Cooking your meals at home is a super easy way to control the amount of fat, calories and sugar that you eat. Learning some new cooking techniques or making some basic substitutions can help you make your meals healthier. Read on for 10 cooking tips to make your meals healthier.
- Greek yogurt for sour cream: Low-fat or nonfat Greek yogurt is a fantastic protein-packed substitute for sour cream. With a similar flavor, texture and consistency, you can use it in any recipe, or even on your favorite taco recipe. Just be sure that you choose the all-natural, plain Greek yogurt. Flavored yogurts will be higher in sugar and calories.
- Unsweetened applesauce: This is a great substitute for eggs or oil in most baking recipes. Use ¼ cup of applesauce for each egg that the recipe calls for. You can replace oil or butter with an equivalent amount of applesauce as well.
- Flax seeds: Vegans use a mixture of flax seeds and water to substitute for eggs. Simply add a tablespoon of ground flax seeds with a ¼ cup of water and let sit for a few minutes. This mixture replaces a single egg in most recipes.
- Ground turkey: Try using lean ground turkey instead of beef. It’s great in chilies, soups, tacos, pasta sauce and burgers. In most cases, you won’t even be able to tell the difference and you’ll avoid a lot of saturated fat.
- Avocado: Avocado is rich in healthy fats and antioxidants, in moderation of course. Try adding it to a sandwich instead of cheese or mayonnaise.
- Cauliflower: Doesn’t it seem like cauliflower is in everything these days? It makes a great alternative to rice and even pizza dough. Chop a head of cauliflower into florets and run it through a food processor until it reaches the consistency of rice. If you are planning on using it for rice, simply steam in a little bit of water and season. You can also use the riced cauliflower to make a yummy pizza crust, or add some to potatoes for lighter mashed potatoes.
- Oatmeal: Try adding oatmeal to meatballs or meatloaf instead of breadcrumbs. Oatmeal is full of fiber and whole grains, while breadcrumbs are mostly simple sugars and empty calories.
- Zoodles: Instead of traditional pasta, give zucchini noodles a try. You can use a vegetable peeler to make ribbons of zucchini and then use them with your favorite pasta sauce.
- Spaghetti squash: This is another substitute for noodles, but also super easy. Slice a spaghetti squash in half (long ways), drizzle with a little olive oil and seasonings and roast in the oven for around 45 minutes. When cool, take a fork and separate the strands into “noodles.” In addition to traditional pasta dishes, try it with soy sauce and vegetables for an easy lo mein.
- Lettuce: Give lettuce wraps a try! They’re a great substitute for tortillas, buns and even bread. Lettuce wraps really are so versatile- you can throw your favorite salads, seasoned ground turkey, or even a turkey burger into a big lettuce leaf.
As you continue down your weight loss journey, your certified weight loss counselor will continue to give you simple tips to make cooking easier and healthier. Give them a try- you might just find a new favorite food or flavor!