It may be better than drive-thru grub, but if you assume that cooking at home automatically guarantees a weight-loss-friendly meal, you’ve got it all wrong. In fact, with a cup of this and splash of that, you can transform a seemingly-healthy dish into one that will make the number on the scale soar.
To help you stay on track with your goal to slim down and get fit, we asked some of the nation’s top nutrition experts to reveal which common cooking and baking ingredients they wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. Read on to get in the know—and once you’ve tossed some of these “Not That’s!” into the garbage, be sure to check out these things healthy cooks always have in their kitchen so you can re-stock your cupboard like a pro. So that way you can try out these 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time, the right way.
“Although they don’t contribute calories, artificial sweeteners are up to 700 times sweeter than natural sugar—and often leave you craving more sweets later in the day. If you’re trying to cut calories from your baked goods, swap out sugar for unsweetened applesauce instead. One cup of the white stuff has more than 770 calories while the same amount of unsweetened applesauce has about 100. And better yet, a 1:1 ratio works perfectly! ” — Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD
Cheap Vegetable Oils
“Cheap oils like soybean, corn oil, and cottonseed oil are highly processed, contain high amounts of pro-inflammatory omega-6 saturated fats, and offer very little heart-healthy omega-3s. Instead of using these fats in your cooking, switch to avocado or coconut oil, which have both been shown to aid weight loss. Both oils have high smoke points, too, so they’re great options for pan-frying.” — Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN
“Eighty percent of the fat in palm kernel oil is saturated, and the cooking oil doesn’t offer any real health-promoting properties. Instead, cook with oils that are made up of mono and polyunsaturated fats that have a medium to a high smoking point. Canola and olive oil both fit the bill.” — Heather Mangieri, RDN
Fat-Free Dairy Products
“Although I’m a fan of fat-free milk, other fat-free dairy products like cheese, cream cheese and cottage cheese are a no-go in my kitchen. Many people find the texture, taste and mouthfeel of these products to be less satisfying, which either turns them off from the dish altogether or spurs cravings for seconds and thirds as they search for satisfaction.” — Christine M. Palumbo, MBA, RDN, FAND
Looking for some healthy and delicious full-fat foods that will whittle your middle? Check out these 20 Best Full-Fat Foods for Weight Loss!
“Artificial food dyes, which many people use to color baked goods, are cause for concern and may have serious side effects—especially in children. Red 40, for example, may contain cancer-causing contaminants, despite the fact that it’s approved by…