Healthy Cooking: 5 Organic Meal and Snack Hacks

Healthy Organic meal

Dr. Alan Greene is a die-hard organic food lover. He believes that healthy cooking starts with making the right kind of food choices. He’s followed a natural, organic diet for the past three years, but he didn’t start out that way.

It all began when a dairy farmer told him that his livestock got sick less often after he switched to organic practices. Dr. Greene wondered if switching to a one-hundred percent organic diet would improve his health as well. After making the shift, the doc says he has more energy and wakes up earlier. As a pediatrician, he was accustomed to having several illnesses a year because of treating sick children. Nowadays he’s rarely ill.

Organic foods have several health benefits. First, they boost your immune system. They also improve your overall health. In addition, many people think they taste better. And it goes without saying that organic farming is better for the environment. The more you know about organic foods, the more you’ll want to incorporate them into your own healthy cooking practices.

What is Organic Food?

Organic food is food farmed without human-made fertilizers, growth regulators, pesticides, or animal food additives. Moreover, irradiation, the use of genetically modified products and organisms are also prohibited. For food to be labeled organic, it must likewise be free from preservatives, artificial sweeteners, flavoring, coloring, and monosodium glutamate. The USDA certifies food as organic in the United States. There are other accrediting organizations as well.

Organic foods have increased in popularity over the last two decades. Data shows that US consumers spent 49.4 billion on organic produce in 2017. And still, the sales trend is increasing.

Research studies point out that organically grown crops have more nutrients and vitamins. Organically grown plants have higher levels of antioxidants and certain micronutrients such as zinc, vitamin C and iron. The level of antioxidants can go up to sixty-nine percent higher in these foods.

Studies have also shown that nitrate levels are thirty percent lower in these crops. It’s good for your health because higher nitrate levels are linked to certain types of cancer and also methemoglobinemia. This is a condition which affects infants’ ability to carry oxygen.

Moreover, organic dairy products and milk contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, and slightly increased amounts of vitamin E, iron and some carotenoids. The benefits don’t stop with that; organic foods contain fewer chemicals and lower levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria than regular foods.

So if you’re serious about healthy cooking, then organic foods should be on the menu.

Meal Prep Hacks to Simplify Healthy Cooking

If you work full time, take care of family, and cook then you may not have the luxury of “taking your time” with meal prep. But don’t worry! With a few simple hacks, healthy cooking can be a snap.

Cook your eggs beforehand

Man separate egg yolk in a bowl

Do you like an omelet? You can make 6 to 12 in advance. Simply mix up a dozen eggs, plus whatever other ingredients you like. Then pour the mixture into the cups of a buttered muffin tin. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You can eat these by themselves, or put them in a sandwich. They keep well in the fridge, too.

Buy a food processor

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You can use the food processor to making creamy and nutritious hummus, which goes great with celery and carrot sticks. Or whip together grains and dried fruit for no-bake energy bites. If you like, you can also instantly grate veggies to add to your soups, sauces and other dishes.

Turn your fridge into a salad bar

Salads on ice

Stock up on citrus fruits like orange, lemon, and lime to make a quick vinaigrette. Store almonds, cashews and other nuts in Ziplock baggies. Precook whole grains such as quinoa, whole wheat pasta, and brown rice. Rinse canned beans and store in the fridge as well.

Chop raw vegetables such as broccoli, red bell peppers, carrots, and tomatoes. Wash and keep fresh greens and herbs such as romaine, parsley, spinach, and cilantro. Roast beets, sweet potatoes, and other root veggies. As a result, when you want to snack, the right ingredients will be there waiting.

Start using a pressure cooker

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A pressure cooker preserves foods’ nutrients. Pressure cooking also saves energy and time. Your kitchen is cooler because a pressure cooker retains the heat and steam, so it doesn’t heat up your kitchen. You can cook tender, fork-apart meats in minutes. Also, you won’t need any fats oils for frying. You can pressure cook batches of quinoa, farro, rice or other grains. It keeps weekly meal prep time to a minimum.

Buy seasonal produce

Seasonal Produce

Buying seasonal produce reduces the burden on your wallet and allows you to eat healthy all through the year. In-season food tastes better and has higher nutritional value than out-of-season foods. Moreover, it avoids overseas contaminants like heavy metals and chemicals. It’s also more environmentally friendly. How can you tell what’s in season when? Check out this guide from the USDA.

Schedule your prep time

Slice bread and strawberries on top of the chopping board

Allowing time for food prep helps you to stay on track. Additionally, proper planning makes your cooking process more comfortable. So create a plan and write it on your calendar. Tailoring your prep time and scheduling will save you time, money and groceries.

Here are some more pointers to simplify your cooking:

  • Go in for the right size of containers.
  • Follow this rule: two proteins, one starch, and four vegetables.
  • Cook food at the right temperatures
  • Keep raw and cooked foods separately.
  • Try to cook several ingredients on a sheet pan.
  • Use marinades, spices, and sauces to add flavor to your meals.
  • Go in for pre-prepped ingredients.

Organic Food Recipes to Kindle Your Passion for Healthy Cooking

Now that you have prep down, how about some recipes?

Fluffy Spelt pancakes with coconut milk and blueberries

Recipe source: Eva in the kitchen

With a subtle coconut flavor and the sweetness of blueberries, these are the fluffiest and airy pancakes you’ll ever taste. These pancakes use spelt, not wheat, which is an ancient grain with high levels of protein and dietary fiber. It also contains significant levels of iron and folic acid.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • Some butter
  • Icing sugar or organic honey

Method

First, mix the salt, flour, and baking powder in a big bowl. Next, mix the egg and coconut milk in another vessel. Then mix it with flour. Finally, stir in the fresh organic blueberries.

Heat some butter in a non-stick skillet. Using a large tablespoon, make pancakes in the skillet. Cook for a few minutes until the pancakes become firm and turn it over. Wait until it becomes golden brown. Finally, top the pancakes with blueberries and drizzle some honey before serving.

Strawberry coffee cake

Recipe source: Organicitsworthit

The heart-shaped silhouette of the strawberries might give you a clue that it’s good for your heart. These berries are packed with fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants. Strawberries are fat-free, sodium free, cholesterol free and they are low-calorie food perfect for your healthy cooking practices.

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/4 sticks of butter
  • Two cups flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 half tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla and baking powder

Ingredients for topping

  • 3 cups of berries fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup each of cranberries, brown sugar and chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Method

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then flour and grease two 10 inch square pans. Then slowly mix all the coffee cake ingredients and pour into the containers. Now combine topping ingredients and layer it over the cake batter and bake for thirty-five minutes. Enjoy.

Buckwheat porridge with peaches

Recipe source: The healthy chef

Buckwheat is a gluten-free and a nutrient-packed seed which has a nutty flavor. Moreover, it has the amino acid tryptophan, which helps to produce serotonin, the feel-good hormone. This ancient grain is rich in magnesium, manganese and phosphorous.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup roasted buckwheat
  • 1 cup any milk of your choice, including dairy, coconut, almond, rice, and soy
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds or chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 grated red apple
  • A handful of large raisins
  • Fruit to serve

Method

First, combine the chia, buckwheat, jumbo raisins, cinnamon and vanilla in a bowl. Allow it to stay overnight in the fridge so the seeds could soften. Later, stir in the grated apple and cook in low heat for five minutes until the porridge becomes thick and creamy. Then add required water to adjust the consistency. Finally, pour it in bowls and serve with the fruit of your choice.

Chilled asparagus soup

Recipe source: Catching seeds

Asparagus, packed with “good for you” minerals and vitamins C, E, A, K, and B6, also features iron, copper, protein, fiber, and calcium. Laurel, the creator of this recipe, writes that she tried a million versions until she got the perfect flavor and texture. This soup is creamy but not dense, and it tastes good.

Ingredients

  • 1 minced white onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 2 stalks minced celery
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 2 medium avocados
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice

For Garnishing

  • Asparagus spears
  • Lemon cream
  • Parsley

Method

First, heat the olive oil. Then add celery and onion and cook over medium heat for about ten minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper, bay leaf and asparagus. Then sauté for three minutes. Next, pour in the vegetable stock and slowly bring the soup to a boil. Simmer and cook for five minutes. Cool the soup to room temperature.

Now blend the avocado, soup and lemon juice in a blender until smooth and creamy. Cool it in the refrigerator for at least one hour before you serve. Finally, garnish with parsley, lemon cream, and asparagus spears.

How do you make the lemon cream? Soak half a cup of cashew nuts for about four hours. Blend it along with quarter cup water, four tablespoons lemon juice and salt. Store it in the fridge.

Mexican quinoa salad

Recipe source: Minimalist Baker

This Mexican quinoa salad is a delicious, healthy and satisfying salad that takes only about thirty minutes of your time. This salad can also be a perfect weekend meal if you want something quick and healthy. It pairs well with tortilla chips, fresh lime juice, and salsa.

Ingredients for the salad

  • 1 cup red or white quinoa
  • 5 to six cups mixed greens
  • 1/4 quarter cup diced red onion
  • 1 cup cooked black beans.
  • 1/2 cup canned or fresh corn.
  • 1/4 cup chopped avocado.
  • 1 medium segmented orange
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

Ingredients for the dressing

  • 1 large lime
  • 1/2 cup of ripe avocado
  • 1-2 tsp hot sauce
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1-2 tsp any of maple syrup, cane sugar or agave
  • A pinch each of black pepper and sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • 3-4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced cilantro

Method

First, thoroughly rinse half a cup of quinoa and bring it to boil in about one cup of water in a saucepan. Then, once the porridge starts to boil, cover with a lid and simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes. Meanwhile, chop the veggies, warm the black beans and split orange. Season them with cumin, salt, chili, and garlic powder.

To prepare the dressing, add all the ingredients to the blender and blend until creamy and smooth. Adjust the seasonings. You can plate the salad and serve along with dressing on the side, or you can toss the salad before serving.

Organic is the way to go

There is a direct correlation between what you put inside your body and the effect it has on your health. That’s why healthy cooking should be a part of everyone’s household meal preparation. Healthy coking means going back to nature and avoiding over-processed foods. Organic foods lay a strong foundation for your healthy cooking practices. Cooking with all natural ingredients helps you to create heart-healthy, easily digestible meals that taste wonderful and makes you feel energetic. This way you can rest assured that you’re feeding your family the purest harvest of mother nature.

Last update on 2021-03-06 at 16:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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