Yesterday marked the first day of National Nutrition Week, with the theme of 2013 being “Project Dinnertime – Cook, Eat, Enjoy”. The idea of healthy home cooking may be daunting to some people, particularly if take away is a regular option in your household, so what better to post about than healthy cooking methods to utilise in the kitchen that I hope will inspire and motivate you to cook up some healthy meals at home.
Although there has been a massive rise in healthier fast food and take-away options worldwide over the past few years including salad bars, healthy burgers and culturally diverse foods revolving predominantly around spices as flavourings, we can’t always be entirely sure that we’re definitely getting a healthy lunch. Unfortunately for Australia, we are on the map not only for the significant rise in overweight and obesity, but also for money spent on take-away, which sits us 11th in the world. If not addressed, this issue will only keep growing and seriously affect both our health and bank balance. By getting on board with Project Dinnertime we can start to make a difference in how and what we eat.
I would say that most of the options around us can be okay if we choose wisely, and in terms of convenience it is much easier to buy take-away, but if you want to make sure you’re getting the tastiest and healthiest meals possible, there’s nothing better than cooking it yourself. For some people this may involve using “flavourings” such as fats and salt. Now of course we all know that these aren’t the healthiest options out there and should be kept to a minimum to avoid kilojoule overload and excess daily consumption that over time, could lead to a number of health issues.
I’ve put together some ideas for healthy cooking methods to try (including ingredients that work best and flavourings to go with it), along with many other useful tips and tricks to cut the kilojoules and added fats, and retain nutrients but not skimp on flavour.
Ingredients – Fish | Vegetables | Rice
Flavourings – Herbs | Lemon or other citrus peel
Chicken | Eggs | Fruit
Low sodium stock | Wine | Whole spices
Strips of chicken, red meat or tofu | Vegetables – carrots, beans, capsicum, broccoli
Soy sauce (instead of salt) | Garlic | Ginger | Chilli
Red meat | Chicken | Fish | Vegetables
Spice rubs (mixture of ground spices and about 1 tsp oil) | Herbs | Mustard
Red meat | Chicken | Vegetables
Spice rubs | Whole garlic cloves | Herbs
Some of my favourite foods utilising these methods include:
-Poached eggs on wholegrain toast with avocado
– Steamed fish with lemon and herbs
– Grilled chicken, beef or lamb with garlic
– Roasted vegetables with cumin and sesame seeds
– Stir fried chicken with snow peas, bean sprouts, rice noodles & ginger and garlic
Tips for healthy meals:
– To try cutting down the kilojoules try using less oil and salt, and more herbs and spices.
– Choose lean cuts of meat and remove any visible fat
– Use non-stick pans to reduce or eliminate need for oil
– Use spray oil rather than liquid as you will use much less
– Don’t peel vegetables, just wash and get rid of any excess dirt, to retain nutrients just under the skin
Hopefully with these ideas and tips you’ll give cooking at home a go. It’s a great way to use different ingredients, experiment with flavours and textures and have fun with your family and friends, but most importantly it will benefit your health in the long run and provide you with skills that will last a lifetime.