How to avoid high-calorie cooking shortcuts -

Avoid high-calorie cooking shortcuts

Do you want to avoid preservatives or added fats and calories in the food you buy? Watch out--they're lurking everywhere!  Food pro, Devin Alexander, shares safe solutions that are cheap, easy and fun.

"Who doesn't love saving a little time in the kitchen? Shortcuts are great, but sometimes shortcuts can come up a little short of your goal," says Devin.

Take lemon juice, for example. Though these bottles say "squeezed from fresh lemons," they also contain lemon oil and they are preserved with sulfur dioxide.

"Don't want that in my diet," Devin says. "Instead, just squeeze the fresh lemons. It's really easy, not to mention the fact you will get a much brighter flavor in your dish."

When it comes to sun-dried tomatoes, you can definitely buy the ready-to-use ones. Just be sure you don't use the ones packed in oil. Those can have as many as three grams of fat in just two teaspoons!

"Now garlic… yes, it's a pain to peel it, but you do want to use fresh," says Devin. "So take the short cut of buying the pre-peeled cloves, especially if you use garlic a lot. I easily go through this bag before it goes bad, but check the dates when you are at the store because sometimes they put the ones that are dated sooner in the front. You want to pull the ones from the back so they last nice and long."

You don't however, want to buy the ones in the jar. They're often either packed in oil, or they have citric acid which isn't going to make it taste very good.  This will have a really sharp tang to it that doesn't give you that fresh garlic taste.

"Now these days, there's also herbs in tubes as I like to call them," says Devin. "Here we have garlic. Sometimes these are great and they are organic and they just have a little bit of oil, and other times they have tons of preservatives. So read these labels carefully."

At the end of the day, shortcuts can obviously be really great. But not if they cause you to sacrifice flavor or add fat and calories that will make you take the long way around to burn off!

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