Making healthier meals doesn’t have to put you off cooking or shopping. All it takes is a small shift in how you approach food and a little understanding of how some foods work. From choosing better fats for your cooking to choosing simpler recipes, here are some handy ideas.
Making Healthier Meals with Better Fats
Perhaps the single greatest change you can make when cooking that will positively impact your health is to switch to cooking with traditional, healthy fats. In recipes, simply trade out industrialized cooking oils for the good stuff. Or, try these tips for incorporating more quality fat into your diet.
Add Super Food Ingredients
You’ve probably heard of so-called “superfoods.” They have been everywhere over the past decade. Any food that is particularly rich in an important essential nutrient gets billed as a superfood. Increasing the amount of these babies in your meals and snacks means that you get a balanced variety of essential nutrients without having to resort to multi-vitamins. Not only are they delicious, but they’re also readily available in-store or online. Vendors like Survival Grocery offer packaged superfoods bursting with vitamins and minerals that you can easily add to your recipes. These include nuts, freeze-dried berries, and even gluten-free alternatives to popular mixes that are excellent as toppings and smoothie blends.
Cook Basic But Fresh Ingredients
If you are new to cooking, then it can be overwhelming just how many ingredients you need to prepare for one meal. So, why not keep it simple? Don’t put too much pressure on yourself! You can make amazing meals with just five ingredients or less. One of my favorite breakfasts, for example, is an easy Korean dish I picked up from years of watching kdramas. It’s just a couple fried eggs over a bowl of leftover rice, topped with soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and gochugaru (Korean Red Chili Pepper flakes). If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll sprinkle chopped green onions over the top. Make sure those eggs came from a pasture-raised hen, and it’s a nutritionally-dense breakfast that comes together in under 5 minutes.
Make Easy Ingredient Switches
There are many things we all eat that we really shouldn’t, like salad dressings made with industrialized oils. So even when eating fresh and healthy food like a salad, it can be hard to avoid the bad stuff. All it takes is a few simple changes, such as:
- Dress salads with real olive oil & vinegar, or buy healthy salad dressings instead canola-oil based ones.
- Replace regular bread with healthier alternatives made from sprouted or fermented grains.
- Include yogurt more instead of milk to encourage probiotics for gut health.
- Use a blender to make smoothies from fresh ingredients to get your daily dose of recommended vitamins and minerals.
- Switch to using grass-fed meats & dairy.
Making simple changes like these can have a big impact on your overall health and enjoyment of your food. You will also want to cook more when you begin to see and feel the benefits.
Plan Your Meals and Stick to the List
One of the worst things you can do when trying to stay food-healthy is shopping without a plan. First, it helps to plan what meals you want to make for the week. Then, make a list of all the ingredients you need to make those meals. And above all, stick to the list. This will prevent you from adding extras you don’t need for your meals. As an added bonus, you will also save a lot of money by buying only what you need. This is the Meal Planning App I use and recommend.
And another tip: never go shopping when you’re hungry!
(photo credit: Andrea Piacquadio)