With the added convenience of takeout diners just a touch away on our phones, home cooking often takes a back burner. Yet there’s something extra special about planning, preparing, and then cooking and eating a home-cooked meal from scratch.
However, the downside to operating from your kitchen is that you may find yourself opting for foods and added extras that aren’t so healthy.
While the general advice to cook and eat healthier foods is to focus on veggies, whole grains, and fruits, there is a lot more to consider when it comes to guaranteeing healthier cooking.
Here are 5 easy tips for healthier cooking.
1. Eat Lots of Protein
Meat is an excellent protein source but it tends to be served in very big portions which can be pretty off-putting. Aiming to eat smaller amounts of poultry, fish, and meats while packing the rest of your plate full of delicious whole grains and healthy vegetables is a great place to begin!
It is very imperative for building blocks for muscles, bones, skin, and other tissues in the body. Eating foods that are high in protein can also help to keep you feeling full and satisfied, which may make it easier to maintain a healthy weight. Some good sources of protein include lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds. Thus you must consume an adequate amount of protein, to balance it with other essential nutrients such as carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Anna Brooks of CooksDream.com offers lots of incredible cooking advice and delicious protein-rich recipes for you to try out in your kitchen. This includes anything from lean chicken breast to protein coffee, so it won’t be hard to find a new recipe to try!
And, if you’re vegan or vegetarian, don’t worry! There are plenty of delicious protein sources available for you to sample.
2. Fill Your Plate With Veggies
The recommended amount of fruits and veggies per day is as follows: 2 to 3 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit. So, along with protein, these are also the star of the show when it comes to achieving healthier cooking!
Only a small percentage of adults eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables every day. Overall, it means that 80% of us are not consuming enough fresh produce!
Fruits and vegetables are packed full of antioxidants that fight inflammation, minerals, fiber, and vitamins. This means that they should feature as the star of your meals, rather than a side character.
3. Create A Plan
If you don’t have any sort of plan when it comes to grocery shopping for ingredients or for your weekly meal schedule, you may find the whole idea of healthier cooking to be a lot more difficult than it needs to be.
After all, it can be tough and very time-consuming to try to work out exactly what you want to have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day — even more so if you must factor in the preferences and needs of multiple family members, too!
This is when having a meal plan in place will come in handy!
We’d recommend planning your weekly menu in advance to cover various dishes made with ingredients like meat, vegetables, and fish, for example. Essentially, you should center every meal around foods that are fresh and available to you.
4. Incorporate Healthy Fats
Regardless of what diet culture tells you, fat is not always a bad thing when it comes to cooking! In fact, small amounts of fat are considered to be a crucial element of a healthy and completely balanced diet.
This is because fat is a major source of fatty acids that the body is unable to make for itself, and also helps the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and E.
Fat is a very filling part of a meal and works to provide your body with energy while supporting cell function. Olive oil, nuts, and avocados are all great examples of healthy fats.
5. Reduce Added Salt and Sugar
Consuming over the recommended amount of sodium and sugars each day can put you at risk of conditions such as heart disease or high blood pressure. Provided you stay within these amounts, you’ll have no issues ensuring healthier cooking.
Try to aim for 6 teaspoons of added sugar every day if you are a woman, and 9 if you are a man. This includes brown and white sugars, maple syrup, and honey.
In terms of salt, the normal recommended amount for a healthy adult is that you stick to no more than 2,300 mg of sodium each day. Sodium is often found in processed foods so, by cooking your own food from home, the easier it will be to consume more fresh food!
Achieving healthier cooking doesn’t need to be a difficult task. As long as you take the time to implement these 5 tips into your daily routine, you will likely find yourself making tasty yet healthy dishes from your home in no time at all.