5 ways to reduce fat, sugar and salt when cooking

Man and woman cooking

5 ways to cut fat when cooking

Reducing the amount of fat you use when cooking can help you to maintain a healthy weight, which is one of the most important ways to reduce your risk of cancer.

  1. If you’re using meat in a dish, you can replace some of the meat with added vegetables, pulses or grains such as barley.
  2. Pastry can contain a lot of fat so it’s best to not eat it too often. When you do, filo pastry is a better option than puff or shortcrust pastry.
  3. Choose semi-skimmed or skimmed milk when cooking and use low-fat or reduced-fat cheese, cream and yoghurt rather than full-fat versions.
  4. Try healthier methods of cooking that use less oil, such as steaming.
  5. Trim visible fat from meat and remove skin from chicken and turkey before cooking. If possible, choose leaner cuts of meat.

5 ways to cut sugar when cooking

While a little sugar now and then is fine, many of us eat more than is recommended. Sugary foods are often high in calories, which can lead to weight gain as well as causing tooth decay.

  1. Drizzle fruit purees on top of fat-free Greek yoghurt for a healthy dessert. Make fruit purees with naturally sweet fruit such as mango.
  2. Buy reduced-sugar versions of foods such as baked beans, sauces, yoghurt, cereal and sweetcorn.
  3. Use spices and other flavours instead of adding sugar. Lemon or orange zest brings out fruit flavours while vanilla or nutmeg are both great for adding sweetness.
  4. Buy fruit canned in fruit juice rather than syrup.
  5. Use dried or chopped fruit to sweeten desserts instead of sugar.

5 ways to cut salt when cooking

Our research shows that salt-preserved foods, which are mainly consumed in Asia, increase the risk of stomach cancer. We therefore recommend that you consume no more than 6g of salt each day – that’s about one teaspoon.

  1. Avoid adding salt when cooking – if you do, add it towards the end of cooking time if it is still needed. Try to gradually reduce the amount you add – your tastebuds will adapt quite quickly over time.
  2. Instead of salt, experiment with herbs and spices to add flavour to your cooking. Lemon is also a great alternative.
  3. Choose reduced-salt options when buying food such as baked beans and stock cubes.
  4. Buy tuna and pulses tinned in water, rather than brine. If food is tinned in brine, rinse it well before using to remove as much salt as possible.
  5. If you use canned vegetables such as sweetcorn, look for ones that are canned in water with no added salt or sugar.