by Maria Hicks
I have never claimed to be much of a “cook” or very creative in the kitchen. Being a health & wellness professional, I am always shocked by people thinking I am the queen of a healthy kitchen as well. I am not but I do like to make sure all my meals are healthy, low fat and high in fiber. I have discovered (through trial and error) some healthy cooking and baking tips that work well, add flavor and cut the unnecessary fat and calories.
I can’t stand following recipes and any recipe with two pages of ingredients or directions; I am not even bothering to read it! With my clients, I have come up with a few tips to start using in the kitchen that has helped them to continue eating healthy and flavorful meals.
Here are my favorite healthy cooking & baking tips:
- Always use applesauce instead of oil in baked goods (in one box of traditional muffins, you can save yourself 112 grams of fat!)
- Avoid using oils in a stir-fry (use water or vegetable broth)
- Fat free Salad dressing idea: lemon juice with spices (any spice you like), I like chili powder and garlic powder with lemon juice – great on steamed veggies and salads
- Make your own salsa (less expensive, low sodium and no preservatives) – use 1 can peeled, whole tomatoes, 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped jalapeno, crushed garlic, lemon juice, lots of cilantro (blend until smooth)- Simple!
- Keep white sugar and salt out of your kitchen! Use spices instead of salt and use honey, 100% maple syrup or stevia as sweeteners
- Steam veggies instead of microwaving or boiling them
- Avoid using butter on veggies or breads (do they really need it?) use spices on veggies and nut butters (like, almond butter) on bread
- Do you like wine? Try making a spritzer with half the wine and club soda
- Use dark (85% cocoa) chocolate bar or chips with baking – has less sugar and some healthy antioxidants
- Spice things up! Use more hot sauces and jalapenos and make your dishes a bit spicier (if you can tolerate it) – this will help slow your eating down and give your body a chance to turn off the hunger signal
- When in doubt – always add more veggies (or beans) – to your stir fry, pasta dishes, salads, etc… this will add bulk, fiber and be more filling