Leading a healthy lifestyle requires you to make better choices, engage in regular exercise, and follow a well-balanced diet. While there are many healthy pre-cooked meals that you can buy at the grocery store, it is better to prepare your own at home.
There is a myriad of ways to cook healthy food; it is not just about grilling or boiling veggies and protein. Here are a few easy and healthy ways to cook delicious and nutritious food.
Plan Your Meals
First things first, you should make a list of what you need before making your next trip to the grocery store. Meal planning is all about gaining maximum nutritional value, so you need to control what ingredients will be added to your food. You write down a list of what you need for the whole month or shop for specific days; both ways will help you prepare healthy meals. Following recipes will also help you cook healthier food. Not only is home-cooked food healthier than junk food and pre-cooked meals, but it is also a lot cheaper. So, by planning your meals, you’ll be hitting two birds with one stone, saving both money and time as you purchase the exact ingredients you need without wandering aimlessly around the grocery store, thinking about what to get.
Use Alternative Frying Methods
Let’s be real for a second; no one can resist those golden, crispy french fries, especially when they’re fresh out of the frying pan. The same goes for chicken nuggets, mozzarella sticks, and fish fingers. However, there are no health benefits or nutrients that your body gets from these fried foods. To get both that addictive crunch and nutritional value, use air fryers to fry your food instead. That way, you can enjoy lower-fat meals with the same delicious taste in a short time; air fryers heat up food quickly and reduce calories and fats. You will still get the signature crispiness of any deep-fried dish you love if you opt for air frying.
Season Your Food with Healthy Herbs and Spices
Just because it’s healthy food doesn’t mean it should be tasteless. You can still lose weight or maintain your body shape without sacrificing the flavor. There are numerous ingredients that can add an impeccable flavor to your food without harming your health. Ditch the salt and pepper and opt for delicious alternatives instead, such as paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, cumin, and cinnamon. Herbs pack a punch as well and can add a delicious flavor and aroma to your dishes. You can also add a pinch of acidity from vinegar or citrus juice, adding a unique flavor to your meals.
Preserve the Nutrients
The ultimate goal of cooking any meal is to preserve the nutrients in your ingredients. Vegetables and fruits, for instance, are rich in nutrients many of which can be lost while cooking. This is why you should be mindful of the methods you use while prepping them. There are several ways to cook your veggies, meat, and fruit without reducing their nutritional value, such as pressure cooking, steaming, microwaving, grilling, sautéing, broiling, and poaching. The beauty of such methods is that you can mix and match them. You will be amazed by how great the results are, not to mention you will get to try many new recipes. You can also try the no-cooking or raw cooking methods, which are quite popular in plant-based diets.
Avoid Processed or Packaged Food
No matter how tempting or easy it is to buy canned mushrooms or tomatoes to cook with, it is best to stay away from those. Packaged food typically contains high amounts of salt, sugar, and saturated fats. Think carefully before buying processed food, such as microwave meals, instant ramen, frozen dinners, or dried fruit. Consuming this type of food can result in major health problems in the long run. However, if you need to add extra flavor or a small side dish, you can buy them in moderation every now and then.
Switch to Low-fat Ingredients
Because using oil or butter can sometimes be integral to a recipe, it is better to go for healthier alternatives. To reduce the amount of fat in your food, try cooking in liquids other than oil, such as lemon juice, water, stock, or vinegar, to get more health benefits. When making buttery or creamy sauces, you can use low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, or cornstarch instead of full-fat cooking cream. If you have to use oil, you can add a very small amount to the pan and distribute it with a pastry brush. This can work just fine while grilling vegetables as it gives them a delicious and light flavor.
Who says healthy food has to taste bland! With the right ingredients and cooking methods, you can get the best of both worlds. Not only will your food taste great, but your body will also thank you for it. Applying simple changes to your meal-prepping techniques can do wonders for your health. With the guide provided here, you can apply useful tips to create healthy masterpieces. Bon appétit!