Cooking at home is a great place to start if you want to enjoy a healthier lifestyle. But how can you be sure the recipes you find online or in cookbooks are healthy? Follow these tips:
1. Choose dark greens
Choose salad recipes that use dark, leafy greens such as spinach, mixed greens, arugula, kale instead of iceberg lettuce. Include a variety of vegetables. Avoid heavy cream dressings like ranch; use a vinaigrette, or olive oil with a squeeze of lemon. Replace croutons with walnuts or pumpkin seeds for crunch.
2. Look for veggies
Vegetarian recipes are loaded with all different types and colors of vegetables. (You can always add a side of grilled chicken or fish if you want meat with the meal.)
3. Use whole grains
Try eliminating white rice. Try brown rice, quinoa, farro, spelt berries, and whole wheat or whole grain pasta or flour. Explore the ancient grains! They have a wonderful flavor.
4. Substitute pasta
Instead of traditional pasta dishes, look for recipes that feature alternatives like spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles. Or try bean-based pastas — they’re loaded with fiber and protein.
5. Bake, don’t fry
Avoid recipes that call for breading and frying. Baking is preferable.
6. Slash the sugar
Try cutting sugar by one-third to one-half of what is called for in a muffin or breakfast bread (zucchini or banana bread) recipe. You’ll never miss it!
7. Reduce the oil
Start with less oil than the recipe calls for, or sauté using low-sodium broth or water instead.
8. Cut the salt
Look for recipes that use lots of herbs and spices. This will bring in wonderful flavor without adding sodium.
9. Limit the cheese
Don’t ruin your wonderful vegetable bake by loading it up with cheese. Cut the amount in half and you’ll still enjoy a cheesy flavor. (Better yet: Find a recipe that doesn’t call for cheese).
10. Try meatless
Explore bean or lentil recipes in place of meat. You’ll be surprised to discover how satisfying a spicy black bean and sweet potato enchilada can be.
If follow these guidelines when planning your meals, you’ll not only discover new flavors and textures, but you’ll start feeling and looking better, too.