Cooking up a delicious meal to enjoy alone or with friends and relatives is always a great treat, and if you’re a keen cook you’ll enjoy whipping up some show-stoppers when you’re entertaining. While impressing guests with tasty recipes is great, cooking with healthy ingredients will also make sure you maintain a balanced diet and still enjoy great flavors. There are plenty of healthy foods you can cook with, but these five ingredients are a good place to start if you want to pay more attention to your health.
1. Leafy Greens
Spinach, kale, cabbage, and collard greens are all great examples of leafy greens and should be making their way onto your plate if you want a healthy diet. They’re full of vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function properly, as well as being a good source of fiber. A lot of people might find these vegetables to be a bit bland, but that is all down to the way they’re cooked. Steaming greens is a great way to retain flavor and a bit of crunch, provided you don’t leave them too long; or lightly fry them in olive oil with some spices to add some wow factor.
2. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds can serve well as a healthy snack between meals and are a much better alternative than chips or sugary sweets. They’re also very versatile and can make great additions to dishes by adding some crunch and flavor. Almonds are full of vitamin E and work well in delicate curry dishes; walnuts have a lot of omega-3 and can be good additions to fresh salads; and cashews are another good example of a healthy nut that makes the perfect snack.
Salmon is a great source of omega-3, protein, and vitamin B. It’s also a very versatile fish, which means there are numerous recipes to choose from so you can get adventurous in the kitchen. It’s also one of the meatier fish that’s available, making it a great substitute for chicken and red meat if you’re trying to reduce your meat intake. A lot of people like to remove the skin from a salmon fillet, but if you’ve ever wondered “can you eat salmon skin?”—remember that you can. Just crisp it up in the frying pan and rub some spices on it for some flavor, and that way you won’t waste any part of the fish.
Oats and grains are a good way to keep your heart healthy, and eating oatmeal for breakfast is a great way to start your day. You could even add a banana and some honey for some extra health benefits and to make your breakfast a bit less bland. Oats can also be used for baked goods if you want to make some sweet treats to enjoy.
Lamb has a very unique and rich flavor, making it a perfect ingredient if you’re trying to impress with your cooking skills. If you choose the right cut (for example, the leg, chops, or tenderloin), lamb is also one of the healthier meats that you can prepare your meal with, as it is a good source of protein, vitamin B-12, and iron.
While there are many healthy ingredients to choose from and explore out there, these five are common crowd-pleasers and don’t disappoint.