Deliciously healthy cooking tips that will make all the difference
With summer nearly upon us, now is a great time to start cooking lighter, more nutritious meals. After all, doesn’t everyone want to tone up a bit and feel their best for the holidays? Read on to discover five simple healthy cooking tips that everyone in the family will benefit from.
1) Choose your oils wisely
Cooking with healthy oils means simple meals are given an extra nutritional boost. Olive oil and canola oil are low in saturated fats and rich in monounsaturated fats which are the healthy ‘good fats’. Consuming healthy amounts of olive oil on a regular basis can prevent diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Olive oil and canola oil are also packed full of antioxidants and vitamin E to leave skin glowing. The anti inflammatory properties of olive oil mean it also protects against conditions such as arthritis.
Coconut oil is a nutrition powerhouse; it is rich in lauric acid and has untold amounts of health benefits including antibacterial and anti-fungal properties to fight infection, and it also speeds up the bodies metabolism. Use refined coconut oils for high heat cooking and virgin coconut oil for baking and low heat cooking. Previous controversy surrounding the healthiness of coconut oil due to its saturated fat content is now highly contested. If you are confused the best thing to do is to buy a few different healthy oils and mix and match. One or two tablespoons of oil is the recommended amount to fry with. Nonstick frying pans and saucepans are a good investment as they let you cook easily with only a little oil, saving you precious calories.
2) Enjoy nourishing sweet treats
Swap unhealthy shop bought desserts for homemade healthy alternatives. Make nutritious cakes and muffins using wholegrain flour. Whole-grains are rich in fibre and B vitamins, zinc and magnesium. If you have very fussy little eaters, white flour can be mixed 50/50 with wholegrain flour. A delicious wholegrain banana cake made with oats is a trusted tea time pleaser. Homemade fresh fruit ice lollies are a sweet and refreshing option for summer, packed full of vitamins and much less fattening than ice cream.
3) Leave the skins on
Peeling the skins off potatoes and carrots can be a tiresome job; save yourself time in the kitchen and leave the skins on! This really is one of the healthiest cooking tips of all, as the skin itself and the flesh just underneath the skin is the most nutrient rich part of root vegetables and fruits such as apples. The skin is also high in fibre and phytochemicals. Keeping the peel on potatoes at mealtimes provides you and your family with extra vitamin C, iron and potassium.
4) Cook with creamy substitutes
Another great cooking tip to help cut out excess calories and fat from meals and get bikini-ready is to swap unhealthy ingredients such as full fat cream cheese and cream with lighter options such as coconut milk and soft tofu in recipes. Yogurt is another great substitute, and it is best to choose a yogurt with a higher fat content for cooking (still lighter than cream) as low fat yogurt may separate.
5) Eat raw!
Frustratingly, many nutrients and enzymes are lost during the cooking process. Summer is the perfect time to enjoy fruit and veg in all its naked glory. Nothing beats a raw picnic in the sunshine complete with vegetable crudites and dips, salads, fruit platters and delicious cold soups such as gazpacho.