Healthy Eating Advice

Searching for ways to eat better at home? WEA tutor Rupert Aikman is taking us on a step-by-step journey through the kitchen as he gives us some easy and effective pointers for cooking healthier meals.

When it comes to leading a healthier life, it all starts in the kitchen. If you're searching for ways to add some more nutrition to your plate or you want to cut down your salt and sugar intake, check out these simple cooking tips for healthy eating at home. 


Cooking

The next time you're planning a dish, try substituting your usual go-to's for these cooking methods so that you can enjoy a healthy meal that's just as delicious: 
Grilling rather than frying fish.
Poaching rather than frying an egg.
Steaming rather than boiling vegetables. 
Baking rather than deep-fat frying.

Meat

When cooking with meat, why not try:
• Choosing lean cuts of meat and removing skin or visible fat.
Skimming off the fat that rises to the surface when cooking meats.
• Bulking out meat recipes with extra vegetables and pulses.
• Eating less sausages and burgers, as they can be high in fat and salt.

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Fish

To make your fish more gut-friendly, try these techniques:
• Poach, bake or grill your fish rather than frying it.
• To make fish and chips a healthier choice; pick thicker chips or try potato wedges; sprinkle pepper, rather than salt, on chips.

Fruit and vegetables

While fruit and vegetables are already superfoods for your body, you can optimise their benefits by following these healthy eating tips:
• When boiling vegetables, use the water for a sauce or gravy.
• Cook peeled vegetables as soon as possible to retain nutrients.
Avoid adding fat or rich sauces to vegetables (carrots glazed with butter) or adding sugar to fruit (stewed apple).

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Milk and dairy

By making these simple and easy changes to your milk and dairy choices, you'll reap big rewards for minimal effort: 
• Choose lower-fat versions, such as semi-skimmed milk, low-fat yogurts and lower fat cheeses (including mozzarella, feta and ricotta).
• Low-fat natural yogurt and fromage frais are good alternatives to cream, sour cream or crème fraîche in recipes.
Grate cheese to reduce the amount you use.

Starch-based foods

Starchy and carbohydrates are essential for your diet and can make a great base for meals, however, it's important to avoid having too many starchy meals. Here are a few suggestions to help you limit your starch intake:
• Eat pasta with a tomato sauce, instead of a creamy cheese sauce.
• Choose seeded, wholemeal, granary and wholegrain breads.
• Try baked potatoes with baked beans, cottage cheese or lentil chilli.

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Reducing salt content

An obvious one we know, but by limiting the amount of salt you add to your diet, you really will feel healthy. Try out some of these alternatives the next time you're reaching for the shaker: 
Season dishes with herbs, garlic, ginger, chilli and lime.
• Squeeze lemon on fish or seafood.
• Use black pepper on pasta or scrambled eggs.

Desserts

You don't have to miss out on dessert to lead a healthier life. Instead, try:
• Eating an exciting fruit or making up a fruit salad.
• Making a fruit pie with just one crust - either a top or a pastry base.

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For more kitchen advice, check out our cooking courses here.