To help you cook and eat healthier, we want to focus on tips and ideas that aren’t just going to help you live healthier but also enhance your cooking skills.
Health research is always changing but building your cooking smarts is something you get to keep forever. No new study is going to come out and say that oops, learning to cook is bad for you. Once you’re armed with the knowledge and skills, you’ll be able to pass it on to those around you so that they can live healthier, too.
We can’t wait to help you get cooking because a healthier and happier life is waiting for you, so let’s get started with 6 tips that to help you cook and eat healthier.
Make salads an even healthier part of your life
There are so many ways to cook healthy, but there’s one way that’s very easy and convenient, and that’s everyone’s favorite first course – the salad. Alright, maybe it’s not your favorite but it sure is healthier than fried calamari! Even if you’re already eating leafy greens regularly, we’ve got 3 ways to make salads an even healthier part of your life.
3 Ways to Make Salads an Even Healthier Part of Your Life
Cooking and eating healthy doesn't have to be a mystery, and our video will show you 3 tips on making salads a healthy part of your life.
1. Begin your day with a salad
It might seem weird to eat salad for breakfast, but it’s a great way to fuel up. While carbs are delicious, having a carb-heavy breakfast (especially white carbs) is not the best way to wake your body up.
Salads, on the other hand, are full of high-fiber, low-glycemic ingredients that will help you feel satiated for longer and energetically power through to lunch. Plus a lot of great breakfast foods make great salad ingredients.
Breakfast Salad Recipe
Give your mornings a healthy start with our Breakfast Salad recipe.
2. begin your meal with a salad
Even if you can’t begin your day with a salad, try to begin lunch or dinner with a salad. Again, since salad ingredients are full of fiber and water, it causes you to feel full so you’ll likely tackle your main course with a little less gusto. If you’re looking to lose weight, this is a great natural method for appetite suppression.
3. make your own dressing
It’s really fun to make your own salad dressing, and it also frees you from worrying about expiration dates, ingredients that you can’t pronounce, and bottles cluttering precious fridge space.
Instead, if you can start building a collection of vinegars which regularly consists of balsamic, red wine, apple cider and rice, you are set to make a variety of homemade vinaigrettes. You can get creative with your dressings once you learn the basic cooking formula for making a simple vinaigrette. Just remember to taste, taste, taste until you get the mix of flavors that bring your salad to life!
How to Make a Vinaigrette
Vinaigrettes are a wonderful way to dress up not just salads, but proteins and vegetables too, and they're very easy to make.
Cooking Formula for a Simple Vinaigrette
Learn this simple cooking formula to make homemade vinaigrette, and you'll never resort to that bottled stuff again.
Take the right steps towards a healthy diet by filling your diet with the right ingredients
The right ingredients to ensure you’re eating healthy are the ones that do your body good, keep you energized throughout the day, and overall, have you feeling better about yourself.
We’ve selected 5 heart-healthy ingredients that are easy to incorporate into your diet, and we use them quite frequently in our meal plans. Best of all, these ingredients do a lot more than just keep our heart healthy but are really full-body powerhouses.
5 Heart-Healthy Ingredients to Include in Your Diet
Feel good about what you eat with 5 ingredients that will do your heart good and keep you energized throughout the day.
White carbs can be very tasty, but it’s important to mix in whole grains like brown rice. Brown rice has a higher fiber content, which is good for your heart and your waistline. Even though it does take longer to cook than white rice, it freezes incredibly well, so you can always make a big batch, divide into standard serving sizes (so if you have a family of 4, divide by servings for 4) and then freeze. Plus, it’s gluten-free!
By now you’ve heard plenty of public service announcements that tell you dark leafy greens are good for you. The reason is they’re incredibly high in folic acids like vitamin B-12, which have been shown to prevent cancer, heart disease, depression and dementia.
Nowadays, triple-washed baby spinach is everywhere so there’s no excuse to not eat more of it. All you have to do is take it out of the bag. You can eat it raw dressed with a homemade vinaigrette or puree it into a smoothie with fruit. It’s also super simple to cook with just a bit of oil, garlic, and lemon juice. Eat it on its own or use it to fill an omelette, frittata, or quiche.
For those with a sweet tooth, ditch the dessert and opt for a sweet potato. This root vegetable is high vitamin a, which is great for our eyes, vitamin c, which is good for our immune system, and fiber, which keeps you regular and therefore, happy and comfortable.
Sweet potatoes can be roasted, microwaved, steamed, or boiled, so a variety of ways to coax the sweetness out of this vegetable. They’re also relatively inexpensive and can be stored for about 2 to 3 weeks in a cool, dark place.
Walnuts and salmon
These two ingredients are both high in different types of omega-3’s, essential fatty acids that are body need to function properly. Some studies have also shown that omega-3’s can help us regulate cholesterol and blood pressure, which of course reduce risk of heart disease. Plus, both these ingredients are high in protein, which pretty much keeps all parts of our body – skin, organs, muscles, bones – functioning properly.
Walnuts are great on salads, but also consider them in pestos.
Salmon can be cooked in a variety of ways – baked, broiled, steamed in parchment, pan-seared – but just make sure to not overcook it so it remains tender and juicy. Finish it with some lemon for brightness.
5 Heart-Healthy Foods
Reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, and high cholesterol with these five foods.
We created a recipe that incorporates all 5 of these heart-healthy ingredients into one meal that will make your heart feel super good. It’s a simple, delicious meal that all your loved ones will enjoy. Get the free recipe here:
Salmon with Spinach Walnut Pesto
Heart-healthy ingredients come together for a simple, tasty meal that will fuel your body and treat your heart right.
Do your body good by eating more veggies
Have you ever found yourself making a recipe whose time estimate was 30 minutes, but an hour later, you still have a pile of un-prepped veggies and you’re standing in a disaster zone of a kitchen nowhere near a finished dinner?
We’ve all found ourselves in this frustrating situation where the recipe writer assumes that we’ve all had the same professional training they’ve had. We wonder why we even bothered and swear off cooking. But before you do that, we have something that is going to help you become more efficient in the kitchen and live a healthier lifestyle as well.
Our Secret to Cooking More Veggies
Discover our secret to cooking more veggies and eating healthier in this video.
We all know that vegetables do a body good. They’re chock full of nutrients that ward of illness. They make your skin glow, keep our bodies trim, and help you do your #2 with ease. We all want those health benefits and would cook a lot more veggies but are afraid of dealing with the situation described earlier. Wrestling a butternut squash for 30 minutes is the last thing you want to do after a long day. So how do we ensure that we eat more of this food group?
Step 1: Get a sharp knife and learn how to properly use it!
If you’ve never experienced a sharp knife, it’s kind of magical. There’s no need to run out and get a new knife though. Just take your current one to get sharpened.
Knife Basics 101
This video shows you all the knife tips and skills to get you cooking like a pro in your own kitchen.
step 2: learn how to properly prep veggies
Nothing awesome ever happened with no effort, so this next step will require some effort and practice. Luckily, we’ve made it as easy as possible for for you by putting together a whole cooking library to help you navigate efficient vegetable prep.
No one ever taught us how to properly dice an onion or how you turn a thorny artichoke into something tender and yummy. It makes dealing with vegetables and being in the kitchen a stressful place. When you visit our Produce Prep Guide, you won’t have to go to culinary school but you can still become a veggie-chopping all-star!
Get excited about all the veggie cooking possibilities
Once you’ve improved your vegetable prep skills and can chop them like a pro, it’s going to be so much easier to convince yourself to cook up more veggies, which we know are essential for a healthy life. All it takes to cook healthier is to master just a few vegetable cooking formulas.
Cooking formulas teach people to go beyond recipes. Recipes force us into a specific set of steps and we feel like we need to follow them to a t. Formulas, on the other hand, provide us with a framework and helps us learn techniques so that we have the tools to make a variety of dishes.
100+ Ways to Enjoy Vegetables
Learn the best vegetable cooking techniques to enjoying a wide variety of vegetables, and enjoy them in season for the tastiest results.
Some of our favorite easy vegetable cooking formulas that will help you get vegetables on the table every single night are sauteing, steaming, roasting, boiling, microwaving, using in salads, pureeing into soups, and turning into veggie noodles. Once you learn these cooking formulas, you’ll be able to cook up just about any veggie!
We cover all these cooking formulas more in detail in our Cooking Lessons section, but if you’re ready to head into the kitchen and start cooking healthier, our Guide to Enjoying Vegetables shows our favorite ways to enjoy veggies:
Guide to Enjoying Vegetables
Here's your guide on how you can fill your diet with a whole variety of vegetables.
Form new healthy habits that will help you cook and eat healthier
We asked our friends in health, “What is the #1 tip you would offer to folks looking to cook and eat healthier?” and here are their answers. Put these healthy habits into practice, and you’ll be on your way to eating healthy and feeling great.
Live Healthier with These 8 Food Habits
Get tips on how to cook and eat healthier from our friends in health.
Ashley Neese, a holistic nutrition consultant in Los Angeles, writes, “When we’re hydrated it’s easier to make smart food choices and stay healthy. Excessive hunger can be caused by dehydration so before you reach for that packaged snack, drink a glass of room temperature water and wait for it to settle. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water per day.”
So many drinks are filled with unnecessary sugars and can definitely add up in cost. Drinking more water is an easy and inexpensive habit to adopt. Just go out and buy yourself a good-sized water bottle, fill it up in the morning with your target water consumption for the day and try to get through it. It won’t take long to notice the health benefits.
Always eat breakfast
Danica Buss, a future health coach and the creator of It’s Progression, lives by this helpful habit. So many of us get sucked into the hecticness of the day right when we wake up that we often skip breakfast. While it’s not necessary to eat a breakfast salad like how we do, eating a high-fiber, low-sugar breakfast sets you up to have a much more successful day. You’ll have more energy and be less tempted by unnecessary or bad snacking.
Prep foods on the weekend
This habit is possibly the hardest one but has immense pay off and really sets you up for a success and zen in the kitchen. It comes from Lindsay Livingston, a registered dietician who is the healthy voice behind the blog The Lean Green Bean. Even spending just one hour on Sunday prepping can help you stay on track to eat healthy during the week. While this habit can seem like a lot of work, it can actually turn into a really fun ritual, especially when you invite a friend over, recruit your kids, do it over a glass of wine, or queue up your favorite podcast or music album!
Eat on smaller plates and eat more slowly
Large portion sizes have definitely contributed to our obesity problem so if we just start off with less, we are much less likely to overeat. Even filling up a salad plate with dinner is still plenty of food. If you’re eating out, we know that restaurants are notorious for huge serving sizes. The average restaurant meal has 1200 calories, so ask your server to bring you a box at the beginning of the meal so you can pack half of it away, which prevents you from feeling like you need to eat every last bite.
In addition, eating just a bit more slowly gives our stomachs a chance to let our brains know that we’re full and to stop eating. We’ve definitely all been in the situation of inhaling a plate of food and feeling ill afterwards because we didn’t give ourselves the opportunity to realize that we were already full.
Eat real foods
We should fill our diets with real, whole foods that are made of single ingredients that we recognize and understand. Amie Valpone (Editor-in-Chief of The Healthy Apple, a health and food blog), Kath Younger (registered dietician behind the blog Kath Eats Real Food), and Alexis Joseph (creator of The Hummusapien) recommend fueling up with one-ingredient foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, eggs, and poultry, and staying away from foods with long, unpronounceable names. If you stick to shopping the perimeter of your supermarket for produce, meats, and dairy, canned and frozen goods of whole ingredients, and grains, you’re definitely setting yourself up for a healthy diet.
Create a situation for success
George Bryant of The Civilized Caveman, a paleo food blog, says that it’s not enough to just eat good-for-you foods. When people eat healthier, they force themselves to eat foods they don’t like. Eating healthy is about enjoying what you eat and nourishing your body. Find foods you enjoy, let yourself indulge some of the time, and you’re not just creating a situation for success, but a lifestyle for success.
Learn tips and tricks for eating right from our friends in health.
Experience a healthier life in the kitchen when you start to meal plan
Meal planning is an important part to cooking healthier, and here you’ll get practical tips and ideas that will boost your cooking skills and lead to a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. When you have a plan, you’ll always stay on track to eating healthier, because you’ll be less likely to resort to eating fast food. You can meal plan your way to health, and all the while, you’ll be reducing food waste, saving money, and cooking stress-free!
Meal Planning Toolkit
Create your own meal plan with this Meal Planning Toolkit