7 Ways to Cook Healthier—Starting Today

Make it healthy, and make more of it

Make extra portions of your healthy meals that you (or the person in your care) can reheat later. For example, freeze soups, stews, and other dishes in family-size or single portions. It’s a real time-saver—and a great way to make sure there’s always healthy food ready for the table.

If you like, you can print out this article to remind yourself how to plan healthy meals.

When it comes to eating healthy, how you cook your meals can be just as important as what you cook. There are many ways to cook that can help keep in the flavor and nutrients—without adding extra fat or salt. Take a look at these 7 options.

Baking. It’s not just for breads, cookies, or cakes. Bake seafood, lean meat, chicken, or vegetables for a meal that tastes great—using little or no fat.

Braising. In this 2-step method, brown your main ingredient (for example, meat or chicken) in a pan on the stove over high heat. Then, add a small amount of liquid such as water or broth and let it simmer. In some recipes, the remaining liquid is rich in nutrients and can be used as a sauce.

Broiling or grilling. Cook food on a broiler pan in your oven or on a grill. Both ways allow fat to drip away from the food.

Poaching. Gently simmer ingredients in water or a liquid such as broth, vinegar, or juice until they are cooked through.

Roasting. Cook food in the oven, at higher temperatures than baking. Use a rack in the roasting pan so fat drips away from meat, poultry, or seafood as it cooks.

Sautéing or stir-frying. Cook small or thinly sliced pieces of food quickly using high heat and very little oil. If you use a nonstick pan, you can cook without adding fat or oil. You also can use a small amount of cooking spray.

Steaming. This is one of the simplest ways to cook food. Steam vegetables, chicken, or fish using a steamer basket suspended above simmering water. Adding seasonings to the water helps flavor the food as it cooks. No oil or fat needed.

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