Diet Foods for Your Refrigerator and Freezer - dummies

Diet Foods for Your Refrigerator and Freezer

By Jane Kirby, The American Dietetic Association

If you are on a diet, your fridge will be stocked with many nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables and plain frozen ones, which are a lot lower in calories than the frozen ones packaged in sauce or butter. But leave room for these diet helpers, too:

  • Good extra-virgin olive oil: You should use less oil on a reduced-calorie diet, so flavor counts. The earlier the press, the more flavor the olive delivers. Extra-virgin oil is made from the first press and has much more flavor than oil made from olives pressed several times.

    Olive oil spoils quickly. In a hot kitchen, it can turn rancid in as little as six months, so keep it in the fridge. It thickens and turns cloudy when chilled, but a few minutes at room temperature returns it to a golden liquid without damaging the flavor.

  • Lowfat and reduced-fat cheeses: These can help you save fat and calories. Lowfat American, Monterey Jack, cheddar, and Havarti are good bets.

  • Aged cheese: Compared to soft cheese, aged ones are typically high in fat, but because their flavor is so pungent, you can use less — a cooking bonus.

  • Whole grains: Whole grains don’t have fewer calories than white, but they do have extra fiber, which helps fill you up. Studies show that people who eat an abundance of fiber have diets that are low in fat.

    Because whole grains go rancid quickly, store them in the fridge. Whole-wheat flour, corn meal, cracked wheat, brown rice, and wheat germ lasts longer when kept in cold storage.

  • Fresh herbs: Use fresh herbs for garnish and flavor. Piney herbs, such as rosemary, sage, and thyme last longer than basil, oregano, cilantro, and mint. When using fresh herbs in recipes, add them at the end of cooking so that their flavors don’t dissipate. (Dried herbs, on the other hand, are generally added early in the cooking process to coax as much flavor as possible from them.) Treat bunches of fresh basil like flowers; keep their stems in a vase of water outside of the refrigerator. Cold temperatures blacken and wilt the leaves.