Trying to cut down and lose a bit of excess weight now that 2022 is here? Eating low-carb and low-fat alternatives to your favourite high-calorie foods can be a great start to getting in shape. Here are a few suggestions that you might like to try.
Blitz florets or roughly sliced pieces of cauliflower briefly in your blender or processor using the pulse setting so in short sharp bursts of power. It only takes a few seconds. Place in a steamer or metal colander over a pan of simmering water and steam for a couple of minutes. You will be surprised at what a great-tasting, low-carb and low-fat accompaniment to any dish intead of starchy rice – and quick to make too! Chopped spiralized celeriac can be used the same way for great recipes, see my The Spiralizer Cookbook.
These are the perfect low-carb and low-fat alternative to your favourite way to cook potatoes.
Peel a small celeriac and cut in thick slices then chips or wedges. Toss in a splash of skimmed milk. Drain well. Spread out on non-stick baking paper on a baking sheet. Bake in a hot oven at 220oC for 30-40 minutes turning once until golden brown. Serve hot.
Jerusalem artichoke mash
When Jerusalem artichokes aren’t in season, you can do exactly the same with my other low-carb favourite, celeriac!
Scrub or peel Jerusalem artichokes and cut into small chunks. Place immediately in water with a little lemon juice added to prevent discolouration. Drain and place in fresh, lightly salted water. Boil until tender. Drain well, return to the pan and dry out briefly over a low heat. Mash thoroughly with a splash of skimmed milk, plenty of freshly ground pepper and a little freshly grated nutmeg.
Courgette or parsnip ribbon noodles
This is easy even if you don’t have a spiralizer. Simply pare strips of courgette or peeled parsnip using your potato peeler – as many as you need. Steam as above until just tender. Serve instead of any long pasta or noodles. However, if you do have a spiralizer, the sky is the limit!
Cut the base off a head of chicory and separate into the leaves which will resemble boats. Add your chosen ‘topping’ – anything from low-fat cream cheese to tomato salsa, guacamole, egg mayonnaise (light mayo of course!).
Filo for pastry
Use filo instead of shortcrust or puff pastry. It is very low in fat. Layer as directed on packet but use a splash of skimmed milk to brush very lightly between between layers and to glaze. If you really must have that buttery flavour, then use low-fat butter spread and brush very sparingly.
Ditch the added sugar!
Processed sugar is a simple carbohydrate that just adds on calories without any nutritional benefits.
Cooked apples: Go for Cox’s, Braeburn or Golden Delicious instead of Bramleys and use cinnamon or mixed spice to flavour (great way to use ones that are wrinkling on the skin so not that great to eat raw).
Tea breads and muffins: Use very ripe, well-mashed bananas instead of sugar (you may not need to add as much extra moisture, such as milk). Best to use wholemeal or spelt flour too. See my Rapid Banana Bread in The High Speed Blender Cookbook.
A touch of sweetness in cooking: A great way to use up overripe pears. Peel, core and blend any pappy, overripe pears you have to make sweet purée. Freeze in ice-cube trays (the purée will go brown but it doesn’t matter). Use cubes to add to any dish (particularly savoury ones) that just need a touch of sweetness (ones with tomatoes in are a great example).