Minimizing the main dish

I won't insult you by telling you to avoid fried foods. If you're reading this book, you already know that the best choice is something broiled, baked, or roasted — without added fat, and with the drippings siphoned off. But I can't avoid noting that you can lower the fat content of any main dish simply by wielding a mean knife and fork to cut away the vestiges of visible fat on your chops or steak or poultry.

Another approach is to order a main course meat dish without the "main" part. That is, order your meat, fish, or poultry as a small-serving appetizer, and then ask your waiter for a veggie entree. Or opt for all the nifty little extras that usually accompany the meat course, ordering the veggie side dishes a la carte instead of a veggie entree.

Demand tiny boiled onions. Baby peas with mint. Pickled beets and red cabbage. Sugared carrots. Sauteed spinach. Darling little boiled or baked potatoes with a crust of paprika or cumin. The more, the merrier. The result may not be entirely fat-free, but it almost certainly has fewer calories, less fat, more dietary fiber, and a wider variety of vitamins than plain meat or poultry.

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