5 Simple Swaps to Make Your Cooked Recipes Healthier

5 Simple Swaps for Making Your Cooked Recipes Healthier
5 Simple Swaps for Making Your Cooked Recipes Healthier

1. Swap out vegetable oils for coconut oil – Coconut oil has one of the highest smoke points of the fats used for cooking.  What this means is that it can be heated up to about 250 degrees Celsius before it will start to break down and oxidize, causing free radical formation.  Any time you have to cook something in fat, or have to use fat within a cooked recipe use coconut oil.

2. Steam or bake instead of boiling or frying – Steaming your food causes the least amount of nutrient damage, and causes the least amount of nutrients to be leached from your foods.  Baking is also far less damaging to nutrients than frying or broiling.  Frying and broiling will create free radical damage, causing the breakdown of molecules in the foods which produces chemicals that can actually be dangerous for your health.  Steaming broccoli will increase how much of the omega 3 fatty acids you can absorb, and steaming tomatoes will increase your ability to absorb their lycopene. Choose a cooking method that promotes an increase in the nutrients you preserve in your cooked food, and prevent damage caused by other cooking methods such as deep frying or barbecuing.

3. Swap processed grains for whole grains – Processed grains (think white rice, white flour and anything else white) no longer have their germ or bran intact.  This removes a lot of fibre, B-vitamins and healthy oils that whole grains have to offer. Whole grains are a far richer source of nutrition. Bonus points for choosing gluten-free grains like brown rice, wild rice, certified gluten-free oats and pseudo grains like quinoa and buckwheat.

4. Add in more fresh food – Most recipes can be boosted with the addition of veggies or fruits that may not be called for in the recipes. Adding a large handful of spinach to your soup, some diced veggies to your rice or some extra chopped veggies to your sauce recipes will give you an extra hit of fibre, nutrients and flavour! There is always room for more produce on your plate, and adding extra to your recipes is a great way to slip extra servings into your diet.

5. Swap some of the salt for seasoning and spice – It’s common for recipes to rely on processed table salt to add flavour to foods. Processed table salt has been stripped of all minerals apart from sodium and chlorine, and has hidden chemical ingredients that prevent it from clumping together on your shelf.  This makes it very nutrient poor, and damaging for your health overall. Experimenting with ground spices, herbs and other seasonings is a great way to add flavour to your food while helping you to cut back on the salt.  Also try replacing your table salt with Pink Himalayan salt, which contains all 84 minerals the body needs to function optimally and can actually be complimentary to your health when used in moderate amounts.

Ali Washington