As we resolve to make 2020 a healthier year, we might want to think about ways we can reduce fat in our meals. Below are some tips from Rosemary Rodibaugh

–Retired Associate Department Head for Family and Consumer Science for University of Arkansas Research & Extension.

 Use Neufchatel (noo-shuh-TELL) cheese (lite cream cheese) instead of cream cheese. It works better in some recipes than fat-free cream cheese.

 Use plain yogurt instead of cream cheese or sour cream. Mix 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch in one cup cold yogurt before adding to the hot liquid to prevent separation.

 Make a cream cheese or sour cream substitute by draining plain non-fat or low- fat yogurt. Line a colander with several layers of cheese cloth or coffee filters. Put the colander in a shallow container and let the yogurt drain for 8 hours in the


 Blend low-fat or non-fat cottage cheese in a blender until smooth. Use as a sour cream substitute.

 Evaporated skim milk is a good cream substitute in coffee, creamed soups, pies and even whipped cream. To whip evaporated skim milk, chill the milk, bowl and beaters until they are very cold. Adding ½ -1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin five minutes before beating will stabilize the whipped milk. Beat until stiff peaks form. Add sugar substitute and vanilla to taste. Use immediately.

 Use non-stick vegetable sprays on casserole dishes, bread pans, and baking pans.

 Cook vegetables with small amounts of diet margarine or fat-free meat or poultry broths. Season with lemon juice or herb-spice mixtures.

 Make fat-free broths by cooking meat or poultry bones or scraps with celery leaves, onions, garlic and other seasonings for a half hour. Cool in the refrigerator and remove any fat on the top.

 Reduced-fat cheeses and margarines substitute fairly well in recipes. Baked goods may be less tender, drier and more dense. Non-fat margarines and cheeses do not melt well.

 Marinate meat and poultry with wine, reduced-sodium soy sauce, lemon juice, low calorie salad dressing and/or herbs and spices. Use three times more of a fresh herb than a dry herb in a recipe.

 Fresh garlic and onions add flavor to foods with less salt and fat.

 Use fat-free broth to make gravies. Add flour or cornstarch to the cold broth and heat over medium high heat until thickened. Season as desired.

 Try seasoning foods with table wine. Blush wine is a good choice. It is not as acidic as the white wine and is lighter tasting than red wine.

For more meal preparation questions, contact Casey Jarding, County Extension Agent – Family and Consumer Science at 479-667-3720.

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