Go Naked: How to Undress Your Food

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on July 29, 2002 · 0 comments

Eating right can seem so complicated—more protein, less sugar, watch your cholesterol. It’s hard to know what advice to follow.

Whenever people ask us how to eat better, we say:


Wherever possible, undress your food. Have a baked potato without the sour cream, vegetables without the cheese sauce, ice cream without the hot fudge. Over a lifetime, these simple “dress-downs” will make a big difference.

Some easy things you can do to lose weight, keep weight off, or just eat more healthfully:

  • Skip the dressing on a side salad and you’ve cut out 20 grams of fat.
  • Have a baked potato without the sour cream and you’ve saved 10 grams of fat. But watch out! Dress it with cheese sauce and it’s got twice as much fat as a double-patty hamburger.
  • An ounce of “naked” chicken has 30 calories. Dressed up as a fried chicken nugget, it has more than twice the calories.
  • Want the french fries? Skip the salt and your sodium will be almost zero.
  • Have a taco salad without the shell and cut the calories in half.

Of course, it’s only natural to want to dress up once in a while. When you get the urge, try some tasty add-ons that don’t add up, like lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, mushrooms, onions, hot sauce, horseradish, mustard, salsa, picante, fresh pepper, flavored vinegars, or lemon juice.

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