Cooking is one of my favourite things to do – I love getting lost in creating recipes or whipping up a nourishing meal full of good food. Cooking for my friends and loved ones is one of the best ways I can think of to practice self-care AND knowing what goes into your food really enhances your relationship with food. Plus, when you cook you can add that all important Vitamin L into your diet – LOVE.

Here are 5 tips that will help you to start cooking healthier so that you can really get the most out of your food. Healthy cooking doesn’t have to be hard! It’s the easiest thing and all you need to do is start making small changes here and there – all those small changes add up into something much bigger and way more amazing. It’s all about progress and creating those small, sustainable habits – they are what create that long-term change.

Fresh Is Best

Try and get as much ‘fresh’ food in your diet – fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, fresh animal products. Buying fresh foods tends to mean that food has just been harvested or brought in store and you avoid all those nasty preservatives found in canned or packaged foods. Plus, the more fresh foods you buy, the higher the chance of that food being in season. Fresh foods and whole foods have a generally higher vitamin and mineral content and are therefore more nutrient dense and a better option for you.

Choose Organic Whenever Possible

I know that buying organic food isn’t always possible for everyone, it might not be available in the local shops and it can start to get expensive. It is more costly to buy organic fruit and vegetables and organic meat/animal products might be even more so, but that’s why this point is ‘whenever possible’. You don’t have to spend a fortune and buy everything organic. Here are some tips on buying organic produce:

  • Look into the dirty dozen and clean fifteen – these are lists of the 12 most chemically sprayed crops and the 15 least, so if you’re going to go for any organic fruit or vegetables then this list is a great place to start.
  • Buy seasonal
  • Go to a local farmers market
  • If you choose to eat animal products then go to your local butchers and don’t be afraid to investigate

Shop smart

This is about watching your purse strings as cooking healthier and eating healthier doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Seasonal produce is going to be a whole lot cheaper than anything that’s out of season. Buying things in bulk can also help when it comes to saving your pennies and going to your local farmers market may also help cutting back on costs.

Shopping smart also means shopping smart for your body. Stay on the outer perimeter of the supermarket isles as this is where all the fresh produce is and you avoid going down the isles full of junk food.

Cook Once, Eat Twice

This is an example of meal prepping. Cook a big batch of food when you are making your dinner or lunches so that you can save a portion or two for the following day. For example, you can save a couple of portions to have for lunches, to have for dinner the following day or you can freeze your food so that you have a healthy option to grab when you don’t have time to cook. This is a huge time saving tip and it helps you to make sure that you always have a healthy, nutrient dense meal if you’re short on time.

Vary flavours and condiments

This tip will help to keep your taste buds tingling and avoid repeating the same meals over and over again. The herbs and spices that you add to your food can really change the dish entirely and allow for that flexibility when you’re craving a certain flavour.

Experiment with your flavours and new herbs and spices. Try switching up all the different flavours you add to your meals and experiment with sourness, bitterness, sweetness and saltiness. Try experimenting with new vegetables and fruits too! The more varying fruits and vegetables we have in our diets, the less likely we are to get deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals.

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