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One of life’s great pleasures is the ability to enjoy a well prepared meal. Healthy cooking does not have to become a drudgery. It is possible to enjoy healthy home cooked meals by incorporating a few simple essentials into the cooking process. Many of us enjoy a variety of cuisines including Asian dishes that have gained immense popularity on a global scale.

The following simple changes to cooking procedures allow us to enjoy great tasting food and stay healthy at the same time.

• The first thing we need to change is the cooking medium to cut out or reduce the fat content in the dish. Butter, lard and ghee are all high fat content items; replace them with olive oil or vegetable oil for a healthier meal. For baked dishes, try using low fat yoghurt instead of butter or oil.

• Including a large quantity of fresh vegetables, pulses and beans to various dishes provides a good source of protein. It is possible to balance the amount of meat consumed with vegetables and beans to make a healthy meal.

• Keep track of the quantity of salt added to each dish being prepared and avoid canned foods that are high in sodium. Adding a variety of herbs and spices to various recipes helps to spice up the dish as well as provide herb and spice specific health benefits. With the addition of herbs and spices, the salt quantity can be reduced. In meat and soup dishes some garlic and onion helps to cut the amount of salt needed and adds to good health.

• Natural yoghurt is a good option to use in gravy preparations. It provides the dish with its creamy texture while cutting out the fat. Yoghurt is also good for marinating meats prior to cooking; it helps to tenderize the meat.

• The stir fry method of cooking greatly reduces the quantity of oil needed to cook a dish. It is also possible to use lemon juice or vinegar to substitute oil or lessen the quantity of oil used in cooking.

• You can choose to control high levels of cholesterol and blood pressure by adding tomatoes, onions, herbs and vinegar to your cooking.

• Steaming vegetables rather than boiling them helps to preserve the natural nutrients of the veggies. Excessive heat when cooking and too much liquid ruins the valuable nutrients in meat and vegetables.

As you can see, it is not difficult to make simple changes to existing cooking methods to improve the health of your family.

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