Halal Consumer - Issue 27 - page 30

cholesterol and risk of heart disease while monounsaturated fats
and polyunsaturated fats have positive health benefits and do not
result in elevated cholesterol levels. Use olive oil, naturally rich
in monounsaturated fats, whenever possible instead of butter or
ghee, high in saturated fats, to help make meals healthier. Olive
oil provides more than just healthy fat; it also fuels your body with
vitamins and cancer-combating antioxidants. No wonder olives
and olive oil are mentioned numerous times in the Quran and
“And a tree (olive) that springs forth from Mount Sinai,
that grows oil, and (it is a) relish for the eaters”
(Quran 23:20).
Prophet Muhammad [PBUH] even recommended using olive oil
generously all over the body in the hadith narrated by Abu Aseed:
“The Prophet [PBUH] said: ‘Eat the oil and use it on your hair and
skin, for it comes from a blessed tree’” (Tirmidhi 1775).
Olive oil provides nutrients and antioxidants in addition to the
blessings of God and His prophet; but it is important to under-
stand that fat is fat and the calorie content will remain the same.
Reducing the amount of fat or oil you add to meals will mini-
mize calories but may affect the moisture and texture of cakes
and cookies. Have no fear, the solution is easy. Use apple sauce
or freshly grated apples instead. Let’s say the recipe calls for one
cup of butter; instead use half a cup of butter and half a cup of
apple sauce or grated apples instead. Congratulations! You just
eliminated 760 calories from your recipe with that one easy step.
“And a tree (olive) that springs forth
fromMount Sinai, that grows oil, and
(it is a) relish for the eaters”
Making calories just disappear is so exciting, but the healthy tricks
do not stop there. Everyone loves cheese, but it is high in saturated
fats. Grilled cheese sandwiches are a favorite comfort food for
many, and so is homemade macaroni and cheese with gooey cheese
sauce. Despite their amazing taste and happy memories, these
dishes contain high amounts of saturated fats, which increase ones
risk of heart disease. Reducing the amount of cheese will affect the
taste but using smaller amounts of stronger cheeses will actually
boost the flavor. Try sharp cheddar instead of plain cheddar, or par-
mesan, Swiss, blue, or many other strong, fragrant cheeses. These
will intensify taste while using less cheese, resulting in reduced
calories. Hend Alhinnawi, cofounder of Humanitarian Tracker
from Los Angeles, California, uses low-fat mozzarella combined
with Swiss cheese sprinkled with garlic herd and dried mint for an
excellent taste and outstanding texture and fewer calories than a
conventional grilled cheese sandwich. Experiment with different
combinations of halal cheeses, use a low-fat version of your favorite
cheese paired with a sprinkle of a stronger cheese for exceptional
flavor, great texture, and less saturated fat.
Changing the cheese is not the only way to make a grilled cheese
sandwich healthier. The bread is just as important. Use smaller
pieces of bread or the 100-calorie thin buns to cut down on calo-
ries. When in the bread isle, compare the nutritional information
on several varieties and select one with fewer calories per serv-
ing to help reduce calories even further. If you are looking for a
boost in the nutrients, look for breads made from 100% whole
grain flour. Check to see if you can actually see pieces of wheat,
seeds, and grains in the bread because even 100% whole grain
can be over-processed, reducing the nutritional content.
Whole wheat and whole grain are also important when decid-
ing what grain to serve with a meal. Try whole grain or, for a
gluten-free option, look for buckwheat pasta. Explore grains
like barley, bulgur, quinoa, and wild rice, all of which provide
protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. They are
not lower in calories than regular pasta or white rice, but they
are definitely packed with more nutrients. Try quinoa with stir
fry, bulgur with chili and other tomato-based dishes, and wild
rice mixed with white rice for a healthier, more fragrant com-
panion for many meals.
Let’s face it, sometimes despite our best intentions we overeat
or indulge in more cake than we mean to. The key is to keep
tabs on those and make the proper tradeoff. For example, if
you overate at lunch then eat less for dinner. If you visited fam-
ily over the weekend and enjoyed some heavy family favorites,
have a big salad with dinner for the rest of the week to counter-
act that weekend indulgence. Making appropriate tradeoffs will
help you maintain your weight while still enjoying your favor-
ites occasionally.
Winter 2013
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