There are plenty of ways to make your meals healthier and most only require a few tiny modifications! You can easily make your favorite soups, casseroles, and pasta dishes simply by switching up a few ingredients and cooking methods. Try these seven ways to make your meals healthier.
1. Use Olive or Coconut Oil Instead of Vegetable Oils
Vegetable oils like corn oil, canola oil, and soybean are super refined and have no place in your kitchen. They have been heated to extremely high temperatures in order to extract the oil and more often than not are rancid. Use heart healthy olive oil or coconut oil as a cooking oil. These oils do better with medium to high heats and are much better for you. This is one of the best ways to make your meals healthier.
2. Use Low-Fat Cheese and Cut the Amount by Half
Some lasagna or stuffed shell recipes can use hundreds of calories of cheese! Cut the saturated fat by using low-fat products instead. When ordering pizza or making it on your own, use half as much cheese as you normally would. Trust me, you won’t even miss the extra cheese. Despite its high calcium content, studies show excessive dairy consumption actually makes you more likely to suffer from osteoporosis. Cut calories and fat by cutting cheese.
3. Sneak Veggies in Soups, Stews, and Casseroles
For added vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, try sneaking veggies into dishes that otherwise don’t include vegetables. It’s as simple as incorporating some frozen broccoli into a rice casserole before baking or sneaking mushrooms and peppers into a lasagna. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative in the kitchen!
4. Use Avocado or Greek Yogurt Instead of Mayo for Chicken/Tuna/Egg Salad
One tablespoon of mayo can have as much as 100 calories and nine grams of fat! For creamy texture and consistency in mayo-based salads like chicken salad or egg salad, try using Greek yogurt or avocados instead. Greek yogurt provides a healthy dose of protein. Even though avocados still have fat, this is a much healthier source of fat than mayonnaise.
5. Use Whole Wheat Products Instead of Refined Products
When making pasta, bread, or rice dishes, swapping white flour products out for whole grain products is a simple technique to make carb-based dishes healthier. Most grocery stores have whole grain products lined up right next to the refined product, so it’s literally as simple as choosing a different box or bag in the same aisle! If whole grain products don’t taste so great to you, eat your white products while gradually adding more whole grain product to the mix every week. With 4-6 weeks you won’t even miss refined carbs!
6. Add Spices for Flavor Instead of Salt or Fat
It’s easy to add a pat of butter or a sprinkle of salt to make your food taste better but these choices add unnecessary sodium and fat to your diet. Make things healthier by flavoring food with fresh and dried herbs like cilantro, parsley, garlic, and basil to name a few. Using products like dulse which is technically seaweed adds natural sodium and essential iodine to your diet.
7. Use Water or Low-Sodium Alternatives Instead of Broth or Stock
Store bought broths and stocks can have loads of salt and other nasty ingredients like MSG in them. Try braising foods in low sodium and organic broths if possible. For some soups, I’ve noticed that water and a heaped tablespoon of tomato paste makes an excellent substitution for vegetable broth. You can even make your own stock with leftover bones for a natural source of calcium,
Making your favorite foods healthier is actually much easier than you’d presume. What are some of your healthy tips and tricks in the kitchen?