In order to ensure that you aren’t consuming too many calories, you need to think about not only what you’re cooking, but how you cook the food too. A lot of people don’t realise that although they are eating quite low calorie foods, the cooking method can actually add a lot of calories to the meal that they are preparing.
Cooking food yourself is always going to be a better option than buying pre-packed meals or even ready-meals from the supermarket but if you don’t watch what you’re doing, you’ll become overweight in no time at all.
To cook healthy, muscle building and fat burning food, you need to trim the fat and cut the crap (i.e. salts, preservatives etc). Here are a few tips that will help you to cook healthily:
#1 – Reduce the Oil
Almost every recipe that you are ever going to cook will require oil. Think about it, even if you’re eating healthily and not cooking high fat chips or friend onions, you are still usually going to need a certain amount of oil. The problem here is that a lot of people regularly use too much oil when it comes to cooking and believe it or not, this can actually add a huge amount of calories to your meals.
Take olive oil for example; in one tablespoon of olive oil, there are around 120 calories! To put this into context, there are less calories than this in one serving of a protein shake!
And this isn’t the worst of it; the truth is that most people will actually use 3 – 4 tablespoons of oil when cooking a meal for themselves if it requires anything to be friend in oil (i.e. curry, chicken, onions etc). This is adding 350 – 500 calories to your meal when it doesn’t need to.
Try reducing the oil by a couple of tablespoons for every meal and you’ll soon see the pounds fall off.
#2 – Cut The Sugar
A lot of recipes will require sugar to be added. Sugar is something that you don’t want too much of if you’re looking to build muscle or lose weight (or both) as it will cause havoc with your body.
Obviously, a lot of people have a sweet tooth and therefore, will have sugar in lots of meals and probably won’t ever notice it. The truth is that to a certain extent, you can train yourself to become less dependent on sugar. In the same way that cutting sugar from your hot drinks will soon lead to it becoming a normality, cutting the sugar from your meals will do the same.
Clearly, we aren’t saying cut the sugar altogether but maybe, cut the sugar in half. For example, if a recipe calls for a couple of spoons of sugar to be added, try adding just one and see how you get on.
#3 – Cut The Salt
In the same way that too much sugar isn’t good for your body, too much salt isn’t either. Consuming too much salt will see a rise in blood pressure and can, in some cases lead to serious health problems.
Cutting the salt is just as easy as cutting sugar in your meals; simply half the amount to recipe dictates. For example, if you need to add a teaspoon of salt, just add half a teaspoon. Although at first you might feel as though something is missing from your meal, you’ll probably get used to it and after a while, you won’t even notice that you’re consuming less salt.
#4 – Add Vegetables
If you feel hungry often and find that you’re regularly eating more than you should be, try adding vegetables to your meal. Sure, this sounds odd but the fact of the matter is that vegetables contain very little calories but are also very filling.
By adding vegetables to your meal, you’ll be able to ensure that you feel fuller for longer and therefore, won’t snack as often or consume poor quality, high fat foods later in the day. Vegetables are also packed with vitamins and nutrients so you are bound to feel a lot better just from consuming more vegetables on a regular basis.
#5 – Cook On The Grill
If you are used to frying your food, you are probably obtaining a lot of calories from oil and fat. For example, if you are frying a steak or some sausages, not only are you obtaining calories from the added oil but you’re also obtaining calories from the fat inside the meat.
One way to combat this is to cook on the grill rather than in the frying pan. Grills allow you to cook without adding any extra oil and much of the fat in the food will often drain away through the gaps in the grill. This will reduce fat and lead to a leaner meal being produced.
If you are really serious about reducing the fat in your meals, you can opt for a George Foreman grill. These have been on the market quite a while now and have become very popular and also, pretty cheap. These grills will drain away any excess unnecessary fat from your foods and they are also extremely convenient. They don’t even require much cleaning.
#6 – Buy Frozen Fruits/Vegetables
A lot of recipes will require vegetables or fruit to be added to them and often, this means a trip out to the shop or in some instances, the use of a less healthy alternative if you haven’t got any veggies in the house.
The truth is, vegetables and fruit lose their freshness pretty quickly but one way to combat this is to purchase frozen fruit and vegetables. By doing this, you can ensure that you always have vegetables in the house and you can also ensure that you aren’t wasting food as frozen veggies stay fresh for months.
Adding these vegetables to your recipes is pretty simple as they can usually be added to the pan from frozen if needed.
#7 – Use Spices
Strangely, using spices in your cooking can actually increase the healthiness of your food and can also, in some cases, help people to lose weight. Spices are extremely good for you (so to speak); even the simple ones like black pepper, coriander and most other herbs.
Another thing to note about spices is that hot spices are probably going to be great if you’re looking to keep your weight down and burn fat. Chilli peppers and things like cayenne pepper have been shown to help repair muscles and ease soreness which is great if you’ve been hitting the gym just recently. Not only this, but they actually increase your metabolic rate, allowing you to burn more calories when you’re not even at the gym.
Sure, not everyone can stand spicy food but the addition of just a couple of tablespoons of cayenne pepper would really help you on your journey.
As you can see, there are a number of simple and easy things you can do to help keep the calorific content of your food down to a minimum and with a lot of them, they won’t event affect the taste. By taking on board the points in this post, you will be able to reduce the fat content of your food without having to sacrifice the things you love eating the most (unless it’s deep fat fried chicken!).