Getting – and staying – lean is about more than just choosing the right foods. In addition to that, you also need to know how to prepare those foods as well. You can pick out the healthiest foods in the world, but if you deep fry them and then slather on some high-sugar, high calorie sauce, you won’t be doing your body composition much good.
Fortunately, lean cooking isn’t all that hard. And even better news is that you definitely don’t have to sacrifice taste to do it.
Let’s look at 10 clean cooking tips that’ll help keep you lean as you go about your nutrition plan.
Substitute Chicken Broth For Oil
If you typically stir-fry your vegetables in olive oil, consider lightening up with some low-sodium chicken broth instead. It’s a great way to add more flavor to your dishes without adding hardly any calories at all.
Low sodium broth’s can also work great in replacement for butter when preparing mashed potatoes.
Try Greek Yogurt Rather Than Sour Cream
Another smart swap to make for cleaner cooking is to use Greek yogurt rather than sour cream. You can easily top baked sweet potatoes with a little Greek yogurt or combine it with some fresh dill and a dip mix for a tasty dip to serve alongside your raw vegetables.
As an added bonus, Greek yogurt will also provide you with a higher level of protein as well.
Substitute Mashed Fruits Or Vegetables For Oil In Baked Foods
If you’re planning on baking up a batch of muffins, the moist ingredients are an important part of keeping the recipe tasting well. Unfortunately though, often the moist ingredients called for are either butter or oil – both of which will set you back plenty of fat and calories.
Lighten up instead with some mashed fruits or vegetables. Pureed zucchini, carrots, applesauce, or mashed bananas all work great as a smart substitute.
Make Use Of A Slow Cooker
A slower cooker is one tool that you’ll want to get in your home for cleaner, lighter cooking. A slow cooker is easy to use as you just toss all your ingredients into the slow cooker and set the timer to begin. No condiments or sauces needed – the foods will cook in their own juices giving you a great tasting dish with a fraction of the calories.
Slow cookers are also ideal for those who tend to be short on time as they’re a very hands-off cooking technique.
Use Vinegars To Add Flavor
Another great way that you can add more flavor to your foods without adding any calories at all is to make use of vinegars. Both balsamic and red wine vinegar are great additions to a number of dishes and will offer a light flavor that you can enjoy guilt-free.
You can also find oil-vinegar blends that offer plenty of taste for just a few calories, all while helping you increase your intake of healthy fats for the day.
Keep Fresh Herbs On Hand At All Times
Herbs are another secret to light and lean cooking that you must take advantage of. Adding fresh herbs to your cooking such as rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme cilantro, and parsley for instance can transform any bland boring dish in a hurry.
What’s more is that many of these herbs offer unique health benefits themselves. For instance, rosemary can assist with those suffering from allergies while oregano will provide a powerful source of antioxidants that can help to boost your immune system.
Try Cooking Spray Rather Than Oil
Whenever you need to coat food in oil before roasting, try spraying with a little olive oil based cooking spray instead.
It’s much easier to use a light hand with these sprays than it is with the oil, so you can easily save a hundred or more calories per dish.
Cooking sprays also tend to do a better job coating the vegetables or potatoes prior to you seasoning them with the spices.
Grill Rather Than Frying Your Meats
When the weather is warm, be sure to make use of your BBQ. Grilling is an excellent lean way to cook your food because any fat in the food will drip off as the cooking process gets underway.
Brush the meat with a little olive oil and flavor it with herbs or spices and you shouldn’t need to use high-sugar barbeque sauce or other condiments.
Make Use Of A Marinade
Another good way to prepare your meats that can save time on cooking is to make use of a marinade. This is a great way to add flavor to the meat so you can reduce the sauce being added after the cooking process is completed.
Just do watch out as many store-bought marinades do tend to be high in salt.
Instead, marinate your meat with a combination of low sodium soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder.
Use More Lemons
Lemons are a fantastic food that everyone should have in their diet plan. Not only do they help make your body more alkaline (which is important for anyone eating a high protein, meat based diet), but they’re also an excellent source of vitamin C, rich in antioxidants, and have an antibiotic effect on the body.
Start making more use of lemons in your diet by squeezing them over freshly prepared salads, grilled fish, or steamed vegetables.
So there you have ten simple but very effective ways to keep your cooking clean so that you can get and stay as lean as possible. Preparing delicious meals that support your health doesn’t have to be hard as long as you put a little creativity and thought into place.