With so many different types of food available to the average consumer, sometimes healthy cooking can seem impossible. However, healthy cooking starts by having the right ingredients handy at all times. In order to ensure that you can cook a healthy meal at the drop of a hat, be sure to have a constant supply of olive oil, applesauce, basil and spinach handy and ready to go.
1. Olive Oil
Olive oil is one of the best all around ingredients that you must keep in your kitchen in able to achieve healthy cooking at a moment's notice. Unlike other fat sources, like butter or vegetable oil, olive oil is rich in unsaturated fat, which has been found to be essential for good health. Olive can easily be used for frying foods, and it can also be used in a number of other ways, including as a dip for bread, mixed with herbs and spices and used as a sauce for pasta, or combined with balsamic vinaigrette and poured over a salad. Be sure to experiment with different varieties of olive oil in order to find the one that's best for you.
Applesauce is another example of a food that is great to include as a staple in your cupboards if you're interested in healthy cooking. Applesauce can be used as an alternative to fats, especially in baked goods such as cakes, bars and cookies. It can sometimes be used as a replacement for refined sugar, due to its natural sweetness. When choosing a healthy applesauce, look for a variety that is made with little or no added sugar, or even better, consider making the applesauce yourself. You'll have a tasty treat that you can be sure is very nutritious.
Consider basil as a replacement for sodium in order to follow healthy cooking principles. Sodium (or salt) is used to season meats, sauces and a variety of other dishes. However, while the inclusion of salt in your meal does not necessarily increase the calorie content, it can cause significant damage to your cardiovascular system, and can also lead to water retention and weight gain. Instead of immediately running for the salt shaker when you need to season your food, consider sprinkling a small amount of basil, or any other herb or spice for that matter, on top of the food. You will be pleasantly surprised at the flavor punch this addition can pack. Always remember when choosing between fresh and dried herbs and spices that the dried version will provide a more concentrated flavor, and therefore you will require less of it for the same taste.
When looking for a healthy vegetable to include in your cooking, consider spinach. Spinach is not only rich in a number of vitamins and minerals, but also contains fiber, which is essential for good health. Use spinach in salads, with pasta or even stuffed into meats.