10 Principles of Healthy Cooking

If your eating habits are anything like those of most Americans and you are looking for the simplest advice possible we would tell you to eat more vegetables, fruits and whole grains and less of just about everything else. But if youíre ready for just a bit more guidance, our 10 principles of healthy cooking will get you started:

1. Use smart fats. Not all fat is bad. Opt for unsaturated (e.g., olive oil) over saturated fats such as butter. But still use them in moderation because all fats are loaded with calories.

2. Go unrefined. Pick whole grains over refined grains. Whole grains like brown rice and bulgur have their bran intact and thus have more fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and other nutrients.

3. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Most people donít get enough! Aim for 5 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Pick produce in a variety of colors to get a range of antioxidants and vitamins. A serving size is 1⁄2 to 1 cup depending on the fruit or vegetable.

4. Itís not all about the meat. Meat is a great source of protein but itís also a big source of saturated fat in many peopleís diets. So eat small amounts of lean meat, fish and poultry. Fill up the rest of your plate with healthy vegetables and whole grains.

5. Choose low-fat dairy. Dairy products like milk, sour cream and yogurt are a good source of calcium. Replacing whole-milk dairy products with low-fat or nonfat is an easy way to cut saturated fat in your diet.

6. Keep portions reasonable. Even though we would all like a magic bullet for weight control, it really boils down to calories. One of the easiest ways to manage calorie intake is by eating healthy portions.

7. Use sweeteners judiciously. Sugars of any kind, whether corn syrup, white sugar, brown sugar, honey or maple syrup, add significant calories without any nutritive value.

8. Keep an eye on sodium. Whether you have high blood pressure or not, itís wise to watch your sodium intake. The USDAís dietary guidelines for Americans recommend consuming less than 2,300 mg (about 1 teaspoon salt) daily.

9. Go for the flavor. Enhance food with bold flavors from healthy ingredients like fresh herbs, spices and citrus. When your food has great flavor, thereís no reason to feel deprived.

10. Be mindful and enjoy. Make conscious food decisions rather than grabbing for what is most convenient. Make sure it is something delicious and savor it. When you enjoy what you eat, you feel satisfied.

Visit EatingWell.com for free quick and easy healthy recipe collections!

By Jessie Price & the Editors of EatingWell


Dan B.
Dan Brook7 years ago

If you want a healthy you and a healthy environment, try some LOVE:

LOVE for the Environment

Adam R.
Past Member 8 years ago

It's a very nice article. It’s a pity that people don’t realize the importance of this information. Thanks for posing it.

vitamine b6

Hilda Perrett
Hilda Perrett8 years ago

such sensible advice

Vural K.
Past Member 8 years ago


Past Member
Past Member 8 years ago

Finally! 10 easy principles we all can follow.

I would add: Pick organic for the vegetables with more probability to have been exposed to chemicals, and if you can afford it, then just get organic. For me that means not going out partying (what the other 24 years old people do)... but I rather that, than poisoned rivers and earth.

Pick non genetically modified organisms (most organic stuff aren't).

Get local products.

Be picky and indulge yourself with an expensive piece of beef from the plains and fed with organic seeds, instead of getting cheap brasilian meat (it's fatal for the Amazon).

Try eating more amaranth, change white rice for it or complement your rice dishes with it. In latin stores you can get yummy amaranth Alegrías... they aren't only a joy to taste, but an energy bomb and full with all essential proteins.
Oh! and try vegetarian milk (two weeks ago I swore for real milk, till I tried the oatmeal one)... it is tasty and helps your skin get in good condition (no more acne for me!!!)

Harlie B.
Harlie B.8 years ago

Trader joes has the products! :]

Harlie B.
Harlie B.8 years ago

I like this article somewhat. cut down on dairy is smart its alot of fat and its pretty acidic. Also you should add that sweetners like: sweet and low, splenda ect. are bad especially equal has aspertame which causes cancer nd was rejected from the USDA to be put in foods 8 times! unfortuneatly its there in equal.
read the ingerdients of what your eating thats more important than how much calories or carbs are in it. There are such things as complex carbs and thats what you want. Justin R's right meat isnt the best choice. If you dont eliminate it cut down! REDUCE: heart disease and diabties risk. Food pyramids in other countries have red meat as the smallest portion! (YES,smaller than sweets) But This article is deffinetly right about adding more fruits,veggies and whole( not refined) grain! I hope that was informative for everyone!
p.s. If you want a GREAT replacement for sugar that tastes good and has a low glycemic level look for Stevia packets or Agave nectar (a liquid) :D

Christie C.
Christie C8 years ago

The article says to choose low fat versions of dairy products, but consider whether you want to exchange fats for lots of sugar and chemicals. "Lite" or "Non-Fat" are marketing words that scare me. Read the ingredient labels until you find brands you can trust.
Great article otherwise! More and more people are cutting back on meat consumption, for health and budget reasons. It's easier to do than you think. Even some heavy meat-eaters I know are cutting back and feeling the health benefits (like less flatulence, lol).

Tara D.
Tara D.8 years ago

we're omnivours ...although we all have different genetic ancestry so different foods work for different people...I, for instance, can't really digest grains properly...even if they're whole and unrefined....and this articles advice about calories and fat is totally outdated

Justin R.
Past Member 8 years ago

We are Biologicaly Herbavorious and Americans at thistime'09 are overeating flesh! Who should we blame? Maybe you will want to check out goveg.com because it is important! And the FDA is a failure if you ask me or the "SSOV".