Many people exercise each week in the gym, without cooking healthy foods, and wonder why they’re not losing weight or feeling better.
Without a focus on healthier cooking, it’s hard to begin a healthy lifestyle. One reason many people avoid healthy cooking is that it seems hard. Fortunately, that’s not true.
By following a few healthy cooking basics, you’ll have the perfect foundation to start enjoying everything that clean eating has to offer. Here are ten basics that are crucial to cooking healthy.
The 10 Basics that are Critical to Healthier Cooking
1. Use the Right Oils
Many foods need oil to cook in. When you’re shopping for this ingredient, look for olive, canola, and flaxseed oils. Olive oil, for instance, is rich in antioxidants. It’s also a heart-healthy food. While it might be delicious, try to avoid cooking with coconut oil. Research shows too much coconut oil can increase your LDL cholesterol levels.
2. Dunk in Fresh Herbs
A common misconception about eating healthy is that what you’ll eat won’t taste good. On the contrary, you can use all sorts of fresh herbs to create tasty food combinations. You’ll soon find what you’re making rivals anything from a drive-thru.
Here’s a quick look at a few herb and food pairings you can start experimenting with. For instance, basil pairs well with dishes featuring tomatoes and or chicken. Sage works well with chicken and pork. On the other hand, herbs like thyme are best suited to soups and stews.
The best part about using fresh herbs in your foods is finding the flavor combinations you love most. Have fun with it!
3. Meal Prep Big Time
People don’t only prefer fast food because it tastes good. Fast food and other unhealthy options are also popular because it’s convenient. Who wants to go home and cook after a long day when they get a hot and fresh meal in minutes?
You can beat the temptation of visiting a nearby drive-thru by cooking large meals and eating portions of it throughout the week, otherwise known as meal prepping. By cooking one large
meal, you’ll have lunch and dinner for several days. These are days spent without worrying about setting aside time to cook or doing a sink full of dishes.
4. Add a Variety of Cooking Techniques
You’ve probably heard that variety is the spice of life. Considering that, while you’re spicing up your foods with herbs, also consider trying a variety of cooking methods. If possible, the American Heart Association recommends baking and boiling as healthy ways to cook foods.
It’s amazing how cooking the same food in a new way creates a brand-new taste experience.
5. Swap Sugar for Healthier Options
As it turns out, your parents and dentist were right about sugar. This delicious yet dangerous ingredient can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and a range of other serious health conditions. Don’t worry; you can still cook healthy foods and enjoy sweet treats.
You can curb those processed sugars by adding more fresh fruit to your meals. Raw honey and agave nectar are a few popular sugar alternatives.
6. Add Vegetable Proteins
Vegetable protein has come a long way from its beginnings. There are now tons of vegetarian and vegan-friendly sides, main courses, and desserts that’d fool almost any meat or dairy lover.
7. Take to the Instant Pot
Many busy adults often worry that eating healthier means spending lots of time cooking. To cook meals faster and go on about your life, consider getting an Instant Pot. This newer appliance has recently gained lots of popularity for being an appliance that specializes in cooking food fast.
Besides cooking foods fast, it also locks in the nutrients of what you’re cooking. Before you get too excited, there are several types of Instant Pots available. Corriecooks recently put together an in-depth comparison of the Instant Pot Duo vs Duo Nova. By reading this post, you can check out the differences between these two popular Instant Pot variations.
8. Eat More Fiber
Did you know only 5% of U.S. adults meet the recommended daily fiber intake requirements? A diet rich in fiber helps promote better digestive health, reduces constipation, and can help lower your cholesterol. If you need more fiber in your diet, try adding avocados, raspberries, and artichokes to your meals.
9. Prefer Whole Grains
Another common misconception of eating healthy is that you have to avoid bread and other types of grains. Fortunately, you can still eat these foods and stay healthy by including whole grains in your diet. Whole grains contain B vitamins, fiber, healthy fats, and vitamin E. You won’t find such a range of vitamins, nutrients, and fiber in refined grains.
10. Avoid Processed Foods
To remain profitable, many supermarkets and grocery stores carry lots of processed foods. These foods receive this name because they’re altered to avoid spoiling for as long as possible. While this sounds great, eating too many processed foods can become a big health risk.
Processed foods are often rich in sugars, “bad” fats, and sodium. They’re also full of empty calories while being hard to digest, a lose-lose situation for any dieter.
Living a healthy lifestyle is a great way to look and feel great. Implementing these tips in your life will take some time and effort. But it might surprise you how fast these small changes lead to substantial results.