19 Ways to Make Your Favorite Home-Cooked Meals Healthier

We all have our favorite foods, but sometimes the things you like might not be good for your health. You don’t always have to sacrifice good taste for well-being. This article looks at various ways you can make your favorite foods at home healthy. 

Reduce Salt and Add Spices

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Research shows that a high salt intake is associated with an increased risk of hypertension. But cutting down on salt doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor—you can use spices and herbs to enhance the taste of your dishes. Use spices like garlic, ginger, and onions to boost flavor without adding sodium to your food.

Swap Refined Grains for Whole Grains

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Food processing reduces the fiber content of foods. This means that the same amount of a particular food will have a higher calorie content than its whole counterpart. Choose whole foods like brown bread, whole wheat, and brown rice to increase fiber intake.

Choose Lean Proteins

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Lean proteins like chicken breast, turkey, and fish are great options for a healthier diet. They have less fat and calories and a high protein content. If you’re cooking red meat, cut off any visible fat. This way, you can enjoy tasty proteins without too much fat.

Increase Your Vegetable Intake

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Vegetables are a healthy option to use in your home-cooked meals. They are low in calories and high in nutrients, making them ideal for a healthy diet. They also contain a lot of fiber, which helps you get full faster with minimal calorie consumption. You can sneak extra vegetables into soups, stews, and casseroles.

Use Healthy Cooking Methods

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The way you make a dish can make a big difference in how it tastes and its nutrient composition. Healthy cooking methods reduce the amount of fat in your meals and preserve nutrient content. Bake, grill, steam, stir fry, or broil them instead of frying to make healthy meals.

Cut Down on Sugar

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High sugar intake has been linked to diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, according to the CDC. Gradually reduce the added sugar in your foods to get your taste buds adjusted. You can also lower your sugar intake by using natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup or by using ripe fruits in desserts.

Cook with Good Fats

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Use healthy options like olive oil or avocado oil to make your meals healthier. Avoid using saturated fats like ghee and butter. Additionally, include fatty fish like salmon in your meals each week to add more flavor to your food. Their fats are also good for your heart.

Portion Control

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Eating a lot of anything is bad for your health. Practicing portion control helps maintain a healthy balance. With knowledge of the calorie and nutrient content of food, eat small amounts of calorie-dense food and larger portions of nutrient-dense foods. Eating on smaller plates can also help you control portion sizes.

Make Your Own Sauces and Dressings

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Making your sauces and dressings at home is a healthier choice because you can pick fresh, wholesome ingredients. Try using yogurt instead of cream for a lighter version. By making these yourself, you control the oil and salt, making sure your meals stay flavorful without unnecessary fats and sodium.

Increase Fiber Intake

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Studies show that increased fiber intake reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.  Consuming a lot of fiber also improves gut health. Good sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Fiber also helps you maintain a healthy weight, as it minimizes food intake and keeps you feeling satisfied longer.

Choose Low-Fat Dairy Options

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Choosing low-fat dairy products is a simple way to cut calories without losing the calcium you need. Pick milk, yogurt, and cheese that are either low-fat or non-fat. Just make sure to check that these items don’t have extra sugar, which can sometimes be added to make up for the flavor lost by removing fat.

Cook in Bulk and Freeze

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Sometimes we eat unhealthy meals because we are feeling too lazy to cook. This can be resolved if you cook in bulk and store it. Making large batches of food and storing it in the freezer prevents you from having to cook often. Reheat the meals as needed to avoid resorting to fast food.

Use Smaller Amounts of Meat

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Reduce your calorie intake by serving a balanced plate. Foods high in fat like meat should be served in small servings. Vegetables and fruits should take up half of your plate. They contain high amounts of fiber with very few calories, which keeps you satisfied without consuming a lot of energy.

Stay Hydrated with Better Choices

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The best way to stay hydrated and healthy is to drink a lot of water. Avoid sugary drinks like sodas or teas when thirsty. This reduces your sugar intake and improves your hydration status. Drink plain water or infuse it with fruits for flavor.

Limit Processed Foods

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Processed foods contain a lot of preservatives that are not healthy for the body. According to Medical News Today, processed foods have been linked to an increased risk of diseases, including cancer. Cook meals from scratch where possible, and make homemade snacks or have fruit when you’re hungry. Additionally, read labels to choose items with fewer additives.

Plan Meals Ahead

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Planning your meals helps you maintain a balanced and healthy diet. If you have a weekly plan of what you’ll be eating, it makes your shopping easier. You easily have the nutrients you need to make a healthy meal. This makes cooking easier and faster.

Grow Your Own Herbs

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Eating healthy can sometimes become very costly. Healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, tend to be expensive. In this case, you might find solutions, like growing your own vegetables at home. This is a very easy task that can be done even in a small kitchen garden.

Adjust Cooking Times

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Some nutrients are heat-sensitive. To preserve the nutrient content of your food, you might need to adjust your cooking time. For example, vegetables have vitamins like Vitamin C, which are sensitive to high heat; therefore, it’s advisable to cook them for a shorter period to maintain their nutrient content.

Educate Yourself on Nutritional Values

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Knowing the nutritional content of food helps you understand what you’re eating. You’re aware of the nutrients in your food and you don’t have to worry. You can obtain this information from nutrition tables, apps, or by reading the food labels.

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