Many people enjoy dishes prepared with meat, fish and poultry, but it can be difficult to determine the best low calorie food substitutes for these dishes. The truth is, you can drastically reduce the calorie and fat counts for many dishes by substituting better cuts of meat, fish and poultry that contain less fat than normal cuts. In addition, food manufacturers recognize the demand for low calorie, fat free foods is growing, so today you can find many products at your local supermarket to meet your dietary needs.
Low Calorie Cold Cuts
Lunch meats and cold cuts are usually unhealthy choices because they are loaded with calories, sodium and fat. Thankfully, most delis now carry reduced fat and lower calorie lunch meats, and these might make the perfect alternative. One of the healthiest lunch meats is turkey breast, but make sure you select a brand that is marked as low sodium. Another great way to reduce your caloric consumption is to request the butcher slice your lunch meat very thinly. This way, even if you pile a mound of lunch meat onto your sandwich, you will end up eating less because the slices are so thin.
Low Calorie Beef
Most dieters assume beef to be a food they must avoid, but it doesn't have to be this way if you make smart choices. The key is to purchase extra lean beef with as low of a fat content as possible. You should avoid fatty cuts of beef like brisket or ribs and instead go for beef round or loin. If you can, ask your butcher to trim all external fat from your meat to save even more calories. If you are purchasing ground beef, look for extra lean ground beef. Another alternative is to substitute ground beef with ground turkey. Ground turkey is even lower in fat and calories, but its taste isn't quite the same as ground beef.
Low Calorie Fish
In its natural state, fish is a healthy food choice. But, if you fry fish or pack it in oil, you end up adding tons of fat and calories to your meal. Instead, try broiling or baking fresh fish. If you're purchasing tuna, look for brands packed in water. You should avoid purchasing tuna packed in oil, as these brands tend to be higher in fat than brands packed in water.
Low Calorie Chicken
The key to reducing the calories in chicken or other poultry is to remove its skin. Most of the chicken's fat resides in the skin, so by simply removing the skin, you create a healthy cut of low calorie chicken. To save even more calories, go for white meat chicken instead of dark meat. The healthiest part of the chicken is the chicken's breast.
To save even more calories, you could consider using frozen vegetarian meat substitutes. You can find quality vegetarian burgers, chicken tenders, ground beef and even sausages in your supermarket's frozen foods section. Many brands taste remarkably similar to foods containing real meat with just a fraction of the fat and calories.