Simple Healthy Tips

Its easy to get caught up with all the different “diets”, eating plans, programs & apps all designed to help us reach our nutritional & fitness goals. Fad diets come and go, programs and systems work for some but not for others. The best way to maintain your goals for the long run, and to actually turn these tricks & tips in to life long habit is to change your daily routine. Here are 5 of my favorite tips to cooking healthier.

#1. Make Your Own Sauces & Dressings

Most store bought sauces & salad dressings are filled with a long list of preservatives, sugars, processed ​and artificial additives. These ingredients add unnecessary calories & chemicals to your diet. Salad dressing are the # 1 culprit in sabotaging a nutrient filled salad into a calorie BOMB!

Making your own salad dressings and sauces are not only super easy and fast but also affordable. Pesto, hummus, marinara, peanut sauces and dressings are all recipes that have easy to find ingredients and recipes. Here are a few of my favorites.

Thai Peanut Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce  or braggs amino
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger)
  • 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 2-4 tablespoons warm water, to thin dressing
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper to make it spicy

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a bowl or a mason jar and mix until well combined. If using a mason jar, you can simply put the lid on and shake the jar until well combined. Dressing serves 4.

Basic Oil & Vinegar Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz  vinegar red wine, ACV, or balsamic
  • 2 oz olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a jar. Screw the lid on tight and shake!

#2. Portion Control

Remember your stomach is the size of your fist. Paying attention to serving sizes on labels & how much you are serving yourself can make a huge difference in your caloric intake.  Here are some ideas to trick your eyes into NOT being bigger then your stomach.

  1.  MAKE THINGS IN MUFFIN TINS.
  2.  DIVVY OUT SNACKS IN TO INDIVIUAL SNACK SIZE BAGS
  3.  LOOK AT SERVING SIZES.
  4.  USE A SMALLER PLATE

#3 & #4. What You Cook WITH & IN Matters

Using the correct oils and cooking appliances is a great change to make towards healthier cooking. My favorite “newish” appliance is the AIR FRYER!! Air frying has the ability to turn once fat saturated foods like potatoes into a great side dish and source of potassium (potatoes really get a bad rap in my opinion). They use hot air to make your food rather than a large amount of grease. Air Fryers are quick, they save space, they are simple and safe to use. AND are easy to clean up! Because there is no oil used there is no messy grease to have to dispose of!

Healthy Cooking Oils

Coconut oil has really become the GO TO cure for all that ails you. You can put it on your hair, skin, use it to brush your teeth and you can cook & bake with it. Coconut oil has a low smoke point at 350F, so only use it for lite pan sautéing. Avocado oil has a higher smoke point at 400F, so its better for higher heat cooking. The taste of coconut oil can be polarizing so avocado oil is a great choice. Olive oil is easy  to find, inexpensive and heart-healthy. Olive oil has a very  low smoke point so it breaks down fairly fast in cooking. I’d stick with  olive oil for salad dressing or sauces.

Worst Oils

Vegetable & Seed Oils

These oils are highly refined, meaning they have been stripped down and super-processed. Chemicals are used to help extract the oil from the nut or seed. Almost all of the canola produced in the US is genetically modified. It’s resistant to Roundup an herbicide used to kill weeds and has been found to cause cancer. Studies show that canola oil is linked to neurological issues, kidney and liver problems.

Worst Offenders: Corn, Canola, Margarine, Peanut, Soybean, Safflower, SunflowerShortening

#5. A Little Planning Goes A Long Way…

Meal Prep, Meal Prep, Meal Prep!!

You do not have to go all in and spend your entire Sunday cooking and lots of money on trendy containers ( unless that is fun for you!!) Simply having ready to eat healthy ingredients at hand helps you make better choices during a busy week. Hard-boil a dozen eggs to store in your fridge for your weekday lunches or snacks. Pre cut carrots & red peppers to dip in hummus or add to a salad with your homemade dressing. Prepare a whole pound of pasta, or a large portion of rice twice a week to shave off time from the dinner rush. Making healthy, delicious meals doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the kitchen or a ton of money on ingredients. Using these tips and having the right foods stocked in your fridge, are great tools to use cookup a healthy dish quickly.