Congratulations on losing weight! Maybe you haven’t reached your goal yet, but you are getting there. Changing the way you cook your food can be a big help in the battle to keep the weight off and the fat out.

If you’ve started cooking more at home, that's good. The only way to know for sure what is in your food is to cook it yourself. Using fresh ingredients, there is no need for preservatives which can add unwanted sodium, fat, sugar and calories to your food.

Try these cooking methods as an alternative to frying with oil.

Marinating Your Meats – Marinating foods, especially meats, breaks down the muscle fibers and tenderizes the meat. As the meat sits, the marinade will work its way throughout so every bite is succulent and tender. This technique works well if you plan on grilling or baking your meat.

Broiling Fish – Many people fry fish on the stove top. There is an alternative to frying that leaves less fat on your food. Fatty fish is filled with good fats, but frying introduces extra fat that you can do without. Marinate your fish and then pop it under the broiler. Turn after five or ten minutes for even cooking. When the fish is flaky it’s done. By broiling there is no extra fatty oil added.

Sautéing – This technique is okay for cooking meats and vegetables quickly. Use about a tablespoon of canola or olive oil in your pan and let the oil heat up before adding the ingredients. Food cooks better and faster if it is cut into cubes or strips.

Steaming – Vegetables and rice respond well to steaming. You can buy a rice cooker or, if you like oriental food, invest in a bamboo steamer. Steaming preserves the nutrients and the original flavor of the food without overcooking it.

Stir-frying Meats and Vegetables – Stir frying is a wonderful way to create a meal using very little oil. A tablespoon of oil is heated in the wok and then swirled around so that it coats the bottom and the sides. When the oil is hot the meat can then be added. Not much oil is used so there is no need to drain the meat. Add the vegetables and cook until tender.

Grilling Your Food – This technique works outside in the summer and inside using a grill pan. Gas grills keep the temperature of the meat even and can prevent the charring of the meat that is typical with charcoal briquettes. A non-stick coated grill pan doesn’t need additional oil and you can drain away the fat before serving.

There are many ways to cook food that brings out the flavor without serving up the fat. Try one or all of these techniques for lower fat cooking.

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