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Make Food You Love Healthier

Eating healthier can include cutting down on fats, salt, and sugar, plus going lighter on sauces. It’s possible to make your favorite foods by using healthier cooking methods and ingredients.

You can make healthier versions of your favorite foods without losing the taste. For example, spices and herbs bring out the natural flavor of foods, so they’re great substitutes for ingredients that add unwanted fats, salt, or sugar and calories.

Here are some ways to prepare foods that make them tasty and healthier.

Bake it

Lightly coat meat, poultry, or seafood with egg whites. Dip it in crushed up whole-grain cereal and bake for a healthy “fried” option. Or wrap individual pieces of meat, poultry, or seafood in aluminum foil packets, seal up the packets and bake. Put some veggies in the packets to help you reach your healthy eating goals.

Grill it

Grilling adds extra taste without extra fats. Steaks, firm fish such as salmon or tuna, and boneless, skinless chicken breasts cook up quickly and with lots of flavor on an indoor or outdoor grill. However, try to avoid cooking or eating meat that is blackened or charred on the outside. Meats cooked at high temperatures or for a long time can form chemicals that increase the risk of cancer.

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Broil it

If you don’t have a grill or can’t grill outdoors because of bad weather, broiling is a great option. Coat a broiling pan with non-stick spray or a bit of olive oil. Preheat your oven using the broil setting on high. Place your food on a rack so any fat drips away as it cooks.

Roast it

Roasting lets you mix vegetables into the same pan with meat or poultry, making cleanup easier. You can roast using the broil or bake setting on your oven. Use a non-stick cooking spray or a small bit of olive oil to lightly coat veggies, meat, seafood, or poultry before roasting. Use a rack in the pan so the meat or poultry doesn’t sit in its own fat drippings. Instead of basting with pan drippings, use fat-free liquids like tomato juice or lemon juice. If you make gravy from the drippings, chill them first, then use a strainer or ladle to remove the fat.

Sauté it

Use a pan made with non-stick metal or a coated non-stick surface so you can use little or no oil when cooking. Use a non-stick vegetable spray to brown or sauté food. Or try a small amount of broth or tiny bit of vegetable oil rubbed onto the pan with a paper towel. 

Steam it

Steam vegetables in a basket over simmering water. They’ll keep more flavor and won’t need any salt.

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Switch it

Making small changes in ingredients can make a big difference in helping you eat healthier. Swap ingredients to reduce the amount of fat, salt, sugar, and calories you take in. Here are some to try.

Instead of this...

Try this...

Cream cheese

Low-fat cottage cheese

Mayonnaise

Avocado, low-fat plain Greek yogurt, mustard, or hummus 

Ground beef

Ground turkey

Iceberg or romaine lettuce

Spinach, arugula, watercress, or kale

Butter

Extra virgin olive oil

Sour cream

Plain Greek yogurt

1 whole egg

2 egg whites

French fries

Baked potato

Soda

Tea

Croutons

Almonds

 

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