17 Healthy Cooking Hacks for 2017 Slideshow
January 3, 2017
Ring in the new year with these clever, time-saving cooking hacks
Blend Tofu Into Desserts
A slab of damp, dreary tofu probably doesn’t scream dessert, but this rich, vegetarian protein source can easily be blended into a variety of sweets and pastries. Besides the nutrient boost, tofu also moistens cakes, pies, and cupcakes.
Cook Eggs in a Waffle Iron
Scrambled eggs are so blah. The trendiest way to eat this nutrient-dense breakfast staple is by pouring it right into a waffle maker. Add some cooked veggies and maybe a sprinkling of cheese for your own personal “womelette.”
Cool Down Smoothies With “Edamame Ice”
Shelled, frozen edamame are the ultimate time-saver. Try adding the icy morsels to morning smoothies in place of regular ice for an added punch of natural protein and dietary fiber.
Enhance Your Rice
Brown and wild rice varieties are important carbohydrates when it comes to losing weight, but sometimes these whole grains lack flavor. To amplify their taste, try toasting the rice in a pan with a little olive oil before cooking to add a warm nuttiness.
Fortify Your Takeout Meals With Vegetables and Legumes
Sesame chicken, shawarma, chicken tikka masala: All of these dishes are meat-centric and nutritionally lopsided, but that doesn’t mean you can’t correct the imbalance yourself. Add half a can of cooked beans or a cup of cooked vegetables to your next takeout meal. You’ll eat fewer calories, feel fuller, and have leftovers for the next day.
Grill Fish on a Bed of Lemons
Grilled fish is foundation of the Mediterranean diet, but grilling fish is surprisingly tricky to execute because the high heat causes the fish to stick to the grates. To avoid this problem, place the fillet on a bed of sliced lemons rather than directly on the grill. This prevents the fish from sticking and also imparts a bright note of citrus.
Leverage the Lettuce Wrap
Tortillas, hamburger buns, and hoagie rolls are the foundation of some of our favorite foods, but they also hide a lot of unnecessary calories (a 10-inch tortilla has more calories than a can of Coca-Cola) and refined flours, which the body processes like sugar. To lessen the calorie load, wrap your favorite sandwich ingredients in lettuce.
Make Dried Fruit in the Oven
Don’t let those brown bananas or expiring plums go to waste! Convert leftover plums, pears, apples, or bananas into dried fruit snacks by slowly baking the slices of fruit at 150 degrees Fahrenheit for six hours. Dried fruit is also good to have on hand in case of a winter blackout or other emergency.
Make Your Own Dairy-Free, 3-Ingredient Ice Cream
Ice cream is the ultimate guilty pleasure, but it doesn’t have to be. Blend together frozen bananas, frozen blueberries, and a shot of lemon juice to make a smooth, bright, refreshing, and healthy “ice-cream” alternative.
Poach Eggs in the Microwave
Microwave Your Vegetables
Microwaving is the fastest way to cook vegetables, but it’s actually also the healthiest because it preserves more of the vegetable’s nutrients. In a few minutes you can be dining on a plate of nicely steamed broccoli or cauliflower.
Peel Ginger With a Spoon
Since herbs and spices contain virtually no calories, they are ideal flavoring agents for people trying to lose weight. Ginger is especially aromatic and flavorful (and provides a number of health benefits, including settling an upset stomach), but peeling it is a pain because of all the roots’ nooks and crannies. The fastest way to add fresh ginger to your stir fries or smoothies is to peel it with the side a spoon.
Rapidly Ripen Avocados
Under-ripe avocados are the bane of every guacamole and avocado-toast enthusiast, but thankfully you can play Mother Nature and speed up the avocado ripening process by simply placing a hard avocado in a brown paper bag along with an apple, banana, or pear. While sitting together, the fruits produce ethylene gas, which speeds up the ripening process. Just remember to close the bag tightly so none of the gas can escape.
Replace Pasta With Vegetable Noodles
Veggie noodles are all the rage, but this is because they’re so darn practical. Use a spiralizer or chef’s knife to turn strips of zucchini or stalks of asparagus into luscious strips of veggie pasta. Vegetable pastas are easy ways to incorporate more wholesome foods into children’s diets, and allow you to eat all the “pasta” you want.
Swap Cauliflower for Starches
Cauliflower is low in calories and nutrient dense, but, best of all, it can act as a stand-in for most starches. Try it mashed, riced, or even as a gluten-free pizza crust.
Up Your Oatmeal With Zucchini
Oatmeal is a satiating and nutritious start to your day, but a spoonful of bland, runny oats isn’t very appealing. Adding fresh fruit or protein powder is nothing new, but the coolest trend taking over oatmeal is “zoats,” which marries one part oatmeal with one part zucchini. Simply shred zucchini with a cheese grater, stir into a bowl with a cup of quick oats, add the appropriate amount of liquid, and microwave for two to three minutes.
Use Applesauce in Place of Butter
Though nutritionists are backing away from the prior claim that butter is bad, it’s still healthier to control your intake of any saturated fat. Applesauce is the perfect butter replacement in pastries and baked goods because it adds moisture, flavor, and nutrients. Swap out half the oil or butter and replace with an equal amount of applesauce. Just be careful: This swap won’t work for especially sensitive baking ratios.