Preparing delicious, healthy meals quickly is one of the biggest challenges of living a healthy lifestyle. It’s just so tempting to throw in some store-bought sauce, butter or salt to give some quick, satisfying flavor to nearly any dish.
The good news is that if you can learn to cook delicious meals without sauces and seasonings that are high in calories, saturated fats, salt, and sugar – making healthy food choices will be easier than you ever thought possible. If you’re looking to cook healthier meals, here are 5 ingredients you should be banishing from your kitchen.
1. White Carbohydrates
White bread, white pasta, and white rice are processed carbohydrates that have had the majority of their fiber and essential nutrients stripped out. Not only are white carbohydrates missing the fiber and micronutrients that make grain-based foods nutritious, but they’re also digested faster, which can cause insulin spikes that lead to more hunger and overeating.
Unfortunately, most of the Western diet is built around processed white carbohydrates that are rich in calories but low in nutrients. Replace your white carbohydrates with whole grain equivalents and instantly improve the nutritional value of every meal you prepare.
Although the body needs a little bit of sodium to function, we get more than enough sodium intake from our regular diet. Adding salt to your cooking not only leads to elevated salt intake – which has been linked to various chronic health conditions – but heavy sodium intake leads to water retention and bloating. Obviously these are not good side effects for anyone looking to lose weight.
Try replacing salt with healthier herbs and spices such as black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, cumin etc. Some stores even sell spice-mixes that are designed to be a healthy salt alternative. For some ideas on healthy cooking alternatives to salt, see our article onhealthy spices.
By banishing salt from your cupboards you’ll not only see a reduction in bloating – resulting in immediate weight loss – you’ll improve your health, and you might even find that cooking with a variety of healthy herbs and spices adds a deeper level of flavor to your cooking.
It goes without saying that avoiding sugar content in food goes a long way to maintaining good health. High sugar intake can pose numerous health risks, including a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, and can also lead to insulin spikes that result in overeating.
It’s also important to look out for sugar content in store bought sauces. Many popular sauces and condiments e.g. barbecue sauce, ketchup etc. contain high amounts of sugar, despite not being particularly sweet. Check the nutritional label before buying sauces – or better yet – make your own healthy sauces out of nourishing natural ingredients like plain Greek yogurt or olive oil.
Butter is a staple of the Western cookbook. It’s useful for giving foods flavor and texture. Yet it’s also important to banish butter from your cooking if you’re looking to create a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.
Why is it so vital that you to banish butter from your cooking repertoire? Butter contains an extremely high level of saturated fat. This bad fat not only raises LDL cholesterol, it is also linked with health risks including heart attacks, strokes, and type 2 diabetes. Butter is also adds unnecessary calories to your dishes.
Butter can be replaced with healthier fat sources such as Extra Virgin Olive Oil – which contains healthy monounsaturated fats – or natural herbs and spices – which offer palette pleasing flavor without the extra calories.
5. Bread Crumbs
Bread crumbs are popular for creating crunchy, delicious meat dishes loved by kids and adults alike. The most tempting part about cooking with bread crumbs is that it’s so easy – whether you’re breading pork chops or chicken legs – just pour the meat and bread crumbs into a bag, shake it around, and stick it in the oven.
The problem is that store-bought bread crumbs are usually made with processed white breads with little nutritional value. They also contain excessive sodium. For a healthier – yet delicious – bread crumb alternative, try crushing unsweetened bran flakes cereal and mixing them with some healthy, low-calorie spices like black pepper and dried garlic.
Although it’s easy to fall into the trap of cooking with popular, easy to use, and often delicious ingredients that can derail your healthy eating, a little bit of creativity can allow you to create nutritious, savory meals without the added calories, fat, sodium, sugar, and inches on your waist line.
Other People Are Reading:
- About Us 28 views
- Contact Us 21 views
- The Beginner’s Guide To Dieting 82 views
- Buyer’s Guide: Best Rowing Machine for Home Use in 2014 43 views