Photo by Shayda Torabi on Unsplash
Written by Aiya Rodjel
Did you know that July marks Nutrition Month in the country? Hence, it entails emphasis on healthy food and living. It’s the perfect time to consider changes to your eating habits, and prepare more nutritious meals. Eating healthy meals boosts your mood and gives you energy. It also reduces the risk of various illnesses as well.
Contrary to what some people might think, eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. Neither is it boring. You just have to be creative and maximize all the resources you have. Ensure to have a fast and unlimited internet connection to help you explore various possibilities of healthy recipes.
Finding Balance to Keep being Healthy
First of all, it’s not recommended for you to go cold turkey and avoid unhealthy food altogether. The key is to find your balance. Try including one or two healthy dishes a week so the change in your eating habits is gradual. You shouldn’t totally cut off comfort food as well. Food is supposed to both fuel and satisfy you. Thus, adapting healthier food habits is a compromise.
By including healthy food into your usual menu, you’ll improve yourself as a cook. At the same time, you’ll be reaping the health benefits as well. Before you start experimenting with recipes, here are some basic healthy ingredients every kitchen should have:
The Healthy Food Basics
Chicken is a great staple for people looking to manage their weight, because this type of poultry is an excellent source of lean protein. There are plenty of ways to cook parts of chicken, and the healthiest among its parts is the breast. That is why it’s a good idea to always have chicken in your freezer.
Another healthy source of protein is salmon. This fatty fish helps reduce risk of heart disease, and is rich in the good kind of fat, namely, omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, it also contains a lot of Vitamin B and potassium. It is quite versatile, so you can cook it in different exciting ways.
From cauliflower to eggplant, spinach to garlic, it’s always a good idea to stock up on vegetables. They’re more affordable than meat, and they contain a lot of vitamins and minerals. You can use them as entrees, soups or side garnishes. The healthy dinner possibilities are endless.
This vegan staple is rich in vitamins and minerals. It’s super affordable, and easy to cook as well. If you’re looking to reduce your meat consumption, you should load up on tofu and other meat alternatives for awesome yet healthy dinner ideas.
Rich in antioxidants, this seafood contains a good amount of protein. This low-fat ingredient has zinc, Vitamin B12 and selenium, making it a nutritious staple as well. Shrimp is pretty diverse, and cooks fast, ideal for a no-fuss weeknight dinner for the gang.
It’s important that you stock up on various spices, so your entrées won’t be bland and boring. Keep a diverse spice rack at home, consisting of paprika, garlic powder, pepper and ginger, among many others. They pack a lot of flavor, which means that they add some character to otherwise plain dinner ideas.
Easy and Healthy Dinner Ideas
Once you’ve stocked up on the basics, all you need is to get creative with them. If you’re pressed for time, one delicious way to prepare dinner is through stir fry. You can use chicken, fish or even the veggies that you have on hand. Simply add some oyster or teriyaki sauce, and you’re good to go.
Garlic and Spices
If you’re busy throughout the day, try prepping your healthy meals in advance. For example, take your chicken breast, and season them with garlic and spices. Marinate it for a while, then pop it in the oven. You can add vegetables of your choice for some variety so you won’t get bored.
You can also meal-prep using salmon. Try different recipes for cooking it, like honey garlic salmon. Rich in flavor and nutrients, this dinner idea is proof that healthy dishes don’t have to be boring. You can bake, pan fry, grill or sauté your fish to make things exciting. It doesn’t take a lot of time to cook salmon, so you can prepare it even if you’re pressed for time. You can prepare meals in advance for the week or for three to four days to change things up.
Pair that Steak
If you’re craving for some comfort food, indulge yourself with some steak. It’s super fast to cook, and delicious to boot as well. You just have to balance it out by pairing it with a salad or cauliflower rice. It’s also essential that you cook it at room temperature. The last thing you want is to cook steak that’s too tough or chewy. If you’re going to treat yourself, you might as well do it right.
Unconventional Healthy Dishes, No Stir Fry Guaranteed
Eating the same meal can be boring. That’s why you should spice things up and try some unique recipes to widen up your palette. If you’re craving for tacos, instead of using beef or pork, use fish or tofu instead. Some people have even tried shrimp tacos for weeknight dinner. You still get that savory taste, but you’ll be consuming less calories.
Filipinos are known to be fond of steamed and fried rice. You can change things up by cooking brown rice or cauliflower rice instead. They contain less calories than the white one, which is great for people looking to lose some weight. You can even make them into fried rice. This means you can eat the same amount of food without worrying if they will make you gain weight.
Eggplant as alternative
Instead of loading up on pasta, try using eggplant as an alternative instead. You can use it for your lasagna or spaghetti. It’s a great carbohydrate replacement, so you can still indulge in your favorite tomato sauce or other savory ingredients. Just remember that balance is key.
Tofu as alternative
Aside from using eggplant instead of pasta, consider other meat alternatives as well. You can use tofu as an alternative for beef for burgers. You can also cook it like steak or even bake some chips. This way, you’ll also have healthy snacks in your arsenal.
Basically, you just have to be creative with what you have. You don’t have to sacrifice all of the things that make your favorite meals delectable. You simply need to tweak your recipes to make them healthier. It is through experimentation that you discover new favorites. By opening your mind to exotic flavors, you never know what you might discover. In the end, you’ll be an overall better cook as well.
Healthy Dinner Recipes for Date Night
If you’re cooking for your special someone, you can step up the health factor of the meal and still impress at the same time. You can have the classic chicken turned into one of the most healthy dinners he/she has ever eaten. You can also make a special meal out of the typical, like a honey garlic salmon. Another one favorite classy dish could be a shrimp recipe. There are plenty in your recipe collection. Your effort, creativity, and love is the most crucial potion.
Instead of having some fries with your home-cooked steak, try steaming or grilling some vegetables. It’s a clever tactic to keep it healthy yet savory at the same time. This way, you’ll still wow your date while eating nutritious food together.
Because of its versatility, salmon is a great date-night dish as well. You can pan-sear it like how you would cook steak, and pair it with healthy vegetables or cauliflower fried rice. You can also try it as a more savory salad as well. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can use exotic herbs to make extra special dinner recipes. Just be careful not to overcook it so you’ll get to enjoy its health benefits.
Chicken with Herbs and Spices
Add something new on your repertoire. Turn that classic chicken into a healthy chicken. As mentioned above, chicken breasts can be cooked in diverse ways as well. That means you can step up the ante of cooking your chicken without compromising the health factor. You can experiment with the various herbs and spices you have in your arsenal. What’s awesome about chicken breasts is that they’re relatively affordable. This means you don’t have to spend a ton to impress your date.
As an alternative to meat, you can use tofu to impress your date as well. Tofu absorbs the flavor of other ingredients well. The key is to press it before you cook it so your dish ends up more flavorful. A lot of other Asian countries have embraced cheap yet diverse tofu. This means you can prepare amazing healthy dishes without spending so much using tofu.
Keeping Healthy Food for Family Dinner
As you add more healthy dishes to familiarize your palate with, consider inviting the family to try more nutritious meals as well. Eating together is a great way to bond and strengthen your relationships with one another. At the same time, you’ll all reap the benefits of dining healthy. The family that eats together stays together, as they say.
That’s why you should explore healthy dinner recipes and do away with red meat like pork and beef. And that is turning to, once again, chicken. One savory healthy meal the family will surely love is chicken curry. Aside from chicken, you just need other simple and affordable ingredients like potatoes, carrots, garlic, peppers, coconut milk and curry powder to make it. It’s delicious and nutritious, which means even the kids will love it. Plus, it doesn’t spoil easily, so you can eat the leftovers for lunch the following day.
Another way to step up the health factor to family meals is by adding salads to your usual dinners. Just get creative with the vegetables you have on hand. Experiment with different kinds of healthy dressings so even picky children will enjoy them. It’s a sly way to make your kid eat his spinach.
One great way to bond and enjoy healthy dishes at the same time is by having a barbecue. You can step up the health factor by doing away with pork, but including a lot of lean protein such as salmon and chicken breast. You can also grill some vegetables as well. It’s an easy and fun recipe, so even the kids can join in the cooking. It’s a nice way to spend time with one another. At the same time, you’ll all be eating healthier as well.
Healthy Eating Hacks
There are clever yet surprisingly easy ways to healthier eating habits. Below are some of the tips.
Have you noticed how French people tend to be on the slim side despite eating savory dishes? It’s because apart from their generally healthy dishes, they also tend to eat slowly. By consuming your meal in a slower manner, you’ll get to enjoy the flavors of the meal better. It’s good for digestion and you won’t have to eat so much to feel full.
Ensure to eat with someone
Another hack is to eat with others. When you’re eating alone, you tend to eat faster. It’s a way for you to bond with your family and friends. Plus, with all the chatting and bonding, you’ll tend to eat less and slowly as well. To add to this, it’s much more enjoyable to eat with other people.
Meal in small servings
Consider eating meals with small portions rather than consuming three big meals. By snacking throughout the day, you program your mind to eat less. It’s also a way to avoid empty calories from junk food.
Use smaller plates
This may sound kind of funny, but try eating on smaller plates. You’ll trick your mind into thinking you’re eating as much as you should. You’ll also learn to control your portions better. This is a nice trick especially when you’re in a buffet restaurant with a lot of tempting choices.
You can also try hydrating your way to healthier eating. By drinking water before meals, you tend to eat less than usual. You also program your mind into thinking you’re full as well. Water aids in digestion, too. This means that drinking water will help your body absorb the vitamins and nutrients in the health dishes you’re eating.
Researching Recipes as Key
What’s great about the digital age is that you can easily research information about healthy recipes and food. Whether it is for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you can also look for healthy recipes online, and shop for all the necessary ingredients as well. Shopping for even exotic ingredients has been made easy through the internet.
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