If you want to stick to a better-for-you diet, how you prepare your food is crucial. Here are 5 healthy cooking basics to get you started.
Many health problems and diseases arise from or are aggravated by a poor diet — high in sugar and fat and low in fiber, good fats and lean protein. A good diet not only offers you tons of energy and a vibrant glow, but healthy eating also can help prevent disease and the resulting side effects. Check out the top five healthy cooking tips you need to keep in mind when preparing your food.
Avoid animal fats. When cooking, always stick with healthy fats and oils that are plant or nut based. Any oil or fat that comes from animal sources is probably loaded with saturated or trans fat, a potentially harmful type of dietary fat, according to the Mayo Clinic. This is the kind of fat that clogs arteries, increases your cholesterol and causes disease. Good fats are considered monounsaturated or polyunsaturated — filled with omega-3 fatty acids — and they are essential to your physical and mental health. Examples of good fat include olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil and sesame oil. Bad fats to avoid are butter, lard, palm oil, coconut oil and solid vegetable shortening. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that the average adult limit fat calories to 20 percent to 33 percent daily. If you do decide to indulge, choose lean cuts. Marbled steak may be delicious, but all that marbling is less than marvelous within your arteries. Select a lean cut of filet mignon or, better yet, skip the red meat and choose turkey, chicken and fish. These meats are naturally low in fat, and fish has the added benefit of containing the omega-3, which is so beneficial.
Reduce the fat by buying reduced-fat products. Whenever possible, use reduced-fat products in your recipes. The low-fat or no-fat sour cream, cheese, salad dressings and mayonnaise can really get the job done, without all the health risks associated with too much fat.
Egg whites only! Skip the yolk and use egg whites in recipes that call for eggs. The protein and nutrition in an egg white is incredibly good for you, and egg whites are versatile. You can make omelets and even bread a cutlet with the egg white only.
Make smart substitutions. Bread a pork chop with Dijon mustard. You don’t need oil to enjoy your roughage. Spice up a salad or steamed and roasted veggies with vinegar, lemon or lime juices.
Seasoning equals satisfaction. You don’t need to boost the flavor factor of your food with fatty spreads, oils or mayonnaise. This is the time to try all those unusual spices and herbs you’ve been passing by in the grocery store, and don’t forget the hot peppers, dried cranberries and other intensely flavored vegetables and fruits in your healthy cooking. These choices offer tons of flavor and variety and none of the health risks.