Find the best cooking hacks and recipes for healthier meals!
Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev
Let’s be real: cooking at home trumps dining in restaurants and getting takeouts. Whether you want to lose weight and get in shape or feel satisfied with your food choices, a home-cooked meal is always the way to go. Home-cooked meals are healthy, nutritious, and tastier- if cooked right. If you want to cut down on the excess calories of restaurant foods and make your diet more refined, opting for a spatula instead of a restaurant menu is a good start.
To help you in your healthy culinary adventures, here are a few cooking hacks and recipes to keep you going:
Include greens in your meal plates
Eating healthy does not mean you have to prepare a salad bowl for all your meals. You can enjoy all your favorite foods, but adding a portion of vegetables to the same plate can make a huge difference. Whether you are eating a pizza, sandwich, or pasta, make it a habit to pair your meals with a side of vegetables to make them a bit healthier. The vitamins and minerals from the veggies will help improve your health and keep your diet balanced.
Air fry your vegetables
While adding vegetables to your diet, air-fry them instead of deep-frying them in several tablespoons of oil or roasting them in the oven. Yes, air-fryers are quick and will prepare your vegetables in minutes, but that is not the best thing about them. They require way less oil to fry, and we all know what that means: fewer calories. So the next time you plan to have a quick and healthy veggie meal, like an eggplant bowl, just toss the vegetable in the air fryer and let it do its work. You can get multiple recipes online, including an air fryer eggplant recipe, to satisfy your tastebuds while eating healthy.
Wipe off excess oil
Make use of your kitchen rolls to soak up the oily surfaces of your food. Fried foods are saturated with oil, and consuming too much can cause weight gain, diarrhea, stomach pain, and more. And that means you need to be cautious.
Be it cutlets, fries, or chicken, wiping off the top of your fried foods with a kitchen roll can save you from consuming extra calories. A teaspoon of oil holds around 40 calories: imagine all the calories you could avoid if you make it a habit to blot all your fried dishes.
Make an open-faced sandwich
A sandwich without a top cover bread? That does sound odd. But if you think about it, you actually don’t need the second bread at all. The bottom bread holds all your fillings together- given that you don’t prefer your sandwich fillings overloaded.
Cutting down on one bread is one of the easiest ways of reducing your calorie intake. If you feel like one soft bread is not strong enough to keep your sandwich together, you could toast it instead. Despite popular belief, one toasted bread is still low in calories than two pieces of bread because toasting barely changes caloric content.
Switch your scrambled eggs recipe
Scrambled eggs with bacon sounds like a heavenly breakfast, does it not? But if you knew about the calories, you might not think the same. There is a much healthier way to eat your scrambled eggs in the morning. Replacing your bacon with vegetables like peppers, onion, and mushrooms can make your scrambled eggs breakfast much more nutritious while staying tasty. The best part about making eggs with vegetables is that you can switch the vegetables every other day to get a different taste each time. Fewer calories, more vitamins and minerals, and a variety of tastes for your palate: what could be better?
Bake your fries
Oily foods are not the best option when it comes to eating healthy- already been through that. But who can resist fries? The salty snack calls out to your soul, no matter the time and place. Saying no to fries is hard, so you don’t have to. Fries dripping in oil are no good, yes. But you could make them healthier if you bake them instead.
Having potatoes in your meal is actually great. The nutrients they provide make them a healthy meal choice. It is the excess oil from frying which is the problem- a problem you could easily evade by baking foods like fries in your oven instead.
Try cauliflower mash
Mashed potatoes: the dish that leaves you craving more and more. Mashed potatoes are widely loved for good reason; they are delicious, buttery, and, again, delicious. But the huge amounts of butter and milk that go into it? Not a good idea. For a healthier mashed vegetable option, try out cauliflower mash. Having cauliflower mash will significantly reduce the carbs and calories you intake while increasing the vitamin C and folate levels.
If you can’t let go of mashed potatoes all the way, that is completely fine. Try a mix of cauliflower and potato mash first: still a healthier yet tasty option.
Make your own easy jam
Mornings are incomplete without a finger-licking jam, but is the high sugar intake worth it? Instead of reaching for your jam jar for your daily sandwich, try heating your favorite frozen berries. Whether you love strawberries, blueberries, or any other berries, just heat them on a stove until they are gooey liquid and enjoy them for a sweet breakfast or a quick lunchtime snack. Following this hack will make your sandwiches, pancakes, and cakey desserts healthier and tastier.
Use low sodium salt
Excess sodium intake carries many risks, and most of the sodium comes from- you guessed it- salt. Most Americans consume more than twice the recommended daily amount of salt, too much of which can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Decreasing your sodium intake by switching to a low-sodium salt can make a lot of difference in making your diet healthy. Since it tastes just like your regular table salt, it won’t affect the taste of your cooking and still be a better option.
A healthy meal can go a long in appeasing your stomach- and your heart. There is a certain comfort in knowing that you are making the right decisions for what you put inside your body. So keep cooking healthy meals and having a new adventure in the kitchen every day. But remember: a healthy diet is all about balance. It is okay to indulge in burgers, pizzas, and pasta from your favorite restaurants from time to time. As long as you are consuming more healthy than unhealthy foods, you’re sorted!