Become a Healthier At Home Chef

Six tips to help you become a healthier at-home chef.

Young woman looking at recipe on computer while cooking, learning how to be a healthier at-home chef

Your body relies on food and drinks to supply the essential nutrients and fuel for energy, but what you eat impacts how you feel and your overall health and well-being. Relying on fast food and takeout too often can result in a high-calorie diet, increasing your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other concerning health problems.

By cooking more meals at home, you’ll know exactly what you’re putting into your body, making it easier to enjoy healthy and nutritious options. Check out these tips to become a healthier at-home chef, so you can eat healthy and improve your eating habits.

Add color to your meals

One of the best ways to make healthier meals is to include fruits and vegetables in the foods you prepare. Another bonus of including produce in what you eat is that these additions provide a splash of color.

Enjoy lasagna prepared with zucchini or spinach to add a little greenery to your layered dish. Try throwing a handful of chopped kale into your next smoothie for an added health boost.

Fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables are all good additions, but make sure to check the labels for any added sugar or fat.

Related: How to Eat Healthy: Add More Color to Your Diet

Get inspired by healthy recipes

Finding recipes that you and your family can enjoy while staying healthy can be a challenge. Get inspired by browsing through healthy cookbooks and online recipe blogs to find new options that appeal to you. You might find some inspiration and a new favorite to add to your menu rotation.

Look for healthy substitutions in your favorite recipes

If you have recipes you love and simply can’t give up, try making healthy substitutions to reduce the fat and calorie content. For example, if a recipe calls for whole milk, replace it with low-fat or skim milk and a splash of vegetable oil. Avoid ingredients that are high in saturated and/or trans fats and replace them with unsaturated fats.

Related: Healthy Cooking Techniques and Substitutions

Change the fats you use to cook

Saturated and trans fats can raise the LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol level in your blood, increasing your risk of stroke and heart disease. However, this doesn’t mean you should cut fat out of your diet completely.

Fat is an essential part of a healthy diet because it supports cell growth, provides energy, and aids in the production of certain hormones. Replace any fat sources that are high in saturated and/or trans fats with unsaturated options to get what you need without raising your cholesterol.

Take a class

If you are hesitant to start cooking, sign up for a cooking class and get some new inspiration. Look for classes that focus on healthier menu options, and you’ll likely go home with at least a handful of new recipes to add to your rotation.

Stock up on healthy must-haves

It’s much easier to prepare a meal when your pantry and refrigerator are stocked with the healthy ingredients you need to make your favorite recipes. If your shelves are looking a little bare, head to the grocery store armed with a list of healthy must-haves, such as canola or olive oil, nuts and seeds, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, dried herbs and spices, lean meats, eggs and egg whites, and yogurt. With these staples on hand, you’ll likely find it easier to whip up something tasty rather than picking up takeout.

With an arsenal of healthy recipes, the right ingredients, and a willingness to try new things, you can become an at-home chef who specializes in preparing and serving healthy meals that are also tasty.

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