Article by Claudia Camhi
Take note of Paulina Bystritsky’s amazing low salt, low fat and low sugar tips and recipes.
I have had some interesting conversations with my friend Paulina about how to modify recipes to make them more healthy. Here are her tips and some excellent recipes created or modified by Paulina and her mother-in-law, Ellen Sheridan.
Our taste buds have been generally numbed by using too much salt and sugar in our recipes. It takes a few months to get used to cooking with and eating less sugar or salt but our taste buds do adjust. Food can be flavoured by the addition of spices and herbs like chilli, thyme, coriander etc – so there is no risk of creating bland food!
- To reduce salt in my family’s diet I use a naturally savoury seaweed called kemp mixed with a little salt. The delicate white and green speckles look nice as well! You can find kemp in most well stocked supermarkets (I buy it from Ocado).
- Reduce part of the butter/fat content in cakes by using the equivalent weight in mashed soft banana. In addition, you can also add a tablespoon of sunflower oil. If you’re not fond of bananas, don’t worry, using just one banana will not noticeably change the flavour of the cake.
- Another way of – even more dramatically – decreasing the fat quantity in a cake recipe, just increase the number of eggs, especially the number of egg whites you use. I normally use four whole eggs plus two egg whites and a tablespoon of sunflower oil in my baking when taking a zero tolerance approach to butter!
- You can also replace part of the butter in a recipe with low fat yogurt. Yogurt will add creaminess and moisture.
Preparing vegetables and fish
- Steam vegetables and/or fish instead of frying them.
- Sauté vegetables using very little vegetable oil. Just coating the base of a pan is enough.
- Grill or roast vegetables, chicken and fish in a thin coat of olive oil. This is much better than frying them.
- Pan fry fish in a very thin coat of oil with the skin down, then after just a minute, add water (and spices) and cover with a lid – this effectively steams your fish without the need for a steamer.
Stews and meat
- After making any stew, allow it to cool. A layer of fat will naturally rise and harden on top. This can easily be removed before serving for a lower fat option.
Reducing sugar content
- In my opinion, most recipes call for too much sugar. Try using half of what is suggested and I am sure it will still taste nice.
- Use brown sugar instead of the more refined alternatives.
- Add sweetness by using honey. I love orange blossom honey – look for a honey with mild taste that will not overwhelm.
- Simmer sweet fruits, with a small amount of water over a low heat for half an hour. The resulting syrup can be used instead of sugar for baking. The spare syrup can also be frozen to use another time, or used to make home-made ice cream (just mix with milk or cream).This works really well with strawberries.
- Set yourself a challenge to add no sugar at all: add a selection of chopped dry fruit mix to cakes like sultanas, figs, dates, apricots, prunes etc… they will sweeten the cake naturally.
The proof is in the pudding…. Click here for some savoury recipes as well as two delicious low fat, low sugar cakes by Paulina Bystritsky and her mother-in-law, Ellen Sheridan. Get experimenting and send us your own suggestions, new recipes you have created and photos.