Secrets of healthy cooking

Many of the tricks of healthy cooking and eating are in fact less secrets than they are common sense. However now that we no longer have to hunt and gather our food like our ancestors did, it is all too often presented to us in a form we don’t have to think about; packets, boxes and takeaways. Take a step back to reconsider what you are putting into your mouth and you will find it quite easy to make healthier choices.

Substitution

The most effective tool is often the simplest. Rather than overhauling your entire eating regime, make small changes to your existing programme by swapping your usual ingredients for healthier versions of the same thing. If you use whole milk in your tea, cereal and cooking, swap if for skimmed. If you find the taste difficult to get used to, start with semi-skimmed and work up to skimmed when you feel comfortable. The same applies to yoghurt, cheese and other dairy products. Try crrme fraiche or natural yoghurt when you would usually use sour cream. Salad dressing can be amended to be vinegar rather than oil based and you can often buy low-fat, low-salt or low-sugar versions of your favourite sauces. Your quantity of calories, fat and other undesirables will be much reduced without you even noticing.

Colour code

In the same vein, swap white for brown. White pasta, rice and bread can all be substituted for whole grain equivalents and your body will thank you for it. The taste is not very different but the brown alternatives often have a more satisfying texture than the white and as they are more filling you tend to eat less of them. This is healthier for your food bill as well as your body. Paying attention to colour is useful when it comes to ensuring your diets features a wide range of nutrients too. Different coloured fruits and vegetables tend to boast different nutritional properties. While we’ve all been instructed to eat our greens, by including some yellow, orange, purple and red you will have a more complete range of vitamins, minerals and

Flavours are your friend

Herbs, spices and condiments have often been lauded for their medicinal properties as well as their flavours. Use them plentifully in your cooking not only as a replacement for salt but also to keep food interesting and varied. A dish or ingredient you have eaten a thousand times can take on a whole new dimension by removing the salt and replacing it with an appropriate herb or spice, while salad without a bit of dressing is just leaves. Experimenting to find your favourite combinations can be good fun.

Use your eyes

When buying meat you can usually assess its fat quantity quite simply by looking. Heavily marbled cuts are fattier than ‘redder’ alternatives. Lean cuts tend to be cheaper as well as healthier than prime cuts, which is always a bonus. Cut off visible fat before cooking and remove the skin and bones from chicken. In general, white meat is less fatty than dark and fish is healthier than meat, in addition to being delicious, quicker to cook and full of heart-healthy oils.

Post by Tony on behalf of Range Cookers – visit their website to buy rangemaster cookers to help cook healthy dishes.