SURE we all want to cook healthier, especially since so many of the foods that we eat are linked to chronic diseases. Where it gets tricky for many people is the thought of sacrificing the taste of their foods. But you may not have to do that at all, says nutritionist Donovan Grant. He says all you need to do is make a few adjustments the next time you cook.
Below, he shares a few cooking tips that you could incorporate when you next prepare your favourite meals.
Use natural seasoning instead of powder seasoning
It is tempting to go for something that is already prepared — a dash of this and some of that instead of cutting, chopping and blending natural seasonings. But powder seasonings are packed with monosodium glutamate (MSG) which is a flavour enhancer. It has been linked to cardiac, kidney and neurological problems. The natural seasonings such as garlic, onion, pimento and scallion, on the other hand, not only add flavour to the food, but also provide the body with essential nutrients and antioxidants.
Grill, bake or steam instead of frying
Once the food is seasoned well, then that is what is important. Grilling, baking and steaming are delicious alternatives to frying, and they do not require any oil at all. Oil and butter are known for their contribution to bad cholesterol, obesity and heart disease.
Use cooking spray instead of cooking oil
If you must fry your food, then you may want to try a cooking spray instead of oil. Both have their drawbacks; for example, using cooking spray can add a few calories to your meals, but oil is filled with unhealthy saturated fats, and some oils can be dangerous when exposed to a certain degree of heat.
Use herbs to flavour veggies instead of oil and butter
It is tempting, especially when sautéing vegetables, to add a little butter to prevent sticking and then add more butter for flavouring. But using herbs such as basil, thyme, rosemary and parsley are not only more delicious, but they are a healthier alternative. You can also roast, grill or steam veggies instead of sautéing.
Remove fat from poultry and meat
Many people cook their poultry and meat with the skin and fats still attached because they want to retain moisture in the meat. For a healthier meal, however, you should consider stripping the fat.
Replace mayonnaise-based dressings
Whether it's mayonnaise, ranch, or tartar sauce, your best bet when making sauces for your vegetables and salads is getting rid of them altogether. They are fatty and add to your cholesterol. Instead, go for natural yoghurts or vinaigrette dressings for a healthier option.
Replace meaty recipes with vegetables
Lasagnes are good with different types of meat, but with the right mix of vegetables, herbs and natural sauces they are even better. Of course, you don't have to skip the meat totally, but remember to add a good portion of vegetables to the lasagne.