Healthy Ways to Enjoy Dutch Cuisine on a Low-Fat Diet

Boerenkool met worst
Boerenkool met worst, a traditional Dutch dish. pidjoe / Getty Images

Although Dutch cuisine is constructed quite simply, it contains an abundance of flavors. Although these foods are a little on the high side in terms of fat and carbohydrates, you can still consume delicious cuisine if you are following a cholesterol-lowering diet, since Dutch cooking also includes a variety of fruit, vegetables, and fish. This guide will give you some tips on how to enjoy Dutch cuisine if you are watching your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Delicious Dutch Breakfasts

Many Dutch breakfasts involve a serving of some type of bread with a topping. With this type of breakfast, you walk a fine line between having a healthy breakfast and having one that can potentially sabotage your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. When selecting your breads, make sure that you opt for ones that are whole grain or whole wheat – since these have more heart-healthy fiber and less refined sugars. Good toppings to heap onto your bread would include any type of fruit, vegetable or a low-fat, phytosterol spread, which is commonly found in grocery stores. Tofu or lean meats, such as chicken, turkey or fish would also work in a pinch if you wanted to squeeze a little protein into your breakfast. If you are craving a dairy-containing spread on your bread, you should select low-fat varieties to ensure that you are not adding extra saturated fat to your diet. 

Dutch-Inspired Sides

Many sides in Dutch cuisine are chock-full of vegetables, including asparagus, spinach, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and endive – so you have plenty of foods to experiment with when preparing tasty and healthy side dishes. Healthier preparation methods when cooking some of these foods include baking, roasting, and steaming. You should avoid using excess butter or mayonnaise when preparing your sides since this could increase your fat intake. The Netherlands is also infamous for its cheese. Although you can sneak in a little cheese into your cholesterol-lowering diet, consuming too much can derail it – so you should use it sparingly in your cooking.

Soups and Salads

Soups used in Dutch cuisine are generally full of vegetables. Some of the other added ingredients may also add extra saturated fat and calories into your diet – including beef stock, bacon, sausage, and creams. These ingredients should be avoided you are watching your fat intake. Although many Dutch salads are a safe bet when watching your lipids, some may contain high fat ingredients such as bacon, cheese, or creamy dressings. These should not be used, or substituted for a low-fat version if it is available. 

The Main Course

Dutch-inspired entrees usually consist of meat, potatoes, and vegetables. You can use a variety of vegetables to add flavor to your dish, including onions, celery, and carrots. Although generally healthy, there are some foods that can be used to make up the main course that could introduce excess fat and calories into your diet – and may affect your cholesterol levels if you consume these foods on a regular basis:

  • Sausage – Dutch cuisine is infamous for the large varieties of sausage that are included in some of their dishes.
  • Fatty meats – some meat, such as beef or pork, may also be included in some Dutch dishes. Instead of using these meats, try substituting poultry or fish. If do not wish to do that, you should remove any visible pieces of fat from your meat before cooking.
  • If you are also watching your carbohydrate intake, you should make sure that you limit – or omit – the potatoes that are included in the dish.
  • Some dishes include gravy poured over your dish, and may also be a source of added fat. To avoid this, you should have your gravy on the side instead and use sparingly.
  • Some of the cooking methods used to prepare the entrée may add additional fat to the dish, including sautéing in butter and frying. Roasting, grilling, or baking are your best methods to use if you are trying to keep your cholesterol levels healthy.
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