Diet and Fitness

101 Tips for a Low Fat Diet

Low Fat General Diet Advice

1. Purchase a few Low Fat cookbooks for inspiration or visit the low fat recipe section from for a low fat diet.
2. Try not to simply cut out high fat foods to follow a lower fat diet – try to replace them with a low fat healthy alternative.
3. Read food labels – you may find some healthy low fat surprises.
4. Choose low fat items when shopping – this is an easy idea and seems obvious but is often overlooked.
5. Make changes gradually to avoid feeling deprived.
6. Make a list before shopping and stick to it – do not add extra high fat snacks or treats.
7. Do not go shopping when you are hungry so that you buy with your head and not with your stomach.
8. Aim for variety in a low fat healthy diet – most families will only cook at the most ten different meals.
9. Engage the whole of your family with healthy low fat foods and low fat cooking – they will thank you for it in future life.
10. Learn to enjoy healthy, low fat cooking.
11. Make low fat cooking and low fat foods part of a healthier lifestyle which includes regular exercise.
12. Low fat eating is not the only thing to consider you need a balanced and varied diet with essential nutrients. One of the best ways is to choose healthy foods and/or power foods.
13. Eat smaller portions of high fat foods eg meat and cheese and larger portions of vegetables. Cut back on the meat and add vegetables to spaghetti sauces and chilli, such as tomatoes, peppers mushrooms and kidney beans. You probably won’t notice replacing 1/3 of meat with 1/3 more vegetables.
14. Be patient and make these changes over 6 months, eventually your tastes will adjust to a healthy lifestyle and you will find you notice more subtle flavours.
15. Eat natural foods – plenty of fruit and vegetables and try to avoid processed foods.
16. Check the cereal/museli bars, although they are advertised as healthy foods they can be both high in fat and in calories.
17. Visit fat information and fat frequently asked questions (faq) on for details about the amount of fat required in a diet and to answer your other questions.
18. Be careful with foods that are labelled as lower or reduced fat as these may still contain large amounts of fat and not necessarily help with a low fat diet. See the fat faq for more information.
19. Avoid nuts in your low fat diet, that are high in saturated fats, such as coconuts and macadamia nuts.

Low Fat Cooking Techniques

20. Love cooking spray – Replace oil with Pam, fry light or other vegetable cooking sprays. You only need a few sprays and several brands have added canloa and olive oil. See later for the good fats in a low fat diet.
21. Stir it up – stir fry your vegetables in bouillon, tomato juice or broth, rather than oil. Chicken, beef or vegetable broth can give your vegetables a great flavour.
22. Quality cooking tools – If you do fry use a good quality non-stick frying pan since they can eliminate the need for oil.
23. Boil, broil, steam or bake instead of frying!
24. Throw out the deep fat fryer.
25. Use a trivet or stand when roasting to allow fat to drip out.
26. Measure oil out rather than pouring, you will use less.
27. Stir fry in a wok rather than shallow or deep frying.
28. Try poaching – Cooking fish or chicken in boiling water rather than frying it.
29. Pick good fats – Choose fats that are high in monounsaturated fatty acids (olive oil, canola oil, nuts, and avocados) or in essential fatty acids (flaxseed oil, fish, or fish oils) rather than butter, which is high in saturated fat. These good fats are essential for the proper functioning of the body even if you are following a generally low fat diet.
30. Avoid over cooking vegetables so they retain flavour and do not need butter or margarine.
31. Learn to love the baked potato – it is a versatile meal if you use a variety of low fat toppings such as baked beans, low fat cottage cheese, low fat plain yoghurt and salsa.
32. Experiment with different ingredients and substitutions. Cooking is an art form and there is no right or wrong.
33. If you really do not want to give up high fat foods like fried chicken, but you still want to follow a low fat diet, simply eat it less often.

Low Fat Diet Replacements and Substitutions

34. Use small amounts of strong hard cheese eg parmesan/romano on dishes like spagehetti rather than large amounts of mild cheese. Grating hard cheeses are generally stronger in flavour and so less is needed on food and are typically low in fat. For example parmesan cheese contains 2 g of fat in a tablespoon.
35. Choose high cocoa content dark chocolate rather than cheaper higher fat milk forms.
36. Use low fat/skimmed milk – did you know it actually contains more calcium than whole milk.
37. Replace potato chips and taco chips with raw vegetables.
38. Replace cream in a recipe with low fat yoghurt.
39. Replace high fat snacks such as potato chips, chocolates and cakes with fruit and vegetables.
40. Instead of oil, margarine or butter in baked foods, substitute an equal amount of plain (not sweetened) applesauce. You can save more than 900 calories and 100 grams of fat for each 1/2 cup used.
41. Serve meat with low fat accompaniments like cranberry relish, chilli sauce, chutney or a spicy mustard salsa.
42. Use fat-free plain yogurt in place of sour cream. While fat-free sour cream seems like the best substitute, it lacks the rich body and flavour of plain yogurt.
43. Good oil substitutes are low fat margarine, non-fat margarine, applesauce, pureed fruits, pureed vegetables. Prune puree is especially good with chocolate, spice and carrot cakes.
44. Substitute one egg with two egg whites – You can use egg whites instead of “egg substitutes” if this is is suggested in a recipe. “egg substitute” is egg whites with coloring and stabilizers, and if you like scrambled eggs use two egg whites and one whole egg, you will not notice the difference.
45. Low fat chips are typically lower fat when thick and non-crinkle.
46. Boil roast potatoes first and spray lightly with oil before crisping in the oven.
47. Try a flan base instead of pastry since it contains 27g less fat.
48. For a rich, creamy sauce or soup that is low in fat and calories, use evaporated skim milk instead of heavy cream. You can save more than 80 grams of fat and 600 calories for every cup used.
49. Add coconut essence to low fat evaporated milk instead of using coconut cream in Thai cooking. Even the low fat coconut cream has a significant amount of saturated fat.
50. Use mustard instead of mayonnaise.
51. Replace donnuts with a low fat muffin.

Low Fat Food: Red Meat

52. Red meat does contain good nutrients but will typically be higher in fat so keep it to once and at most twice a week.
53. Always use lean meat.
54. Love me tender – Tenderize leaner meats using a marinade as they can often be tougher than fattier cuts. Red wine vinegar, soy sauce, crushed garlic, lime and fresh ginger are all good ideas.
55. Tenderise lean meats by simply pounding it.
56. Avoid processed meat such as sausages and peperoni try to keep it lean and natural.
57. Make your own beef burgers with lean meat and grill rather than fry.
58. If roasting meat bake the vegetables separately so the saturated fat is not absorbed.

Low Fat Food: White Meat

59. Always remove the skin from your poultry and trim the fat from your meats.
60. Make your own breadcrumbs.
61. Avoid fried chicken nuggets high fat and little actual chicken.

Low Fat Food: Something Fishy

62. Eat fish more often and grill, microwave, steam, bake or poach rather than fry.
63. Choose fish canned in brine, water or tomatoes rather than oil.
64. Try a tuna steak rather than a burger.

Low Fat Food: Salads

65. Do not make the assumption that all salads are low in fat, yes they are healthy but watch the extras and dressings.
66. Most coleslaw and potato salad looks healthy but unless you go for a low fat alternative the main ingredient is mayonaise which you should avoid.
67. Make your own salad dressings with low fat yoghurt or low fat fromage fraise.
68. Avoid high fat salad ingredients such as salad dressing, bacon bits, high fat cheese and croutons.
69. Replace salad dressing with a dip such as salsa.

Low Fat Food: Vegetarian

70. Eat more vegetarian meals. Unless you use a lot of oil or load them up with cheese or cream sauces, it is very hard to make vegetarian meals anything other than low-fat!
71. Love the vegetables – vegetables are low in fat. Serve plain or sprinkle with chives, parsley or lemon juice.

Low Fat Food: Spices and marinades

72. Spice it up – don’t forget to use the spices to ensure flavour, fresh herbs such as dill, tarragon, cilantro, and basil.
73. Try strong flavour sauces such as light soy sauce, worcestershire sauce or chilli sauce.
74. Replacing olive oil with yogurt in marinades to cut fat.

Low Fat Food: Sandwiches and snacks

75. Don’t butter bread. You won’t miss butter if your sandwich has a few tasty ingredients already.
76. Use low fat fillings eg turkey, lean ham, skinless chicken and plenty of salad.
77. Use strong flavours which do not require large amounts such as salsa and chutney.
78. Make your own popcorn for a low-calorie, low fat snack, but do not add melted butter try honey instead. Beware of high-fat microwave popcorn products.
79. Make a fruit smoothie, this is a great way to get lots of nutrients in a low fat recipe.

Low Fat Food: Desserts

80. When baking at home reduce fat by adding honey, buttermilk or low fat plain yoghurt for extra moisture.
81. The fat in pastry can be reduced by substituting half the butter, margarine or oil content with ricotta cheese.
82. Instead of puff or short crust pastry try filo pastry which is fat free. Use 2 to 3 layers of filo and spray with oil or brush with milk or yoghurt and bake.
83. Use sorbet or low fat frozen yogurt rather than ice cream
84. Pureed prunes or baby food prunes can be a fat replacement in baked chocolate foods such as brownies and cakes. They add a naturally sweet flavour and a chewy texture.
85. If frosting, replace the margarine or butter in your recipe with marshmallow cream.
86. When making cookies, why not cut the fat by cutting the amount of extras in the recipe, for example, only use 1/2 the amount of chips when making chocolate chip cookies, and use only half the amount of walnuts in the brownie recipe.
87. Top your desserts with custard and not cream. Generally this is lower in fat.
88. If making a pie use a lattice-top or open-top as this can reduce the amount of pie.
89. Try using more unusual fruits such as kiwifruit and mango.

Something new

90. Balsamic Vinegar – Balsamic vinegar is a great salad dressing, all by itself. It is also great sprinkled on ripe tomatoes with shreds of basil on top.
91. Tofu – Substitute tofu for meat in your favorite recipes. Simply crush it with a fork or cut it into cubes and throw it into the pan. If you can’t imagine eliminating meat completely, try replacing half the quantity of meat with tofu. It is definitely a healthy choice; tofu is made from soybeans, which are packed with protein and contain less fat than meat.
92. Lentils – Cooked lentils can also replace ground meat in recipes such as spaghetti sauce and beef casserole. Not only are they tasty but they’re a great source of protein as well.

Low Fat Diet Danger Zones

93. Avoid pre packaged food typically they contain high fat and high salt content.
94. Avoid fast food restaurants.

Low Fat Eating Out

95. Go Sushi but try and avoid the deep fried options.
96. At parties go for the sushi canapes rather than the pastry options such as sausages rolls.
97. Most restaurants are accommodating and will prepare something low-fat for you or will prepare dishes without adding extra oil.
98. Look for vegetarian dishes and pasta dishes. Unless a vegetarian or pasta dish is full of cheese or made with a cream sauce, it will usually be fairly low in fat.
99. Avoid creamy and cheese dishes in restaurants and go for the grilled options.
100. Ask for mash, baked potatoes or new potatoes rather than fries in a restaurant.
101. Go for the red tomato based sauces rather than the white creamy based dishes.