If you're going to put in the effort to prepare a meal, why not make it tasty and HEALTHY? The HealthXchange shares how to do so in six easy ways.
COVID-19 measures might have eased, but there would be still a number of you who have gotten used to cooking more frequently at home now. To some, cooking (and washing up!) can be a chore, so don’t waste your effort. Prep a HEALTHY meal to make full use of your time and energy! Here, the HealthXchange team shares tips on how to cook healthier meals at home.
6 Easy ways to cook healthy at home
1. Planning is important
Plan your meals beforehand, so you can mix and match to create the best meal for yourself or the family. Take into consideration each individual’s food intake for the day, so that there will not be wastage as well. This is also important when you go grocery shopping. Instead of buying whatever looks good at the time, buy what is in your meal plan! On that note…
2. Shop for the right ingredients
Nowadays, there are so many variants for a single type of food. Rice, oil, pasta, bread, vegetables….if you can name it, there is probably more than 1 option of the same item available at the supermarket. Choose healthier ingredients for your meal, items like
Brown rice instead of white rice
Wholemeal bread instead of white bread
Olive oil instead of vegetable oil
chicken and fish instead of red meat
3. The method is key
While deep-fried foods taste great, they are definitely not the healthiest foods you can eat! Cook healthier methods of cooking like steaming or stir-frying.
Vegetables retain the most nutrients when you steam them. The danger is over-steaming the veggies, which can quickly lead to a crunchy texture becoming mushy. But practice makes perfect!
Other methods of healthy cooking include baking, grilling, braising, roasting and poaching. Find whichever works best for you in the kitchen, and experiment with different ingredients.
4. Flavour isn’t necessarily bad
Bland food never appealed to anybody, and you shouldn’t have to think that ONLY bland food is healthy. There are many ways to flavour your dishes naturally, without adding excessive salt or classic flavouring ingredients like lard and butter.
Try using herbs to add flavour to your dishes. Both fresh or dried herbs have their own uses, find one that complements whatever you are cooking for the day, for example, dill and marjoram with white fish, or rosemary with chicken.
Besides herbs, you can also try other natural ingredients like lemon zest/juice or other citrusy fruits. (Editor’s note: Anyone tried cooking oranges with chicken before? It’s great!)
Also, you can make use of spices like pepper, paprika, and garlic to also give your meal an added oomph.
5. Colour your meals
As a general rule of thumb, the more colourful your meal is, the more likely it contains all the nutrients you need for a balanced diet. Incorporate a variey of fruits and vegetables into your dishes for added colour, and you will be surprised at how colours can also make your dishes come to life in photos!
6. Frozen but still golden!
Frozen food might have a worse off reputation than their fresh counterparts, but studies show that frozen food has roughly the same amount of nutrients as the fresh versions.
Frozen items like vegetables, fruit and meat have a longer shelf life and are more accessible than seasonal items. Keep your pantry well stocked and you will always have a backup plan in case the fresh option isn’t available. With rising crude oil prices, it also saves you the trip of fresh food market runs, saving money as well!
There you have it – simple tips to keep your meals healthy while cooking at home! We hope that this has been helpful, and who knows, we might invite YOU to share your healthy recipe with us again! Stay creative, and happy cooking! Bon appétit!
Check out other articles on food tips:
8 Golden Rules to Healthy Eating
Food Nutrition Labels: What to Look Out For
Chinese Hawker Foods: Which is Healthy and Most Unhealthy
Malay Hawker Foods: Which is Healthy and Most Unhealthy
Indian Hawker Foods: Which is Healthy and Most Unhealthy