Monday, January 11, 2010

Mixing Low Fat and Low Carb?

Last week I spent time at my sister's home as she was recovering from surgery. Her husband is on the low-fat bandwagon on the advice from his doctor (I know, I know! ) and I was working on meals that would satisfy his dietary requirements as well as ours. My sister, as far as I can tell, doesn't eat an excess of fats and has tried to eliminate processed carbs from their diets as well as gluten.

Talk about a challenge! But not impossible. Looking through the kitchen and pantry for ideas, I came up with some things that would satisfy us all, and while I wasn't as strict about what I ate as I am at home, I think it went fairly well. We didn't end up eating as many meals there as I had anticipated but I still had the ideas for a few.

Salads are great. You can start with a base of greens and raw veggies, which are common to both eating styles, and grow from there. Lean meats and croutons work for low-fatters; hard-boiled eggs, meats, and cheese are great for low-carbers, with mayo-enhanced ranch to add fats.

I was pleased to see some crispy corn tortillas without any wheat in them in their cupboard. While they were 18g per serving (3 tortillas), they would fit into many low carb plans. My sister likes hers with chopped tomato, topped with loads of melted cheese. 25g for a meal would work into my plan just fine as a lunch, with meat, buttered veg, and salad for supper - well into my 40-50gN/day. (With lots of fats and no grains I can lose well on that number; at any rate I maintain, and even lose very slowly, there.) So that was an interesting find!

One evening for supper I lightly dusted a small chuck roast with seasoned flour and seared it in olive oil. When both sides were nicely browned I lowered the heat, added a can of beef broth, and let it cook through over med-low heat. Meanwhile I sliced a carton of fresh mushrooms; during the last 15 minutes I removed the meat, stirred in a can of (fat-free) cream of mushroom soup, added the mushrooms, and put the meat back. I also had peeled and boiled some potatoes, and made some frozen chopped broccoli and some corn. At the table, I had a couple of bites of potato, a pile of broccoli, and lots of mushrooms with a little meat and a little gravy. It was delicious. The low-fatters didn't worry about the gravy or the flour or the corn of course. It worked well for us all.

These are just a few ideas. If I had to cook suppers this way every day I have no doubts that I could come up with lots of things to satisfy all. Vegetables are a mainstay for both; meats can be accomodated - a thigh with crispy skin for low-carbers, and a skinless breast brushed with olive oil and seasonings for low-fatters. Mashed potatoes for the low fatters, with some of the peelings tossed with bacon fat and crisped up for the low-carbers. There are lots of healthy natural foods that can go either way, most of the time it's in the prep (fats, sauces, gravies, etc.) that works best for one or the other.

I'm thankful I don't have to accomodate low-fatters in my everyday cooking, but now I know that, if I had to, I could.

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