How to Choose a Healthy Recipe

RecipeIn an earlier post, we gave you some recipe websites to guide you in your meal planning. These websites should provide you with more than enough healthy recipes to get you started on your healthy lifestyle journey. However, not all recipes on these sites are equally as healthy. How do you know which to pick? Or, what do you do when that lasagna recipe that your friend just posted to Facebook has you drooling?

Here we teach you to be your own recipe detective. Follow these tips to make wiser recipe choices.

First, when looking at a recipe, be sure to check the serving size. This will give you an idea of how much of any one ingredient ends up on your plate. Sure eggs can be healthy, but not when a recipe that calls for ten eggs is meant to serve two people!

Next, these 3 ingredients will ensure a healthy recipe:

  • The inclusion of fresh, whole foods

    • fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits

    • nuts and seeds

    • beans, lentils, peas

    • whole grains

    • lean meats

    • low-fat dairy

    • herbs and spices

    • unsaturated fats and oils (avocado, olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, flaxseed oil)

  • The exclusion of unhealthy, processed foods

    • canned vegetables, fruits, soups, and broths

    • saturated and trans fats (shortening, lard, butter, heavy cream)

    • processed and cured meats (luncheon meats, bacon, hot dogs, sausages)

    • processed cheeses

    • sugar

    • refined white flour

    • high-fat or high-sodium condiments (soy sauce, mayonnaise, bouillon)

  •  The use of healthy cooking methods

    • Healthy: steaming, sauteing, baking/roasting, broiling, microwaving, and grilling

    • Unhealthy: frying/deep-frying, boiling (some nutrients are lost when cooking water is drained)

Look for recipes with nutrition facts included (i.e. Allrecipes.com). Many recipe websites and blogs are aimed at healthy eating (i.e. Cooking Light). Don’t completely dismiss a recipe just because it has one or two unhealthy ingredients. You can generally make healthy substitutions and it will still taste great!

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