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Injecting health tricks into your cooking

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

All of us being foodies it's easy to get carried away with the most unctuous ingredients like butter, salt and bacon.  I never use low cal or fat-free ingredients like margarine.  Please contribute the tricks you use to make your meals lighter and healthier.

 

  • When making stir fry I load up on the veggies and protein and only eat about a half cup of rice with it.
  • We follow a weekly menu that allows us to hit all major components of nutrition. On Mondays we eat like vegan paupers, the menu is always the same - yellow split pea puree topped with chopped red onion and boiled weeds (dandelion, chard etc)  served with drizzled olive oil and lemon.  Wednesday is salad night.
  • For sandwiches I use Pepperidge Farm "very thin" whole wheat bread.  It saves a ton of calories and you don't even notice.
  • Trail Mix is fun to play around with, right now I'on a pretzel/almond/dried blueberry kick.  I keep a baggy with me at all times to ward off hunger.
  • I keep hard boiled eggs on hand in the fridge as a quick snack.

 

With a toddler and a business to run it's difficult to find time for exercise.  That's why I wake at 6, put on my sneakers and run out the door for a quick workout almost every day to be home before baby awakes :) 

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #2 of 21

I reduce sauces rather than using (extensive) thickeners or butter. Sometimes I puree some of the veggies to thicken the sauce a bit and provide body. But sometimes only butter will do! I guess I'm with Julia Child on this point.

 

I limit salt. I've become quite sensitive to salt - my fingers seem to puff up before my eyes, and I can taste it right away. I use as few processed foods as possible because of added salt and sugar and oddball chemicals.

 

We rarely eat pasta of any kind, and not much bread. What we do eat is whole grain. Carby veggies are limited, too. Dinner is usually a lean protein and a low-carb veggie and/or fresh fruit. I used to follow a low-carb regime, and now I'm on a carb-conscious one prescribed by my diabetes educator. It's sane, and I'm not rabid about counting every single carb. My blood counts are lovely. smile.gif And I'm losing weight- slowly, but I'm losing.

 

I try to think in terms of eating 'just enough' to satisfy hunger. It gets easier as I get older, I have to admit! 

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post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mezzaluna View Post

I reduce sauces rather than using (extensive) thickeners or butter. Sometimes I puree some of the veggies to thicken the sauce a bit and provide body. But sometimes only butter will do! I guess I'm with Julia Child on this point.

 

I limit salt. I've become quite sensitive to salt - my fingers seem to puff up before my eyes, and I can taste it right away. I use as few processed foods as possible because of added salt and sugar and oddball chemicals.

 

We rarely eat pasta of any kind, and not much bread. What we do eat is whole grain. Carby veggies are limited, too. Dinner is usually a lean protein and a low-carb veggie and/or fresh fruit. I used to follow a low-carb regime, and now I'm on a carb-conscious one prescribed by my diabetes educator. It's sane, and I'm not rabid about counting every single carb. My blood counts are lovely. smile.gif And I'm losing weight- slowly, but I'm losing.

 

I try to think in terms of eating 'just enough' to satisfy hunger. It gets easier as I get older, I have to admit! 

 

I find that reducing sauces works really well.  On hand I keep a shaker with large holes filled with flour, and I just shake that on for the tiniest amount of flour, often on cutlets or sauces.

 

I happen to love salt, very unfortunate.  My husband can eat food with zero salt in it and be happy.  I cook with very salt because of that and also for the baby.  But I find myself sprinkling on my plate liberally.  Any tips on how to cut down is helpful.

 

Reducing carbs is a sure-fire way to cut down on calories and limit excess sugars.  Sugar does a body no good and you're right, it does get a bit easier as I get older.

 

I recently heard a tip that said "eat like a child" meaning to eat slowly, children never rush themselves, they take plenty of breaks between bites.  This is a healthy way to fill up healthily as it takes your body a while to realize it's had enough.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #4 of 21

i dunno.. maybe cuz im asian?
i seem to always be full lol
3 meals a day... and enough cals to get me by

breakfast - 1 serving of grain 2 eggs 1 serving of meat

lunch - 2 serving of grain 1 serving of meat 1 serving of veggie

dinner - same as lunch

 

(other than that... ALWAYS 2 serving of fruit...)

 

 

personally dont think you ALWAYS need to "think healthy/ inject healthy tricks"

its all about portion control...
i dont snack.. other than the fact that im working out atm.. tryin to gain some muscle so i drink 3 -250ml low fat milk along with my 3 meals

 

eat what ever you like... as long as you dont eat too much of it...

dont starve yourself... dont stuff yourself either

this way.. u can get a healthy happy body

 

another tip

FIND THINGS TO DO... when your doing things.. u wont b hungry and u wont have TIME to be snacking

save you money and allows ur to get more stuff done

 

give urself these rules

1. 3 meals a day

2. eat breakfast within 30 mins after u wake up

3. sleep early

4. exercise (walk... stroll...) 30 mins a day

5. no snacking (unless ur diabetic?)

6. always eat veggie and fruit.. 2 serving of each a day

7. no dessert/ sweet unless its after you finish ur 3 meals .... NOT BETWEEN meals

8. enjoy doing something... other than EATING hahahaha

post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks Fermi but I do think it is necessary to have good habits and tricks.  Everyone does what works for them in terms of health and nutrition.  For example, I am very busy as a full time mother and running my own business.  I don't have too much time on my hands, in fact that's part of the problem, that I get so busy and then forget to eat so I get too hungry before I realize I have to eat something.  Sometimes I say "I'll feed the baby first and put him down for his nap and then I'll eat lunch."  But the baby might have other ideas, he may be in the mood to throw food and whine or play.  Then it might take forever to drink his milk and before you know it an hour has passed and now I'm starving!

 

When I do leave the house for work it's always at odd times, I might have to have an early dinner at 5 because I'll be working at 6, or I might not be hungry enough and dinner will have to wait until I leave work after 10pm. 

 

What works for one person cannot work for another.  For example, if I ate 2 servings of grains for lunch and 2 servings of grains for dinner I would probably gain 1lb per week as long as that continues haha!  My body for whatever reason cannot maintain weight with so many carbohydrates so I have to always be careful.  I eat much more vegetables than grains.  And snacking is a must!  This is the most divisive of all nutrition issues.  Some people say "you must always snack to keep from getting hungry."  and other people say "you must never snack."  So obviously it's not a one-answer-fits-all question.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #6 of 21

i see... well if that really is the case haha veggie is "definetly the way to go..."

but you can make shakes or stuff... like throw in some veggies and i dno... fruits? nuts etc blend...
fast meal yet nutritious etc
 

post #7 of 21

For pasta dishes replacing some of the pasta with vegetables is a nice way to get some extra veggies in. Reducing the amount of pasta you cook and then adding thin strips of carrots to the cooking water for the last few minutes is nice. Carbonara made with half spaghetti and half courgettes works well. Strong meat based pasta sauces are nice with half pasta half veggies as well, a nice slow cooked meat ragú with pasta shapes and nicely chopped root veg is lovely.

post #8 of 21

Adding fresh salads to all of our dinners may be the healthiest habit we came up since years. Very low salt the vinegar or lemon juice is usually enough− and almost always we add some fruit to the salads. 

post #9 of 21

KK, when I first met Mr. k~girl, the only thing he had in his ‘fridge was a six pack of beer, a six pack of coca-cola and ground coffee to brew up.  He ate take out/fast foods and had a VERY large salt shaker on his kitchen table.  He never drank any water and in his kitchen pantry were junk foods (a huge bag of potato chips, candies, cookies and the like). 

 

Over a long period of time, I slowly got him away from eating that cr--, oh I mean stuff.  No salt shaker on the table anymore, you know the rest … but it was a hard fought battle to change his eating habits.  Tackle one hurdle at a time.

 

Finding other ways to flavor foods, maybe herbs rather than salt.  I like several small ‘snacks’ than a set time or a full meal sometimes if we’re busy.  I try to cook more than we’ll eat; that way there’s always a better choice when we get peck-ish.

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post #10 of 21

Limiting salt is a tricky thing. 

 

I talked a bit about some of my changes in sodium for cooking and eating here.   For at the table, I like to use acids mostly. So a mild hot sauce to add flavor, but not much heat. Squeeze of lemon. Flavored vinegars. I use black pepper more heavily than many people too.  

 

Many people use Mrs. Dash. I've not used it in some years. I think it's a good product, particularly the garlic and herb, but my taste and cooking are well matched to each other now so I find less need for it, particularly at the table. There are a lot of salt-free seasoning recipes out there and are worth spending some time with. I shared my thoughts on rub building here which also apply largely to a salt-free seasoning.

 

Most factory low fat food pumps up the salt so avoid their low fat things or at least carefully read the label

post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 

Salt is very tricky.  Getting a rid of a little at a time certainly does help.  Like now I'm buying unsalted nuts which was a difficult change.  I'm still eating more salt than I really should, but at least now I can hardly tolerate a potato chip because it's too salty.

 

I don't like acidity in food unfortunately, a little too much and I can't eat it.  When I make individual salads I only put olive oil on them, I don't bother with vinegars.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #12 of 21
We just finished up our Sunday brunch and I had this topic on my mind. This is not a cooking trick, but rather a consuming method that I practice... I take a small bit of food and then I put my fork down and chew that bite fully before picking up my fork again. The other 'trick' that my MIL would have a kitten over if she saw her son, I leave reading material (i.e. catalogs, newsletters, etc.) on the table for Mister K~girl, it slows him down. He has a terrible habit of taking a non-human sized bites and just keeps shoveling it in and doesn't give his brain time to tell his stomach, 'I'm full now', he's learning what is enough.

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A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

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from ...

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post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaneohegirlinaz View Post

We just finished up our Sunday brunch and I had this topic on my mind. This is not a cooking trick, but rather a consuming method that I practice... I take a small bit of food and then I put my fork down and chew that bite fully before picking up my fork again. The other 'trick' that my MIL would have a kitten over if she saw her son, I leave reading material (i.e. catalogs, newsletters, etc.) on the table for Mister K~girl, it slows him down. He has a terrible habit of taking a non-human sized bites and just keeps shoveling it in and doesn't give his brain time to tell his stomach, 'I'm full now', he's learning what is enough.

 

This is a very important issue kgirl.  How we eat is as important as what we eat.  Before we had our son we were in the bad habit of eating our food on the couch in front of the television.  Studies show that eating in front of the tv causes people to disengage from each other and their food, causing people to eat more and experience satiety less.  So now for dinner we turn the tv off, gather at the table and enjoy dinner together.

 

In europe meals are very communal.  Restaurants aren't worried about "turn over" like they are here in the US.  They know that once a group of people sit at their restaurant they will  occupy that table for the rest of the evening.  People linger over their food, enjoy many courses and drink wine.  And Europeans are generally more fit and healthy than Americans.

 

Very often I have to dine alone in a restaurant and you're right, I eat much slower while reading my book.  My father is a terrible eater, he eats extremely fast and can eat a whole sandwich in just 4 bites.  I've gotten used to it but my husband did say to me recently "let's teach our son to swallow his food before he takes another bite" haha!

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #14 of 21
Quote:
I recently heard a tip that said "eat like a child"

The only way I eat like a child is the way I choose which cheeses I eat! At least, that's what my French friends tell me. You may have heard of the little poem about what a bride should wear or carry on her wedding day? "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue..." Well, for me when it comes to cheese, it's NEVER something old or blue! I just can't get them past my nose. 

 

To get back to the subject, that helps limit the amount of cheese I eat. lol.gif

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post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

 

  • For sandwiches I use Pepperidge Farm "very thin" whole wheat bread.  It saves a ton of calories and you don't even notice.

 

 

 

That is a great idea I will have to try that. 

 

One thing we use is the low fat cooking spray instead of butter. You don't get the flavor but at least your food doesn't stick.

 

Also eating seafood over meats is a big one.

Thanks,

Nicko 
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Thanks,

Nicko 
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post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicko View Post


Also eating seafood over meats is a big one.

A steak topped with lobster, Nicko?smile.gif

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicko View Post

 

 

That is a great idea I will have to try that. 

 

One thing we use is the low fat cooking spray instead of butter. You don't get the flavor but at least your food doesn't stick.

 

Also eating seafood over meats is a big one.

 

Nicko, you might want to check out the misto olive oil sprayer http://www.amazon.com/Misto-Gourmet-Sprayer-Brushed-Aluminum/dp/B00004SPZV

You put real olive oil in it and it works a little bit like a bike pump.  You have to pump it first and then it sprays a fine mist of REAL olive oil.  You can put away the low-fat-who-knows-what's-in-it sprays.  Opa!

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #18 of 21

You know I tried that Misto some years back and it kept getting so clogged up.

I tried and tried to clean out the pump , but it just got worse over time.

Was I doing something wrong?

Granted that was some time back, have they improved? 

 

I'd love to use that again, but it kind of got me away from using any spay oils any longer.

Ii've only been using a small amount of oil/fat when needed.

 

Even those salad dressing that are in a spray bottle... has anyone tried those yet?  That sounds like a great idea, but is it?

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post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by siduri View Post

A steak topped with lobster, Nicko?smile.gif

 

 

ha ha. Surf and turf. It would be lobster over a blue cheese cursted tenderloin Siduri.

 

What I meant was eating seafood instead of meat.smoking.gif

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Thanks,

Nicko 
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post #20 of 21

smoking.gifsmoking.gifsmoking.gif............

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post #21 of 21

Figured, Nicko, but i just can't resist the opportunity of a joke

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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