The kitchen and cooking is a central part of eating well and preparing healthy food. It is amazing how some simple changes here can go a long way to improving the quality of what you eat.
In fact, if you’re trying to improve your health, one of the first things you can do is improve the way you cook your food. ‘Healthy cooking’ sounds like there are special skills involved or it is difficult. Not to mention boring food that tastes a little less than delicious.
But healthy cooking doesn’t have to be difficult or boring. With a few small changes you can make a big difference in the health of you and your family. Once you get used to doing things a different way, it will become simple and easy.
Below are the best ways you can make healthy cooking easy. These will help you get started, or improve what you are currently doing.
Get Rid of The Deep Fryer
Skipping fried foods is one of the easiest ways to lower the fat content of your food and boost your heart health. Frying means large amounts of oil are added to your food. While fat is something that your body needs, it doesn’t need it in such high amounts.
Fat is full of extra calories, so frying food will sneak in many extra calories your body doesn’t need. In addition, most oils used for frying are not the healthiest kind for your heart.
Instead of deep frying your foods, there are a few different ways you can cook them (broiling, pan frying, steaming). If you’ve never tried cooking with these methods, give them a try and experiment to see which ones work best for you.
Master The Grill
If you prefer to use outdoor grills, there is the option of charcoal or propane for fuel. Gas grilling is quicker, but using charcoal can add some nice flavor to your food.
Grilling can also be done indoors. There are many indoor grill models available to buy. Indoor grills won’t give you the smoky flavor that you get from outdoor grill. But, they will help cut extra fat from cooking and allow you to cook foods quickly.
Indoor grills are also more practical during the busy week. It’s not always easy to setup outdoors and get cooking quickly.
Oven Bake and Broil
Using your oven is another great option. Old fashioned baking and broiling produces delicious food without having to add excess fat. Baking is the process of cooking your food evenly. When you broil food, you use only the top element of your oven.
When baking, your oven temperature is constant. It will cut off and on to keep that steady temperature giving even cooking.
With broiling, the top element stays on constantly. This actually produces the same type of effect as grilling your food.
Broiling works well for cooking steaks and other types of meat. To get consistent cooking on both sides you’ll need to turn the pieces of meat over. You’ll also need a broiler pan that allows fat to drip through to the bottom away from your food.
Perfect Pan Frying
This is very different to deep frying which immerses the food in fat. Also called shallow frying, it means sauteing your food in a pan.
Pan frying doesn’t need as much oil as with deep frying. For this type of frying you can usually use one or two tablespoons of oil as opposed to a quart of it. That’s a big difference!
You can also use the most heart healthy oils with pan frying. You’ll want to use monounsaturated or heat stable oils. These oils can actually help you to lower your cholesterol. Extra virgin olive oil is generally the best choice for heart health, but be careful not to heat it too high.
There are many saucepan sets that include a steamer insert. This is a versatile option giving a steamer to use as required, plus a saucepan for other cooking.
Another option is to convert a pan into a steamer by inserting a special steaming basket. This is an inexpensive option and perfect if you want to steam a single variety of food.
You can also buy electric food steamers, which are great if you want to steam a variety of foods at once. They usually allow you to stack food and can be used to create a whole meal at one time.
With steaming, add a little water to the pan, then place the steaming basket or insert on top. The food sits in the steamer so water won’t actually cover the vegetables at all. Cover up the pot so the steam doesn’t escape.
As you heat the water at the bottom of the pan, it creates steam that will surround the food and cook it. Steaming doesn’t take a long time and it’s one of the best ways you can cook to preserve the nutrients in your food.
Save Time With A Slow Cooker
A slow cooker is one of the greatest tools you can buy for your kitchen. Not only is it a healthy way to cook, it can really be a time saver in your life. With slow cookers you can add ingredients to the pot, set the temperature, and then walk away for hours.
For anyone who has a job outside of home or has a very busy schedule, a slow cooker is a must. There is nothing better than getting on with your day knowing that you’ll have a great, healthy meal for dinner.
Using a slow cooker is a much better option than trying to come up with something for dinner late in the day. It forces you to plan ahead which means your meals are what you want. And there is no need to resort to fast food, takeaway or less nutritious options.
The biggest complaint people have about slow cookers tends to be the cleanup. But there are liners now you can place inside your slow cooker that make cleaning it much easier. You simply throw them away when you’re done.