The secret of cooking healthily is to cook meals from scratch, using fresh ingredients like fruit and vegetables, preferably locally-sourced. The benefits are many and not just confined to better nutrition and personal well-being.
Ditch Processed Foods And Ready Meals And Reap The Benefits By cutting out most processed food and ready meals, you will avoid ingesting a range of additives and preservatives that are not just unnecessary, but are also, in some cases, bad for you. Processed food generally contains a high percentage of fat, sugars and salt; the low fat varieties tend to be very high in sugar. By preparing your own meals from scratch you will know exactly what is in each course and you will also save money. For the price of one read-made portion of lasagne, you could produce your own more tasty dish, with enough left over to freeze for future meals.
Buy Locally Produced Food And Help Yourself And Others If you can, always try to buy as many products that have been produced in your local area. You don’t have to live in the country to find fresh eggs, for example, as there are now many city farms and urban chicken keepers keen to sell their produce. By buying locally you are ensuring your ingredients are fresh and you are also helping local traders.
Buy Fruit And Vegetables In Season And Help The Environment By avoiding exotic fruit and vegetables that cannot be grown in this country you will cut down on food miles and thereby help reduce environmental damage. Although we may not produce kiwi fruit and pineapples here, we do grow many nutritious varieties of apples, for example, which are far more fresh and tasty than their foreign counterparts that have been flown half way round the world before we buy them.
Start Slow Cooking And Taste The Difference Come winter, root crops, like swedes, squashes, parsnips, potatoes and carrots come into season. These vegetables are not only cheap, but very nutritious and also form the basis of many soups, stews and casseroles. By cooking these dishes slowly, either in a low oven, or slow cooker, more of the goodness of these foods is preserved and the food tastes much better into the bargain.
The same principle applies to meat. Unfashionable cuts of meat, such as beef brisket are not only cheaper, but ideal for slow cooking. And it is amazing just how many meals you can make out of a medium sized chicken, slow-cooked on Sunday and then used for curry, risotto, sandwiches and soup during the rest of the week.
Cook From Scratch And Enjoy Some Hidden Benefits It has been proved that preparing meals from scratch uses up considerably more calories than unwrapping a ready meal and shoving it in the microwave. So why not incorporate this into your calorie count if you are on an exercise routine? And, if you buy your food locally, walking and cycling to the shops or market can also be counted. You can always reward yourself with some of your deliciously cooked meals.
Fresh fruit and vegetables generally have to be peeled and if you add them to a compost heap, you will be helping the environment as well. And producing your own compost is an ideal first step to growing your own food to provide the very best ingredients for healthy cooking.
This article was written by Sam, who is currently working with Range Cookers to produce content on Health eating & Cooking.