Cooking can be tough without worrying how many calories you have to count to make sure you’re eating healthy. With all the different types of fats and butter, eating well can be a challenge.
There are several things to keep in mind when cooking healthier and it all starts with re-evaluating your recipes. With chefs yelling “pork fat rules” from the mountaintops, how do you make your recipes better for you? Here are some tips to re-evaluate your recipes so they help your body, not harm it.
Choose Your Fats Wisely and Make Them Count
Many recipes have different types of oils or fats within them to help the recipe taste better. Learning what fats are good vs. bad can help to prepare healthier dishes for you. Using processed oils like canola or vegetable will make for empty fat grams and calories that are not necessary to your dishes. When cooking, try using extra virgin olive oil. This oil is not only thought to aid in fighting heart disease, but it is also high in vitamin E. This will make your nails, hair, skin healthier. Extra virgin olive oil also helps with taste. Starting your dish off with vegetable oil or canola oil doesn’t add anything to the flavor of your dish, by adding a little extra virgin olive oil you will have twice the taste of your usual oil.
Making a salad can become a great way to have a light and very healthy lunch or snack, but once you add your toppings and heavy dressing, the health factor has gone out the window. Instead of adding copious amounts of empty calories, try adding avocado or nuts with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This will make your salad light and the avocado will give you good fats instead of empty bad ones. If your having a fat in your dish make it do double duty by being good for you.
Cut the Calories Every Time You Can
Having a sweet tooth can leave you combing through your recipes for something to satisfy your need for sugar, problem is, most recipes give you ingredients with high fat content. Most recipes assume that you will be using the regular versions of the ingredients, but with so many different versions of these same ingredients with less fat, it is possible to conquer your sweet tooth in a healthy way.
Cheesecake is a great dessert that many avoid when trying to be healthy, but you don’t have to. This is one example of how you can cut the calories and still enjoy this delectable dessert. Since the recipe calls for cream cheese, try a fat-free or if you must have your fat, use the one third less fat. Instead of regular sour cream, use fat-free. This will change your cheesecake for the better. The guaranteed end product will be just as decadent with a much healthier touch. If you’re worried about the flavor, add pumpkin or an extract to enhance the flavor. You can cut the fat in almost any recipe you make if you are looking for more flavor enhancers use fresh herbs for savory dishes and fresh fruit or chocolate for sweet dishes.
Cut the Recipe to Fit Your Appetite
Have you ever baked cookies for the holiday season and ended up with so many cookies you had no choice but to eat them all? Or so you thought? Sometimes you come across a recipe that you know you won’t eat all of it but make it anyway. This is where you have to exercise portion control. There is definitely a problem with the portion control amongst the restaurant industry, but just because you eat big at a restaurant doesn’t mean you have to eat big at home.
When making a dish, scale down the amount of food you will consume. You don’t need to make two cups of rice for yourself, try one instead. Scaling down on portions will give you more control over what you eat and how to eat less. Now, everyone is different and eats more or less depending on many factors, but you know when you’re eating too much. Try cutting the recipes you make in half and I’m sure you’ll find that you are completely full without the extra portion you would have made.
In the end, when you’re looking at your recipes, think of them as beginning formula that you can change. Cooking is never set in stone whether it is baking or tonight’s dinner, create and re-evaluate your recipes so they suit your healthy lifestyle.