The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Control ingredients by cooking from scratch to help slim down waistline: chef

  • Print

TORONTO - Eating healthily doesn't have to be complicated — especially when you learn to slim down recipes and prepare foods that take advantage of the season, says Canadian chef Corbin Tomaszeski.

The Food Network Canada star has teamed up with Weight Watchers Canada to help dispel the myth that food that's good for you has to be challenging to make.

"As a trained chef, you know the foundation is French cuisine. We're talking fat and cream and butter, duck fat, all that good stuff, which I still enjoy," says Tomaszeski, host of "Restaurant Takeover" and "Dinner Party Wars.

"I can still satisfy my palate with a little less fat," he adds. "It's not about depriving yourself. It's just heightening flavours in another way."

To help better understand Weight Watchers — which recently marked its 50-year milestone — and to develop healthy recipes, Tomaszeski recently tried the program himself. In the process, he became more aware of what he was eating and lost more than 18 pounds.

"Initially, I was a little reluctant because I thought, 'No. 1, I don't need to lose weight' because that's how I associated it, and No. 2, I thought I was going to have to starve myself to do it. Both are wrong.

"I think that's probably one of the biggest kind of hurdles people face when they look at a program like this is that it's not a diet. That's the bad word because diet means starve yourself, deprive yourself. Eventually you lose the weight, but then you fall off the wagon and gain it back plus tenfold. This is a program that suits your life, allows you to eat everyday foods, allows you to enjoy food for what it is and you lose weight along the way."

Tomaszeski says he hears from many people who think it's difficult to cook and time-consuming to eat healthily at home.

"Untrue. Follow the rule 'less is more, keep it simple' (and) you'll be successful every time."

Tomaszeski recommends making food from scratch to be in control of the ingredients. Then assess how much oil or butter is needed in the recipe — that is, if any is needed at all.

"When you buy everything out of a box and you buy stuff that is pre-prepared and prefabricated you don't have that control. You may feel good when you eat it, but what does it do for you in the long run?" he says.

Another misconception is that cooking healthily is expensive. Tomaszeski says by cooking foods that are in season and planning ahead, individuals can stay within budget — probably even below.

The chef says there are also tricks to ensure you leave the table full, without suffering hunger pangs and cravings shortly afterward.

He has revamped four iconic Canadian dishes for Weight Watchers, including the classic burger, pulled pork sandwich, ginger beef and the Nanaimo Bar.

For the sandwich, he swaps lean chicken for pork. He uses spices for flavour, adds sweetness to the ginger beef with honey and nixes frying. For the sweet treat from the West Coast, his tricks are egg whites to incorporate volume to the Nanaimo Bars batter along with cocoa, while unsweetened applesauce provides moisture.

When it comes to burgers, those keeping an eye on their waistline might do well to forgo the condiments that add extra calories, fat and sodium to prepare a healthy simple dish that will satisfy the taste buds.

"The burger is all about the right toppings and I find that too many people put the wrong toppings on the burger. For example, cheese, bacon, condiments, sauces. You don't need it. If you have a burger with blue cheese, what happens? All you taste is the blue cheese. I want to taste the beef."

He heightens the beef's flavour with just a touch of homemade barbecue sauce and tops the burgers with black bean hummus, which is "really easy, super healthy and high in fibre."

Instead of filling up on a bun, he suggests using half a bun, preferably whole wheat as the additional fibre helps individuals stay fuller longer between meals. Alternatively, they can use a lettuce wrap or whole-wheat pita.

— Follow @lois_abraham on Twitter.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Soca and Reggae Festival and Weekend Weather

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A water lily in full bloom is reflected in the pond at the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden Tuesday afternoon. Standup photo. Sept 11,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)
  • Carolyn Kavanagh(10) had this large dragonfly land on her while spending time at Winnetka Lake, Ontario. photo by Andrea Kavanagh (mom0 show us your summer winnipeg free press

View More Gallery Photos


What's your take on a report that shows violent crime is decreasing in Winnipeg?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google