Healthy eating is anything but boring. From broccoli and parmesan soup to zucchini pasta, poached ginger chicken, and dark chocolate mousse, there are thousands of savory recipes you can try anytime. There’s no need to stick to chicken breasts and veggies, or fish and rice to eat clean. The key is to be creative and experiment with new flavors. After all, healthy cooking requires variety.
Depending on how skilled you are in the kitchen, feel free to create new recipes, swap foods, or cook your favorite meals using whole, natural ingredients. Most recipes can be modified so they offer more nutrition and fewer calories. Additionally, you can prepare your favorite foods in a multitude of ways by baking, grilling, boiling, steaming, or braising them.
Need inspiration? Check out these five easy steps to cook healthier meals:
Step 1: Be Smart about Fats
Not all fats are bad for your health. Olive oil, coconut oil, mashed avocado, and other unprocessed foods boast good fats that fight inflammation and regulate hormone function. Butter, cream, refined oils, and cheese are loaded with saturated fat, which can be harmful when consumed in large amounts.
To stay healthy, swap saturated and trans fats for monounsaturated fats.
Use extra virgin olive oil instead of canola oil, Greek yogurt instead of cream, and avocado instead of heavy sauces. For example, you can make a healthy cream substitute using four teaspoons of flour and one cup of skimmed milk. Whisk the mixture over medium heat until it becomes thick. This way, you’ll save over 53 grams of fat and 680 calories.
Step 2: Stick to Whole Foods
One of the best ways to cook healthier meals is to replace processed foods with whole ingredients. Almond flour, whole wheat flour, and flax meal are excellent substitutes for white flour. Cereals are packed with sugar and have little fiber, so swap them for whole grains. Use unrefined vegetable oils instead of processed oils, make your own dressings, and cook with wild rice or quinoa.
Step 3: Boost Your Vegetable Intake
Vegetables are chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and plant-based compounds that ward off diseases. If you’re not a big fan of veggies, mix them into meatballs, meatloaf, stews, and other dishes. This way, you won’t even notice their flavor. For instance, many dieters mix steamed kale into meatballs to get more lutein and beta-carotene.
Step 4: Use Quality Cookware
When it comes to healthy eating, cookware can make all the difference. To cut back on fats, use a quality non-stick pan. Take advantage of the latest technology and get an Airfryer, an instant pot, or a multicooker. These small kitchen appliances require little or no oil, and cook your food evenly. They also bring out the flavor in vegetables, so your meals will taste amazing.
Step 5: Limit Sodium in Your Meals
Canned and processed foods are high in sodium, which increases your risk of high blood pressure, edema, and fluid retention. For example, canned tomatoes boast up to 300 milligrams of salt per serving. To cut down on sodium, use fresh tomatoes in your meals. Swap table salt for herbs and spices, such as basil, oregano, black cumin seeds, and turmeric. These seasonings are nutritious and have a strong flavor, offering incredible benefits.
So, are you ready to give your diet a makeover and cook healthier meals?