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Healthy Cooking Tips

Sometimes it's the little things that can make or break a meal. Use the following information to make your meals not just more nutritious, but more delicious!

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Portion Sizes
By understanding the average portion size of different foods, you can avoid overeating. The following are general estimates for a variety of foods.

  • Protein: one serving is no larger than the size of your palm, or 3 oz.
  • Starchy side dishes: the size of a tennis ball
  • Medium piece of fruit: tennis-ball size
  • One ounce of cheese: 4 dice
  • Cabbage family: 1 cup raw, 1/2 cup cooked
  • Dark leafy greens: 1 cup raw
  • Water: 6 to 8 8-oz. glasses per day
  • Beans and legumes: one-half cup cooked
  • Whole grains: 1 slice whole-wheat bread, 1/2 cup cooked grains, cereal or pasta, 1 oz. ready-to-eat cereal

Cooking Techniques
To get the most out of your foods, use the following tips and tricks to maximize flavor and nutrients.

  • Get Firm on Tofu: Freeze tofu or gently press the water out to make it firmer. If you like, you can marinate it prior to cooking for more flavor.
  • Safe Grilling:  Pre-cook meats on the stove or in the oven, and finish them off on the grill - less time on the grill means less carcinogens on your meats.
  • Cook These Veggies:   Avoid eating raw peas, beans, alfalfa sprouts, lentil sprouts, mung bean sprouts and mushrooms.
  • Cut the Fat in Thai Food:   When cooking with coconut milk, substitute evaporated skim milk for half the amount.
  • Cooking Asparagus:   Asparagus should only cook for five minutes in boiling, salted water. It should be crisp-tender, never mushy.
  • Toasting Nuts:   Stir raw almonds, cashews or walnuts in a dry skillet over medium-high heat or spread them on a baking sheet placed in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. Toss occasionally until they are done to your liking.
  • Cooking Millet:  To cook millet as a grain instead of rice, just simmer 1/2 cup in 1 1/2 cups of liquid. If you leave it alone as it cooks, you'll get fluffy grains like rice; if you stir frequently and add a little extra liquid during cooking, you'll get a dish that resembles mashed potatoes. It takes about 25 minutes to cook millet by simmering.  
  • Get Sweet on Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients (including carotenoids, copper, and fiber) and rank much lower on the glycemic index scale than white potatoes.

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Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

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