Beef Stew, Lightened Up

Love the stick-to-your-ribs goodness of a hearty beef stew, but want to cut back on the fat and sodium? Pass on the salty canned stuff and try these tips and recipes.

EI-1211 Chianti Marinated Beef Stew

Photo by: VideoFocus

VideoFocus

Love the stick-to-your-ribs goodness of a hearty beef stew, but want to cut back on the fat and sodium? Pass on the salty canned stuff and try these tips and recipes.

Nutrition Facts

A typical serving of beef stew has anywhere from 200 to 1,000 calories depending on the portion size (restaurants usually go overboard) and the meat used (some cuts have more fat than others). A measly single-cup serving of the canned stuff has almost 1,000 milligrams of sodium, which is more than 40% of your recommended sodium for an entire day.

The Lighter Dish

The essential ingredients for stew -- meat, vegetables and broth -- are healthy stuff. The problem is that traditional recipes call for massive portions of fatty meats paired with super-salty canned broths. Don't be turned off by recipes that use wine; a large portion of the alcohol and calories cook away.

Opting for a chicken or veggie stew will cut back on calories and fat, but if you’re looking for the real thing, here are six easy steps:

  1. Keep portions sensible – If the recipe makes four to six servings, definitely make it for six.
  2. Start with lean cuts of meat - Try London broil, brisket, top round and chuck roast.
  3. Add lots of vegetables - More carrots, peas, potatoes, celery, broccoli or even turnips helps bulk up portions while using less meat.
  4. Slash the salt - Use low sodium beef broth.
  5. Skim off excess fat - Fat will rises to the top as the stew simmers.
  6. Add some hunger-fighting fiber - Serve the stew over whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat couscous or barley.

Cooking Tip: Long and slow simmering will concentrate the flavors, which makes meat tender and your stew more flavorful. To save time, prep and chop all your ingredients the night before or prepare the dish in your slow cooker.

Stews are satisfying and affordable meals that are great for feeding a crowd -- even if you’re only cooking for a small group, make extra and freeze the rest for later.

    Recipes to Try:
Keep Reading

Next Up

Eggs Benedict, Lightened Up

Eggs Benedict is my all time favorite breakfast, but it can be a bit heavy. Here’s a traditional recipe with a few healthy twists.

Eggplant Rollatini, Lightened Up

Eggplant Rollatini is not the lightest dish on the menu. One serving can deliver 600 calories, 38 grams of fat and 900 mg of sodium. Ouch. But, there's hope!

Pasta Salad, Lightened Up

Traditional pasta salad is swimming with hidden calories that’ll have you hiding from bathing suit season. Find out how to lighten up this summer classic and still keep your svelte shape.

Potato Soup, Lightened Up

Creamy potato soup can have anywhere from 300 to 500 calories and up to 35 grams of fat per serving! Our lightened-up versions taste even better than the cream-laden recipes, and since the main ingredients are potatoes, it won’t bust your budget.

Strawberry Daiquiris, Lightened Up

Most recipes are cloyingly sweet and filled with booze – lighten up this classic summer cocktail.

Eggplant Parmesan, Lightened Up

Growing up in an Italian family, eggplant “parm” was a staple in my house. While it was cheesy, fried and delicious, nowadays I’d rather cut back on some of the calories and fat with these tips and delicious recipes.

Nachos, Lightened Up

Every so often I get a big time craving for spicy, cheesy and crunchy nachos. But when most restaurant orders top 1500 calories and 100 grams of fat, I’d much rather make them myself. Use these tips to indulge wisely.

Dips, Lightened Up

Blue cheese, artichoke and other cheesy dips can sabotage your waistline before the main course begins. Lighten up these dips with a few tricks; they’ll still taste fantastic.

Egg Salad, Lightened Up

Egg salad can be high in fat, cholesterol and calories but with a few simple tweaks you can make light and delicious versions of this comfort food classic.