If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know that do to some health issues I am on a seriously restricted diet. My daily fat content has been more than halved and I am unable to eat certain foods altogether, such as red meat, fatty fish, cheese, oil and even avocados.
Talk about cramping my style!
However, I am pleased to announce that there is a silver lining to every cloud. The silver lining in this situation, other than the obvious of losing my pregnancy weight alot faster than I otherwise had expected to, is the opportunity it has given me to find some really, truly yummy, reduced-fat products.
For starters, snack foods! That was the biggest gap I first noticed with my diet - when your meals are already 80% fruit and veggies, they don't seem like very appealing snack options! My first pleasant surprise was when I was shopping at Sobeys and opted to try their fat-free chocolate pudding. My goodness it was wonderful! No funny after-taste, nice rich texture and it certainly fills your craving! Ever after this little bout with gallstones is over, I will continue to get the fat-free version! Next, I wanted something to replace the gap that is chips and crackers. Considering how much fat is in even baked products (tortilla chips are about 1 gram of fat per chip and I try to keep my biggest meal of the day under 10 grams of fat...) I decided I needed to find a good, crunchy alternative. CheeCha Puffs! The fattiest have less than 3 grams of fat in a 2 cup serving. They have flavors ranging from Hickory & Bacon to Crispy Dill Pickle. Some of them are downright addictive and the Tomato Ketchup flavor is the closest Ketchup flavor to Old Dutch ketchup chips that I have ever found - and trust me, I've looked!
Moving into the frozen-treat side of things, stuff gets a bit less promising. While I love Breyer's Smooth and Dreamy No Sugar Added Frozen Dessert (aka ice cream), I've never been able to reconcile with reduced fat takes on ice cream. Some gourmet gelato excepting, in my opinion it's better to go straight to fruit juice and water based products, like granitas and sorbets, than to try and take the fat out of ice cream. Enter Healthy Choice Chocolate and Raspberry Frozen Yogurt Bars (available at Costco). 2 grams of fat in a full-sized treat bar and the chocolate tastes like chocolate! It's creamy! They also have a peach mango variety which comes in the box as well, which I haven't tried, but I have no doubts that it is equally yummy! (P.S. Chocolate is the real challenging thing to fill your cravings of. Chocolate bars are so incredibly fatty, as are any products listed as "milk chocolate", which is why the fat-free pudding and low-fat frozen yogurt bars are so precious)
Now, on to things other than just snacks: breakfast cereals! Surprisingly, this is one of the easier things to go fat-free on. Sugary cereals are remarkably low on fat (Lucky Charms, for example, only has 1 gram of fat per 3/4 c. serving) while other healthier options are higher in fat, albeit, lower in sugar (Cheerios has double the fat, while anything with almonds or other nuts would obviously be higher). Sugar gets wearing after a while. I remember being a kid and plowing through 2 bowls of sugary cereal without thinking twice. Now I can barely get through a spoonful of some. And then I found Compliments Brand Sugar Puffs cereal (available at Sobeys). It's a knock-off of Sugar Crisp, but less grainy-feeling-on-your-teeth-from-too-much-sugar-esque.
Well, my baby is fussy so I'm going to do the rest of this list the quick way with a list of bests by category:
Best butter/margarine alternative: Becel's 64% Less (that number refers to calories... it actuallly has 67% less fat)
Yogurt: Activia 0%
Cake: Angel food (egg whites, flour and sugar essentially)
Restaurant side: garlic mashed potatoes - lots of places don't add butter or milk to their mashed potatoes
Restaurant menu item: Joey's Only Shrimp dinner (poached) w/ honey bourbon beans and broccoli (straight off the menu, no annoying special requests! ... and only 5 grams of fat!)
Tim Horton's order: Strawberry Banana Fruit Smoothie, no yogurt
Coffee add-in: International Delight Fat-Free Hazelnut Creamer
Unfortunately, this time has also awarded me with the knowledge of how bad for you some foods really are. For starters, reading the nutritional information for some restaurants, I found that there are restaurants that don't have a single menu item that would fit the low-fat requirements for my diet, including salads and side items! (I won't name names because, well, libel lawsuits are ridic right now!) Have you ever gone out for wing night somewhere and ordered a couple dozen wings because they're 25 cents apiece? Did you realize at the time that you probably just maxed out your daily recommended fat intake in one sitting? Many portion-controlled snacks may boast low calories, but the fat and sugar contents are ramped up to make the flavor better! And if you are looking for a low-fat option at fast food restaurants, be wary of salads. The Chicken Caesar Salad at Wendy's has more fat than a Baconater! Your best bet at places like that are grilled chicken breast sandwiches with no sauce.
All in all, there are alot of things I'm going to be smarter about after this whole ordeal, like reading nutritional menus before I go places and buying reduced fat products that taste as good as their full-fat counterparts, like Light Miracle Whip, Light Cool Whip, Fat-Free coffee creamer and reduced fat Becel. But there are also things that I acknowledge need to be full fat, like cheese and muffins, and those things I'll stil enjoy in their natural form, just a little more carefully!
Mrs. Vander Leek ;)