The first place to pay attention to when looking to start a healthy eating lifestyle is your kitchen. It is easier to consume healthy meals when you are in charge of the ingredients and foods that go into your mouth. The best thing about preparing healthy meals by yourself is that you get to make the foods just the way you like them. If you want to start cooking healthy meals for your family, we’ve got you. Here are some secrets to cooking healthy for your family.
Buy fresh and frozen foods
Shop fresh seasonal vegetables, meats and fish at the local market. Having fresh foods in your home makes them easily accessible when you want to whip something up for your family. Most people tend to pass up the frozen foods aisle, assuming that the foods there are unhealthy. Frozen vegetables are excellent healthy options. They are the perfect second option when access to fresh foods is limited. Not only are they equally nutritious, but they are also less expensive and more convenient.
When in the produce aisle, remember to stock up on dark leafy greens with antioxidant properties. Things like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage are excellent for detoxification and reducing inflammation.
Stock your pantry with healthy options
Having healthy food options in your home does not stop at vegetables. Fill your pantry with healthy dry staples like lentils, quinoa, chia seeds, etc. When you have these healthy options on hand, you are more likely to make healthier food choices for your family. A tip to save money is to shop the dry staples in bulk. Look online for simple recipes that you will enjoy making instead of ordering unhealthy foods.
Make meal plans
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. The same rules apply to healthy eating. When you do not have meal plans, it is easy to opt for unhealthy options when the time comes for meals. Write down a detailed menu and a shopping list for things that will last you the whole week. Knowing what exactly you will make for all your meals sets you up for great success.
Pay attention to the oils
The oils you use to prepare your meals to play a role in your overall health. Olive oil is known to have numerous health benefits and is always a great option. Also, it helps in brain health, supports cardiovascular activities, and is rich in antioxidants. Coconut oil is also an excellent option. It is rich in medium-chain triglycerides that help with cognitive functions.
Go easy on the seasoning
Use simple ingredients to add extra flavor to your meals. Most store-bought dressings are usually laden with refined oils and sugars that may not be the best for your body. Natural products pack beautiful flavors that you can use for your meals. For your fresh salads, squeezing a lemon over them not only gives them a citrusy kick but also adds an extra dose of Vitamin C that helps boost immunity. Use avocados for a creamy feel.
Another superfood that has loads of flavor is saffraan. It is especially great for seafood dishes. While it is the most expensive spice around, it is definitely worth the health benefits. Another way to add flavor with natural ingredients is by using fresh herbs. Herbs like cilantro, basil, and parsley add more life to your dishes while being helpful for digestion and preventing detoxification and bloating.
Steam or stir-fry your foods
Steaming is one of the healthiest methods of preparing vegetables. The veggies get to retain most of their nutrients. Be careful not to over steam to maintain optimal texture. You have to be keen because vegetables can quickly go from crisp to mush in no time. Steaming is also excellent for seafood. It ensures that it remains with its rich nutrients and produces a juicier end product than baking. Stir-frying is another way to prepare your meals. Sear your meats and vegetables in little oil for a flavorful meal. You won’t want to order in ever again.
Consume high fiber diet
A diet rich in fiber helps to keep the digestive system balanced. Your body will function optimally when your digestive system is balanced. Eating fruits, vegetables, and grains that are rich in fiber do great for your digestive health. You can supplement gut health with probiotic foods and supplements that help to create a healthy gut microbiome. Superfoods like raw sauerkraut also help to support gut health. Fresh ginger also helps with digestion.
Consume reasonable portions
Even with healthy food choices, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. It is possible to graze throughout the day and end up consuming more than your recommended calorific intake for the day. Know what portions are healthy for you to avoid overeating. Try out batch cooking and pre-portion meals in separate containers. That way, the next time you reach out for food in the fridge, you know that you are getting the right amount. Using smaller plates also helps with portion control.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are also rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. Ensure that you always have the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables in your day. You can incorporate them by making smoothies or salad bowls. When serving, try to ensure that about half of your plate is fruits and vegetables. You can sneak in extra fruits and vegetables into your day as snacks. Stock up on some baby carrots, apple slices, or dried fruit to indulge in when you are craving a snack.
Cut back on added sugars and salt
Too much sugar and salt place you at risk for health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Try to reduce the number of added sugars you consume in a day. Be keen on the ingredient labels and use sweeteners in moderation when you cook. Most processed foods have sodium. Cooking your meals at home helps you control the amount of sodium that goes into your food.
Health is the most valuable asset and the key is to eat right. We hope the tips above should inspire you to make healthier food choices to improve the quality of your life. Don’t be afraid to experiment with healthy options.