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Cooking Tasty And Healthy

Updated on March 18, 2011
Beautiful baked salmon with lemon, lime, garlic, herbs, and pepper. Served with potatoes that have been baked, steamed asparagus, and steamed mixed vegetables.
Beautiful baked salmon with lemon, lime, garlic, herbs, and pepper. Served with potatoes that have been baked, steamed asparagus, and steamed mixed vegetables.

Somewhere along the line the rumor got out that eating healthy meant that it either had to have no flavor or it had to taste disgusting. The good news is that neither of these situations are true. You can have a meal that tastes great, looks beautiful, and is healthy for you!

Fats.

Whenever possible cut how much fat you use to cook.

  • Eliminate butter and use small amounts of healthy oils (grapeseed oil or olive oil are two good choices) in place of it.
  • Use low fat or skim meat instead of cream in your sauces. Choose low fat ingredients for dips and dressings as well.
  • Whenever possible use a can of spray oil instead pouring it in. This will let you add just a little instead of a lot.
  • Getting a good quality non-stick pan will also make a big difference in how much oil you use.

Meat.

Meat is often an area of concern when looking at eating healthy. This is because many cuts of meat just aren't very good for you, many methods of cooking meat isn't good for you, and as a whole we eat way too much meat. Here are some tips that will let you continue to eat meat and enjoy it while being healthier about it.

  • Choose low fat options. Fish, shellfish, and poultry will always be your best choices and should make up the majority of your meat consumption. When you are choosing pork and beef you should choose cuts that are lower in fat.
  • Cut away the fatty parts. In most cases this means removing the skin and cutting away any visible fat. This should be done for all types of meat. 
  • Watch how it is cooked. Avoid any methods of cooking that use the word fry. Whether looking at a deep fried recipe or a pan fried recipe these dishes are loaded with extra fats. Instead choose to steam, bake, grill, or broil as many of your meats as possible. You can also get a similar texture to pan fried by spraying the meat with oil (or skipping it altogether) and using a good non-stick pan. You may also choose to boil it which can be very tasty when using a flavored liquid such as wine, lemon juice, or vinegar. 
  • Use flavorful additives including tasty vegetables such as peppers and onions. You can also use wine, citrus juices (lemon and lime are most common, though orange can also be used), and vinegar (including seasoned vinegars) are great choices. Season your meat with herbs, spices, pepper, or salt-free mixes (avoid salt whenever possible to limit how much you use).

Vegetables.

Another important area of the meal that is a little harder to make healthy is the vegetables. There are things that you can do to make them tasty and still keep them healthy.

  • Avoid boiling your veggies. This removes the most nutrients. Instead steam, bake, grill, or broil them. Stir frying them with a small amount of oil is also a good way to go.
  • Avoid adding butter or cheese sauce. Yes these things taste good on veggies, but they aren't healthy for you and can turn a low fat meal into a fatty nightmare. Instead spray with oil if you need a little added moisture and top with herbs or spices to give them added flavor.
  • Make sure they aren't cooked to death. While these methods of cooking are healthier, if you still cook them to mush they will lose nutrients and appeal. Cook them till they are done, but still crisp. 

Starches.

The final ingredient of most people's meals (at least in Western society) is a starch or two. There are many things to consider when you cook these things.

  • First, one starch is enough. You don't want to serve two starches in one meal. This means you shouldn't serve rolls and rice or pasta.
  • Potatoes are considered a starch and not a vegetable.
  • Choose darker options whenever possible. This includes brown or wild rice, whole grain or whole wheat pasta, red potatoes verses brown ones (leave the skins on for the most nutrients), wheat breads or whole grain breads when choosing to have a bread as your grain/starch.
  • Add flavor with herbs and spices. Avoid adding fats such as butter, cream, high fat milk, or sour cream.

Healthy cooking doesn't need to be bland or disgusting. You can enjoy all of your food and even enjoy it more while still remaining healthy. Just remember that you want to eliminate fats (especially saturated fats), reduce salt intake, and follow that by cutting your refined sugars.


Comments

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  • Eiddwen profile image

    Eiddwen 

    7 years ago from Wales

    A great hub full of handy tips.

    Thanks for sharing. Up/useful here.

    Take care

    Eiddwen.

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