5 calorie-loaded mistakes to avoid in the kitchen
Eating at home can be healthier all-around, rather than eating at a sit-down restaurant, getting takeout or going through the drive-thru. When you cook at home, you are in control of the ingredients and can create a well-balanced meal.
Writer Hannah Campbell says home cooking can be deceiving at times. Campbell reveals some common cooking practices that can add unnecessary calories to your diet on Health.com:
- Too much oil – Typically, you only need a single tablespoon of oil to coat a pan, but that single tablespoon can add about 120 calories to your meal. Campbell suggests lightly steaming your ingredients (vegetables or proteins) to cook them fully before adding them to a pan with oil.
- Supersized servings – Weighing or measuring every ingredient takes time. Oftentimes we guesstimate serving sizes and if those measurements aren’t accurate, you can be adding calories and fat to a meal. Campbell says that until you are an expert on measurements, use tools to help.
- Taking the recipe literally – Many recipes are written to have the maximum flavor. This usually translates into having a considerable amount of fat and calories. Try researching healthy alternatives to common, high-calorie ingredients. Campbell offers the example of swapping avocado puree for butter.
- Snacking while cooking – Cooking while hungry can be dangerous. It’s easy to add up the calories by not paying attention to how much you are snacking. Campbell suggests drinking water, snacking on raw vegetables or chewing gum while you cook so that you have your mouth occupied.
- Keeping food around –Campbell says to avoid temptation of second and third helpings after eating a meal, put your leftover food away as soon as possible.
“It all comes down to watching your food intake,” says Dr. Jennifer DeBruler, an internal medical physician with Advocate Medical Group in Libertyville, Ill. “Using too much fat and sugar while cooking and snacking are common ways you may be adding unneeded calories to your daily diet.”
Dr. DeBruler suggests tracking your food intake closely and that includes all the ingredients you use to make a meal.
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.