9 Healthy Cooking Hacks To Change Your Habits

9 Healthy Cooking Hacks To Change Your Habits

When it comes to health and fitness, it’s not all about physical activity. What you eat matters just as much for your health, if not more. If you’re trying to lose weight, know that experts estimate that weight loss is 80 percent diet, 20 percent fitness routine.

Home-cooked meals tend to have fewer calories and more nutrients than restaurant fare, numerous studies have found, including a recent one from Johns Hopkins University. Researchers also found that those who cook most nights of the week even maintained their healthier habits when they went out, eating fewer restaurant calories during meals than those who did not cook often.

All this is easier said than done, of course. Cooking dinner for your busy household isn’t a breeze, no matter how large or small your family. Enter these time-saving hacks that can help.

9 Healthy Cooking Hacks

1. Meal plan

Okay, so this isn’t necessarily a hack: more like a healthy-cooking must. Sketching out what you want to eat for the week before you grocery shop — breakfast, lunch, dinner, and don’t forget snacks — makes life that much easier once it gets busy.

pre cook and make lunches peanutbutterandfitness

Photo Credit: peanutbutterandfiness.com

2. Spray a measuring cup with cooking spray

When baking, lightly spritz your measuring cups with cooking spray, so stick ingredients pop out easily. (Perfect for when you’re whipping up a healthy treat like this Paleo Coffee Cake Banana Bread. Yum!)

3. Blend soap and water for easy clean-up

This trick makes healthy smoothies a breeze. To clean your blender, fill it halfway with water and add a drop of dish soap. Blend for a few seconds, and then rinse away the remnants of your breakfast. Easy.

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4. Cook once, eat many times

Along with meal planning, this is the simplest thing you can do to eat well. Double your portions while you cook, so you can put in the work once, and eat twice. For on-the-go lunches, set aside time at the beginning of the week to chop veggies, clean greens and cook a double batch of protein. Then all week long it’s healthy salads or sandwiches in a flash. (Blogger Lindsay of The Lean Green Bean is a food prep master — as seen below!)

food in containers

Photo Credit: Instagram.com/theleangreenbean

5. Wrap a wet paper towel around a bottle and freeze to cool it in minutes

This works with flavored water or tea (and okay, wine and beer, too — which can be healthy in moderation!). You’ll be sipping on an ice-cold drink in minutes. Brilliant!

wrap wet paper towl around bottle to freeze quicker

Photo Credit: cupcakesandcashmere.com

6. Keep the pit in your avocado to prevent browning

When making guac or slicing an avocado, leave the pit in place to prevent browning. A lemon slice placed atop the fruit’s flesh works for storing, too. (If you’re cooking for a crowd, just don’t let your guests accidentally eat the pit.)

split avocado with pit

7. Swap Greek yogurt for nearly everything

Plain Greek yogurt is basically a protein-packed miracle food. Swap it in 1:1 for butter or cream cheese while you bake or for sour cream as a topping. It’s an easy upgrade that doesn’t sacrifice texture or flavor.

8. Pack a jar salad

Say goodbye to sad, soggy desk salads. Pack an on-the-go lunch in a mason jar with this formula: Pour a few tablespoons of your favorite dressing at the bottom (go homemade to avoid added sugars); then layer hard crunchy vegetables, such as carrots to act as a dressing barrier. Next, layer on any beans or grains; then cheese or proteins, then softer fruits or vegetables. Stuff the rest of the jar with greens. When it’s time to eat, shake the jar to mix in the dressing, and dump the whole thing on to a plate.

READ  9 Healthier Thanksgiving Recipes So Good, You Won’t Miss the Old Ones

9. Use your hand to portion food

Sometimes, you can go overboard even with healthy food. Keep your portions in check — sans a time-consuming kitchen scale — by eyeballing amounts using your hand as a guide. A cupped hand represents the amount of rice or cooked grains you should eat per serving. Proteins should match your palm, or be about the size of a deck of cards. A closed fist is about a cup.

Any healthy hacks you love? Share them in the comments below!

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