I follow certain news outlets on Twitter, HuffPost being one of them because it provides a wide array of content. Every so often a story will catch my eye, and I’ll click over. Recently, I looked at an article called “5 New Rules for Healthy Cooking.” The article was admittedly kind of a letdown for someone who looks at these kinds of things day-in and day-out for fun, but for those new to healthier living, it might have been useful (i.e. butter isn’t the bad guy anymore, avocados are the hot new health food, and whole eggs for breakfast are better than, say, cereal).
The piece got me thinking about my own healthy cooking guidelines, and I realized that I do have some standby ways to keep me healthy in the kitchen. Keep in mind I’m not an R.D., and these are simply my own thoughts/experiences with healthy cooking.
1. Cook with ingredients found on the outer limits of the grocery store. You’re cooking closer to the source this way. No additives = tastier and healthier food. Of course, there will be occasions when you need or want to cook with things found on the inner-aisle shelves – when I find myself looking at canned goods, etc. I always use the lower-sodium versions (unless my dad buys otherwise 😉 ).
2. Do not use vegetable oil. And by that, I mean the oil that is specifically labeled “vegetable oil.” It’s over-processed and, frankly, lacks flavor. You’re better off using an oil with more flavor and fats that aren’t uber-processed (more flavor, less oil).
And on that note…
3. Don’t be afraid to use some oils or other fats. My favorite cooking oils are olive, sesame and coconut. Your body needs fat to thrive, and if you only use fat-free spray you’re not doing yourself any favors. Plus, people usually spray those for longer than the recommended few seconds, which means you’re getting added calories anyway. In my own cooking, I would use the spray, for example, if I am using another oil in the dish.
4. Don’t use brown sugar or white table sugar in baking. The only time I’ll make an exception for this is at Christmastime. Did you know that brown sugar is actually just white sugar with molasses for coloring? The molasses changes the nutrition information slightly, but not much. If I’m baking, I’ll absolutely use more natural sugars, like bananas, honey or coconut palm sugar.
5. Add a little salt. We all know that too much sodium is bad for you, blah blah blah. But if you’re cooking with non-processed foods, you need to season them. A little bit of salt, as in a small pinch, won’t kill you. In fact, it’ll actually make your food taste better (I use sea salt!).
6. Make a big batch of whatever you’re cooking, and save some for later. This helps me out ALL the time, especially when I’m working. It’s a huge time saver, and you’ll also save some money buy not wasting that random half of a vegetable from the dish that didn’t make it in.
7. Listen to music while you cook or bake! Okay, so this one isn’t exactly food related. Still, music makes you feel good. I dare you to dance, too. Who said you can’t get a little exercise before dinnertime?
Questions of the Day:
>> What is one of your cooking rules?
>> Favorite type of oil to cook with?
>> Favorite type of dish to cook?