The world today has changed a lot and is facing some drastic problems, one of them being people’s health. An increasing amount of pollution, wrong eating habits, sedentary lifestyle and many such factors have given rise to diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and the likes. But have you ever imagined that you can rectify most of these simply by rectifying your food habits? Yes, food can be your best medicine and therefore you should know how to cook healthy food. Here are a few tips.
1. Add Less Sugar and Salt
Sugar and salt are two ingredients that make our foods tasty and most of us cannot even imagine making tasty food without them. That’s fine. However, eating too much of either can put you at the risk of some serious health issues like hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.
While making any sweet dish, make sure you don’t have more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day if you’re a woman and 9 teaspoons if you’re a man. This includes white and brown sugar, maple syrup and honey. Don’t forget to check the labels on products and use sweeteners frugally while cooking.
When it comes to salt, make sure you don’t add more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. This should be even less if you or your family members have conditions like heart disease of kidney disease.
2. Go for a Blend of Proteins
You know that proteins are the building blocks of our body. You also know that meat is an excellent source of protein. However, meat is often served in large portions. A serving of protein is 4 oz. of raw or 3 oz. of cooked, around the size of a deck of cards. Hence make sure you eat smaller portions of meat, poultry and fish. Get yourself a lot of healthy veggies and whole grains in the rest of your plate. Plus, there are a lot of vegetarian and vegan protein-rich foods too which you can eat in place of meat.
3. Healthy Fats
Fat has been proved to be actually healthy. So, don’t be afraid to eat fats. Fat is actually filling and hence if you eat it less, you may not feel satiated after your meals. It also helps in the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K. And of course, it makes the food tasty. What you have to do is to choose healthy fats. Choose unsaturated instead of saturated fats. Thus, you can brush your oven baked chicken wings, for example, with olive oil or avocado oil, and also eat nuts in adequate amount.
4. Try Global Flavors
Mediterranean diet, Japanese diet and Chinese diet are considered to be some of the healthiest diets. Try these international flavors instead of packaged processed foods. You can cook these foods with a lot of vegetables, grains, spices like curry leaves and herbs like basil. Spices help you make your food tasty using very little to no salt. You can even try Thai curries and Greek salads which are not only good for health but also tasty. They are also easy to make.
5. Prefer Whole Grains
At least 50% of times, you should prefer whole grains to refined grains. These include brown rice, bulgur etc. They have their bran intact and therefore have more fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, zinc and other nutrients. Try making whole wheat pasta, quinoa, farro, oats and barley.
6. Cook More Vegetables
It has been noticed that only 14% of adults consume the recommended amount of vegetables and 18% eat fruit. Vegetables and fruits are full of anti-inflammatory antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. The recommended amount of fruit per day is 2 cups and that of veggies is 2.5 to 3 cups.
You can include fruit smoothies and salads in your daily meals, and have a healthy dose of both of these.
So, are you ready to cook healthy food and become healthier, stronger?