My Top 5 Favorite Healthy Cooking Tricks

I am all about finding ways to enhance recipes in ways that boost their nutrition.  These small modifications aren’t meant to be sneaky but rather help the home cook add a bit more of this (e.g., whole grain) and a bit less of that (e.g., saturated fat).  You would be surprised what a few small changes can add up too.

immersion blended soup
Immersion Blended Soup / Joel Kramer / CC BY 2.0

Blending a portion of a recipe to thicken it.

Recipes for chowders and sauces often call for whipping cream or similar products, which are meant to thicken the recipe and create the creamy mouth-feel we associate with these recipes. Unfortunately, this adds calories, saturated fat and cholesterol. Pass on the cream and thicken instead by removing a portion of the recipe, blending it and then stirring it back in. Or use an immersion blender if you have one to accomplish the same thing.

Finely chop greens into ricotta cheese for pasta dishes.

Probably one of my favorite ways to amp up the nutrition of a basic lasagna recipe is to add finely chopped greens (often 3 Guiding Stars spinach) to the ricotta cheese. While I don’t do this to be a “sneaky chef,” I have to admit that it is quite useful for home cooks that need to hide the green stuff.  I am sure that your friends and family won’t even notice!

Season with herbs or spices with big flavor to avoid salt.

There’s no need for tons of salt when you cook with fragrant herbs and spice blends packed with strong flavors that make your dish shine. There are many terrific salt-free blends available in your market today, such as McCormick’s Perfect Pinch Fiesta Citrus Seasoning Blend (my favorite go to for tex-mex grilled salads, fajitas and more!).

Use whole grains whenever possible.

Guiding Star-rated whole wheat pasta, whole grain white flour and ground whole grain cereals for breading are just some of the ways you can incorporate more whole grain into your recipes without changing the recipe too much. This small change adds satiating protein and fiber to your dish, which helps meet your daily fiber goal and curbs your appetite.

Add heart healthy fat whenever you can.

Whether it’s ground flax in smoothies, chia in cookie batter or using walnuts in a pesto, these additions or changes to recipes bring on the heart healthy fat and turn a basic recipe into one that aids in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and reducing risk of heart disease.

For more recipe ideas that incorporate these simple changes visit