If you had to guess how many people were obese in the United States, what would you say? Chances are, your answer would vastly underestimate the severity of this country’s obesity epidemic.
Currently, 40% of American citizens are clinically obese, and this trend shows no signs of slowing at all. The reasons for the obesity epidemic has multi-causal, but one of the biggest reasons why we’re obese is because our food is far too calorie-dense and we have way too much access to food sources.
So, in this article, we’re going to give you some healthy cooking tips that’ll help you lower the calorie count of your meals and increase your fat burn.
Calories In, Calories Out
Before we get to the tips, we have to understand one thing about fat loss. Our bodies burn fat according to the first law of thermodynamics, which states that energy cannot be created or destroyed in a closed system. It can only be transferred from one location to another or converted into a different type of energy.
Our bodies calories as energy. We’re always burning calories (transferring the energy from one location to another in the form of body heat) whether we’re exercising or not. The rest of the calories we don’t use get converted into a different type of energy (fat cells).
So if we want to lose weight, the best way to do that is cut down on our caloric intake so that we have no calories left over, and our body uses our fat cells for energy instead. As long as the calories you take in are less the calories you put out, you’ll lose weight.
This concept is important to explain because these healthy cooking tips aren’t going to be focusing primarily on limiting your caloric intake by eating different foods or trying out different cooking methods.
1. Eat Lean Meats
When on a calorie restricted diet, fat can potentially be your number one enemy. This isn’t because fat isn’t good for you. It is. But it’s the most calorie-dense of the macronutrients. Carbohydrates and protein both have 4 calories per gram, but fat has a whopping 9 calories per gram.
So while that 80-20 ground beef may taste a whole lot better than the 95-5 lean beef, it’s far more calorie-dense. If you’re trying to lose weight, you should always opt for leaner cuts of meat.
We’re personal fans of turkey, chicken breast, and beef rounds. With the right marinades and spices, these can taste just as good as a fatty burger.
2. Avoid Cooking Oils
You should avoid cooking oils for the same reason. Oils are pure fat, meaning they’re the most calorie-dense food in your kitchen. Did you know that olive oil typically has around 120 calories per tablespoon? It’s comically absurd.
If you do the right thing and buy lean cuts of meat only to douse them in olive or another cooking oil, you’ll have negated your first health choice.
Alternatively, you have the option of several low-calorie cooking oils or even 0-calorie cooking sprays! Some of them even taste just like butter or olive oil.
3. Become Friends with the Oven
To avoid sauteeing veggies in fatty cooking oils or frying your meats to get them crispy, you should instead opt for baking more of your meals in the oven. Oven-roasted Brussel sprouts and crispy gluten-free breaded chicken can often taste better than their pan-fried alternatives if they’re done right.
You can also consider braising your meats in the oven with low-calorie cooking liquids to make those lean cuts melt in your mouth without all the fat.
4. Ease Up On the Condiments
This is a very common mistake dieters make. They’ll buy the lean cuts of meat and opt for the bread made with filling complex carbs. But then, they absolutely load up their sandwiches or hotdogs with mayo, ketchup, and honey mustard.
It may seem like an afterthought, but these condiments are absolutely loaded with calories. They’re still fine to eat, but make sure you’re including them in your caloric intake. And maybe…lighten up on the squeeze bottle a little bit. Your waistline will thank you for it.
5. Don’t Drink Your Calories
Have you ever felt full and satisfied with a soda? Probably not. It’s just not how our bodies work. These sugary drinks are filled with empty nutrients, so our bodies barely register that we’ve ingested them.
But that doesn’t mean the calories don’t exist. At 150-250 calories per can, a soda can do damage to your caloric restriction. Opt for tap water or its sparkling alternative instead.
6. Fill Up On Fibrous Vegetables
If you want to eat less and still feel satisfied, that generally means eating healthier. Through some sort of cosmic joke, the foods we like the least turn out to be the least addictive and the most filling.
Here, we’re talking about fibrous veggies. If you include foods like asparagus, broccoli, artichokes, dark leafy greens, and other vegetables like them, you’ll end up wanting to less of the bad stuff.
7. Eat Slowly
This isn’t necessarily a cooking tip, but it’s still helpful if you’re going to be eating more at home. A common mistake people make when starting to eat healthier is that they really load up on the right stuff without still taking into account the caloric content of their meals.
At the end of the day, 2,000 calories worth of lean chicken is the same as 2,000 calories worth of Twinkies when it comes to weight loss. Understand this, and eat slower. Our bodies digestion systems need time to tell us we’re full. If you take your time eating, you’ll find yourself wanting to eat less.
Were These Healthy Cooking Tips Helpful?
We hope these healthy cooking tips were new and informational for you. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll start shedding fat like a bear in hibernation. If you need any more tips, tricks, or advice about weight loss, be sure to check out the Diet for Weight Loss section of our website.