For a lot of people, new year’s resolutions always include eating healthier. This year, deep into the Covid-19 pandemic, this becomes not just a token item on the list. You need all the help you can get to boost your immune system even if you are fully vaccinated and have had your booster shot. The Omicron variant is the most contagious, so far, and breakthrough infections are happening.
According to the 2021 Food and Health Survey of Food Insight, there was an improvement last year as only 11 percent of Americans said they were eating more compared to 20 percent in 2020, and only 18 percent said they had more snacks compared to 32 percent in 2020. On the other hand, home cooking decreased to 47 percent compared to 60 percent in 2020.
If you want to eat healthily, it is much better to cook all meals at home. You then have control of all the ingredients and the cooking method. You can also customize dishes, tweaking them by replacing unhealthy ingredients with better options.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 created a simple MyPlate Plan as a guide for every meal. Without complicated measuring, weighing, or calculating, you can simply estimate the portions on your plate. Half must be made up of various types of vegetables and whole fruits. A fourth must be made up of grains, half of which must be whole grains. The other fourth must be made up of lean protein.
This can be animal protein, plant-based protein, or a combination. Your food and drinks must have low sugar and low sodium content. Avoid saturated fats. Your intake of dairy products should preferably be low-fat, if not fat-free. You can use plant-based alternatives like soy milk, nut milk, and rice milk, too.
Just Throw It on the Grill
Invest in a Viking barbecue grill for the easiest fat-free cooking with that unmistakable smoky flavor. Who can refuse grilled food? Stay away from fatty cuts of meat, though. Beef and Pork tenderloin make lean and tasty steak medallions. You can have them ground to make hamburgers. Better yet, opt for poultry and seafood. Grill some chicken, salmon, and lobsters. Throw in clams, mussels, or oysters. These only need a dash of salt, some pepper, and garlic. Add your choice of herbs. Serve them with lemon wedges.
Grill vegetables for a hearty dish, as well. Remember that you should have more vegetables than protein. Skewer together onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Brush them with olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper. Other vegetables that taste great when grilled are zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, and squash. You must also try grilled corn on the cob and sweet potatoes. There is hardly any vegetable that cannot be grilled. Mix up any combination. You can also serve this over whole wheat pasta with lots of garlic stir-fried in extra virgin olive oil.
Oven-Baked or Air Fried
Other healthy ways of cooking are by using a traditional oven, convection oven, or air fryer. Basically, anything that you can cook over a grill, you can cook in an oven or air fryer, as well. There are things you can do in these appliances that you cannot do on a grill, though.
You can make crispy oil-free vegetable and seafood tempura in an air fryer. You can bake macaroni, lasagna, and casseroles with lots of vegetables and portions of lean meat or seafood. For dessert, you can bake fruits like pears, apples, and berries without added sugar. Serve them with a dollop of yogurt or squirted with sweet mandarin orange juice.
Get Your Good Carbs
Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains are good for you. They are also very filling. Choose whole-grain pasta of any kind, as well as whole-grain bread.
Brown, red, or black rice is high in fiber and has a nutty flavor. It goes well with any combination of vegetables stir-fried with finely chopped ginger, garlic, and onions. A few drops of sesame oil will give you a very Asian meal. It can also be cooked like risotto for an Italian meal.
Nothing to Cook
You can even make meals without cooking. Freshly picked sweet corn scraped into a bowl makes a refreshing and satisfying salad base. Chopped avocados will make it heavier if you need more bulk. Add any fresh vegetables you want, and even fruits. A topping of fresh salsa made of chopped tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and some olives will serve as your dressing. Do not add too many olives as they have a high sodium content.
Be adventurous in the kitchen and your taste buds will thank you for it. Just make sure you stay within healthy guidelines. There are so many types of food that are good for you and waiting for you.