Enjoying and frequenting the kitchen is synanymous to being on the heavy side.Most people equate spending time in the kitchen as non-stop eating, thus gaining a lot of weight. But that shouldn’t always be the case. You can still enjoy the kitchen, enjoy cooking and eating, and the same time, lose unwanted weight. Is that difficult to achieve? Not if you’re determined to be healthy. Here’s how:
1. Forget all about to-go and instant meals. If you’re serious about cooking and being healthy, start by cooking more than you have ever done before. Of course, you’re not expected to immediately whip up some gourmet-style cooking, but at least you know where your food’s from, where’s it been and what’s it cooked with.
2. Choose extra-lean meat and avoid fat in the meat. If you’re cooking chicken, choose the breast part and remove the skin, as most of the fat is located in the skin and it contains the most calories. If you’re cooking beef and pork, trim all visible fat. You can even freeze the meat so that the fatty fat will harden and can then be easily removed. If you reall want to lose those unwanted fat, you need to consciously discard fat in what you eat.
3. Use nonstick cooking spray instead of butter and margarine. Traditional cooking oil are both high in saturated fat and cholesterol which may cause heart disease and stroke. Try using olive oil for cooking. Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat and helps keep the“bad” LDL cholesterol low and boost levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. Use it in dishes that will benefit from its rich flavor. Drizzle it on steamed vegetables, mix it into a salad dressing and use a little of it to sauté vegetables.
Canola oil, though it doesn’t have many antioxidants as olive oil does, is the richest cooking-oil source of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fat that has been linked to heart health. Canola oil is versatile and great for sautéing, roasting, baking and even making salad dressings. It also has a relatively long shelf life compared to hydrogenated oils.
4. Learn when to use nonstick and non-nonstick pans. If you can’t avoid fried food, then use nonstick pans. You use less of the fatty ingredients and you only need medium heating as most nonstick pans are thin and easily heat up. Use nonstick pans with egg dishes, delicate fish like halibut, seabass, cod and haddock (firmer fish like tuna and salmon are fine in non -nonstick pans), oozy, cheesy meals like quesadillas or stir-fried rice noodles.
Stainless steel pans, when used properly, can give the food a flavorful crust. Use non-nonstick pans with sauteed vegetables, seared meat, chicken and seafood sauces. Unlike nonstick pans, you would need to pre-heat non-nonstick(like stainless steel) pans. Heating the pan over medium heat before adding the oil or food causes the cells to expand and will create a slicker surface. Add the oild only when the pan is adequately heated. Doing this will give you two natural layers of “nonstick” coating that works wonders for most foods.
5. Explore other methods of cooking instead of frying. Grill, broil, bake, braise, steam, poach, slow-cook and microwave. Most of these methods are both quicker ways to cooks and will need less oil than traditional frying. Steaming will preserve your food’s vitamins and nutrients better than other cooking techniques. Add just a little salt to your fish and vegetables and that will have a long way to go. Oven-fry or bake potatoes instead of frying them. Sauteing is ok as well whenb you use minimal amount of oil.
6. Drain fat from your fried food by blotting them with kitchen paper or paper towel. You can lightly dab fried dishes with clean paper towels to absorb the oil from the surface.
7. Use reduced fat of fat-free cream cheese instead of the regular ones. Soft and cream cheese are high in fat, so go for lower fat cheese like Gouda, Edam or cottage cheese. Instead of using fat in baked goods, tyr other healthier options like apple sauce, yogurt or low-fat milk. Aside from reducing your fat consumption, you get a new spin on the traditional meals that you love.
8. Skip on the salt. There are lots of herbs that you could experiment with. Try rosemary, fresh basil, coriander, chervil, tarragon, thyme and dill. Try spices like cloves, nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, ginger, saffron, and turmeric. If you find not using salt too readical, try low-sodium soy sauce and salt-free seasonings.
9. Make you own salad dressing. You might think that those store-bought salad dressings are automatically low-fat but they’re not. Some of them are prepared with lots of oil, eggs, cheese and croutons. Research recipes and mix your own dressings and dip. Use apple cider vinegar or citrix juices (like lemon and lime) and sprinkle a small amount of Parmesan for a little tinge of salt. Try this alternative and you’ll cut about 200 counts of calorie in just one meal.
10. It would be drastic to immediately switch from eating meat to vegetables, so try substituting two meat dishes each week with fish or vegetable meals. Cutting out meat can be tough but introducing vegetarian meals to your meals slowly will not make you feel so deprived.
Whoever said that you can’t be fit and sexy and love food at the same time?