Keep the guesswork, and your cravings, to a minimum with these proven tips for managing and maintaining an FCS-friendly nutrition plan
Eating a low-fat diet can seem difficult at first – but with a few simple tips people living with FCS can make FCS-friendly meals that taste great and are fun to make.
Follow these four steps to stay healthy, happy and satisfied.
1. Identify: Create a list of your favorite foods, cuisines, and flavors
Write down all the foods you love. Think about foods you grew up with. What were the flavors of your childhood? Be sure to add any foods that may not be FCS-friendly. For instance, when you have the munchies, what do you crave? Include entrées, snacks, desserts and beverages.
When you have completed your list, go back and take a look at what you wrote down. Do you notice any patterns? Do you like simple flavors or are you into international cuisines? Do you like Italian or Indian? Mexican or Mongolian? Spicy or tangy?
2. Discover: Get to the root of what fuels your cravings
Think about what it is that you like about the foods you listed above. Is it the ingredients, the spices, the flavor profiles, or the cooking methods? Think about the time of day when you crave food. Do you grab snacks throughout the day, or do you like to take the time to cook your meal?
Do you know how the foods you love are prepared? If you’re not sure, try looking up low-fat recipes on the internet, read some low-fat cookbooks, or talk to people who make the type of food you crave.
3. Substitute: Create FCS-friendly versions of the foods you crave
Armed with the knowledge you’ve gained in your research, think about how you can make low-fat versions of your favorite foods (those that may NOT be low-fat).
For example, how could you swap a pizza from your local pizzeria with something healthy? How about a non-fat, whole wheat pita version? Or mini-pizzas on a fat-free whole wheat English Muffin? Using those items as your crust, add sliced tomatoes and/or vegetables (such as red onions, peppers, or mushrooms) – and then top it off with a fat-free mozzarella cheese and a sprinkle of basil and oregano. Put your pizza under the broiler for 5-6 minutes and you now have a healthy substitute for pizza.
Craving a hamburger? Try one of the low-fat veggie burgers (be sure to read the label for grams of total fat) sold at some grocery stores. If veggie burgers aren’t your thing, throw a portabella mushroom (with a little garlic) or piece of non-oily white fish on the grill to enhance the burger flavor. Spread some stone-ground mustard on a whole wheat bun. Top with lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and a red-onion, and you’re ready for a backyard BBQ.
4. Maintain: Take the guesswork out of shopping with an FCS food pantry
Once you’ve come up with your recipes for healthy low-fat substitutes, create a list of your most often used ingredients (we’ve even started one for you below). Keep these often-used ingredients on-hand in a FCS-friendly food pantry. This way you will never be at a loss for making a healthy low-fat meal. Also consider buying common spices for the cuisines you enjoy, since most spices have little to no fat.
Keep your FCS-friendly food list handy on your smart phone or print it out on paper. That way, when you’re at the grocery store, you can get everything you need to make healthy and flavorful foods that you love.
As always, check the Nutrition Facts label to make sure all ingredients fit with your nutrition plan.
- Whole wheat pasta
- Fat-free tomato sauce
- Fat-free broth
- Canned fat-free beans
- Fat-free chili beans
- Brown rice
- Toasted oat cereal
- Shredded wheat
- Whole wheat panko bread crumbs
- Canned chicken breast and tuna, packed in water
- Condiments (stone-ground mustard, hot sauce)
- Fat-free, no sugar salad dressings and marinades
- Alcohol free vanilla extract
Download the FCS-Friendly Food Fact Sheet to see a comprehensive list of low-fat, low-sugar foods that you can eat.
To help get you started on a FCS-friendly nutrition plan, here are some additional resources available to you
Some of the fat-free recipes contained in the following references may need to be further modified to eliminate added sugars and substitute whole grains for refined grains.
Secrets of Fat-Free Cooking: Over 150 Fat-Free and Low-Fat Recipes from Breakfast to Dinner-Appetizers to Desserts, by Sandra Woodruff (available on Amazon.com)
Secrets of Fat-Free Baking, by Sandra Woodruff (available on Amazon.com)
NOTE: Need to keep an eye out for added sugars and refined white flours
500 Low-Fat Fruit and Vegetable Recipes: The One-Stop Source of Healthful, Great-Tasting Meals, by Sarah Schlesinger
Everyday Cooking with Dean Ornish: 150 Easy, Low-Fat, High-Flavor Recipes, by Dean Ornish (a plant-based diet) (available on Amazon.com)
NOTE: Be aware that some foods may affect people differently. When introducing a new food into your diet, start with a very small portion. If you experience no ill effects, try a little more in a couple days. Talk to a Registered Dietitian to see what’s best for you.