Ever since the outbreak of the infectious disease Coronavirus, people have become more interested to eat healthy. We don’t mean people were not health conscious before the pandemic, however, we can’t deny the fact that the importance of eating healthy has doubled up now. For obvious reasons, the fear of getting ill has made people realized how incredibly good it is to eat healthy. Most of us have gradually realize that nothing can beat the power of eating homemade healthy & chemical-free food to get a boost of immunity and reduce the risk of several diseases.
Considering the present scenario, people do not only want to know what they are eating but also the ingredients used in their food. But is choosing the right ingredients enough for optimal health? Let’s find out!
Importance of Healthy Cooking Habits
Eating healthy does not end up with knowing and choosing the healthier ingredients but also with the process used for cooking. Healthy cooking methods result in retaining important nutrients and vitamins in your meal. The right approach while cooking can help to prepare meals healthier and tastier.
For example: Using olive oil instead of regular oil for preparing any meal makes a lot of difference. Isn’t it? Due to the exceptionally good benefits of olive oil, it can make your whole meal twice healthier than the meal being cooked in regular oil. Now you see the difference a single step can make?
Most of us get so caught up in knowing the ingredients that we completely forget the procedure used for its cooking. For this reason, through this blog, we will introduce you to 10 amazing healthy cooking habits that can help you to stay fit and in shape. Check them out, incorporate into your regular routine, and observe the healthier changes in your body.
1. Plan Meals Ahead
Healthy cooking and eating begin right from buying groceries to planning meals. Making a plan will help in minimizing the chances of buying unhealthy proceed food and beverages while grocery shopping. It’s always a nice idea to write down the shopping list that compromises of the detailed menu for a week or month. With a plan, we can also save a lot of time that is usually spent on deciding what to cook. All the mothers here would surely relate to this. Right? It also ensures that you’re eating a variety of seasonal fresh produce. This way you can have more control over what you eat and definitely cut down on frequent grocery visits.
2. Maintain Cleanliness in the Kitchen
An unhygienic cooking area is a home for foodborne illnesses like food poisoning. Keeping the kitchen area clean is an important step for better health and wellness thus preventing germs and bacteria to grow. So, maintain kitchen hygiene by following basic cleanliness like sanitizing the stovetop, countertop, and other appliances used for cooking. A healthy kitchen smells fresh and you will also feel good while cooking.
3. Wash Fruits & Vegetables Thoroughly
Ever wondered why our mothers have always told us to wash fruits and vegetables before eating? It is because the dust, germs, or bacteria accumulated on the surface of the produce that can lead to many food-borne diseases. Washing the produce is certainly the best practice to not only get rid of the germs but also prevent them from spreading in your home. For this reason, wash the produce in cold running water before cutting, eating, and cooking of course!
4. Use Non-stick Pans
Non-stick pans are a must-have for every kitchen, mainly because you can cook amazing healthy meals with little to no oil using these pans. It definitely makes us feel less guilty to hop on the cheat meals because it reduces the number of calories. They are easy to wash, clean, and use too. Go buy it to make it a part of your modern kitchen, if you haven’t already!
5. Use Food Grade Utensils
If you want to keep the nutrition of your food, selecting the right utensil is a necessity. Some utensils like glass, bamboo, or cast iron uphold the tendency to keep the food safe and have no harmful effects. On the contrary, you might be surprised to know that some utensils can be dangerous because of the toxic elements that they are made up of.
At OMKITCHEN, we use food grade glass containers that help to keep the food safe & its freshness intact for the tiffin. We also prepare our food in cast iron or stainless steel to ensure maximum safety.
Watch out for Aluminum, Ceramic, and Granite utensils because they have the tendency to react with acidic vegetables and fruits.
6. Limit Sugar Intake
By now, we all know that refined sugar is bad for our health. Excessive consumption of sugar can also lead to multiple health issues like weight gain, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, tiredness, and so on. This makes it pretty obvious to cut down sugar intake. Experts recommend healthy sugar alternatives like honey, jaggery, coconut sugar, or maple syrup to use while cooking for giving a sweet taste to the dish without compromising health.
7. Follow Low-fat Cooking Techniques
Low-fat cooking methods are great for weight control. It doesn’t mean that we want you to eat bland and boring, but these methods are a great way to easily cook healthy delicious meals for your family and keep everyone’s health in-check. Here are some of the useful low-fat cooking methods:
- Use less amount of oil. Preferably olive oil or desi ghee to get the maximum health benefits
- Use a lot of legumes and veggies
- Steam or microwave the veggies as it helps in retaining the nutritional value
- Replace cream or whole milk with low-fat or reduced fat-milk
- Use homemade yoghurt to make buttermilk or as a side dish to spruce up the whole experience
- Fat-free cheese should be used every time
- Try to eliminate recipes that include deep fry
8. Cut Back on Salt
Salt is the most common ingredient when cooking meals. However, as per experts, eating too much salt is bad for health. Considering this, reduce the usage of excess salt in your regular diet to improve your health. Taste first before adding salt automatically while cooking meals. Avoid store-bought sauces instead make fresh chutneys at home to cut back on salt. These little replacements can turn out to be great. Carefully check the labels for salt content while buying cereals or bread. Using other alternatives like spices, herbs, lemon, vinegar, or garlic can help to give a zesty flavour while limiting your sodium intake.
9. Don’t Overcook
Overcooking has a direct impact on lowering the nutritional quality of the food. Prolonged cooking results in loss of essential nutrients in the food. Foods that are highly water-soluble, especially dark green leafy veggies should not be cooked for a longer period to retain their nutritional value. That’s why it is always recommended to avoid deep frying and baking because it simply destroys the goodness present in the food item.
10. Control Portion Sizes
Excess of everything is bad, even if it’s healthy. It is not necessary that you can manage weight if your plate is loaded up and you’re eating large meals. Being aware of your portion sizes helps you to stay aware of the calorie intake and avoid overeating too. Eat food that is more filling to curb hunger. Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole-grain, and protein enriched food.
Along with good food, we must also learn good cooking habits followed by eating habits to stay in the best shape and minimize the risk of seasonal illness. Following these experts’ recommended tips will not nourish your body and make it healthier but you will also feel a lot more energized and productive at work.
Irrespective of how hectic one’s life is, bringing these small but effective changes in the cooking can help to develop your shape and personality. There’s no set guideline so feel free to be experimental. Do let us know if we have missed out on something!