The method we use for cooking plays a very important part in the quality of the food that will end up on our plate. I’m sure that when you hear about homemade food, apart from the word “mom” that springs to your mind, you also think that you will eat something healthy and nutrient-rich. But is homemade food always healthy? Αnd, if not, are there any quick and easy ways to transform it into its healthiest version? Should we also pay attention to a few other factors that will affect its final form?
Certainly, the best method in order to eat healthy is to have cooked and prepared everything on our own and to have checked, separately, what is included in all of the ingredients that we might add to our recipe. Below, you can find 4 methods that will motivate you to make your dishes even a little healthier.
1. Cook your vegetables or your chicken/fish with steam, in the oven, on the grill.
Generally, they are considered to be the ideal cooking methods since they help foods preserve their vitamins and minerals, and you can make something very tasty without having to add extra olive oil or another fatty food, like butter or heavy cream. During summer, another cooking method that many people like and that you can also use as an alternative is cooking on the grill. You can simply spray with a little olive oil during cooking. You can also use some sort of marinade -but reasonably. Other cooking methods are blanching and stir-frying, if you want to try something different. Generally, you should know that some vitamins might be lost -to some extent- during cooking, while others might not (as their bioavailability is increased). Therefore, there are two sides to every coin.
2. Instead of salt, add some sort of spice.
It is widely known that seasoning foods with salt -and especially with a great amount of salt- can not only cause water retention, but also increase our weight and as a result the daily caloric intake, according to relevant research. For this reason, prefer adding spices to your food -you can even make spice blends- and you’ll see that the recipe you’re preparing will not only be healthier, but tastier too.
3. Cook mainly with olive oil or add avocado or some kind of marinade.
I think it is widely known that you should avoid using large quantities of olive oil -as I mentioned above- or any other kind of oil or foods that contain plenty of saturated and trans fats like butter or heavy cream. For this reason, you should not overconsume them and instead, add olive oil or some other types of oil moderately. Just remember that fats -speaking of “good” fats of course, the ones that offer nutritional benefits to the body- are an essential part of a balanced diet and we definitely need them in our everyday lives for our body’s normal function! Marinades, in fact, can also add a very nice flavor to your food but you need to consume them in moderation, as well.
4. Make your pizza or your souvlaki/meat wrap healthy.
If you want to eat something more like “junk food” or that reminds you of your favorite pizza, then you should either make a very thin crust or make a crust of buckwheat/cauliflower or even use a whole-wheat tortilla and of course add light cheese and avoid adding processed meats. You should, of course, add a lot of vegetables as toppings which, as we mentioned above, you can prepare in the oven with little or no olive oil at all. As for the souvlaki, make sure that the pita bread is whole wheat and with no oil, add some light yogurt, prepare your chicken or your patty in the oven or grill, and instead of potatoes, add veggies.
Believe me, if you look into it, you can make any kind of food a bit healthier, or even entirely healthy. I think that eating healthy, is not as difficult as it sounds… So, why not try that in our everyday lives and have, for example, one cheat meal within the week!
This article was written in collaboration with Kitchen Lab’s Sports Nutritionist Anna Maria Volanaki, MSc, BDA, SENr.
*The above information is based on published research findings.