Steamed Foods: A Delicious Diet Option
People who following a lower-fat diet to help manage cholesterol or as a weight-loss strategy may at first miss your favorite “off-limit” foods and find the alternatives a little boring. Fortunately, the trick is in making some strategic substitutions. For example, steaming is often recommended as a cooking strategy in place of frying and other methods, and though the results can seem a little plain you will be pleasantly surprised by the creative ways you can make steamed food delicious and exciting.
Steaming good plain food
Of course there is no substitute for the crispy caramelized crust of a roast or golden brown cheesy topping of a casserole dish, but it can be overcome by the ingredients that are used to steam and how they are handled. I always enjoy the Asian method of "clear steaming." This involves using fragrant ingredients layered on top of whatever main ingredient you choose to cook:
- Try a piece of chicken or fish topped with grated ginger, sliced hot chilies, and cilantro. There is nothing like fresh halibut or salmon, shrimp, or scallops with basil and lemongrass tossed in before steaming.
- It's okay to drizzle a bit of low-sodium soy sauce or tamari and dark-roasted sesame oil before eating.
- Roasting a couple tablespoons of slivered almonds to sprinkle on top can add a tasty crunch to any savory dish.
- Lemon and lime juices add a little extra zing to almost any vegetable.
You'll find you can’t really go wrong with any of these options, so give them a try and see what you like.
November 24, 2010
A pioneer in the marriage of good taste and sound nutrition, Steven Petusevsky, or "Chef Steve" is a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, where he was awarded a fellowship and served as Chef Instructor. He has also been the National Director of Creative Food Development for Whole Foods Market, the largest natural food retail chain in the country. A widely published columnist in magazines and newspapers such as Natural Health, Fine Cooking, the Los Angeles Times, and Food & Wine, and a nationally syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune, he is also the author of the The Whole Foods Market Cookbook: The Ultimate Guide to Natural Foods (2002, Random House).
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