Healthy Cooking Tips To Make Your Favorite Foods Healthier

by Institute for Vibrant Living

It is possible to enjoy your favorite, yet decadent dishes, by making them rich and flavorful without the high calories and excess fat.  Reducing calories and fat helps to trim your mid-section  and reduce many undesirable health issues like heart disease.  Let’s take a closer look.

Create healthier meals with healthy cooking tips.

Healthier Creamy Deliciousness

How do you get that rich texture that cream adds without all the extra fat and calories? There are lots of substitutes that will give your dish the texture and taste you want without the extras you don’t want.

One easy way to replace cream in any dish is to use non-fat milk blended with flour. For a really creamy replacement, melt about ¾ of a teaspoon of butter, blend with the milk and flour and save on excess calories yet add plenty of texture and taste. Blending the milk and flour with a handheld mixer will make it extra frothy.

Other creamy substitutes are:

  • Plain, non-fat Greek Yogurt for half of the heavy cream called for in things like cheesecakes, bread or cookies.
  • Blend low-fat cottage cheese with skim milk powder.
  • Blend chilled evaporated milk with vanilla to use as a cream substitute in soups.
  • Try blending fat free half-and -half into soups, pastas and sauces for the decadent taste and texture of heavy cream with half the calories.

No More Grilling For Oil

Even the healthiest oils like olive, canola or coconut can pack a calorie punch that can sabotage your weight loss efforts if you don’t watch your intake them.  To use less oil while cooking follow these simple healthy cooking tips:

  • Steam or par-boil denser vegetables like carrots, broccoli and asparagus before you add them to the pan. They will cook nicely and become tender while using less oil.  Adding a little water as you sauté these vegetables cuts down on the amount of oil you need to keep food from sticking.
  • Measure out the oil precisely instead of trying to eyeball a teaspoon or tablespoon. Just a little extra adds a lot of calories.
  • Use non-stick sprays rather than directly pouring oil into the pan.
  • Invest in an oil mister to minimize the amount of oil you add to pasta or rice. It will give you more portion control than hand-pouring oil into a dish.

Oven Fried with Love

Oven frying is acceptable, and can give your crumb-coated foods that crisp, golden brown coating without the excess oil.  Heat your oven to a high temperature, and liberally coat your pan with cooking spray (canola is a good choice because it has a high smoke point.)  Place your coated meats or vegetables in a single layer in the well-sprayed baking dish.

Only put the food in the oven once it has completely heated to the correct temperature. The high heat and minimal oil in the cooking spray will give your food a nice golden crust, minus the fat and calories of traditional pan-frying.

Spice It Up Sans Salt

Salt makes food taste better, but Americans eat way too much of it. You can easily replace the salt in many dishes with alternatives that add flavor without increasing blood pressure or your risk of developing heart disease.

Citrus flavor from lime or lemon juice makes a healthy salt substitute without sacrificing flavor.  Add it to marinades, dressings, and sauces and you will be tricking your taste buds into thinking they are getting salt. Citrus juice activates sodium chloride (table salt) making foods taste saltier without the excess sodium of salt.  

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