, as an example, lends a ton of flavor with very little fat.
3. Cream the cream
Whether it’s cream soups, ganaches or other dishes, cream is pretty calorically dense. You can, however, cut the fat slightly by switching to half and half, coconut milk or almond milk for at least part of the recipe. Even soups like my mushroom bacon soup (left) can be tweaked with coconut milk, almond milk, or half and half (and turkey bacon).
Tip: Please note that since non-creams be thinner liquids, you might want to consider adding gum (xanthan or guar) or a flour (like arrowroot or amaranth) to thicken.
Tip: A little lower fat cream cheese added into a dish contributes gums/thickener back to the dish, along with some flavor and a dairy feel.
4. Add vegetables
What you take away in meat and fat can, to some degree, be made up with vegetables. Crunchy vegetables, from cabbage to cauliflower, or more filling vegetables, like daikon radish or cauliflower, go a long way in extending a dish. You can even add more spaghetti squash to this Mexican Casserole and less meat.
Tip: Drained sauerkraut added to taco meat or hamburger in the cooking process for tacos and casseroles, especially coupled with kicking spices, lends a shredded beef texture to the dish, and a slight amount of delicious acid.
5. Egg whites
I am not the hugest fan in the world of egg whites in the Marvel Universe, but if you want a lower fat dish, removing most of the yolk is an easy solution. Oopsie rolls, like these, can be made by subbing out some of the yolk, and changing out the cream cheese for either cottage cheese or a lower fat cream cheese.
Tip: Read more at Taste of Home for tips of egg substitutions.
6. Flour power.
Almond and coconut flours tend to contain fat, so there are other options available, such as garbanzo bean flour, amaranth, arrow root, soy flour, oat flour, rice flour and potato flour. These Cranberry, Macadamia White Chocolate Chip cookies are a prime example of a flour swap that could be changed again to lower fat content slightly.
Tip: Please note that the lower fat flours contain more carbohydrates, so seriously– if you use them, be aware of that. Check this page for information about alternative flour counts: Bob’s Red Mill
7. Cottage cheese.
While replacing cream cheese with cottage cheese is what made me hate Atkins in the 80’s, it works. These mini cream puffs are a perfect example of swapping out cream cheese for cottage cheese instead.
Tip: Since cottage cheese is less solid than cream cheese, take that into account when using in recipes. Consider some low carb starch or gum if necessary for thickening.
8. Parchment paper
It prevents sticking, makes cleanup a cinch, and has that cool, vellum vibe going on. I love lining my pans with it for baking, and it eliminates added fats to prevent sticking. You can see it working its magical Richard Simmons unicorn charm underneath this freaky awesome pan pizza (right).
Tip: Don’t confuse waxed paper with parchment. Waxed paper melts when heat is applied to it. Ask me how I know.
Do you have other tips for reducing the caloric and fat contents of your lower carb meals? Share them below!