There are so many delicious foods out there, but in our modern age things that taste good are often not good for you. So often we go on “diets” and lose foods that we love, but we don’t have to. Cooking healthy is as easy as these five steps!
From the moment I started cooking for myself, I gravitated toward healthier foods and cooking healthy. At first it was just simple things like salads, sandwiches, veggies and lean meats. I’d watched my mom cook for years and I saw her use recipes, but they weren’t always healthy to begin with. She told me that cooking and baking in the beginning is just following a recipe, but it seemed easy enough for me to make some of my favorite dishes way healthier. I quickly learned to edit recipes with a few simple tricks. These tricks apply to making any meal healthy, so I recommend when starting out that you use a recipe until you’re more familiar with cooking. But don’t be afraid to edit it!
Follow my five tips to help you make nearly any meal or recipe healthier, because you never have to sacrifice taste. Remind yourself that most meals are heavier because they are over processed, so when you’re cooking healthy at home you can strip all of that away. Make any meal healthy with these five tips!
1) Cut Out Frying – Growing up I loved fried food and one of my favorite foods is still fried chicken. Every now and again I’ll indulge, but I never fry at home. I find that baking some of my favorites to be just as great! My Nana showed me how to make homemade chips and she did it the classic way of course, thin potato slices fried on the stove-top in oil. They are delicious, but baking those potatoes is equally as delicious. As long you slice the potatoes thin, you’ll get the desired effect baking. The secret is to spray a little oil or cooking spray on them prior to going in the oven. I always bake my homemade “fries”, mozzarella sticks, “fried” chicken, eggplant Parmesan etc.
2) Be Mindful of Dairy – I love cheese and yogurt, but I rarely eat full fat versions. When looking at a recipe, especially a cheesy recipe, I always use at a minimum a 2% cheese as well as use half the amount of cheese that is called for. If a recipe calls for milk, I always use unsweetened almond milk. A great way to add creaminess to a dish is to use a little 0% Greek yogurt because it’s thick and you don’t need to use a lot. I also stopped eating sour cream or adding it to dishes and I now sub Greek yogurt for that as well.
3) Alter How Much Oil You Use – There are some recipes where you need to use oil and there are a lot of healthy oils out there such as olive oil, grape seed oil, sunflower oil etc. However, if you use enough of any oil it fattens up the meal. I always assess how much oil I truly need for a recipe. For example, when sautéing onions or garlic I always just spray oil on top because recipes often call for a tablespoon of oil and you don’t need that much. Your onions or garlic will sauté just as nicely without all that oil.
4) Opt For Lean Meats – I’m not a big meat-eater and I do not eat any red meat, but I still enjoy a good turkey burger or some chicken now and then. When buying turkey or chicken, I always buy the lean version and it’s honestly so worth it! It’s almost summer and a good burger is always delicious to indulge in, but if you use lean ground turkey meat you’re not indulging at all. The same goes for chicken. I love the skin, but skinless chicken breasts are great!
5) Swap Out Meats For Veggies – I love veggie versions of so many different foods and recipes. It’s pretty easy to swap out a meat and replace it with a veggie and I always add even more veggies into the dish. There are so many meals where I’ve done this and I love it better. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve made a meat version of tacos. I always make veggie tacos because it’s such an easy and delicious swap. Even though I still eat chicken, I always make eggplant Parmesan and I don’t ever use oil or frying for this! It’s really that simple.
These tips are how I started cooking healthy! It really just takes a quick assessment of the original recipe and minor altering from there. Before you know it you will be creating your own healthy recipes! Have patience and keep practicing!
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Mandi Mellen is Lead Editor, Staff Writer, and Featured Host at BuzzChomp. She’s also an Actress, Writer, Director and Producer. Get lost in her Youtube comedy channel PillowTalk TV. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or Instagram
Cooking Healthy Photo Credits: www.eatthisnotthat.com and www.minimallistbaker.com
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