12 Slimming Ingredients

Almost any dish can be made leaner and lighter with the right ingredients. Tops on the shopping lists of the nutrition pros interviewed are the fat, calories, and sodium trimmers below.


Almond milk It lends nutty flavor to mashed potatoes and creamy soups, and can contain 60 calories per cup compared with low-fat milk’s 100.

Baby-food fruit It might sound yucky, but puree fruit is a good way to replace up to 25 percent of the butter or oil in baking. Favorite: plum and chocolate cake.

Chestnuts They have less fat and about half the calories of regular nuts. Use them in stuffings, salads, or as snacks. Save time and buy preroasted and peeled chestnuts sold in jars.

Evaporated fat-free milk
You can replace full-fat evaporated milk with the skim version in pumpkin pie recipes without losing quality or flavor.

Flavored extracts When cutting sugar from desserts, amp up the taste by adding vanilla, almond, coconut, or coffee extract.

Greek yogurt Reduced-fat or no-fat versions taste rich and creamy and can be folded into mashed potatoes and used in baking or to decorate a pie.

Hot sauce To boost flavor without adding butter or salt, add a dash of hot sauce or a pinch of chili flakes to gravies or soups.

Lean meat Look for lean top round or loin cuts of beef or pork. To keep meat tender, cook it slowly using a moist-heat method, like braising.

Nippy cheeses Flavor casseroles with strong-tasting cheese, like blue, aged Swiss, and extra-sharp cheddar. They have lots of flavor, so you can use less and cut calories.

Turkey breast Cooking for a small crowd? Serve just the breast (no skin), which has around 60 fewer calories per 3.5-ounce portion than dark meat. It also cooks in less time than a whole bird.

Whole-grain bread and flour Slip some extra fiber into the meal by making stuffing with whole-grain bread. For fiber-filled pie crusts, replace half the white flour with whole-wheat pastry flour.

Yukon gold potatoes They mash up naturally creamy with just a touch of milk; starchier spuds soak up cream and butter.

For extra-strength damage control …

Add a few bulge-beating tools and serving ideas. You won’t even notice that you’re eating less!

Gravy separator Cut calories from gravies and sauces instantly. Pour in pan juices from roasting meat and watch fat rise to the top.
Ramekins and tartlet molds These individual cooking molds are just right for single portions of everything from casseroles to cobblers.
Salad plates Invest in a large set for buffet parties to replace full-size dinner plates. You and your guests will naturally dish out smaller portions.

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