Healthy Living

Ten Healthy Ways to Prepare Meals

You can still enjoy flavour-bursting, delectable food while watching your calorie intake – all you have to do is get into the routine of using healthier cooking habits. Here’s how…

1. Reduce the amount of oil you use

When frying foods, every tablespoon of oil you use equals many more calories than you need. We all need a different amount of calories each day, determined by our weight, age and activity level, but consuming large amounts of fried foods will blow your intake up significantly.

2. Experiment

Mix up your cooking methods a little and introduce a few changes that will lead to healthier eating. Steaming, grilling, poaching, baking and stir frying food can lead to some exciting new recipes and taste sensations, with reduced fat and salt.

3. Non stick

By using non stick cookware you will be required to use less oil and fat when cooking. You’ll be amazed at the difference this small change can make when preparing meals that are healthier. If you do need to use something to coat a pan, use a spray instead of oil or butter.   

4. Cut back on cream

When using a dish requires sauce, cut back on the amount of cream-based sauces and gravies that you use, and opt for a soup base or a puree made from fresh ingredients.

5. Play with the recipe

If a recipe calls for large amounts of oil, reduce the amount you use by a few teaspoons as it won’t affect it significantly – you’ll have to find a happy balance. Additionally, if a recipe calls for coconut milk or sour cream, try adding evaporated milk or low fat yoghurt instead.

6. Eat vegetables

Always ensure you prepare a good portion of fresh vegetables when cooking your dinner – when it comes to filling your plate, make sure that your vegetables make up a large portion of the meal and eat them first. They’ll fill you up and stop you going back for greasy meat and potato seconds.

7. Change your favourite meals

Instead of always adding cheese to your favourite pasta dish, sometimes leave it out. Finding a way to balance your favourite meals is an easy way to get into the habit of eating moderately. Instead of cooking more meat at your Sunday roast, cook more veggies and make a salad, or add less cream to your dessert.

8. Reduce your sugar intake

When cooking or baking requires the use of sugar, try substituting it with raw sugars or other sugar substitutes. Instead of using sugar to make a baked item sweeter, try adding in more vanilla, pureed fruit or other flavourings.

9. Use wholegrain

When preparing meals, try and incorporate the use of wholegrain items like brown rice and oats. They are richer in fibre and nutrients and will help to keep your sugar levels constant. 

10. Lose the preservatives

Instead of using things that come in bottles and boxes, try making fresh ingredients wherever you can. A homemade tomato sauce made from fresh tomatoes is far healthier and tasty than one in a bottle. 

Jacky Letard started her career as a photographer and writer in Joburg before moving to Cape Town for fresher air and wicked scenery. Due to her ever growing love of the web, she now works as a content writer at R.O.I Media. She has the ability and knowledge to write about a range of topics from sports nutrition and health foods to travel and adventure.

Karla Urwitz
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