Learn the EatingWell Test Kitchen’s 10 best cooking tips for making healthier homemade meals.
Step inside the EatingWell Test Kitchen—picture four home kitchens in one room—and you’ll find us trying to solve problems. What problems?
We know you want recipes that satisfy your high standards of taste and health, but are easy and quick enough for a weeknight. So how do we do it? We turn to tricks and techniques we’ve learned over the past 10 years, some from the chefs and cookbook authors we work with, others developed through lots of trial and error, right here in our kitchen.
Some of our tastiest results include: comfort foods like mac & cheese and fried chicken that are light enough to eat every day, baked goods with more fiber but fewer calories and less fat, and even healthier ice creams. Our other challenge: we want to make sure that when you make our recipes you get the same great results. So we test our recipes repeatedly, using different equipment and several cooks. To celebrate our 10th anniversary, we’re sharing 10 of our best healthy cooking secrets. Use them in your own kitchen to create healthy recipe makeovers of your own.
1. Make creamy dishes without the cream
Creamy sauces like those in fettuccine alfredo or homemade macaroni and cheese are often loaded with butter, heavy cream and/or cheese. We ditch heavy cream and make velvety sauces with low-fat milk that’s thickened with flour. To make your own cream substitute: Combine 1 cup low-fat milk with 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour; whisk over medium heat until bubbling and thick. Cup for cup, thickened low-fat milk saves more than 680 calories and 53 grams saturated fat vs. heavy cream! For creamy salads, such as potato salads, opt for low-fat mayonnaise and/or reduced-fat sour cream; a blend of the two tastes great. One tablespoon regular mayo has 90 calories and 10 grams fat vs. 15 calories and 1 gram fat in low-fat mayo.
2. Try cooking with less oil
Extra-virgin olive oil and canola oil are our go-to, heart-healthy oils for many recipes. But they still pack about 120 calories per tablespoon, so we use them judiciously. Try adding less oil to your favorite sauté, salad or soup recipe. When cooking on the stovetop, cast-iron, nonstick or enamel-coated skillets and pans let you use the least amount of oil with very little sticking.