A 2010 study called "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2010" reported that 38 U.S. states had obesity rates greater than 25 percent. According to Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, one of the groups behind the study, "Obesity rates among the current generation of young people are unacceptably high and a very serious problem." This epidemic can be reversed right in your own kitchen when you prepare healthy, low-fat dinners for your family to enjoy.
It's an unfortunate fact that oils and fats are responsible for the flavor of many of our favorite foods. With entrees like deep-fried meat and fish, fat is an essential component of many popular dishes. Luckily, there are various ways to cut fat in cooking without cutting flavor. For example, grill meat instead of frying, or use a light oil as a substitute if a recipe calls for butter. In addition, reducing fat can be countered by adding flavor with such items as onion, garlic, peppers, fresh herbs and spices, and packaged seasoning mixes.
A simple stir-fry is a quick, low-fat dinner solution. In a wok or large pan, simmer vegetables such as snow peas, sliced carrots and cauliflower with strips of lean chicken breast, using light sesame oil and some teriyaki sauce or ranch-flavored dry mix. A summertime barbecue entree idea is a grilled lamb-burger with a small amount of melted feta cheese on a whole wheat bun, topped with baby romaine lettuce. In place of full-fat mayonnaise, spread some light creamy salad dressing on the bun. Other entree ideas include Vietnamese-style shrimp served in lettuce cups, grilled lemon-mint chicken breasts on a bed of watercress with light creamy salad dressing and Southwestern turkey fajitas with whole wheat tortillas.
Instead of French fries or buttery mashed potatoes, try some creative side dishes with far less fat. For example, scoop out a baked potato and fill it with garden vegetables, cottage cheese, garlic cloves and spices such as ranch-flavored seasoning mix, to create a twice-baked, low-fat stuffed potato. Other examples of low-fat side dishes include celery and green-bean salad, grilled sweet-potato wedges and a yellow trio salad, a fall favorite made from corn kernels, sauteed summer squash and yellow grape tomatoes that have been chopped in half.
Sweet treats need not be filled with fat. For example, substitute low-fat Greek yogurt for heavy whipped cream as a topping for fresh strawberries. Other examples include marbled cheesecake brownies made from reduced-fat cream cheese and oatmeal-raisin cookies with almond butter substituting for butter, which also adds a subtle nutty flavor. Another suggestion is a broiled banana split: Broil a halved banana until it becomes caramelized, then top with berries, toasted almonds, grated chocolate and frozen yogurt for a low-fat take on a classic dessert.