Many ingredients are usually added to your daily meals in
order to enhance their flavor. However, some of these ingredients
may add many calories to the original recipe.
Some people are surprised, for example, that despite eating vegetables frequently as part of their lunch or dinner, as well as lean meats, they don’t achieve the expected weight loss.
Most of the time, the explanation relies on the selected preparation method. For example, a cup of coleslaw and carrots can provide only 39 calories if you add a vinegar dressing. However, if the same salad is prepared using mayonnaise, it may have up to 94 calories. Moreover, we must remember that the nutrient content of foods varies depending on the cooking method. For example, a salad with vinegar dressing has only 0.2 grams of fat, while one with mayonnaise may have 5 grams of fat.
Often people think that some foods are “fattening” while others are not. Clear examples of this are potatoes and pasta. A steamed potato has only 143 calories; if that same potato is baked with one teaspoon of butter, it will add up to 177 calories; if pureed, it will have 237 calories, and if fried, 458 calories. Similarly, a cup of cooked pasta with a couple of tomatoes and basil has only 233 calories, while the same cup of pasta with pesto sauce can have up to 700 calories.
Remember that when it comes to calories, you must consider all ingredients. For example, if you’re having a vegetable cream, you should also consider the milk, cheese, and other ingredients, additional to the vegetables, which increase the total calories.
Five Tips for Healthy Cooking
1. Reduce the amount of fat in your recipe. Use only half of 1/3 the fat indicated by the original recipe.
2. Reduce the amount of sugar in your recipe. Use spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, or almond extract to add flavor to your preparations without adding extra calories.
3. Make healthy replacements. Replace whole milk using skim milk; use whole grain pasta instead of regular pasta in order to increase fiber.
4. Eliminate ingredients that only provide calories and no nutrients, like cake frostings, grated coconut, mayonnaise, nuts, and cream.
5. Modify cooking methods. If the recipe requires a high-fat preparation, switch to low-fat cooking methods, such as steaming, grilling, baking, or others.
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