Cooking…you either love it or you hate it. Thankfully, there are a ton of cooking hacks out there to help you whip up a home-cooked meal that is not only tasty, but also good for you. These hacks can help you prepare food with healthier ingredients without sacrificing flavor so that each meal is delicious, nutritious, and bonus – cost effective!
Swap it Out
When cooking, you can make healthy and creative substitutions to boost the nutritional value of food or lower the fat content. This gives you total control over what ingredients are used and how they are prepared. When you choose packaged foods or eat out, you don’t get the same level of control. This is especially true if you have food allergies or health conditions that require a modified or limited diet.
Here are some ideas to start with:
- Swap whole milk with 1% or skim milk
- Swap regular cheese with reduced-fat cheese
- Swap sour cream with plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- Swap bacon with Canadian bacon or turkey bacon
- Swap regular hamburger with lean ground beef
- Swap 1 egg with 2 egg whites or 1/4 egg substitute
- Swap dried breadcrumbs with rolled oats
- Swap cooking oil with half that amount and a fruit puree for the other half
- Cut the regular amount of sugar by 1/3
- Swap white flour with wheat flour or 1 cup of black bean puree for one cup flour
- Swap regular pasta with spaghetti squash
- Swap mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower
- Swap a tortilla with a lettuce wrap
- Swap rice with quinoa
- Swap salt with garlic powder
Spice it up!
Seasonings are an important part of meal preparation. They can turn plain chicken breast into something super delicious, super quickly! Stock your cabinets with a few basic spices and seasonings for cooking success. Or, grow your own herbs and spices to use as-needed.
Here are some ways to add flavor:
- Use basil in tomato dishes, pesto and marinades
- Use celery seed in salads and dressings
- Use chili powder in chili, stews and ground meats
- Use cilantro in salads, sauces and dressings
- Use curry in meats, vegetables, fish and rice
- Use mint with fruit, in teas, and in soups and sauces
- Use oregano in Italian and Mexican dishes
- Use thyme in soups, sauces, meats and poultry
These creative cooking hacks were taken from the Obesity Action Coalition’s Living Well Guide. The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) is the Producer of the Your Weight Matters Campaign. Want more tips for cooking healthy at home? Click here to download a free copy of the OAC’s Living Well Guide that has additional healthy living resources.