4 Tips to Make Cooking Healthy Meals at Home Simple and Delicious
Cooking at home is one of the biggest steps you can take toward living a healthier lifestyle. When you make your own meals rather than eating at a restaurant or swinging through the drive-thru, you have complete control over every ingredient that goes into your food. You can even put a healthier spin on some of your favorite restaurant recipes!
Here are a few tips for cooking healthy meals at home.
- Go “halfsies.”
Unless you’re baking, you don’t have to follow a recipe word for word, teaspoon by teaspoon. You have the freedom to make changes to the recipe to make it more delicious and even healthier. So start by cutting out half of the butter, oil, salt or sugar a recipe calls for and simply adjust to taste. In the end, you’ll have an equally delicious meal with a fraction of the calories.
- Make ingredient swaps.
Making simple substitutions to your favorite recipes is an easy way to reduce fat and sugar content of a meal, allowing you to enjoy some of your favorite foods guilt-free. Swap cauliflower or turnip for mashed potatoes. Substitute unsweetened almond or coconut milk for heavy creams and milk. Sub Greek yogurt for mayo. Avocado also works as a tasty swap for mayo and even butter in your baking recipes. Cut sugar in dessert recipes and sub with vanilla, nutmeg or cinnamon.
- Lighten the load.
Pasta and grain dishes are a comfort food, but they’re also heavy and loaded with carbs. Lighten up your favorite hot pasta recipe by replacing half (or all) of the noodles with spiralized or julienned veggies such as zucchini, carrots, peppers or mushrooms. Spaghetti squash is also a healthy, low-carb and delicious alternative to traditional pasta.
- Make a plan.
Meal planning is key to healthy eating. Set aside time at the beginning of each week to plan out your meals. When you meal plan, not only will you more likely to eat healthy at home and less likely to chow down on processed foods, but you’ll also save time and money.
Here are a couple of our favorite healthy summer recipes for meals that promote weight loss.
(recipe from delish.com)
- 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- Kosher salt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- 3 c. shredded chicken
- 1 1/3 c. red enchilada sauce, divided
- 4 large zucchini, halved lengthwise
- 1 c. shredded Monterey jack
- 1 c. shredded cheddar
- Sour cream, for drizzling
- Fresh cilantro, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350º. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and season with salt. Cook until onion is soft, about 5 minutes, then add garlic, cumin and chili powder and stir until combined. Add shredded chicken and 1 cup enchilada sauce and stir until saucy.
- On a cutting board, use a vegetable peeler to make thin slices of zucchini. Lay out three slices, slightly overlapping, and place a spoonful of chicken mixture on top. Roll up and place in a baking dish. Repeat with remaining zucchini and chicken mixture.
- Spoon remaining enchilada sauce over zucchini enchiladas and sprinkle with both cheeses.
- Bake until cheese is melted, about 20 minutes.
- Garnish with sour cream and cilantro and serve.
Grilled Pizza with Prosciutto, Corn and Basil
(recipe from eatingwell.com)
- 1 pound prepared whole-wheat pizza dough or cauliflower crust to cut the carbs
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels
- 1 ounce very thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into 1-inch pieces
- 1 1/2 cups arugula
- 1/2 cup torn fresh basil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- Preheat grill to medium-high.
- Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch oval. Transfer to a lightly floured large baking sheet. Combine 1 tablespoon oil and garlic in a small bowl. Bring the dough, the garlic oil, cheese, corn and prosciutto to the grill.
- Oil the grill rack. Transfer the crust to the grill. Grill the crust, covered, until puffed and lightly browned, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Flip the crust over and spread the garlic oil on it. Top with the cheese, corn and prosciutto. Grill, covered, until the cheese is melted and the crust is lightly browned on the bottom, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Return the pizza to the baking sheet.
- Top the pizza with arugula, basil and pepper. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.