Tips for Healthy Food Preparation for Youth

Of all the Top 10 Life Skills, nutrition is one topic where small improvements over time add up to big improvements in our health and our life overall. Who says you & your family can’t eat tasty, traditional foods & still maintain a healthy eating plan? Follow the tips below & you can. You can also lose weight & keep it off if you abide by them. Eat healthy without removing the fun, enjoyment & taste. Feel good about eating again – as you should!

Healthy Cooking Tips

  • Instead of frying, cook low-fat by baking, boiling, broiling or microwaving.
  • Grilling can be a low-fat means of cooking also. Marinade meats first and/or cook them away from the hottest part of the grill to keep them from getting overly hot, so they don’t release substances that can potentially be carcinogenic.
  • Keep the skin on poultry while cooking to keep the meat moist, but be sure & remove it before serving. The fat under the skin won’t be absorbed by the meat during cooking.
  • Cool gravies & soups and skim the fat off the top prior to reheating.

Other Ways to Cut Fat and/or Calories (see broader list in table below):

  • Instead of butter & sour cream, add greek yogurt, salsa, pepper, raw veggies to baked potatoes
  • Purchase canned fruit in its own juice, rather than syrup with sugar added
  • Use low-fat or fat-free condiments (mustard, ketchup, pepper, light or fat-free mayonnaise) & salad dressings

Healthy Food Preparation Substitutions
Recipe ingredients aren’t written in stone. Healthier ingredients can be used and still yield great-tasting results.

1 large whole egg 2 large egg whites, ¼ cup egg whites or commercial egg substitute (use this substitution for ½ the eggs if baking or product may be less tender)
Whole milk Skim or 1% milk (optional: may want to add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil for better result, depending on what you are preparing)
1 cup heavy cream 1 cup evaporated skim milk, light cream or Half & Half
Sour cream Low-fat or fat-free sour cream
Cottage cheese Low-fat cottage cheese
Full-fat cheese Reduced-fat cheese (don’t use non-fat in cooking because it doesn’t melt)
Butter, shortening or oil Fruit puree (e.g. apple sauce) for ½ the regular product; for prevention of pan sticking use cooking spray or nonstick pans
Soy sauce Low-sodium soy sauce
Flour, all-purpose Whole-wheat flour for ½ of the all-purpose flour in baked goods
Mayonnaise Fat-free or reduced-fat mayonnaise
Sugar Can reduce to ¾ amount ( ½ amount in baked goods); add sweetness with non-calorie sweeteners or vanilla extract, nutmeg or cinnamon
Salt Omit or reduce by ½ (except in products with yeast), and/or substitute herbs, spices, salt-free seasonings
Full-fat cream cheese Low-fat or fat-free cream cheese, Neufchatel or low-fat cottage cheese pureed until smooth
White bread 100% whole wheat bread
Iceberg lettuce Romaine and other leafy lettuces, arugula, endive, chicory, collard and mustard greens, kale, baby spinach

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