One of the things I wanted to do this year was start watching my weight again. I’ve been on and off Weight Watchers so many times that I have the program memorized. Unfortunately, even though I know the rules of the program, I hate being “on a diet” and tend to rebel against those rules. In addition, the rational part of me starts questioning why diets are necessary when all of the experts say that you can eat what you want but the key is portion size. Yes, easier said than done, but I am willing to make a concerted effort to do so.
While I was forming this plan, Anna Suknov at FSB Associates offered me a copy of the recently released The Mayo Clinic Diet. I’ve been reading it but knowing that everyone is using the new year to turn over a new leaf and try to keep to their resolutions, I thought I would post something to preview the type of information presented in the book. Enjoy
Healthy Cooking By the weight-loss experts at Mayo Clinic and Donald Hensrud, M.D., M.P.H. Authors of The Mayo Clinic Diet: Eat well. Enjoy life. Lose weight.
Healthy cooking doesn’t mean you have to become a gourmet chef or invest in special cookware. Simply use standard cooking methods to prepare foods in healthy ways. You can also adapt familiar recipes by substituting other ingredients for fat, sugar and salt.
Use these methods
These methods best capture the flavor and retain the nutrients in your food without adding too much fat or salt.
• Baking. Besides breads and desserts, you can bake seafood, poultry, lean meat, and vegetable and fruit pieces of the same size. Place food in a pan or dish (covered or uncovered) and bake. You may need to baste the food with broth, low-fat marinade or juice to keep the food from drying out.
• Braising. Braising involves browning the meat or poultry first in a pan on top of the stove, and then slowly cooking it covered with a small amount of liquid, such as water or broth. In some recipes, the cooking liquid is used afterward to form a flavorful, nutrient-rich sauce.
• Grilling and broiling. Both grilling and broiling expose fairly thin pieces of food to direct heat and allow fat to drip away from the food. If you’re grilling outdoors, place smaller items, such as chopped vegetables, in a long-handled grill basket or on foil to prevent pieces from slipping through the rack. To broil indoors place food on a broiler rack below a heat element.
• Poaching. To poach foods, in a covered pan gently simmer ingredients in water or a flavorful liquid, such as broth, vinegar or juice, until cooked through and tender. For stove-top poaching, choose an appropriate-sized covered pan and use a minimum amount of liquid.
• Roasting. Roasting uses an oven’s dry heat at high temperatures to cook the food on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan. For poultry, seafood and meat, place a rack inside the roasting pan so that the fat can drip away during cooking.
• Sautéing. Sautéing quickly cooks small or thin pieces of food. If you choose a good-quality nonstick pan, you can cook food without using fat. Depending on the recipe, use low-sodium broth, cooking spray, water or wine in place of oil or butter.
• Steaming. One of the simplest cooking techniques to master is steaming food in a perforated basket suspended above simmering liquid. If you use a flavorful liquid or add herbs to the water, you’ll flavor the food as it cooks.
• Stir-frying. Stir-frying quickly cooks small, uniform-sized pieces of food while they’re rapidly stirred in a wok or large nonstick frying pan. You need only a small amount of oil or cooking spray for this cooking method.
Find new ways to add flavor
Instead of salt or butter, you can enhance foods with a variety of herbs, spices and low-fat condiments. Be creative.
Poach fish in low-fat broth or wine and fresh herbs. Top a broiled chicken breast with fresh salsa. Make meats more flavorful with low-fat marinades or spices — bay leaf, chili powder, dry mustard, garlic, ginger, green pepper, sage, marjoram, onion, oregano, pepper or thyme.
To bring out the sweetness in baked goods, use a bit more vanilla, cinnamon or nutmeg.
If the recipe calls for
For sandwiches, substitute tomato slices, catsup or mustard.
For stove-top cooking, sauté food in broth or small amounts of healthy oil like olive, canola or peanut or use non-stick spray.
In marinades, substitute diluted fruit juice, wine, or balsamic vinegar.
In cakes or bars, replace half the fat or oil with the same amount of applesauce, prune puree or commercial fat substitute.
To avoid dense, soggy or flat baked goods, don’t substitute oil for butter or shortening, or substitute diet, whipped or tub-style margarine for regular margarine.
Keep it lean. In soup, chili or stir-fry, replace most of the meat with beans or vegetables. As an entrée, keep it to no more than the size of a deck of cards — load up on vegetables.
Whole milk (regular or evaporated
Fat free or 1% milk, or evaporated skim milk.
(yolk and white)
1/4 cup egg substitute or 2 egg whites for breakfast or in baked goods.
Fat-free, low-fat or light varieties in dips, spreads, salad dressings and toppings. Fat-free, low-fat and light varieties do not work well for baking.
In most baked goods, you can reduce the amount of sugar by one-half without affecting texture or taste, but use no less than 1/4 cup of sugar for every cup of flour to keep items moist.
Replace half or more of white flour with whole grain pastry or regular flour.
Use herbs (1 tbsp. fresh = 1 tsp. dried = 1/4 tsp. powder). Add towards the end of cooking and use sparingly — you can always add more.
Salt is required when baking yest-leavened items. Otherwise you may reduce salt by half in cookies and bars. Not needed when boiling pasta.
The above is an excerpt from the book The Mayo Clinic Diet: Eat well. Enjoy life. Lose weight., by the weight-loss experts at Mayo Clinic and Donald Hensrud, M.D., M.P.H. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.
About Donald Hensrud, M.D. Donald Hensrud, M.D., M.P.H., is chair of the Division of Preventive, Occupational, and Aerospace Medicine and a consultant in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nutrition at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. He is also an associate professor of preventive medicine and nutrition at the College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic. A specialist in nutrition and weight management, Dr. Hensrud advises individuals on how to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. He conducts research in weight management, and he writes and lectures widely on nutrition-related topics. He helped publish two award-winning Mayo Clinic cookbooks.
About Mayo Clinic Mayo Clinic is the first and largest integrated, not-for-profit group practice in the world. Doctors from every medical specialty work together to care for patients, joined by common systems and a philosophy that the needs of the patient come first. Over 3,600 physicians and scientists and 50,000 allied staff work at Mayo, which has sites in Rochester, Minn.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz. Collectively, Mayo Clinic treats more than 500,000 patients a year.
For more than 100 years, millions of people from all walks of life have found answers at Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic works with many insurance companies, does not require a physician referral in most cases and is an in-network provider for millions of people.