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Food

14 Unexpected Little Ways To Cook Healthier At Home

You don't have to change your whole life to eat a little better.

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1. Wash, chop, dice, and roast vegetables at the beginning of the week.

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That way, when you're in a rush or suddenly super hungry, you'll have prepared vegetables that you can throw into salads, soups, pastas, or whatever you're cooking. Read more about how to meal prep vegetables here.

2. Freeze leftover fruits and vegetables into smoothie cups before they start to go bad.

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Before you let your extra produce like kale, bananas, spinach, and celery go bad, put leftover fruits and veggies in the freezer. Not only will you reduce waste and save cash, but you'll have smoothie ingredients for future lazy mornings. Read more about how to DIY frozen smoothie packs here.

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3. Stock up on grains.

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Everyone has those nights where you just don't know what to cook. If you always keep a few boxes of grains on hand like whole wheat couscous, quinoa, bulgur, and farro, you'll have a healthy base for a meal that comes together in 15 minutes.

4. And rotisserie chicken.

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Weeknights can be rough, and cooking an elaborate meal from scratch can seem impossible. Rather than reach for the frozen pizza or take-out menu, opt for rotisserie chicken. It's pre-cooked, and you can transform it into creative meals like spicy Thai chicken noodle soup, buffalo chicken quinoa bowls, and shredded chicken tacos.

6. Try cooking with less processed oils like avocado and coconut oil instead of canola oil.

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In fact, avocado oil has a higher smoking point than olive oil or canola oil, so it's ideal for searing meats and stir-frying veggies.

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7. Or cook your food in chicken or vegetable broth.

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You can nix the cooking oils all together by using vegetable or chicken broth. Use it to cook grains like couscous, rice and quinoa, braise chicken or veggies, or add it to homemade sauces like marinara, curry, and alfredo.

8. Freeze anything from herbs in olive oil, coconut milk, greek yogurt, tomato paste, grated ginger, and roasted garlic in ice cube trays for an instant flavor-boost.

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If you have leftover sauces, confits, pastes, and herbs, don't let them go to waste. Freeze them in ice cube trays. You can thaw these ingredients to enhance whatever you're cooking. Zucchini noodles with instant homemade pesto? You bet.

10. Make salad dressing from scratch...in a big batch.

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Store bought dressings are often full of saturated fats, added sugar, and calories. For a better-for-you alternative, make salad dressing from scratch. You can make a big batch and keep it in the fridge for weeks. Try making cilantro lemon vinaigrette, tahini dressing, and maple balsamic vinaigrette.

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11. Swap plain yogurt for cream, mayonnaise and sour cream.

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If a recipe calls for mayo or sour cream, use plain yogurt instead. Not only is it lower in fat and calories, but the taste is so similar, you won't notice much of a difference. Try it with Waldorf chicken salad, lightened up fettuccine alfredo, and yogurt marinated chicken skewers.

12. Give vegetables the lead act rather than just a supporting role.

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Even if you're not a vegetarian, try cooking one meatless meal per week. Learn how to cook vegetables that taste amazing so you'll actually look forward to eating them. Try making General Tso's cauliflower, red curry sweet potato noodles, and eggplant crust pizza.

13. Make a meal plan for the week, and grocery shop accordingly.

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Instead of deciding what to make each night, make a game-plan. If you map out what you're going to cook Monday through Friday, you're more likely to stick to your healthy eating routine. Read more about how to strategically put together a grocery list here.

14. Cook a bunch of healthy breakfasts on Sunday that you can eat all week.

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If you know you won't have time in the morning to cook yourself a nutritious breakfast you can either make ahead or freeze for later. Try making sausage and vegetable breakfast casserole, freezer-friendly breakfast sandwiches, and make-ahead instant oatmeal.