By Assunta Ng
Northwest Asian Weekly
How you eat effects how you feel. Eat well, and your body will feel good. Eat badly, and it won’t. One of my friends suggested eating organic, but the trouble is, sometimes, organic food doesn’t taste good. It also restricts your diet.
Instead, I use both Eastern and Western cooking techniques to prepare delicious and healthy meals.
Here are some tips to keep your body healthy and feeling great.
1. Eat fresh, not processed food
Fresh food is not only better for you. It actually tastes better than processed food, which contains lots of preservatives and fats. Processed food also contains more calories, especially food that comes with sauces.
It is important to read the labels of what you’re buying. For instance, food that consists of too much sodium, saturated fat, or polyunsaturated fat are bad for your body.
It might take time to develop a palate for fresh ingredients, but once you get used to fresh veggies and natural meats, you won’t want to go back to your old habits.
Your body will feel energized, and it might also help you lose weight.
2. Pan-fried, not deep-fried
When I count the number of calories in deep-fried food, I get scared and say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
I am also unwilling to order anything deep-fried in restaurants because it can also disguise stale food. At home, I never cook anything deep-fried. It makes the kitchen greasy and dirty. If you really want to eat crispy food, pan-fry. You use less oil.
3. Steam or boil
Chinese cooking emphasizes steaming food, so it can retain its original juices. We love steaming fish and boiling clams and mussels. After the seafood is cooked, we put a little soy sauce, ginger, green onion, and oil on top.
We even boil our veggies. Three minutes in the water followed by a small amount of soy sauce or oyster sauce creates a great result.
Have you tried boiling thin slices of beef just quickly enough to let them cook? Drain and serve them with sesame oil and soy sauce. It tastes wonderful.
4. Bake out the fat
While baking isn’t Asian-invented, I recommend it because it melts excess fat from meats. I like to marinate and bake beef, pork, and chicken. With low temperatures, you can re-bake the meats a couple of times until all the fat is gone.
5. Try low sodium
Every six weeks, I shop at a health food store for natural cashews, peanut butter, and unroasted, unsalted almonds. They have one thing in common: no sodium.
Asian families often cook with soy sauce, so I use low-sodium soy sauce whenever possible.
Be mindful when you use soy. sauce. I only use just enough, as to not lavishly drown my food.
6. Dilute fruit juices
The best way to drink fruit juices is to drink it fresh. If you are busy like I am, buy frozen juices and mix them with water. Frozen juices are often too sweet for me.
7. Salad is a must
Every day, I make a dinner salad consisting of apples, avocados, bananas, raisins, and three kinds of nuts — almonds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Sometimes, I mix my salads with cashew nuts and walnuts. Pick the nuts you like, they are a wonderful source of nutrients.
The salad I prepare is filling, satisfying, and delicious. This prevents me from overeating during dinner.
8. Seafood is a large part of my diet
I have fresh seafood for dinner at least four times a week, including fish, mussels, prawns, and clams. I am lucky that I can get fresh seafood in the International District at a reasonable price. Seafood is healthier than meat if you don’t deep-fry it. To me, it also tastes better than meat.
9. What kind of oil?
I mostly use olive oil, which is the best oil to use for cooking, according to many health experts. Stay away from butter and margarine, which contains saturated fat. Occasionally, I have sesame oil and a little soy sauce for boiled vegetables.
10. Yes, desserts too
I love desserts, but my list of favorites doesn’t include bubble tea. Those flavored teas have too much sugar and coloring. I’ve told my young friends that if you find any of those drinks too sweet, just dilute them with water and drink half instead.
I love chocolate because cocoa contains antioxidants, which can help relieve stress and enhance your mood.
Be careful of the kinds of chocolate you choose. I only pick dark chocolate, which does not contain oil, milk solids, or waxes.
Holy cow, she eats like a saint, you say. Not all the time. I cheat when I am on vacations. Now, I am in Asia, indulging myself with steaks, bacons, rich cheese sauce and many other unhealthy stuff. Oh well, that’s life. (end)
To get your child to eat healthy, it is vital to keep them more involved during meal preparation. They have the tendency to eat better since they will taste what they have prepared.