Why do it: When you poach, the liquid gives food an exceptionally tender texture, which in turn infuses the liquid with its own flavor. To poach, place chicken or fish in a large, shallow pan, add just enough water or broth to cover it, simmer gently so that only a stray bubble breaks the surface. (If you're making chicken, remove the skin before you poach it: "You immediately cut the fat grams by more than half," says Bazilian)
What you need: A saucepan that's deep enough to submerge the ingredients and a watchful eye, so that only an occasional bubble breaks the surface (otherwise, the meat may become tough).
Tip: Instead of pouring the cooking liquid down the drain, turn it into soup by adding vegetables and perhaps some pasta for substance. Recent research indicates that when people eat soup, they tend to fill up quickly due to the volume of liquid. As a result, they consume fewer calories overall without feeling deprived. "That psychological satisfaction," Bazilian says, "is very, very important."