This brownie example illustrates how
substituting a few high-fat ingredients
with lower-fat alternatives can
dramatically reduce the amount of
calories, fat and saturated fat in a dish.
By replacing chocolate with cocoa
powder, eggs with egg whites, and
butter with applesauce and vegetable
oil, this dessert favorite gains a better
nutrition profile while maintaining a
delectable taste and texture.
Calories: 200 • Fat: 12 grams
Saturated Fat: 7 grams
6 oz. unsweetened chocolate
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 t. vanilla extract
Calories: 100 • Fat: 4 grams
Saturated Fat: 0.5 grams
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 t. vanilla extract
valuable tips for reducing the content in
these three areas without jeopardizing
the flavor and texture profile of a dish.
• Make soups, stocks, stews and
braises the day before and refrigerate
overnight, allowing the fat to rise to the
top for easy removal. The extra time
also helps the flavors develop.
• After browning or roasting meats and
poultry, drain the extra fat before adding
other ingredients to make a sauce.
• Since classic sauces are traditionally
high in fat, try chutneys, coulis and salsas
for a fresh and new flavor profile.
• Cooked legumes can also make hearty
sauces without all the fat.
• Use puréed vegetables, starchy
ingredients, such as potatoes, rice and
beans, or pure starch, such as arrowroot,
as a replacement for roux.
• Evaporated skim milk is a good substitute
for cream in many applications because
of its similar color, flavor and viscosity.
• Use sensible portions of lean cuts of
beef and pork, as well as low-fat dairy, to
keep saturated fats under control.
• Cook with fish, because most are
lower in saturated fat than meat.
Some fish, such as mackerel, sardines
and salmon, contain high amounts of
omega- 3 fatty acids.
• Opt for game instead of “traditional” meats,
as game meats tend to have a bolder,
more complex flavor while being lower in
fat and cholesterol. Try game breeds such
as ostrich, emu, venison and bison.
• The skin of poultry can be left
on during roasting and baking to
prevent the loss of natural juices
without adding a significant amount
of fat. Also, tucking herbs and other
aromatics under the skin can help
applesauce, mashed bananas, lekvar
(prune purée) or other fruits with high
pectin and sugar levels.
• Cream cheese in a cheesecake can be
replaced with a combination of reduced-fat cream cheese, nonfat yogurt and low-fat cottage and ricotta cheeses.
• Use two egg whites instead of one whole
egg to significantly reduce the fat and
cholesterol content of some baked goods.
Ideas for reducing fat in recipes are
adapted from The Culinary Institute
of America’s TheProfessional Chef’s
Techniques of Healthy Cooking Second
Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2000)
and other culinary resources.
• Try replacing some of the fat in baked
goods with fruit purées, such as
Margaret Condrasky is an associate
professor in Food Science and the Human
Nutrition department, and Marie Hegler is
a graduate in Food Science and Human
Nutrition, Clemson University, Clemson, S.C.