Ways to Shop Smarter, Cook Faster, and Eat Healthier

Ways to Shop Smarter, Cook Faster, and Eat Healthier


Save money, time, and calories with this collection of healthy eating tricks and healthy recipes that will have you in and out of the kitchen — and eating better — in a snap.

Dinner 911

Sometimes supper doesn’t turn out as planned. Rescue it with these tricks from Top Chef finalist Antonia Lofaso and the Food Network’s Ingrid Hoffmann.

  • Scorched brown rice. Transfer to a container with a whole peeled onion. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. The onion will absorb the burned flavor and odor.
  • Too-salty soup. Add one-half to three-fourths cup of liquid to thin it out. Use milk for pureed or cream-based soups like tomato, and unsalted broth or water for clear ones like chicken noodle.
  • Overdressed salad. Toss in some raw baby carrots or broccoli — they soak up a lot more dressing than greens do.

It’s About Thyme

Prevent your herbs from drooping after a day or two in the fridge: “Put a dry paper towel in the bag with them,” suggests Dale Van Sky, executive chef at Red Mountain Spa in St. George, Utah. “The towel absorbs excess moisture, so the herbs stay fresh for about a week.” Use them to increase the flavor and the health benefits of any dish, including steamed carrots and sauteed shrimp.

Give Rice a Boost

Skip the water and cook rice in juice instead, suggests celebrity chef Todd English. Try carrot, apple, beet, or pomegranate (or combos of them) to add vibrant color plus vitamin A and antioxidants.

A New Take on Grains

Quinoa is packed with magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, and fiber. Enjoy it in this dish from FITNESS advisory board member Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD.

  • Add 1/4 cup dry quinoa and 1/2 teaspoon curry powder to 1/2 cup boiling water.
  • Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Mix with 1/2 cup shredded carrots, 2 tablespoons dried cranberries, 3 chopped scallions, and 1 cup chickpeas.
  • Serve, and enjoy!

Build a Better Burger

Use lean ground turkey instead of lean ground beef and you’ll save 120 calories and 12.5 grams of fat. For flavor and juiciness, toss in portobello mushrooms, says Marisa Moore, RD, an American Dietetic Association spokesperson. Add two chopped mushrooms to each pound of meat, and top with a dollop of yogurt-cucumber dressing. (Mix plain yogurt, chopped onion, and chopped cucumber in a food processor, then add a little dill.)
Smart Swap

Make a healthier chili by skipping the meat and using brown lentils instead, suggests Terry Conlan, executive chef at the Lake Austin Spa Resort in Texas. “They’re similar in texture to ground beef,” he says. The switcheroo will double the fiber and save you about five grams of saturated fat per bowl.

Cool Idea

Freeze leftover tomato or pesto sauce in an ice tray. When you need a quick meal, pop out a few cubes, heat, and toss with whole-grain pasta

Turn Up the Flavor

Winter tomatoes are typically pale, tasteless imitations of the summer varieties. But now they don’t have to be. Try this ingenious trick from Food Network chef Cat Cora to banish blandness and boost the tomatoey essence you crave: Slice tomatoes, toss with a little olive oil, place in a baking dish, and roast in the oven at 400 degrees F. for 15 to 20 minutes. Finish by drizzling the tomatoes with balsamic vinaigrette or sprinkling with Parmesan cheese and topping with a dash of salt and pepper. Delish!

Quicker Cooking

When you’re rushing to get dinner ready, every second counts. Chef Ingrid Hoffmann tells you how to slash five minutes off your prep time.

  • Snip it. Use a pair of scissors to cut turkey bacon, mince herbs, or trim the ends off fresh green beans.
  • Shred it. If you have leftover chicken or pork tenderloin, pull it apart while it’s still hot; it’ll flake more easily than when it’s cold or at room temperature. Store it in the refrigerator for soup or sandwiches later in the week.
  • Leave it. Don’t poke holes in your potatoes (sweet or regular spuds) before nuking them and they’ll cook three to four minutes faster. (And no, they won’t explode all over your microwave!)

Adapted from Fitness Magazine By Karen Cicero

What are some of your tips?

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