Take these healthy cooking tips to the kitchen with you.
As you age, it's important to pay attention to the foods you're eating. By adhering to a well-balanced diet, you can control your weight, boost your immune system and energy, and also reduce your chance of developing some chronic conditions.
If you're interested in cooking healthier meals, follow these tips in the kitchen:
1. Rinse canned vegetables
When cooking with canned vegetables, make sure to rinse them beforehand. This is a simple way to cut down the sodium content, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Using no- or low-sodium canned foods is even easier, so be mindful when you're shopping.
2. Cook your vegetables correctly
If you want to maximize your nutrient intake, be sure you're cooking them correctly. Consumer Reports says boiling or overcooking veggies can eliminate essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Steaming, however, will preserve those nutrients. Consider using a steamer basket to cook all of your vegetables.
3. Taste test before adding salt
Did you know that one teaspoon of table salt amounts to about 2,300 milligrams of sodium? That's also the recommended daily limit. To reduce your chance of exceeding that number, be sure to taste test before adding salt to your dishes.
4. Season with herbs and spices
Prepared seasonings are high in sodium content and can increase your risk for developing high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association. Instead of buying seasonings from the store, just spruce up your meals with natural herbs and spices. Garlic, black pepper and turmeric are delicious and healthy choices.
5. Eat more lean meats
For starters, it's best to eliminate processed meats such as hot dogs, salami and bacon from your diet. When you eat beef, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics advises to make sure it's labeled "loin" or "round." Above all, eat mostly lean meats such as turkey, chicken and pork.
6. Use the oven for frying
When preparing food in the frying pan, it generally soaks up most - if not all - added oils. Instead of using the stove top to cook and create a crunchy texture in your meals, consider "oven frying." Consumer Reports suggests coating your meat in whole wheat panko, then drizzling olive oil over it. Place in the oven, bake, and voila, you've got crispy, health-conscious food.
7. Substitute with whole-grain flour
During the refining process, fiber, iron and B vitamins are removed from white flour. Instead of using an all-purpose flour while baking, switch to whole-grain. It's loaded with fiber and works just as well as white for cooking and baking.
8. Always choose healthy oil when cooking
If you need to use oil while cooking, choose from the plant-based variety. The AMA says olive, canola, peanut, safflower and sesame oils are the healthiest choices. They can reduce bad cholesterol levels, lower your risk of developing heart disease and stroke, and also provide enough nutrients to maintain the body's cells.
9. Dress your salads wisely
Eating a salad as a meal is a healthy choice. It's not as nutritious, however, if you load it up with fattening dressing. Instead of choosing store-bought options, consider making your own. Use herbs, vinegar, olive oil and healthy fats such as avocado, nuts and seeds to create your own nutritious dressings.
10. Mix things up
Cooking healthy meals in the comfort of your own home is a proactive step for your health, just make sure to eat a variety of foods. Mix things up throughout the week so that you're not restricting your nutrition intake.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living