17 Healthy Cooking Hacks for 2017 Slideshow

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Ring in the new year with these clever, time-saving cooking hacks
Blend Tofu Into Desserts

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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.

Click here for the ginger spiced tofu cupcake recipe.

Blend Tofu Into Desserts

Blend Tofu Into Desserts

thinkstock

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.

Click here for the ginger spiced tofu cupcake recipe.

Cook Eggs in a Waffle Iron

Cook Eggs in a Waffle Iron

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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.”

Click here for seven things to make in your waffle iron that aren’t waffles.

Cool Down Smoothies With “Edamame Ice”

Cool Down Smoothies With “Edamame Ice”

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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.

Click here for a selection of simply delicious and healthy smoothies.

Enhance Your Rice

Enhance Your Rice

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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.

Click here for a list of sauces and condiments that brighten up the blandest health foods.

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.

Click here for the 10 healthiest and unhealthiest Chinese takeout dishes.

Grill Fish on a Bed of Lemons

Grill Fish on a Bed of Lemons

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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

Leverage the Lettuce Wrap

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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.

Click here for the Blackened Shrimp Lettuce Wrap recipe.

Make Dried Fruit in the Oven

Make Dried Fruit in the Oven

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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

Make Your Own Dairy-Free, 3-Ingredient Ice Cream

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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.

Click here for other easy, homemade, vegan ice cream recipes.

Poach Eggs in the Microwave

Poach Eggs in the Microwave

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Are you intimidated by the idea of poaching an egg or simply bored of eating them hard-boiled? Well, fear no more: You can microwave your way to beautifully poached eggs.

Click here for a step-by-step process on how to poach an egg in the microwave.

Microwave Your Vegetables

Microwave Your Vegetables

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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.

Click here for other kitchen techniques that aid weight loss.

Peel Ginger With a Spoon

Peel Ginger With a Spoon

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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.

Click here for nine things every home cook should know about spices.  

Rapidly Ripen Avocados

Rapidly Ripen Avocados

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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.

Click here for 14 things you need to know about avocados.

Replace Pasta With Vegetable Noodles

Replace Pasta With Vegetable Noodles

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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

Swap Cauliflower for Starches

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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

Try this recipe for creamy and luscious roasted garlic cauliflower mash.

Up Your Oatmeal With Zucchini

Up Your Oatmeal With Zucchini

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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.

Click here for 10 ways to spice up your morning oatmeal.

Use Applesauce in Place of Butter

Use Applesauce in Place of Butter

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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.