Avoid Falling Back on Healthy Eating.

The signs of fall are now evident as the cooler weather is here and the leaves are beginning to change colours. With the turning of the season comes a change in the food that is around us. Comfort food is now appearing and everything seems to be flavoured with pumpkin spice! Avoid falling off your healthy eating lifestyle with these tips to keep your meals tasty yet healthy.

Choose cheese wisely: Cheese is commonly found in many recipes however most recipes call for more cheese than is required. Try adding less cheese or simply substitute full-fat cheese for reduced fat cheese to make your dishes more health conscious. When a recipe calls for cream cheese, use light cream cheese as it virtually tastes the same. Light cream cheese contains ½ the fat than the alternative and is a great substitute for cooking!

Meat alternatives: Choose lean or light meats to reduce calories on your dishes. Boneless and skinless chicken is an excellent source of protein but also contains fewer calories than the alternative with skin. Trim any visible fat off your meats after purchasing them and look for free range grown as they also contain less fat.

Choose cooking spray: Buy spray bottles for oils such as olive oil or canola oil when cooking. Instead of adding a large amount of oil to a pan, spray on oil to get enough on the surface and food can brown and crisp. Using cooking oil in a spray bottle rather than an unplanned amount greatly reduces the amount of fat and calories without sacrificing the flavour of the dish.

Add some zest: Whether it is lemon, lime or orange zest it is sure to add flavour to any cooking or baking dishes in a healthy manner. When reducing the amount of calories and fat in baking, add zest to put flavour back into the mix. Also add zest to your favourite fish dishes for a fresh taste.

Wine: We often forget that this beverage makes a great substitute for flavour when cooking. Wine adds moisture in many dishes and can be incorporated into meats, vegetable dishes, sauces and even desserts. Wine is a great alternative for fat while maintaining flavour.

Egg substitutes: Although eggs are a great food, eating more than one is high in fat and cholesterol. Substitute eggs for egg whites in quiches and omelets, or mix eggs with egg whites to get the required amount without the fat. Remember when substituting egg whites for eggs the concentration of your baking will change, so look up the required conversions before you begin.

Get the right tools: Purchasing good cooking tools can surprisingly help make your cooking and baking healthier! Buy non-stick pans to reduce the amount of oil or butter you add and also keep flavour on the food as opposed to stuck onto the pan.

Remember to stay healthy this fall despite the temptations around you. Many simple cooking tips derive from proper planning and common sense – do not fall back this fall!

By Sarah Bamber