1. Swap nonfat yogurt for sour cream.
Using nonfat yogurt instead of sour cream in this recipe for Salmon Cakes With Creamy Ginger-Sesame Sauce cuts out 4 grams of fat and 2 grams of saturated fat, and doubles the calcium, says Ellie Krieger, a registered dietitian and host of the Food Network's Healthy Appetite.
Quick tip: Straining yogurt in a paper towel for at least 30 minutes will eliminate some of the water, giving it a rich, creamy texture closer to that of sour cream.
2. Say bye to butter with canola oil.
Krieger also suggests eliminating some of the butter in desserts and replacing it with heart-healthy canola oil, which is rich in monounsaturated fat. The neutral taste lets the remaining butter flavor shine through while slashing fat. Her Double-Chocolate Brownies, for example, call for only 2 tablespoons of butter, about 1 gram of fat per brownie in a recipe that yields 24.
Quick tip: Heart-healthy eaters should skip traditional brownies, which can pack more than half a tablespoon of butter per brownie!
3. Learn to love leaner meats.
Choosing lean cuts of meat will help zap the fat from your diet. Opt for round, sirloin, chuck, or loin, and extra-lean hamburger. Even better, add bulk with meatless ingredients, as Krieger does in these Burgers With Green Olives, or this Greek-Style Burgers with Feta Aioli. Each patty has less meat and packs lots of vitamins and nutrients in the space the veggies take up.
Quick tip: If you simply can't resist a traditional burger in all its juicy glory, make sure the meat is at least 90% lean, says Krieger. Turn lean ground beef into delicious comfort food with Health's take on meatloaf.
4. Discover the joy of soy.
After leaving reality TV show Top Chef, Lee Anne Wong lost 50 pounds, in part by eating more soy, which adds lean protein without much fat. Stick to natural sources, like edamame, to avoid the blood-pressure-boosting sodium added to some processed products. Wong's recipe for Grilled Tofu With Asparagus is a little heavy on the oil, but had the dish featured lean pork chops, the meat alone would rack up 11 grams of fat (including 4 grams of saturated fat) per serving.
Quick tip: Replacing pork with tofu cuts out 3 grams of fat and eliminates all the saturated fat, while still delivering a hefty 12 grams of protein. Here's an Asian-inspired dish using tofu and spicy noodles.