Eating healthily doesn’t have to be a challenge, especially with more dishes – and the great restaurants serving them – to try. Healthy dishes now taste delicious too, so you have plenty of reasons to make changes to your diet and consume healthier meals. If you want to cook healthy dishes yourself, there is a long list of recipes to try and even more ingredients to play with. In this article, however, we are going to focus more on the tips and tricks that will make cooking healthy meals at home easier. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tools for the Job
There are certain things that you want to avoid when cooking healthy ingredients. Using too much heat, deep-frying, and resorting other unsuitable cooking methods can affect just how many nutrients the ingredients contain, which means you actually reduce the benefits of eating those ingredients.
Spinach, for example, can be prepared in various dishes. It is a versatile ingredient to work with, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to be careful when cooking it. Exposing spinach to high temperatures will trigger the release of certain minerals and vitamins in it, making it less beneficial to consume.
For easy healthy cooking at home, there are some great tools you can pick up. A food processor or a good blender is a good start since they can help you prepare anything from smoothies to purées. Consider investing in a good sous-vide cooker for your kitchen too.
Know the Ingredients
Not all ingredients are created equal. Spinach and broccoli may be incredibly flexible, but other vegetables could require special handling when used for creating dishes. They also come with different benefits and contain different vitamins and minerals.
Choosing the ingredients to use is something that can be done based on the benefits you want to enjoy. If you are looking for a way to slow aging and improve cardiovascular health, for instance, you can use Ashitaba the next time you cook Japanese dishes.
You can also add Ashitaba to other dishes and enjoy a long list of additional benefits; find more information here and see of yourself just how rewarding consuming Ashitaba can be. When you consider the tasty flavor of Ashitaba, you know you have a great ingredient to work with.
The best way to cook healthy dishes is by using fresh ingredients. However, this may not be the easiest way to go if you are cooking at home. For starters, you’ll have to find fresh ingredients every time you want to cook something, which isn’t the most practical way to go.
Worry not because you can still maintain the benefits of eating healthily without jumping through hoops to cook fresh meals. Meal prep is the answer in this situation. What you need to do is buy ingredients in bulk – as you normally would – and prepare them for cooking later.
You can store sliced vegetables and other ingredients in containers, and then in the refrigerator. At the right temperature, fresh ingredients will retain their freshness – and that fresh flavor you get from them – for several days. Cooking becomes easier too.
Pressured and Slow
We talked about having the right tools for cooking healthy meals earlier. While you can still fry or sear ingredients depending on the dishes you’re making, the two best cooking methods are slow cooking and pressure cooking.
Sous-vide is also a method you want to try if you have a sous-vide cooker. By using pressure from water and a vacuum container, you almost always end up with richer flavors and better retention of juice and nutrients. Some ingredients are made for sous-vide.
Sous-vide also lets you produce great dishes in a more consistent way. It is almost like a cheat for cooking delicious and healthy meals in the kitchen. You have the option to work with different proteins and greens without having to ever worry about overcooking them.
Proteins in Your Diet
Speaking of using proteins, you also want to take extra care with the proteins you use. Whether it is red meat from a prime section or a tasty Dori fish that you want to turn into an Asian delight, proteins react differently to heat too.
A good rule of thumb is adding the vegetables – particularly greens – once the protein is almost cooked. Of course, you have to consider the dish you’re cooking to know the best time to add vegetables to the mix. Add it too soon and you’ll end up with a delicious protein and overcooked vegetables.
Proteins are also easier to work with when you pressure-cook them. A classic example is the pressure cooker Mongolian beef; you simply cook the protein to perfection in a pressure cooker and add fresh vegetables late to maintain their textures and nutrients.
Give It a Try
Trust me when I say that preparing your own healthy meals at home is easier than you think. The most challenging part is actually getting started with cooking that first meal, and the way to get around this challenge is by starting with a simple recipe first.
Most healthy dishes take no more than 20 minutes to cook; in fact, most dishes take longer to prep than to cook. Simpler recipes like the spinach and mushroom pasta or a nice bowl of Ashitaba, spinach, and kale salad are perfect to get you started.
Once you get the ball rolling, it will get easier with every dish you make. You can begin experimenting with more complex recipes, try cooking different proteins, and even move on to making smoothies or Ashitaba tea as compliments to your dishes.
Yes, healthy dishes can be simple to cook too; there are more to cook as well. Choose healthy ingredients to use and make sure you understand how to cook them in order to maximize their benefits. Work with simpler recipes to get you started, and don’t forget to equip your kitchen with the right tools for the job. You’ll be cooking healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners like a seasoned home cook in no time.