Healthy Cooking Tips To Make Your Meals Healthier
You are what you eat. This is not just a proverb; it is true to the core. A person who eats healthy leads a healthy life. In the same manner, an unhealthy eater leads an unhealthy life and will be called an unhealthy person.
In today’s world, we have distanced ourselves from healthy eating habits. Comfort foods, ready to eat meals and processed foods have made our lives easier but, unhealthy. All the aforementioned foods go through processes that change their chemical and nutritional properties. Nutrients are lost in the processes and additives added to them are sometimes harmful to health.
Adopting healthy eating habits does not mean you will have to give up your favorite foods or sacrifice taste for health. There are a number of ways through which you can prepare flavorsome, healthy meals.
Let us get to the point and know more about these healthy meal preparation tips.
Be mindful about your fat intake. Choose lean meat and low-fat dairy products. Incorporate nuts, seeds, soy, avocado, olives and, fish as they are great sources of long-chain fatty acids and other ingredients which are very beneficial for health.
For cooking use mono-unsaturated fats like olive and canola oil. They are considered healthier as compared to other cooking oils.
The key is to reduce fat intake and take good fats when needed.
This can be considered a continuation of the first-mentioned tip. When cooking, follow these tips:
- Cook in liquids like stock, lemon juice, water or vinegar instead of oil.
- Use cooking spray or apply a small amount of oil when needed in cooking.
- Replace cream in sauces with low-fat yogurt, cornstarch, skimmed or evaporated milk or low-fat milk as healthier alternatives.
- To reduce oil absorption in vegetables while browning, first brown them in the pain and then spray small amount of oil. This ensures minimum oil absorption.
- You can also pre-cook vegetables in the microwave and then crisp them on a grill for complete oil-free cooking.
- Replace butter, creamy sauces and sour creams by pesto, salsas, chutneys and healthier sauces.
Curtail salt and sodium intake
Since salt chemically means sodium chloride, it is the same thing in cooking. Salt is a vital additive in cooking but recently a lot of health problems have been associated with high salt intake. Heart problems and high blood pressure are two of the major such health issues. In order to control salt intake, follow these steps:
- Always taste your food and add salt accordingly. This ensures no excessive salt is added to food. Use unrefined and unprocessed Himalayan salt. Adding this natural salt, that contains low sodium content than table salt, can make your food more nutritious with its mineral content.
- Olive oil, lemon or vinegar splashed at the end of the cooking process can contribute to flavor enhancement in the same way like salt.
- Use freshly cooked foods rather than the canned ones. Canned ones are rich in sodium content.
- Limit our intake of salty, processed meats like corned beef, salami, sausages, frankfurters, ham and, bacon.
- Avoid foods that are rich in salt such as canned soup mixes, pasta, noodles, chips, and salted nuts.
- Avoid bread and cereals. If needed use reduced-salt versions.
- Go for such varieties of margarine and butter that have no salt added in them.
- Use lower salt varieties of cheese.
- Limit your use of processed sauces like soy sauce, ketchup, and mayonnaise. They are high in salt. You can make home-made salt free versions and use them.
Retain the nutrients
Do you know that a number of water-soluble nutrients are destroyed in harsh cooking processes and we don’t even realize this?
To retain the maximum nutrients, follow these steps:
- Do not peel the vegetables. Scrub them to clean as many nutrients are found close to the vegetable skins. When u peel the skins, you lose many nutrients.
- Do not boil vegetables. Boiling on high temperature kills many nutrients. It is better to microwave-cook them.
- Adopt stir-frying in your cooking for vegetables. Stir-fried vegetables are quickly cooked retaining the natural crunch and nutrients of the vegetables.
Use herbs in your daily cooking
Herbs are an excellent natural source of protective Phyto-estrogens. In short, herbs are leafy plants used in cooking that add flavor to the food and can be replaced for this reason with salt and oil. You can create your own kitchen herb garden in your kitchen. Remember:
- Herbs are delicately flavored. They are best added to the cooking at the last stage.
- Dried herbs are stronger in flavor than fresh herbs. One teaspoon of dried herbs is equal to four teaspoons of fresh herbs.
- Herbs like coriander, mint, oregano, rosemary, and lemongrass are best used in stir-fried recipes because of their distinctive, strong flavors.
- When herbs begin to wilt, it is best to freeze them. One idea is to freeze them in ice cube trays filled with olive oil.
- Herbs can be used in marinades, soups, sauces, desserts, and drinks. This is how versatile they are.
Add texture to your meals
Bland meals are a serious turn off for foodies. To make your meals interesting, add texture to your meals. For example, you can add sliced almonds or walnuts to your stir-fried or grilled vegetables. It will add a different kick to the otherwise plain dish. You can add cherry tomatoes, sliced avocados, parmesan cheese, or dressing of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Use the right pans
Using the right pans for cooking also makes a big difference. Make sure you use pans made up of substances that do not react with foods making them harmful for consumption. The best choice for cooking pans is non-stick pans, stainless steel pans or enamel coated pans. Aluminum pans are not a good choice to be used in cooking.
Nonstick pans are beneficial as you do not need much oil while cooking in them. They are easy to clean as well which saves another hassle.
Make your food presentable by investing efforts on its presentation. Treat each meal as an occasion and give importance to your meals and your health.
Long term deprivation, like crash diets and avoiding a certain group of nutrients is never a wise thing to do. A guilt free day once a week is very necessary for a healthy diet.
Jeffrey Lewis (BIO)
Hi! My name is Jeffrey, a blogger at Ittefaqsalt.com. I love to share my knowledge and experiences with others and help to bring a positive change in their lifestyle. I enjoy enlightening others about unknown and little-known facts about health, nutrition, fitness, natural beauty. . I’m on a mission to help people start living a sustainable healthy life. Go Natural, Go Healthy!