Cooking is one of many people’s hobbies. While cooking can be an enjoyable thing to do at home, it could also be a route to serious health issues. Typically, you need to know not only to cook but how to cook healthy. It is not just about cooking delicious meals. Rather, you have to ensure that you cook and consume only healthy food. Clearly, there are a lot of dangers of unhealthy foods.
But let’s be positive today and focus on how you can cook delicious and healthy meals at home. Is there any specific rule to it? Well, there are no strict chronicles that bind to cooking healthy meals. However, it is all about ensuring that you don’t expose your body to anything unhealthy.
That being said, here is a look at how you can cook healthy meals at home;
- Always have a plan
The first thing to do is to make a cooking plan. It is natural to have a plan if you want to have any successful mission. Since you want to cook healthy meals, you must have a meal plan. You can either write down the detail of the menu and a shopping list of the food and groceries that you will need. Ideally, you can make a list and buy the things once to take you through the week. For example, you can do the shopping on a Sunday.
Make sure that you stick to the meal plan at all times.
- Include More Fruits and Veggies
Some of the things that must be in your meal plan should be fruits and vegetables. You don’t want to miss those necessary vitamins. Research shows that almost 80% of people out there don’t eat enough food accordingly. It is well known that fruits and vegetables are rich in inflammation-fighting antioxidants, fiber, minerals, as well as vitamins.
Always ensure that you eat enough fruits every day. According to health experts, it is recommended to eat two cups of fruits and three cups of veggies daily.
You can start your morning with a fruit smoothie, throw in a big salad for lunch, and wrap it off with spaghetti squash for dinner. Here, you can use veggies as noodles with sweet potato or zucchini. When serving your meals, try to make half of the plate veggies and fruits.
In between meals, you can make fruit or veggie snacks. Here, dried fruits, too-baby carrots, vegetable soup, or apple slices can play good options.
- Follow a Good Cookbook
If you don’t have an idea of how to go about your home-based cooking and you want to stay healthy while it, you can purchase a cookbook to guide you. With the cookbook, you will have basically everything that you need to assure you of a healthy diet. Whether it is breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks, the cookbooks should be having all the necessary information for it.
For vegetarians or anyone that doesn’t want to feed on animal-based foods, you can opt for some of the best plant-based cookbooks out there. These cookbooks are authored by top chefs that come up with original and super-healthy
- Find a ‘Healthy’ Cooker
Sometimes, it is not even about the meals you cook, but the appliance you use to prepare the meals. Take, for example, a deep fryer or a frying wok. Regardless of how you choose to cook with these appliances, you will still have to use some amount of oil that might be considered unhealthy.
But for an appliance like an air fryer or pressure cooker, you can easily enjoy the finger-licking meals while still staying healthy. Some air fryers out there have multiple cook functions and presents that let you cook whatever you want with one unit.
Ideally, ensure that the cooker has a ‘slow cooker’ function. This way, you can be sure of getting food well-cooked without sacrificing the nutrients or exposing you to any harmful content.
- Cut down the added sugar and salt
Too many people have the tendency to add too much salt and sugar to their foods and drinks. There is a huge number of people who eat excessive sugars and sodium daily. When you are used to consuming a lot of either, you will end up exposing your health to dangers. Some of the possible health concerns that would affect you include high blood pressure or even heart-related diseases.
Ideally, ensure that you only consume six teaspoons of added sugar per day as a woman. For men, they need more sugar than women, but the limit should be at not more than nine teaspoons of sugar in a day.
This includes brown sugar, white sugar, maple syrup, or honey. Ensure that you check the ingredient labels of products that you purchase. When cooking, try much to use little to no sweeteners.
For salt, do not consume more than 2,300mg of sodium in a day. But if you have kidney and heart diseases, it should be less than that. Luckily, a good cookbook will come with the proper amount of salt or sugar that is needed to be added to food.
By the way, you can replace salt (sodium) with other flavor ingredients such as herbs, vinegar, or spices.
- Remember to mix up the protein
Meat is one of the major sources of protein. However, too many people serve meat in excessive portions. Ideally, you can try to reduce the amount of meat, poultry, or fish and replace that with other sources of proteins. For example, you can have lentils, beans, or whole grains in the place of meat. If you ate meat on Monday night, switch to beans on Tuesday and lentils on Wednesday. Generally, try to change the sources of proteins when you are cooking at home. The best part is that most plant-based proteins are also high in fiber and low in fat.
Don’t forget to add some healthy fat in your meal plans. Even though excessive fat is unhealthy, you still need a reasonable amount of fat in the body for energy. Always be wise when eating out to be disciplined in your healthy eating journey.