Healthy eating involves changing long-time habits. Start now with these quick tips.
Healthy eating doesn't have to be burdensome. Have confidence in your ability to change your habits — doing so is the first step toward lifelong health. That confidence will help you succeed at learning to eat healthier foods. Following these tips can put you on the right path.
Try a new, healthy cooking method
One way to embrace healthy eating is by using healthy cooking techniques. That doesn't mean you have to become a gourmet chef or invest in special cookware. Simply use standard cooking methods to prepare foods in healthy ways. These cooking methods will add little or no fat to the foods you cook:
- Baking. Cooking food covered or uncovered in an oven or oven-type appliance.
- Braising. Browning first, then simmering in a covered pan with a little liquid.
- Broiling. Cooking food by direct heat in the broiler section of an oven or an oven-type appliance.
- Grilling. Cooking food by direct heat over coals.
- Poaching. Cooking food in liquids such as broth, vinegar or juice — making sure that the food retains its shape while cooking.
- Roasting. Cooking food covered or uncovered in an oven or oven-type appliance; like baking, but usually done at a higher temperature.
- Sauteing. Cooking food rapidly with a small amount of oil in a hot pan. For some recipes you can use broth, nonstick cooking spray or water in place of oil.
- Steaming. Cooking food in a perforated basket over a small amount of boiling water.
- Stir-frying. Cooking by stirring small pieces of food in a hot pan (often a wok) with a small amount of oil.
Eat healthy, no matter where you are
You can eat healthy, whether you're at home or at a restaurant. Just remember — don't let large portions, fat-laden foods and tempting desserts discourage you from your goal. Follow these tips to trim the calories, wherever and whenever.
- Consider for breakfast fresh fruit, unsweetened fruit juice, cereal with skim or 1 percent milk, fat-free muffins, or pancakes with a small amount of syrup or berries and no butter.
- Order smaller portions. For example, a single small hamburger instead of a double, or a small order of fries instead of a large. Also limit high-fat, high-calorie burger toppings and condiments, such as bacon, cheese, mayonnaise, sauces and dressings.
- Choose unbreaded poultry items, such as broiled or grilled chicken or sliced turkey sandwiches. Or order a veggie sandwich minus high-fat condiments.
- Request sandwiches on whole-wheat bread or pita bread.
- Remove breading and use a napkin to absorb extra oil if you can only order a fried item.
- Load your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables if the restaurant has a salad bar. Look for low-fat or fat-free dressings. Limit cheese, eggs and croutons.
- Order a baked potato topped with vegetables, or order a whole-grain bagel. Ask for the butter, margarine or dressings on the side.
- Cut back on ketchup, mustard, sauces and pickles if you need to control sodium. Also, skip salted french fries, chips, ham, sausage, bacon and cheese.
- Avoid milkshakes and dessert items such as pies and sundaes. Try fresh fruit or a flavored coffee with skim milk.
- Trim all visible fat from lean meats. Then stir-fry or broil, roast or bake on a rack to allow fat to drip away.
- Remove skin from poultry before cooking it.
- Saute vegetables and meat in wine, water or broth instead of butter.
- Poach fish or skinless poultry in broth, vegetable juice, flavored vinegar, dry wine, herbs or spices.
- Use oil sparingly. Choose olive, peanut and canola oils, which are lowest in fat.
- Use nonstick cookware, which eliminates the need for oil or butter. Or use vegetable cooking sprays.
- Steam vegetables. Then dress them up with flavored vinegars, herbs and spices.
Whether you're making a quick dinner at home, checking out a new restaurant or celebrating a special occasion at a favorite bistro, you can have your healthy diet and eat it, too.
Last Updated: 08/17/2006