Many people think they need to cook bland and boring meals in order to eat healthy. They often skimp on fat, avoid salt and prepare the same monotonous meals day after day. It’s no wonder they’re uninspired to spend time in the kitchen and find themselves dining out, grabbing fast food or ordering pizzas.
I’m happy to report that eating healthy is not about depriving yourself or eating a chewy chicken breast with raw broccoli and “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.” Healthy eating is about nourishing yourself with a wide variety of good-tasting, high quality foods.
Nourishing yourself starts with the foods you prepare at home. Not only do you know exactly what’s in homemade meals, you have the ability to make them even more nutritious with higher quality ingredients than what you would find at most restaurants, such as grass-fed beef, organic kale and pastured butter. In general, people who eat most of their meals at home are typically healthier, better able to maintain a healthy weight, and may even live longer. Incorporate the tips below to boost nutrients and flavor, while benefiting your body.
1. Eliminate Faux Fats
Avoid fake, man-made fats such as canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, grapeseed oil, “vegetable” oil, cooking sprays, margarine, “buttery spreads,” and shortening. These man-made chemical concoctions wreak havoc on metabolism, promote inflammation, and deplete antioxidants. Free your kitchen of these unhealthy fats and steer clear of products made from them. Replace these faux fats for natural fats such as pastured butter, unrefined coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil. Having a high heat point, butter and coconut oil are ideal for cooking, while olive oil is best used raw on veggies or salads.
2. Ditch “Diet” Products
Low-calorie and de-fatted products are loaded with refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, coloring, and additives. Food manufacturers add these harmful ingredients to make up for the loss of flavor, texture and satiation that fat provides. These highly processed products contribute to weight gain, promote inflammation, and increase cravings. Instead, choose whole foods such as veggies, fruits, nuts, bean, gluten-free grains, legumes, meats, fish, and poultry.
3. Avoid Overcooking Food
First, prepare your ingredients before you begin cooking so you’re not chopping half your kale, while the rest is burning in the skillet. Cut ingredients into similar size pieces to ensure everything finishes simultaneously. Next, choose gentle cooking methods, such as steaming, braising, sautéing or baking. Broiling, grilling and roasting are fine in moderation. What you want to avoid is microwaving, boiling and deep-frying, which can deplete nutrients, oxidize fats and denature proteins.
4. Swap Your Salt
Swap table salt with a high quality sea salt such as Celtic salt. Having the opposite effect of table salt, unrefined sea salt is rich in minerals that help reduce water retention, improve digestion, and keep the entire body in balance. To preserve minerals, use Celtic sea salt at the end of cooking or at the table.
Would you like to lose weight, reduce inflammation, improve sleep, increase energy and feel better on a daily basis? Contact Certified Nutritionist and Kitchen Coach, Cate Ritter, to improve your health now!