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The easiest way to eat healthier: Cook your meals at home

por Ingrid Blakely (2020-02-04)

id="article-body" class="row" section="article-body"> Chowhound This story is part of New Year, New You, everything you need to develop healthy habits that will last all the way through 2020 and beyond. A new year is all about new habits to help you be your best self. And after a few months of rich meals, cookie parties and holiday cocktails, there's no better time to reset your diet and Eating healthy on vacation: 7 tips that don't involve skipping dessert. The best way to start is by cooking at home.

The benefits to cooking at home are rooted in both health and finance -- two resolutions for the price of one. Holistic health coach Sam Ciavarella from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition supports at-home cooking for many reasons as well, "First and foremost, when you cook at home, you control what ingredients go into a dish, so you always know that you're fueling yourself with the best and most nutritious ingredients."

She continues, "Next, by cooking at home and having whole foods in your house, you are setting yourself up to make healthy choices without having to think about it in the moment. Additionally, cooking at home gives you the opportunity to try new things and experiment with making your favorite dishes healthier. And finally, you save money because you aren't spending money on takeout!" 

With those benefits in mind, begin by incorporating as many of the following 11 habits as you can toward the promotion of a healthier lifestyle through home cooking.

Read more: The coolest lunch boxes of 2020  

Now playing: Watch this: How to tell if your food is safe to eat 2:14 1. Choose whole foods
Whole foods refer to foods with a single-item ingredient list such as olive oil, chicken, broccoli, etc. The opposite of whole foods are processed foods, typically packaged or convenience goods whose ingredient lists venture into the dozens and inevitably wander into chemistry class territory. 

When you cook with whole foods as your staple ingredients, and especially when you are able to measure every component that goes into a dish, you have complete control over the end product. This is helpful not only if weight loss is a goal, but also if you want to make adjustments for any dietary consideration, or even for notions as simple as eating more vegetables. 

With whole foods as the starting point of your cooked meals, you're able to accurately record what you're eating, whether you're keeping a journal or utilizing an app.

Skip the Cup Noodles and make easy chicken soup from scratch.

Chowhound Creativity in cooking is even rooted in whole foods. You can learn to create versions of your packaged favorites without the need to ingest anything you can't pronounce. No real foods themselves may be necessarily bad, but preservatives and chemicals, even when edible, definitely aren't good.

2. Use better fats
The 1980s taught us that not all fats are created equal, but it may be time for an update to whatever principles you hold on this front.

"Throw away generic vegetable oils and use olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil when cooking. Vegetable oils contain linoleic acid and when oxidized -- that is, heated -- release polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFAs. PUFAs have been linked to heart disease, obesity and other chronic illnesses," instructs Ciavarella.

Avocado oil especially is flavor-neutral and has a high enough smoke point to support any cooking process you wish to employ. Use a high-quality olive oil for salads or to finish dishes, which, according to Ciavarella, "has a more robust taste than simple extra virgin olive oil and you can drizzle it on top of anything to give it a kick of flavor."

Spices can make any dish more appetizing.

Getty Images 3. Don't skimp on flavor
This just in (but not really): There is little to no evidence to suggest a link between sodium intake and heart disease, at least not among those without genetic predisposition to heart disease. 

"Salt helps replenish electrolytes, and if you haven't been told by your doctor to avoid it, you should season all your food with it," says Ciavarella -- excellent news for those who would automatically equate healthy with "bland."

Along with fat, which we've covered before and will cover again, salt is the delivery driver of flavor, and is welcome in a healthy kitchen in moderation. But don't stop there. If you liked this short article and you would like to acquire extra data with regards to Are your accounts still exposed to potential losses If so why Goldstone kindly check out our own web site. Lean on all of the spices --  such as ground pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and more -- in your kitchen to make healthy meals flavorful and delicious.

4. Organize your kitchen
Before any cooking, or even any food shopping, begins for your new, healthy approach, first you must create a space that makes it easy for you to show up every day, excited and ready to cook. 

Now would be a good time for an additional mini-resolution within a resolution -- cleaning out your pantry and fridge of anything expired, uninspired or unhealthy to make way for all of the fresh foods and staples that will be a part of your healthy cooking experience.