The cable networks have created a new fad, perhaps even a new trend. Cooking shows have become the soap opera of the gourmet world. Men, women and children have their favorite cooking shows, cooking stars, chef personalities and of course their favorite dishes. The great thing is, with the focus being on healthy diets and lifestyles as of late, most of these shows display meals and options that are healthy for you.
At home, there are some basic things that can help keep your meals healthier. Follow some of the following hints to ensure a diet geared at living a long life of wonderful dining.
Animal fats are among the worst things we consume. Always buy lean cuts of meat, remove any skin and excess fat, and ensure that the meat is organic with no steroids used in the animal feed. Fish, chicken and pork are among the healthier meats with better types of fats for you and when purchased in good quality cuts they are quite lean. Substitute ground turkey or chicken for beef in dishes such as chili, burritos, and wraps. Hamburgers and steaks are still good but should be eaten in moderation and of only the highest quality.
Cheese often contains large amounts of butter fats. Skim milk or reduced fat cheeses are a good substitute.
Red sauces instead of white or creamy sauces with pastas are a better choice, as are clear soups and broths over creamy soups.
When cooking with oils, use a manually compressed container to mist the oil so that only enough is used. Traditional pouring methods can use up to ten times more oil than required during cooking. Find substitutions for butter and oils in recipes. For example, applesauce can be used to replace the vegetable oil needed in making banana bread. Corn, safflower and soybean oils are among the better oil choices. Olive, canola and sunflower oils are the next best selections.
White flower and white sugar should be replaced with whole-wheat flower and honey when possible. Generally, any refined or processed foods are not healthy and are difficult for your body to recognize, assimilate and digest.
Salt should be replaced with other seasonings to supply taste. Beware of food substitutes such as Aspartame that are questionable in terms of their benefit in avoiding the natural alternative, in this case sugar. However, other natural alternatives may be available. Another such food is margarine. Its trans-fatty acids are not healthy, as the body does not recognize them and you are better off using butter when margarine is called for. Again, if one of the polyunsaturated oils can be used, corn or safflower oil, you are better off.
Many cooking books are available that emphasize healthy eating. If you cook, it makes sense to utilize healthy tricks and overall common sense when creating your masterpieces. At the same time, it does not hurt to indulge on occasion for that immaculate or decadent dessert. There are no easy ways to cook or bake some of our favorite dishes because of the need for various ingredients. That does not mean we should be afraid to avoid them. After all, life is meant to be enjoyed in moderation…and that includes our meals. Bon a petit!
Written by Dr. David Koivuranta