Cooking healthy really only requires some minor changes for most people. By substituting items and using various techniques, you can not only reduce the amount of fat intake, but also increase valuable nutrients in the food. You’ll be amazed that once you start experimenting, you’ll find that healthy cooking techniques actually improve your meals.
1. Add herbs to your food. Herbs are power packed with vitamins and minerals without adding excess extra calories. When you add herbs, you increase the flavor of the dish and make it more exotic. You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to do this. Simply experiment. Did you know that parsley contains powerful antioxidants and cilantro contains substances that help fight diabetes? There’s a world of cures in your spice rack, experiment.
2. Reduce salt intake. When you increase the herbs in your food, you can also reduce the amount of salt. Herbs add more flavors and makes salt less necessary. Reducing salt intake also reduces your potential for high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Combining this with other healthy cooking techniques improves not only the flavor but also the nutritional quality of the food you serve.
3. Steam your vegetables. You’ve heard the expression, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, well that’s exactly what you do when you boil vegetables. Boiling vegetables leaches the nutrients out of the veggie and into the water. Instead, try steaming the vegetables. You can find small steaming baskets that fit into your pots. Simply put an inch of water in the pan, not enough to touch the vegetables, insert the basket filled with vegetables, cover and heat. You’ll find that all vegetables taste better steamed. Add the spices at the last minute.
4. Use monounsaturated fats. You’ll cook a lot healthier if you avoid certain types of fats, such as trans fatty acids and saturated fats. They simply are heart healthy. Canola oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil and sesame seed oil are good sources to use for cooking. Olive oil is also another. This is one of the healthy cooking techniques, which makes a huge difference in the potential for coronary artery disease.
5. Increase vegetables and fruit at each meal. Adding an extra vegetable selection to each meal increases the amount of health nutrients available to your family. The more selections you offer, the more variety they’ll receive. Even fussy eaters like some type of vegetable.
6. Reduce the amount of red meat in your meals. Some men simply won’t eat anything but steak and potatoes. You have to be tricky with them. Get smaller cuts of meat and slowly reduce the size of the steak you serve. You’ll find they won’t notice, will be healthier and your grocery bill goes down.
7. Try to go nuts. Nuts are a great source of plant protein. Most people don’t consider nuts a main dish but you can reduce the amount of animal protein in the diet if you simply use them periodically. A Waldorf salad made from apples, celery, walnuts or pecans and mayonnaise or salad dressing provides both protein and valuable nutrients. The FDA approved walnuts as a heart healthy food, along with seven other nuts.
8. Get creative. There’s nothing better than a salad on a burrito, especially if it’s a whole grain burrito. Make your salad but finely chop the lettuce and other vegetables. Include finely chopped chicken and add your dressing. Put it into a burrito wrap and you’ll have a meal that kids that wouldn’t touch a salad will eat.
You can improve the flavor and healthful quality of your cooking by simply using a few healthy cooking techniques. It doesn’t mean you have to give up everything you love, simply modify it so it’s healthier for your whole family.