If you’re approaching the New Year with a new attitude for health, try some of these simple, but effective tips for cooking healthier. I always suggest implementing one or two of these ideas a week, and progressing from there. It makes it seem less overwhelming, and will help your tastebuds and body adapt over time. These are all simple to do, and very effective in making you healthier for the New Year. Try these tips for cooking healthier, and you’ll be cooking your way to healthy in just a couple of weeks!
1. Omit the Oil
One of the very first and foremost tips for cooking healthier that you need to do is omit the oil in your recipes. You do not need it! It is a dense source of fat, and even from a healthy source, it’s not a whole food. Instead, in baking recipes, use applesauce, canned pumpkin or even almond milk or almond butter instead. In entrees like stir-fries, you can actually use water to cook in the pan with, not oil, and it makes for a more tastier veggie as well. For any kind of frying recipe, use nonstick spray.
2. Omit the Salt
Another tip for cooking in the new year is to omit the added salt. Most people eat plenty of foods that already have enough sodium for their needs. Use salt-free seasonings, herbs and salt-free spices. Always check condiments, as they are usually a high source of sodium. Buy low sodium varieties whenever you can, or use alternative ones instead. Never use a condiment with over 50 mg. sodium per teaspoon.
3. Omit the Sugar
Another tip to cook healthier this year is to omit all sugar sources in your foods. This means even if it comes from a healthy source like coconut sugar, it’s still added sugar that will quickly put weight on you without you realizing it. Instead of sugar, be sure you use stevia, or another zero calorie sweetener of your choosing. Or, you can opt for 100% fruit purees instead. You need to check your condiments and pre-made foods to make sure they don’t have added sugar as well.
4. Stop Buying Processed Food
Another tip for cooking healthy is to stop buying processed foods. You’re only hurting your decision to eat healthier by doing this, and processed foods do not help you in any way, no matter how convenient they are. If you buy canned veggies, for instance, buy plain and unsalted, and season them with salt-free seasoning instead of buying salted varieties. Don’t use cream-based soup products, products with added sugars, powdered salad dressing mixes, or anything else that isn’t 100% natural and includes only one ingredient. For instance, plain frozen veggies would be a great easy food to eat that’s minimally processed, as would plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt.
5. Get Rid of Salad Dressings
Another tip for getting healthy is to ditch those high fat salad dressings. They are filled with preservatives, additives, salt, sugar and even if they are low calorie, they’re made with cheap ingredients. It’s better to use a little red wine or balsamic vinegar, or my personal favorite, apple cider vinegar, which is actually wonderful for your health, and adds a zingy, tangy flavor that also lowers your insulin.
6. Prepare Ahead
Another tip to cook healthier this year is to prepare your meals ahead of time. Plan them out and buy the necessary ingredients. Making a list will help you accomplish this, and help you stay away from temptations at the store as well. Then, all you have to do is come home, prepare a few things for the week, and you’ll be ready to go!
7. Cook More at Home
Lastly, one tip for cooking healthy this year, is to actually just cook more at home. By doing this alone, you’re already avoiding unnecessary levels of sodium, which are sky high at restaurants, along with avoiding hidden sources of gluten, fat, sugar and MSG in sauces, spices and seasonings used in restaurants. As a bonus, you’ll also save more money!
If you have a healthy cooking tip to share, please feel free! You can also check out my blog thesoufulspoon.com which is full of healthy tips and recipes, along with encouragement to eat healthy and live a balanced lifestyle. What’s your best healthy cooking tip?