1. Preserve the nutrients and colors in veggies. Cook veggies quickly by steaming or stir-frying.
2. Use vinegar, tomatoes, onions, herbs (fresh as otten and possible) and fat-free or low-fat sauces or salad dressings for better health, especially if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
3. Use your freezer wisely (and your time). When you cook once, make it last longer by preparing enough for several meals. Freeze it and have a ready-made healthy meal or treat ready for the next time you are simply too tired to bother. FYI – Freeze Brown Rice in individual portion Vacuum seal bags. Keeps for a couple of weeks.
4. A smoothie can take care of lots of needs. Keep your blender handy so you’ll use it! Throw a banana (you can keep them in the freezer for weeks) into your blender along with frozen berries or whatever fruit is around, some kind of juice, fat-free or low-fat yogurt and protein powder. You can get 4–5 servings of fruit in one glass of a yummy shake. Try getting your family or friends to sip on a smoothie. It’s easy, cool, refreshing and feels like a real treat.
5. Prepared seasonings can have high salt content and increase your risk for high blood pressure. Replace salt with herbs and spices or some of the salt-free seasoning mixes as often as possible. Use lemon juice or fresh chilis to add flavor.
6. Canned, processed and preserved vegetables often have very high sodium content. Look for “low-sodium” as often as possible. I know it’s not always convenient but something to keep in mind.
7. Prepare muffins and quick breads with less saturated fat and fewer calories. Use three ripe, very well-mashed bananas, instead of 1/2 cup butter, lard, shortening or oil or substitute one cup of applesauce per one cup of these fats.
8. Choose whole grain for part of your ingredients instead of highly refined products. Use whole-wheat flour, oatmeal and whole cornmeal. Whole-wheat flour can be substituted for up to half of all-purpose flour. For example, if a recipe calls for 2 cups of flour, try 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour.
9. When baking, use plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt or fat-free or low-fat sour cream.
10. Use fat-free milk or 1% milk instead of whole or reduced-fat (2%) milk. For extra richness, try fat-free half-and-half or evaporated skim milk.