Eating Healthy through Better Cooking Habits

As parents, we all want our kids to eat right. But with most of us running ourselves ragged at work or with the kids, it’s easy to slip into pre-packaged-meal mode. In this guest post, Tom White shows us that cooking can be a lot easier–and a lot more fun–that we think.

Fall is the time of year when the nights become longer and you wake up to cool, crisp mornings followed by warm sunny days.  It’s also the time of year when our bodies naturally tell us the winter months are coming and it’s time to pack on a few pounds to keep warm with through the cold season.

This primal urge comes from a time when we needed that extra layer of fat to survive the winter but that no longer is the case.  Tame your primal urges of overeating heavy foods by learning to cook healthy while keeping all the flavors.

The main things most people don’t like about healthy foods is the loss of flavor and feeling like you have to give up everything you like.  The reality is that healthy foods can still taste wonderful and you don’t have to give up the foods you like.  The key to everything is moderation, i.e. portion control, using moderate amounts of fats.  Go ahead use a little butter if you like it, just don’t slather the entire dish with.  Use lots of fresh herbs and spices to season up your food and you won’t miss a lot of the extra added fats and salt.

Healthy eating is also eating what’s in season and fall is the time of year for root veggies such as potatoes, winter squash, carrots, turnips and parsnips.  It’s also time for leafy greens like kale, brussel sprouts, collards and spinach.  For fruits, think apples and pears.  Check out your local farms and farmer’s markets to add plenty of these wonderful fruits and veggies to your diet.  For help finding farms and famer’s markets, add Locavore, a free app for the iPhone and Android phones that shows you the current local fruits and veggies in season based on your location and has a farmer’s market finder.

In baked goods, replace most or all of the oil with applesauce as a way to reduce fat without reducing flavor.  Baked goods are a great place to add whole wheat in your diet by substituting some or all of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat (for a lighter touch use whole wheat pastry flour) or an alternative flour such as chickpea or green pea flour.  Remember whole-wheat flour is heavier than all-purpose so it may not work to replace all in some recipes, use a mixture instead.

Instead of butter, substitute small amounts of oils that are good for you like olive oil.  Sauté your veggies with a little olive oil in a hot pan instead of using butter or vegetable oil, you’ll get a wonderful flavor and heart healthy oil.  Many fall soups call for the addition of heavy cream.  Use skim milk, half-n-half or substitute a fresh homemade chicken stock in for part of all of the cream.  If you want the cream flavor and effect in your soup, use mostly chicken stock with a few splashes of cream.

Another free healthy app for iPhone, iPad and Android users is SparkRecipes.  This app allows you to browse and search thousands of healthy recipes while including the nutritional facts so you can make the right call.

Keeping it simple when cooking is one of the best ways to help keep unhealthy additives out of you food.  Fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts and even much of our meat start out filled with wonderful vitamins and minerals and most are low in fat (nuts and some meats are of course the exception).  It’s what is added to them for cooking that often turns them into something not so great for us.  Take the potato for instance, so vilified for being “bad” for us.  However, it’s the frying and loading it up with butter and sour cream that makes it so “bad.”  The potato is actually loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals our body needs.

Start learning the joys and wonders of using whole-wheat pastas in the place of regular in dishes requiring pasta.  You’ll kick up the healthy benefits while adding a light nutty flavor to the dishes.  Veggie pastas are also good to use and add more servings of veggies to the dish.

Healthy fall cooking is about using ingredients that are both good for us and loaded with flavor and as an added plus these tips work for all seasons.  Stop feeling like you have to give up the things you love and start looking forward to the foods you eat by learning new cooking and seasoning habits.

Tom White is an experienced weight loss and nutritional cleansing coach, specalizing in helping people restore natural balance and live a clean, toxin free lifestyle. Tom recommends the Isogenics Cleanse, a natural, professionally formulated cleansing program used by over 250,000 people worldwide. To find out if your body is toxic, click here to take the Are You Toxic Quiz.

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