Americans eat less than 70 percent of their meals at home, and less than a third of families eat meals together more than twice a week. Restaurant food and take-out meals are notoriously high in fat, salt, and sugar. When you cook at home, you know exactly what goes into your meals and have more control over your overall health and nutrition. Here are 5 easy ways to get the most out of your home-cooked meals.
● Shake the salt: The USDA recommends limiting sodium consumption to less than 2,300 mgs (1 teaspoon salt) per day, which can be difficult. Instead of reaching for the salt, use fresh herbs (like lemongrass and cilantro) and spices (like turmeric, cinnamon, and cloves) to boost the flavor profile of your meals. Recipes like this one, for Burmese chicken aloo with Japanese sweet potato, are a great way to spice up your dinner without adding excess salt.
● Eat your vegetables: Increasing the amount of vegetables you eat can boost the nutrient content of a meal with a minimal increase in calories. Try making quinoa with snap peas, snow peas, broccolini, and mint for an easy high-fiber meal that’s loaded with fresh vegetables.
● Give your ingredients an upgrade: Organic vegetables and sustainably raised meats and seafood are well worth seeking out. Many studies suggest that health and sustainability go hand in hand. Make this grilled shrimp and blood orange jicama salad with salsa verde with wild gulf shrimp for a flavorful dinner that’s good for your health and the environment.
● Ditch the Fryer: High-temperature oven roasting lets you enjoy crisp-skinned chicken and vegetables with a well-browned crust without the added fat that comes with frying. In this recipe for chicken wings with spicy ginger sauce and bok choy black sesame slaw, the chicken gets a light coating of baking powder—a pro’s tip for getting extra-crisp skin without the extra fat.
● Break out of your recipe rut: It’s great to have a handful of tried-and-true recipes you can turn to, but it’s easy to get bored of eating the same few dishes week after week. A meal subscription service like Sun Basket’s is a great way to introduce variety into your weekly meal plan.Try pan-seared steaks with artichoke butter and braised green beans to make steak night exciting again.
Kaley Todd is Sun Basket’s registered dietitian and culinary nutritionist. Her goal is to inspire consumers to adopt healthy eating patterns that are easy, attainable, fun, and enjoyable. She provides the tools and guidance to make healthy eating convenient, affordable, and delicious.