When people decide to eat healthy, the plan of cooking wholesome, nutritious meals at home may seem like a major change. Obviously you would love to eat right, however you don’t want to have the same boring meals each day. Right?
Well, the point is that by avoiding some common healthy-cooking mistakes and eliminating certain misconceptions about eating right at home, you can create interesting, delicious meals that you can truly enjoy.
Solely Opting for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
According to registered dietitian E.A. Stewart: "Frozen, organic fruits and veggies can be just as nutritious as fresh and are great for smoothies and last-minute side dishes for lunch and dinner".
As it turns out, because both fruits and vegetables are frozen at the peak of their freshness, their vitamins and minerals are abundant, even more so than their fresh counterparts, especially those that are imported. Imported produce may have been sitting in storage crates and grocery produce shelves for a week or more, causing it to lose many nutrients.
Counting on the Standbys
Be aware that salads don’t always have to mean lettuce, it can also be about a mixture of blueberries, tomatoes and walnuts or a salad of chopped avocado and fresh strawberries.
However if your choice involves greens as the base, consider other leafy veggies, like kale, red cabbage or watercress. Make sure to marinate tougher greens in dressing an hour before serving.
Brown rice is definitely a healthy side dish, however don't hold back from experimenting with other grains as well. Quinoa, bulgur wheat and millet take about half the time to cook as brown rice and provide a crunchy texture and nutty flavor. So, consider using them as a base for an Asian stir fry or even as a hot cereal in the morning.
Cutting Back On All Fats
Before cutting back on fats completely, you should know that not all fats are the same, besides being a source of energy, fats provide essential fatty acids that are essential for brain and heart health.
So, instead of cutting all fat, just reduce your intake of saturated fats and stay away from trans fats completely. Saturated fat, mostly found in animal products such as butter, whole milk and fatty meats, is the main dietary cause of high levels of LDL, the bad cholesterol. Trans fats, formed when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil, not only raise LDL, they also lower the good HDL cholesterol. Be aware that fried foods, processed foods, commercial baked goods and some margarines can contain high amounts of trans fats.
When cooking, opt for a vegetable oil such as olive, canola or soybean that are unsaturated. Avocados, fish and nuts all contain unsaturated fats, such as omega-3 fatty acid found in fish that are the healthiest to consume. Evidently, fats mean extra calories, therefore it would be best to consume them in moderation.
Not Planning Out Your Meals Ahead
According to specialists, the most common detriment to healthy eating is probably the fact that people do not plan out their meals and shopping list.
To make the most of your time, it is recommended taking an hour or so each week to plan out meals and snacks, see what you have on hand in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer, and then make a list of everything you’ll need for the week. When you go to the supermarket with a list in hand, you’ll be less likely to buy foods that don’t fit into your healthy meal and snack plan.
Opting for an "All-or-Nothing" Diet
One of the main principles of healthy eating is balance, professionals advise. Therefore being selective about what you choose not to eat is very important. For instance, instead of cutting out all carbohydrates, you may want to avoid refined carbs and choose whole grains instead. Also, if chocolate is your weakness, indulge in a small bite of dark chocolate or a glass of chocolate skim milk a few times a week.
Choose to have a good relationship with food and get informed - doing so you’ll definitely be able to find the right balance that works for you in keeping a healthy lifestyle.