Eat the Rainbow: Cooking Colorful Fruits and Veggies Filling your plate with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables is one of the easiest ways to eat healthy. Roasting, grilling, sautéing and steaming are all great cooking methods that bring out the natural flavors and retain the nutrients in produce. Toss vegetables in a small amount of olive oil, balsamic vinegar or lemon juice before roasting or grilling. For steaming, add herbs or citrus slices to the boiling water. Eating the rainbow will make you feel like you’ve won the jackpot of health!
Herbs and Spices: Nature’s Secret Spice Rack
Herbs and spices are the unsung heroes of flavorful cooking. They pack a punch without adding calories, fat or sodium. From sweet cinnamon to zesty cilantro, herbs and spices enhance foods’ natural essences. Add them at the beginning of cooking so their flavors can fully develop. Try rubbing spices on lean proteins before grilling, sprinkling them on veggies before roasting, or mixing them into marinades. Discover new flavor combos with various herbs. Your tastebuds will thank you!
Lean and Mean Proteins Go for lean, low-fat cuts of meat like chicken breast, pork loin, turkey and 90% lean ground beef. Before cooking, marinate them in a homemade marinade of acidic ingredients like vinegar, citrus juice or yogurt to help tenderize and impart big flavor. Try seafood like salmon, tuna, shrimp and scallops, which are loaded with healthy fats. Remove skin from poultry before eating it. Grill, bake or broil proteins instead of frying them. You’ll avoid excess calories from added oils while enjoying juicy, flavorful meals.
alk to Plants: Incorporate More Veggies and Beans At least half your plate should consist of vegetables and fruits, so bulk up on the veggies! They provide valuable nutrients and make you feel satisfied. Broccoli, spinach, carrots, tomatoes and sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins and minerals. Sneak extra veggies into recipes like pasta, soups, casseroles and omelets. Substitute spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles for starchy pasta. Enjoy meatless meals by building meals around beans, lentils, tofu or tempeh. These plant-based proteins have fiber that keeps you full. With so many veggies and plant-based options, you’ll reap health benefits galore!
Guilt-Free Comfort Food You don’t have to give up your favorite comfort foods to eat healthy. Satisfy your cravings with some simple substitutions. Use Greek yogurt or mashed avocado instead of sour cream or mayo. Try cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash as lower-carb swaps for rice and pasta. Make “baked” sweet or regular potatoes by microwaving them. Stir in herbs, salsa or broccoli for toppings rather than butter and bacon. Healthy eating doesn’t mean deprivation – it means getting creative with nutritious ingredients!
Skip the Fryer, Say Yes to Flavor
Deep frying loads foods with extra fat and calories. Luckily, you can recreate that crispy texture and great taste without the fryer! Baked chicken fingers, fish sticks or french fries are tasty alternatives. Use a moderate amount of cooking spray or oil to achieve crunch. Or give air fryers a try – they use hot air instead of oil to make foods crispy. Grilling, broiling or roasting veggies, meat, fish and poultry also leads to delicious results. Ditch the grease for guilt-free yumminess!
Flavor Balancers: Healthy Fats in Moderation While you want to limit saturated fat from foods like butter, incorporating some healthy unsaturated fats can make meals more enjoyable! Nuts, seeds, avocados, salmon and olive oil contain heart-healthy fats. Use a light drizzle of olive oil when sautéing veggies or roasting potatoes. Add a quarter of an avocado to smoothies, salads or sandwiches. Snack on a small handful of almonds or walnuts. When balanced with other nourishing foods, healthy fats help you feel satisfied.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Healthy Cooking Techniques. https://www.eatright.org/food/planning-and-prep/cook/healthy-cooking-techniques
- American Heart Association. Healthy Cooking Oils. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/healthy-cooking-oils
- Mayo Clinic. Making Healthful Food Choices. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/healthy-cooking/art-20048271
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. 10 Tips for Healthy Meals. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/ten-tips-healthy-meals
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthy Food Preparation. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/resources-publications/nutrition-and-health-e-lessons/healthy-food-preparation.html