Today we are more aware than ever of the enormous impact that nutrition has on our health, both for the good and the bad. This effect is particularly evident when more and more people become ill every year with diseases related to poor nutrition and suffer from various physical phenomena that interfere with normal life. However, some people find it difficult to give up foods they love because of their taste and lack of desire to try healthy foods for fear that they won’t taste good.
In order to make foods healthier, you do not have to compromise on their taste, but simply try the next 12 tricks for healthy cooking that will not only improve your health, but will also allow you to enjoy your favorite foods without feeling as though your making big compromises, something that can make you quickly go back to unhealthy eating.
1. Explore and experiment with different cooking methods
Many household foods are cooked using the deep-fry method, which not only causes weight gain but also releases free radicals that damage the body. To avoid this, try other cooking methods that highlight the wonderful flavors of different foods without charging you a health price. Grilling or oven baking with a little oil brings out the natural sweetness of vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, carrots, and even cauliflower.
Today there are also many cooking tools that don’t require oil to prepare various foods such as meat and fish, and you can sear these types of meat in a healthy manner and highlight the wonderful taste sometimes lost in frying. Steaming is also a wonderful method for making tasty and healthy dishes.
2. Replace eggs in meat dishes with tomato paste
There are many meat dishes that require eggs to "glue" the ingredients so that the dishes don’t fall apart while cooking. Eggs have many health benefits, but it is important to eat them moderately and not to use them in every dish. To combine ingredients without compromising the taste of foods and to prevent them from falling apart, use tomato paste instead of eggs. Not only will your dishes keep together, but you’ll also be able to enjoy the delightful tomato taste this alternative adds.
3. Replace the eggs in pastries with apple sauce
Just as eggs glue ingredients together in meat dishes, they also bind ingredients in pastries and give them a wonderful volume and airiness. I don’t know many people who aren’t tempted by pastries, sometimes on a daily basis, but it is important not to overeat eggs as we’ve explained above. In order for the texture and airiness of pastries not to be damaged, apple sauce can be used instead. The taste of these pastries won’t be any different from those you’ve baked till now, however, they will be slightly healthier.
4. Replace some of the eggs in recipes with bananas
Many people aren’t willing to make the full transition from eggs to apple sauce for fear that it will spoil the taste of pastries. If you do not want to give up eggs in all pastries, only replace some of them with a mashed banana. This is a well-known method for making pastries and desserts in a healthy way and the delicate taste of bananas won’t affect the taste of the final product, especially since egg is still being used. What is certain is that the caloric value of pastries with a combination of bananas and eggs is lower than that of the regular versions and the fat content is lower than that of a regular dessert, making the benefits two-fold!
5. Use herbs to add flavor
How many of us rely on butter, cream and stock to add flavor to different foods? Unfortunately, these ingredients are full of fat and some of them also contain chemicals that are definitely not good for our health. Try to eliminate their use, and instead start using spices different from those you are used to, in order to add flavor to different dishes. Today there are many wonderful seasoning blends that you can do culinary experiments with in the kitchen and enjoy dishes with unique flavors minus the addition of fat or artificial ingredients that will harm you.
6. Bake with avocado instead of butter
Butter is a favorite ingredient in many pastries, even though it should be eaten in moderation. And easy substitute for butter is avocado! Conversion quantities are particularly simple, at a ratio of 1: 1, i.e for every 100 grams of butter you’d use in a recipe, use the same amount of avocado. The healthy fats in the avocado will contribute a great deal to your body without harming you, and you can prepare sweet and savory pastries that’ll be healthier than those containing large amounts of butter.
7. Give Tofu another chance
Many people who try to make salads or other dishes with tofu in their home don’t try it twice because they often don’t like the taste of the final product. This is often due to the incorrect preparation of tofu, which makes the texture and its taste unattractive for some. However, it is recommended to give tofu another chance to try it in different dishes for longer cooking, seasoning and roasting with vegetables and favorite spices such as Nigella and Za'atar.
Tofu is neutral in flavor and absorbs the flavors surrounding it, making it an excellent raw material for a variety of foods. Try it as a substitute for cheese in salads or as an alternative to meat in different dishes and you can cut calories and consume healthy and essential proteins for the body. Remember not to overdo the consumption of tofu, as it also contains hormone-like ingredients that can affect your body. Consume tofu once or twice a week and your diet will start to get healthier.
8. Add garlic and roasted onion to different dishes for added flavor
Garlic and onions are packed with ingredients that help fight various diseases and also contribute to heart health, so it is recommended to incorporate them into your daily diet. You can use them as a substitute for salt in different dishes to take advantage of their taste and add a dose of health to your foods. In this way, you will enjoy especially delicious dishes and all the health benefits of garlic and onions, which are difficult to compete with.
9. Use legumes to make soups and dishes instead of meat
Many people like steaming meat dishes and salads, especially on cold winter days. These dishes are tasty but are often filled with fatty meat that can lead to narrowing of the arteries and various heart problems. It is recommended to replace the meat with legumes and lentils, such as black beans, white beans, peas and many others. Not only will the dishes be especially tasty, but these ingredients will contribute to the feeling of satiety over time and their high fiber content will cleanse your digestive system and contribute to your overall health.
10. “Clean” your meat and poultry
Chicken and beef are wonderful in different traditional dishes as well as regular meals during the day, but they contain fats that can be harmful if consumed in large quantities. To eat healthier versions of meat dishes, remove the fat from beef and the skin from chicken, since these parts contain a lot of fat that can harm you. Prepare the dish the meat is intended for as usual and you will be amazed at how the taste hardly changes, solidifying the fact that you don’t have to compromise on the quality of your meals to eat healthily.
11. Minimize the use of salt
Many people now think that only people with health problems need to reduce their sodium intake, but that's not true! Many foods and snacks today are full of salts to emphasize flavors, meaning we all consume large amounts of sodium without even being aware of it. Excessive consumption of sodium causes high blood pressure and various health problems, so it is recommended to minimize its consumption as much as possible. Try to use healthier salts such as Himalayan salt and Celtic salt that contribute to lowering sodium levels in the blood, and try these tasty snacks, which have much lower salt levels than the store bought snacks we consume today.
12. Cool root vegetables before eating them
Potatoes are a particularly favorite vegetable that many people eat several times a week, if not on a daily basis. Despite their wonderful taste, potatoes and other root vegetables have a high glycemic index, meaning they cause an increase in blood sugar levels. It is important to maintain a balance of sugar levels to prevent diabetes and other related diseases, and this can be easily done by cooling off these vegetables. After you cook potatoes and other root vegetables, put them in the refrigerator for 24 hours before you eat them. The cooling causes a decrease in the glycemic index of these foods so that they can be eaten without fear of a large increase in blood sugar levels.