By Emma Horwood
Many individuals have taken the free time provided by quarantine as an opportunity to learn important life skills such as cooking. Whether mastering the basics or expanding one’s skill, practicing cooking is a fun and important step to self sufficiency. While learning to cook in and of itself is admirable, being conscious of one’s health should go hand in hand. Balancing taste and nutrition while cooking is very beneficial and easier than it sounds.
One thing that will make constructing a healthy meal easier is finding a template to work off of. Taking a provided structure and filling in the blanks with foods that are both enjoyable and healthy is a step in the right direction. Sophomore Sophia Hernandez explained, “Healthy cooking is important to keep our bodies healthy.” One great example is the buddha bowl, which is made with a base of complex carbohydrates (such as brown rice, sweet potato, corn, etc.) with a leafy base (salad mix, spinach, kale, etc.) and adding on one’s choice of vegetables, protein, and a healthy fat. Another similar arrangement is overnight oats. By combining equal parts, oats (½ cup) and any type of milk (½ cup), half that of yogurt (¼ cup), one gets the base for a healthy breakfast. Adding one’s preferred fruit and nut toppings, then refrigerating overnight, ensures a nutritious ready made breakfast in the morning. Structures such as this for meals are a great way to customize a healthy, delicious meal.
Another way to challenge oneself to eat healthy is to consider modifying some comfort dishes and everyday favorites into healthier versions. While some may see this as a restriction, others see it as an opportunity to try new foods. This can be a great motivator to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into one’s daily life. If this seems challenging, a good way to start is to look for vegan or vegetarian alternatives to one’s favorite food. For example, replacing a beef or turkey patty with a veggie burger cuts down the fat and calorie content and adds a boost of fiber for digestive health. Further, a good adjustment to make pasta dishes healthier is to replace the pasta with alternative versions such as chickpea or lentil pasta which can be found in most grocery stores. Both versions can taste identical, but the alternative versions have a high protein content, high fiber, and take longer to digest. Replacing regular pasta with lentil pasta and opting for vegetables and lean protein rather than cheese and red meat is a simple way to incorporate health foods into one’s everyday diet. While these replacements may not taste exactly like the original foods, they provide a similar taste that is delicious on its own.
Being conscious of health and nutrition while cooking is a beneficial habit to develop. The phrase “you are what you eat” holds some truth. A healthy lifestyle starts in the kitchen. By starting off with simple, but healthy recipes and adapting them to one’s preferences, one can create a life-long good relationship with food.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT