In America, the fastest route to good flavor is rarely the healthiest option. When someone suggests a healthier alternative, the idea is often shunned as being time-consuming or more expensive than other, fatty options. But these days, healthy doesn’t always mean expensive and it doesn’t have to take a lot of extra time.
Ready to make the changes that will turn your fat-filled recipes into healthy, light dishes? Grab your apron and get started!
Cook with Care
One way you can keep your dishes bursting with flavor without added fats is by cooking food properly. If you find yourself adding unhealthy flavoring because a food is dry or bland, you may have cooked it the wrong way. This problem happens easily with meats, so avoid overcooking your poultry, beef, and pork.
Remove Fried Foods from Your Repertoire
Grandma made great fried chicken and there’s nothing better than fried okra, but scientists have yet to find a healthy fried food. With so little hope for nutritional value in fried foods, do your body a favor and cut fried foods out of your recipe books. Instead, learn how to cook using boiling, broiling, or another healthy technique.
Use the Grill
Though you may consider grilling against good health sense, giving the grill a chance may be just what the doctor ordered. When cooking on a grill, excess fat simply drips off the meat, never to be seen again. You’re then left with a nice piece of meat that hasn’t been cooking in its own fat and has a wonderful flavor that can only be achieved on a grill.
To create delicious vegetables without adding butter and excess salt, get steaming. If you don’t have a fancy steamer, toss your vegetables in a perforated basket, and place the basket above a pot of simmering water. On top of securing the vegetables’ great flavor, steaming also keeps the natural vitamins and nutrients intact, so you get the healthiest vegetables possible.
Head for Herbs
Herbs are a healthy, natural alternative to the saturated and trans fats present in butter and margarine. If you choose to use fresh herbs right out of the garden, add them toward the end of cooking and use them liberally. Dried herbs, on the other hand, should be added at the beginning of cooking and should be used sparingly to avoid an overpowering flavor.
Switch It Up
In addition to changing how you cook, adding flavor healthily requires some substitutions. You may not have to say goodbye to certain flavors altogether, but you will need to go with the healthier alternatives. To keep foods full of flavor without too much bad stuff, use the chart below the next time you go to the grocery store.
|If You Typically Use This||Opt For This Healthy Alternative|
|Bacon and sausage||Canadian bacon and lean ham|
|Whole eggs||Egg whites|
|Beef chuck||Beef loin, with external fat removed|
|Canned cream soups||Broth-based, low-sodium soups|
|Regular butter or margarine||Light butter or margarine; if used to spread on bread, go for jelly, jam, or honey|
|Whole milk||Skim, low-fat, or reduced milk|
|Ice cream||Sherbet, sorbet and ices, or frozen yogurt|
|American cheese||Fat-free cheese|
|Spaghetti and other pastas with white sauce||Spaghetti and other pastas with red sauce|
|White rice||Brown rice|
|Oil-packed tuna||Water-packed tuna|
|Croissants||Hard French rolls|
|Donuts and sweet rolls||English muffins, bagels, or reduced-fat muffins|