There are a few reasons why someone would eat a low-fat diet. On the one hand, unhealthy eating and exercise habits can lead to developing fatty deposits in the blood and increase the risk of heart disease. You’re more likely to develop high cholesterol by eating saturated fats — found in animal products like red meat and full-fat dairy. In addition to “sat fats,” eating a lot of trans fats is also unhealthy. You’ll find those in processed baked goods and snacks…

Another reason for being on a low-fat diet is to lose weight. Note, however, a low-fat diet is not the same as a low-calorie diet or a low carb diet, even though the motivation for all three diets are pretty similar. You don’t necessarily have to be carrying around extra pounds to want to lose a few. But in the end, there’s no wrong reason for wanting to serve yourself and your family healthy recipes that are low in fat. Especially since they’re just as delicious as their full-fat counterparts!

What low-fat means

Once you see a low-fat menu, you’ll instantly see how little you’re missing out on. In fact, it’s a great way to expand your tastes. Sure, fatty foods can hit the spot sometimes (hello barbecue ribs and ice cream), but after about a month or so chowing down on these healthy foods, you’ll probably notice that you have more energy and feel less groggy during daylight hours. A good rule of thumb for determining whether a food is low in fat is by looking at the nutrition label. If it has 3 grams of fat or less per 100 calories, then you’re good to go. And don’t be fooled by food packaging! If it says “light,” like “Light String Cheese,” that does not mean it’s low in fat. Most of the light string cheese products we’ve seen have 2.5 grams of fat for every 50 calories.

What to eat

Just because you have to nix some dairy and red meat products from your menu doesn’t mean you’re stuck eating lame salad recipes and dry rice cakes. It’s perfectly fine to eat meals containing these low-fat dairy ingredients: low-fat milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese. Yogurt plays a significant role in Greek cuisine, which also happens to have a low of lean and low-fat offerings, especially their insanely delicious grilled chicken breast and veggie kabobs. Chicken recipes have a lot of leeway for being low fat, if not already. One example of a potentially low-fat recipe is roasting chicken or making it in a slow cooker or pressure cooker rather than frying in oil or sautéing in butter. Stir-fry dinner recipes with chicken or vegetarian recipes are more low-fat alternatives.

Fat-free cream cheese, which is used in dips and desserts, is OK as well. If you enjoy eating elaborate omelets, then you’ll be happy to know that egg whites are a perfect addition to a low-fat diet, as is crab, shrimp, and light tuna, which are used in tons of appetizers, on salads, and in sandwiches. You probably like using ground beef for sloppy Joe’s, burgers, casseroles, pasta sauces, and more. Start using extra lean ground beef, and You won’t even notice the difference. If you enjoy Mexican food, or bean casseroles, bean soups, or plain black beans and rice, you don’t have to change a thing. Lentils and other legumes and peas are naturally low fat.

Can I eat dessert?

Yes! But you may need to swap out some fatty ingredients and swap in low-fat substitutes. Or look for low-fat dessert recipes — like silky strawberry sorbet. Components include strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. There are a few quick steps to making sorbet, including pureeing the berries, then simmering the puree with sugar, and whisk in cornstarch. Once removed from the heat, add lemon juice to the puree. Finally, after cooling in room temperature, place in the fridge for two hours and then finish it off in an ice cream maker. Do you know what other dessert recipes have a low-fat version? Cookies, including snickerdoodles, ladyfingers, lemon balls, and confectioner’s-sugar-coated chocolate cookies. Before collecting the ingredients to bake up a decadent banana, chocolate pudding, or angel sponge cake, just be sure to check the nutrition information, so you’re sticking to your low-fat-recipe lane.

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