Cooking at home can be a great way to eat more healthily and
save money. Cooking yourself though can take time and be difficult. Well, we’ve
gathered together some of the best cooking hacks to help make healthy eating
easier, more fun and sometimes downright delicious.
Add Vegetables to Your Soups
It’s hard to get simpler than canned soup. Just opening up a
can though and plopping it in your bowl has a few problems. First, the taste
sometimes leaves a bit to be desired. Second, canned soups are often on the
light side and don’t really fill you up. Third, even vegetable soups often are
One way to fix all of these problems is to take your soups
and add one or two fresh ingredients. Food blogger and Registered Dietitian
Kath Younger recommends adding frozen
spinach or other green veggies to your bowl. This can improve the flavor of
your soup and increase its nutritional content without having to make a salad
or additional vegetable.
If you’re looking to improve the taste, you can also do
quite a bit by adding fresh or dried herbs to the mix. Add a bit of fresh basil
or rosemary to your canned minestrone or potato soup, and suddenly your meal
will feel much more homemade.
Stretch Your Hamburgers with Zucchini
When you’re making hamburgers, you can squeeze in more
nutrients, save money, and even make them juicier by adding grated, squeezed
zucchini to the mix. Fitness Magazine recommends adding 3/4 of a cup of
zucchini for every 1 1/4 pounds of meat.
Make Coconut Water Cocktails
Try replacing the mixers in your cocktails with coconut
water. Coconut water contains electrolytes like calcium, magnesium and
potassium, and it’s much lower in calories than most mixers.
Replace Sour Cream with Yogurt
Sour cream can make a delicious addition to soups and
potatoes, but it doesn’t offer you much nutritionally. Swap it out for nonfat
yogurt, which will have a bit more of a bite, but will save you calories.
Replace Cream with Vegetables in Soups
If you’re into homemade soup, you know that there’s nothing
more delicious than a rich, creamy soup. The cream commonly added to soups is
yummy, but it also drives up the calorie count. You can eliminate this while
adding nutrients by replacing part or all of it with blended vegetables.
Cauliflower blended with milk makes a great way to thicken soups nutritiously.
You can also use potatoes, carrots and zucchini.
Bake Your French Fries
If you get the hankering for French fries at home, try
baking them instead. Cut the potatoes into wedges, place them on a pan and coat
lightly with spray oil. Sprinkle the wedges with seasoned salt, and bake at 425
degrees for about 35 minutes or until they are tender.
Replace Butter with Avocado
In baking recipes, you can replace butter with blended
avocado for big savings in calories and fat. Get the avocado really smooth for
Banana Ice Cream
If you want a truly delicious, healthy dessert, try banana
ice cream. To make this, freeze a number of bananas at your desired level of
ripeness. Then blend the frozen
bananas in your blender. When you’re done, you’ll have a sweet, creamy
dessert that’s very similar to ice cream in consistency. You can add
strawberries, blueberries, or cherries to the mix if you want your ice cream to
have fruity accents. Or, if you’d rather, you can sprinkle nuts and cocoa nibs
over the top for a more decadent taste.
Make Your Own Dressing
If the strange and unpronounceable ingredients in
store-bought salad dressing make you nervous, it’s easy to make your own.
Blogger and health coach Anjali Shah recommends mixing “balsamic vinegar, salt,
pepper, a little chopped garlic, and some fresh herbs (choose the kind
depending on what you like the best).”
Switch Pasta for Squash
If you love pasta but hate carbs, you can swap out your
noodles for spaghetti squash. You’ll get extra vitamins from the vegetable, and
a cup of spaghetti squash has 160 fewer calories than a similar amount of
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese can be a great comfort food, but store
varieties have all kinds of mystery ingredients. If you make it from scratch,
you know everything that goes into it. It’s not the lightest fare ever, but it
has good nutrients in it.
- 2 1/2 cups of macaroni noodles
- 3 cups of milk
- 1-2 cups shredded cheese
- 1/2 cup to 1 cup chopped ham
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Place everything except the ham and cheese in the pot cold,
then bring to a boil. Stir it until the milk has mostly been absorbed into the
noodles. Then stir in the ham until it is warmed. Pull it off the heat and stir
in the cheese until it’s melted.
If you want to make it even healthier, mix in pureed
butternut squash and serve with a salad.