The Gourmet Touch: Diet foods don’t have to be bland
by Prudence Hilburn
Special to The Star
Jan 09, 2013 | 2468 views |  0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Now that the college bowl games are over, you might be ready to think about healthier eating habits. If you want to lose a few pounds or just want to look better and live longer, it is important to start eating right.

If you have the habit of falling off the wagon when it comes to your diet, it is probably because your diet food doesn’t taste good. We can remedy that.

Contrary to what some people think, foods that are better for us do not have to be bland. Just because a food is “low-cal,” low-fat” or “low salt” doesn’t mean that it must also be “taste free.”

I have always thought that moderation is the key to losing weight and keeping it off. Think “smaller portions.”

But if this doesn’t work for you, add some variety to your “diet” foods. Knowing how to properly season foods can mean the difference between bland “I don’t want to eat it” foods and tasty alternatives.

One of my all-time favorite “diet” foods is my Lite and Easy Brunswick Stew, which contains less than 1 gram of fat per serving. It is made with chopped or shredded chicken breasts. The seasoning helps disguise the fact that there is very little fat in this delicious stew.

Just because you are on a diet doesn’t mean that you can’t have dessert from time to time, especially if it is a low-fat one. The following Banana Split Lite Dessert makes at least 15 servings, and if I counted the fat grams right, it contains less than a gram of fat per serving.

Vanilla pudding mix may be used if you can’t find white chocolate pudding mix. There is no fat in the two tablespoons of the chocolate syrup, so go ahead and enjoy a little on top of your dessert.

A good “diet” food is one that you will want to keep on the menu even after the diet is over and your goal has been reached. These two recipes fall into that category.

Lite and Easy Brunswick Stew

4 cups shredded, cooked chicken breasts
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup chopped onions
3/4 cup chopped bell pepper
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/3 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 tablespoon Tabasco, or to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 (11 ounce) can shoe peg corn
1 tablespoon low fat margarine (optional)

In large soup pot, combine chicken, tomatoes, tomato sauce, onions, bell pepper, parsley, vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Combine flour, salt and black pepper. Sprinkle this mixture over top of stew. Gradually add water, stirring in the flour mixture. Add remaining ingredients and let simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes about 8 servings, with less than 1 gram of fat per serving.

Banana Split Lite Dessert

Reduced fat chocolate wafers or graham crackers
2 boxes (about 3 ounces each) fat-free, sugar-free white chocolate (or vanilla) instant pudding mix
4 cups skim milk
1 (15 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
3 ripe bananas, sliced crosswise
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 (12 ounce) package Cool Whip Free
Hershey’s chocolate syrup, optional

Place wafers in bottom of 9x13-inch dish. Combine pudding mix and skim milk. Mix for about 2 minutes. Add drained pineapple and mix. Spoon over wafers. Top with bananas and strawberries. Spread Cool Whip Free over top of fruit. Just before serving, drizzle a little chocolate syrup over top of each serving.

Email Prudence Hilburn at prudencehilburn463@att.net.
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The Gourmet Touch: Diet foods don’t have to be bland by Prudence Hilburn
Special to The Star

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