10 healthy cooking tips and tricks

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Tuesday, 16 November 2010.
Tagged: guides, healthy cooking, healthy eating, nutrition, tips

10 healthy cooking tips and tricks
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Here are my 10 best food preparation tips and tricks to make your cooking lighter, less stodgy, less oily with less salt, sugar and processed foods. Follow them and you'll find your cooking will be healthier for you - and you'll save time and money too.

1. Invest in a non-stick frypan and simply brush or spray with a little oil for browning. Often an inexpensive frypan works as well as a more costly one and you can replace it when it gets too 'used' on the surface.

2. Grill, roast on a rack, steam, barbeque or cook in a microwave. Don't fry meat or chicken in oil, margarine, butter or ghee. Try wrapping in baking paper before baking or wrapping in foil for the barbeque. See my quick recipe Fish parcels wrapped in lemon, dill and onion to see what I mean.

3. Drizzle a little oil into the wok when you cook a stir-fry – add just enough to stop the food sticking. Don't drown the meat and vegies in oil! Alternatively stir-fry in stock for a change.

4. Trim off any visible fat from meat. At the supermarket or butchers, look for lean meat with the least amount of fat or marbling.

5. Remove the skin from chicken pieces before cooking. The skin carries most of the chicken fat. Or grill well until crisp to drain off the chicken fat.

6. Pastry is generally a no-no in nutrition. But here's two ideas for a healthier version. Use 3 or 4 sheets of filo to wrap food or make a pastry roll. Brush each sheet with a little oil or use an oil spray to achieve crisp, golden results.

Or buy a pack of frozen puff pastry and make an easy one-crust pie for the top of a casserole or apple pie.

7. Reduce the fat of soups, slow-cooked casseroles and curries by cooking one day ahead and then refrigerating. Any fat will rise to the surface and can be easily skimmed off once it solidifies. And leaving it overnight really intensifies the flavour.

8. Marinate lean cuts of meat and chicken in wine, garlic, mustard, lemon juice, basil, thyme, pesto or even an oil-vinegar salad dressing. I love that Greek combo of olive oil with fresh rosemary leaves and garlic. Divine for lamb or chicken pieces before you barbecue. Or  a slow-cooked leg of lamb. This tenderises lean meats and imparts a richer flavour.

9. Toss your peeled and diced root vegetables in a plastic bag with a tablespoon of oil. Jiggle the bag to coat things well - this makes it really easy to get a nice even coating of oil on each piece. I like to toss in a good pinch of dried Italian herbs for potato or some nutmeg if I'm doing pumpkin or sweet potato. Alternatively you can brush your vegetables with a little oil before roasting.

Baking Xmas cake paper lining

10.  Line baking trays and cake tins with baking paper or greaseproof paper. See my effort for my Christmas cake. It's a bit of a fiddle but saves you having to grease the pan AND there's almost no washing up! I love anything that saves me washing up!

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