How you cook your meals (particularly home-cooked ones) is just as important as both the meals themselves and the exercise regimen you are following, especially as far as weight loss is concerned. That is because all the intense, calorie-burning exercises that you have been practicing and the healthy food you have been consuming thus far will have little effect if you are cooking the latter in an excessively unhealthy way.
To guide you into proper healthy cooking while losing unwanted pounds, here are the biggest weight-loss-negating cooking mistakes, shared by top dietitian Susie Burrell:
Not measuring added fat
Drizzling excessive oil into the pan when cooking our favorite meals is something that we are all guilty of doing.
Still, even if the cooking oil you are using is healthy, it does not mean consuming lots of it. Thus, it is best to measure the amounts of cooking oil you are using to avoid weight gain.
“We do not need a lot of added fat in our diet, at most just one to two tablespoons of added oil each day, but with many of us using a free pour method we actually have no idea how much oil we are actually using,” Susie wrote in her blog Shape Me. She recommended measuring oil portions using a tablespoon in order to control fat intake, with one tablespoon per serving at most.
Utilizing too many sauces
In order to boost flavor into the food we are eating, we turn to sauces and spreads such as mayonnaise, tomato sauce or various seasonings for stir-frying. The problem is that we are actually piling up hundreds of extra calories, salt and sugar daily when we pour or spread them freely. For example, one jar of Hellmann’s mayonnaise packs 108 kilocalories per serving.
“Remain mindful of the portions of sauces you are using by always measuring out the recommended amounts and where possible limit any dishes to just one or two added seasonings or sauces to control you total calorie and salt intake,” Susie, who recommended to stick to servings equivalent to somewhere between the size of a dime and a quarter-dollar coin, urged.
We all love leftovers, don’t we? So much, that we cook and consume more protein-rich meat, poultry or seafood than what is actually needed.
“The issue with this style of eating is that we consume far more protein than we need at the expense of low calorie, nutrient rich vegetables,” she said. “One of the easiest ways to slash calories from your day is to minimize your protein portions and bump up your intake of vegetables and salad.”
For women, protein intake should be the size of a small hand or palm. For men, just roughly the size of a small hand.
Cooking using oil or butter
When cooking quick meals, we always add some calorie-increasing oil or butter in the pan.
To cook the same meals without negatively affecting your weight, Susie suggested using pans and grills that require no added oil.
“Another ingenious option is to use baking paper as a lining for the pan to cook fish and sausages without any added fat at all,” she added. “In the case of mixed dishes, baking paper helps to marinade the protein in any sauce you may be using to give your protein plenty of flavor minus any added fat.”
Adding cooking extras
All the extras that you love adding to your meals for better taste — feta, grated cheese, avocado, sour cream — can also expand your waist size.
In order to take control of your weight, Susie recommended adding only one extra to meals and measuring out your portions of high fat sauces and toppings such as cheese and sour cream.
“Look for lower fat and calorie options including cottage cheese, plain yogurt or herbs and spices which add flavor with a far fewer calories,” she said.