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Healthy cooking made easy

Posted Mar 17 2010 3:00pm


The secret to healthy cooking is quite simple: If you know how to cook healthy meals, you’ll be more inclined to cooking healthy foods in the first place!

Healthy cooking may seem to be a daunting task when you’ve never done it before, but there are some pretty easy tips to making healthy cooking a breeze.

If you keep in mind that you need to eat more real foods, raw foods, vegetables, fruits and whole grain and less of all those junk foods and frozen foods packed with salt, sugar and fat, you’ll be that much closer to eating healthy.

>>> Healthy cooking in 10 easy steps:

1. Eat more fruits and vegetables: The sad reality is that most people don’t get enough fruits of vegetables per day! Aim for 5 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Pick produce in a variety of colours to get a range of antioxidants and vitamins (the more colour you add to your diet, the more you increase your chance of getting the nutrients you need from your diet). Keep in mind that a serving size is 1⁄2 to 1 cup depending on the fruit or vegetable.

2. Be careful with portion size: Supersize meals lead to supersize belly and obesity. There are no magic bullets when it comes to lose weight, but I can assure you that eating normal portion sizes will get you there way faster.

3. Unrefined foods pack more nutrients: Make an effort to pick whole grains over refined grains (aka white simple flours that convert quickly into sugar into your body). Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa and bulgur have their bran intact and thus have more fibre, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and other nutrients.

4. Not all fats are created equally: Instead of saying no to oils, say no to hydrogenated oils (such as vegetable oil and lard fat) and yes to good quality and unsaturated oils such as olive oil and grape seed oil. That said, oil is still oil and you don’t want to eat litres of it every day. Keep it in moderation.

5. Choose reduced-fat dairy products: I only buy 1% organic milk and 1% cottage cheese. I do eat 2% and one of the most amazing organic low fat yogurts on the planet. When it comes to cheese … it’s full fat all the way … which is why I will cut out unnecessary fat in dairy products I eat daily like milk! You don’t want to replace all your dairy products with their low-fat counterparts, but whole fat milk should be reserved for baking and not for daily consumption (unless you are a baby, a toddler or a child).

6. Are you eating too much sugar? I eat raw sugar and avoid white sugar, but I still monitor how much sugar I eat. Remember that sugars of any kind, whether corn syrup, white sugar, brown sugar, honey or maple syrup, add significant calories without any nutritive value.

7. Don’t eat too much salt: Most people will be shocked to find out that the daily recommended quantity of salt is ONLY 2,300 mg (about 1 teaspoon salt) daily. It’s safe to say that most people eat far more than that if their diet consists mainly of fast food and junk food options.

8. Eat meat, but don’t eat too much of it: Meat is a great source of protein but it’s also a big source of saturated fat. The trick, if you are a meat eater, is to eat smaller portions of meat and make sure you vary your protein source with poultry, fish and vegetarian sources of protein like beans. You should keep meat to a minimum and load you plate with healthy vegetables and whole grains to feel full.

9. Add loads of flavour: Herbs, spices and citrus will add loads of flavours and allow you to cut back on fat and salt in your meal preparation.

10. Enjoy food: It’s easy to forget to enjoy the whole activity of eating when you are trying to learn about healthy cooking, but healthy cooking and eating healthy foods should be viewed as a learning ground and not a chore. Make sure you enjoy delicious foods and make sure you take time to savour them.

Healthy cooking can be fun, delicious and eventful. Don’t forget to enjoy the journey!

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