Healthy Cooking Tips For The New Year
Cooking is a skill that can be learned. However, many cooking approaches don’t always take into consideration best practices for healthy cooking. Here are some simple tips you can apply to your favorite meals to give them a healthier twist.
When I first got married I had no clue how to cook healthy! And, it took me quite awhile to get used to cooking healthy! But, with these tips and some practice I slowly started mastering how to improve my cooking skills and lightening up our meals.
- Invest in some quality non-stick cookware. When you use quality non-stick surfaces, you can greatly reduce or even eliminate the oil required for cooking. For example, with a good non-stick griddle, no oil is necessary when making pancakes. Not only is that healthier, but pancakes without the grease taste so much better.
- Use cast iron to cook with. You can cook, fry and even bake in cast iron. It works beautifully on the stove top, grill and in the oven. Once your cast iron cookware is properly “seasoned,” you’ll virtually eliminate the need to add oil to the pan to cook. Bonus: cast iron is virtually indestructible and will last for decades.
- Do less frying and more baking, steaming, poaching and grilling. Instead of fried chicken, coat and bake it instead. Instead of French fries, slice some potatoes; place them on a baking sheet and bake until golden. Or you could break out an air fryer! I LOVE crispy food and one of the ways that I get crispy food without all the added fat is I use my air fryer!
- Choose leaner cuts of meat and trim fat before cooking. If you’re cooking with chicken, consider removing the skin first. Because this can dry out the chicken, you can cook with the skin on, but remove it before serving. However, realize that cooking with the skin on increases the fat and cholesterol of your finished product.
- Go meatless at least once a week. Not every meal needs to have meat. Try beans, tofu or just a nice meatless pasta. Very few meat eaters are at risk of protein deficiency, so don’t worry about missing protein in a single meal.
- Eat fish at least once a week. Fish is a high quality protein that is generally low in fat. Many fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids and are a good source of minerals, making them a healthy choice that promotes heart health.
- Reduce the refined ingredients you cook with. Choose whole-wheat flour instead of all-purpose white flour. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables, instead of canned. Instead of refined sugars like white sugar and corn syrup, choose sweeteners like unrefined honey or maple syrup.
- Instead of reaching for the butter or other unhealthy flavorings, experiment with herbs, spices and other flavors. Herbs and spices have vitamins, minerals and some even have antioxidants. Plus, they are fat-free and a healthy way to add a little something to your favorite foods.
- Reduce sodium by waiting to add salt after food is cooked, and only when it’s necessary. Avoid canned and other prepared ingredients in your food. Use fresh wherever possible.
If this list seems overwhelming, try choosing just one or two tips to start integrating with your food prep. Stick with it and keep choosing healthier ways to cook and eat so that you and your family will benefit from a thoughtful and healthful diet.