Cooking healthy almost sounds like an oxymoron. You watch so many cooking shows and see them slab on a pound of butter and pour oil all over steak while cooking it, which they ensure makes it taste amazing. While it likely does bring out some delicious flavor, there are certainly better options to cook your dinners and have them taste great without adding a heart attack as a side dish. With these simple tricks and tips in mind, you will be on your way to cooking a much healthier and tasty meal.
Introducing a variety of herbs to your meals, instead of flavoring with plenty of salt, butter and oil, is a great technique to introduce to your cooking routine. Herbs are rich in health-protective phytoestrogens, which introduce health benefits rather than detriments. Just remember that dried herbs are approximately four times stronger than fresh herbs, so use dried herbs sparingly compared to fresh.
Plan Your Plate
Creating a healthy, balanced meal, you need to plan your plate ahead of time. One great rule of thumb is to make 50% of your plate vegetables, 25% whole grains and 25% lean protein. Posting the plate graph on your fridge is a great reminder of how to plate your meal and plan around what you will be cooking and how much you will need to make.
Cooking a healthy meal begins with your ingredients, which generally starts at the grocery store. When you are shopping, choose the reduced or low-fat version of a food if possible. For example, you can get low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt and salad dressings. When choosing meat, choose lean meat cuts and skinless chicken breasts. Opting for grass-fed meats is a great way to stay on the healthier side. Also, avoid chemically processed foods, such as those in a can. Instead, opt for frozen options which have likely preserved the ingredients’ nutrients.
Remove Skin and Trim Fat
Meat with veggies on the side always seems to be a go-to meal for many households. To ensure you are getting the best out of the meal, make sure to remove all of the skin from chicken and trim the fat on all meats before cooking. Skin and fat go straight to your heart and can clog your arteries along, causing diseases, heart attacks and more.
Sautéing is a great technique for small slices of food, especially veggies. With the help of a non-stick pan, you can easily cook food without using any fat like many people do. Instead of using oil to sauté your veggies, you can swap it out with a low-sodium broth, cooking spray or even water! This will help you eliminate empty calories that come along with the cooking oils.
Steaming vegetables and fish is a great way to introduce healthy cooking techniques to your repertoire. Steaming allows your fish and veggies to stew in their own natural ingredients and retain all of their healthy, natural benefits. If you want some added flavor, all you have to do is sprinkle a little seasoning such as salt and pepper, or squirt a little lemon juice on them to give it a little kick. Broccoli, in particular, is a great candidate for steaming as glucosinolates found in broccoli become compounds called isothiocyanates, which has been linked to preventing the growth of cancer cells.