Cook up comfort foods that won't make you fat

Woman holding a bowl of soup

Try these simple steps to lighten your favourite filling foods, and transform a diet disaster dish into a healthy guilt-free indulgence.

Lasagne

Swap regular mince (with 15 per cent fat) for extra-lean mince (with five per cent fat), choose a smaller pack (around 400g for four people) and dry- fry it. Then add veg for a fibre and vitamin boost. As well as onions and canned tomatoes, include carrots, courgettes, celery and peppers. Use a third less pasta – one less layer will cut calories. And top with a lower-cal cheese sauce made with low-fat spread, skimmed milk and reduced-fat mature cheddar cheese.
Before: 802 cals
After: 468 cals

Fish & chips

Trade frozen battered or bread-crumbed fish and oven chips (they’ve usually been fried first) for homemade. Oven-bake a fresh or frozen haddock, cod or omega-3-rich salmon fillet in foil with herbs, black pepper and lemon juice. Cut scrubbed potatoes into wedges (leave skins for more fibre), brush with vegetable oil and bake.
Before: 542 cals
After: 274 cals

Soup

Swapping cream-based soups for hearty homemade vegetable soups means you can control the salt and fat in them. Add barley, lentils and beans, too – they’re loaded with filling protein and cholesterol-lowering soluble fibre. Can’t be bothered to make your own? Then give shop-bought ones a fibre and vitamin boost by adding frozen peas or sweetcorn, or canned lentils and beans.
Before: 174 cals
After: 156 cals

Sausage & mash

Check the nutrition panel of sausages before buying – premium brands often have more calories and fat than cheaper ones. Reduced-fat bangers are usually the best, but grill, don’t fry. Make mash with sweet potatoes (or use half regular and half sweet). Sweet potato has a lower GI, so keeps you fuller for longer. For extra comfort, swap salty onion gravy for reduced-sugar baked beans – they’re packed with hunger-busting protein.
Before: 576 cals
After: 456 cals

Shepherd’s pie

Dry fry extra-lean mince with onions and garlic, then add canned tomatoes, tomato purée, reduced-salt stock and frozen peas for a fibre and vitamin fix. For a lower-calorie topping, mash carrots, sweet potatoes and regular spuds together – you’ll also get a boost of antioxidant beta-carotene, which the body uses to make skin-friendly vitamin A.
Before: 731 cals
After: 400 cals

Roast dinner

Choose lower-fat chicken over lamb, but don’t dismiss other red meats – lean beef has just five per cent fat. Make lighter roasties by brushing with oil, and pile your plate with veg – the more colours, the more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Finally, don’tuse the meat juices for gravy, and use reduced-salt stock.
Before: 643 cals
After: 513 cals

Bread and butter pudding

Use wholemeal bread to increase fibre, and spread with sunflower or olive oil spread to cut artery-clogging saturates and increase heart- healthy unsaturated fats. Add antioxidant-rich blueberries to boost fibre, and to cut calories, use semi-skimmed milk.
Before: 412 cals
After: 342 cals

Cauliflower cheese

Add broccoli to the dish – it provides extra fibre, calcium and folate, and contains natural compounds that can help lower the risk of certain cancers. Keep fat intakes down by making a lower-fat cheese sauce (see lasagne), and top with wholemeal breadcrumbs, not cheese.

Before:
419 cals
After: 309 cals

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