8 Ways to Cook Healthier Meals

By Barbara Pronin

Some Moms sneak veggies into their picky eaters’ diets by grating a little carrot into the tuna salad or even zucchini into chocolate cookies. Nutritionist Rachel Warren suggests eight more easy ways to make all your family meals more nutritious:

Split the fats and spare the sugar – Most recipes don’t need to be followed exactly. Sautee ingredients in a mixture of butter and olive oil instead of butter or corn oil – and you can shave a quarter cup of sugar from most cake and cookie recipes without sacrificing taste.

Dress chicly – Instead of using dressings made with oil, puree an avocado with herbs of your choice and pour it over your salad. Or use a little balsamic syrup (thicker and sweeter than balsamic vinegar) to dress salads or drizzle on meats before grilling.

Skim the cream -  Take fat and calories out of classic comfort foods by mashing potatoes with unsweetened almond milk and roasted garlic – or creaming spinach of other vegetables with tapioca flour and unsweetened almond milk instead of butter and heavy cream. You can even halve the suggested amount of cheese without giving up much flavor.  

Tenderize with yogurt - The naturally occurring lactic acid in Greek yogurt helps break down protein to make meats, fish, and even veggies more flavorful and tender. Combine nonfat plain Greek yogurt with fresh herbs and seasonings to create an oil-free marinade and save about 110 calories per tablespoon.

Add a leaf to the beef – Boil or steam kale, a nutrient-rich veggie, then chop finely and add a half cup to a pound of ground beef for delicious, more nutritious meatballs.

Pick the right pan – Using a good quality non-stick pan will enable you to cook with  less fat and still keep foods from sticking.

Turn up the heat on veggies – Cut up assorted veggies, toss them with a bit of olive oil and herbs on a baking sheet and roast them in the oven at 425 degrees for 15 or 20 minutes. Yummy flavor with crunchy, toasted edges and without any butter at all.

Curb the carbs - Lighten pasta dishes and boost nutritional content by replacing half the noodles with lightly sauteed julienne vegetables like peppers, snow peas, and mushrooms.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.

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