When it comes to your health, nothing is superior to preparing your food at home. Cooking your meals gives you control of what is going in your food. The result will be a healthier plate and a slimmer waistline.
Cooking meals at home might seem anything but realistic with our hectic lives and busy schedules. However it’s relatively easy to make healthy home cooked meals in little time. Here are some top tips to help:
- Start with a Healthy Kitchen
Having the right ingredients on hand is key to healthier cooking. Make sure to always keep healthy basics on hand like whole grains, nuts, legumes, heart-healthy oils, frozen vegetables, lean meats, and dried herbs. That way your trip to the grocery store will be much shorter and easier.
When grocery shopping, spend the majority of your time along the perimeter of the store stocking up on seasonal fresh foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and dairy.
- Plan Your Meals Around Your Healthy Kitchen
Use your healthy stocked kitchen pantry and fresh foods to plan nutritious meals out for the whole week. A little planning goes a long way. By planning your meals ahead of time you will save money wasted on eating out, reduce the stress of figuring out food during the week and improve your health.
Designate a time every week to spend up to an hour planning out the meals for the week. Designating another hour to do most of the prep work, such as cutting veggies, is also a huge time savor and stress reliever during the week.
- Adopt Lighter Cooking Methods
Grilling, baking, boiling, steaming, and stir-frying with a little fat are all excellent choices when cooking at home. A quick go-to dinner option is to stir fry some vegetables with chicken and serve over instant brown rice.
- Season the Smart Way
Season your meals with fresh or dried herbs instead of high calorie flavor enhancers, such as oils, butter, and cheese. If you are not used to cooking with herbs start with a few dried variations until you find your favorites. Dried oregano for example is an excellent herb that will benefit almost any dish.
Most grocery stores also carry their own combinations of dried spices that make it easy and effortless to healthfully season any meal. Just be sure to steer clear of high sodium versions with added flavors and preservatives.
- Go Heavy on the Veggies
Roughly half of your plate should be veggies. When cooking stews, soups, or casseroles, throw in as many fresh or frozen vegetables you have on hand.
- Start Slow
No one goes from a fast food junkie to a gourmet chef overnight. If you eat out regularly try cooing at home for just one new meal at a time. Slowly you will get the hang. Also, try adopting one new recipe per week. A great trick is to write down your favorite quick meals on index cards. Over time you will have a stack of healthy go-to meals.
The bottom line is that cooking should be fun. Experiment and play around with as many recipes and herbs as you can. Over time your confidence will build and your waistline will shrink. So stick to it. You are worth it!