5 Cooking Tips For A Healthy New Year
In partnership with Dona Elena

5 Cooking Tips For A Healthy New Year

Start the new year right with these easy-to-follow tips for healthier home-cooked meals.

It’s that time of the year again, where we decide to list down resolutions in hopes to improve ourselves and make better lifestyle choices. Undoubtedly, some of these goals would include saving money as well as eating healthier food, and there’s no better way to achieve both than to start cooking your own meals at home more often. One of the easiest ways to cut down on both expenses and calories, cooking at home allows you to take control of exactly what goes into your dishes, catering it to your preferred taste and dietary requirements; a simple substitute or addition to the recipe could make even the guiltiest of pleasures (like curry and pasta) that much healthier. 

The importance of maintaining our physical and mental well-being has never been more evident given the recent pandemic, and while it might be challenging to follow through on your resolutions, we’re here to offer a few helpful tips to make your home-cooking journey easier, tastier and healthier at the same time.

1. Choose healthy fats

Not all fats are bad. In fact, good fats play a vital role in a healthy diet, providing energy and helping you to absorb nutrients and vitamins for your body. Overall, there are two types of fats that are beneficial for you - monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.

Three variants of Doña Elena Olive Oil, featuring their brand new bottles with improved label designs which highlight recommended product usage.

Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fats, and is the perfect choice when it comes to healthy cooking. It is rich in antioxidants and heart-healthy fats which help to lower blood pressure and reduce risk of chronic diseases. On top of these health benefits, olive oil also enhances your dish with fresh aromatic flavors, quite unlike normal cooking oil. Other sources of monounsaturated fat include avocados, eggs and most nuts. If you’re looking for polyunsaturated fats, you can find them in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines, as well as flaxseeds and chia seeds which are rich in good omega-3 fatty acids.

Related: Choose The Right Olive Oil For A More Flavorful Feast

Creamy Tangy Smashed Avocado on Toast

For your daily serving of healthy fats, whip up this Creamy Tangy Smashed Avocado on Toast for breakfast. Seasoned with zesty lime juice, garlic paste, olive oil and chili powder for a touch of heat, the mashed avocado is spread on wholemeal toast and garnished with fresh basil leaves and cherry tomatoes, creating a vibrant dish that is guaranteed to fill your stomach and keep your energy levels up for the day. Make this simple yet delicious meal with Doña Elena Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which has a rich taste to complement the fresh ingredients in this recipe. Extra virgin olive oil is also best suited for salads and dips.

Related: Doña Elena Olive Oil: Brand New Look, Same Great Taste

2. Save a portion of your plate for veggies

Eating healthy is not just about what you eat, but also how much you eat. Even if you’re eating something that’s good for you, you have to consider portion control and avoid overeating. It’s better to consume everything in moderation! A simple guide to dividing portions on your plate is to imagine it as a pie chart. Ideally, you should fill half your plate with vegetables, a quarter with your protein and the remaining quarter can be left for grains or even more vegetables if you prefer.

Vegetable Tagine

Cooking with vegetables doesn’t have to be bland or boring. Prepare this flavor-packed Vegetable Tagine to easily fill up the vegetable portion of your plate. Made with Doña Elena Pure Olive Oil, which is most suitable for everyday cooking, this mouthwatering dish is brimming with nutritious veggies, like zucchinis, eggplants and carrots, that are seasoned with fragrant herbs and spices, and left to simmer in a wholesome vegetable broth. Pair it with your choice of grains and proteins for a hearty meal. 

3. Whole grains are the way to go

Whole grains, unlike refined grains, are not stripped of their hard outer shell (also known as bran). Having their bran intact means that they contain more fiber, minerals and antioxidants which lower the risk of diseases and promote a healthy digestive system. Instead of having plain white rice or white bread, try complementing your dishes with whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, barley, bulgur and freekeh, just to name a few.

Freekeh with Chicken

Freekeh or Farik is a whole grain made from green durum wheat. Roasted, dried and rubbed to create a distinct smoky and earthy flavor, this wheat grain is a superfood in its own right, containing six times the amount of fiber as compared to the same amount of quinoa. Paired with tender chicken breast which has been seared in olive oil, serve up this Freekeh with Chicken with a topping of fried almonds and parsley for added crunch and flavor.

4. Listen to your gut

Happy gut, happy body! Having good gut health has been linked not only to improvements in your digestive system, but it also enhances your body’s overall immunity and emotional state. Besides maintaining a high fiber diet, be sure to feed your gut foods that are rich in probiotics. These include yoghurt and kefir as well as fermented foods such tempeh, sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi.

Kimchi Cream Pasta

For a unique Korean twist, add kimchi to your pasta. A staple in every Korean meal, kimchi is made from fermented vegetables that have been seasoned with gochugaru (Korean hot pepper flakes), garlic, ginger and spring onions. The tangy kimchi balances out the richness of the cream sauce really well, creating a harmonious blend of umami flavors in this Kimchi Cream Pasta. Elevate the dish even further by cooking it with Doña Elena Pure Olive Oil, which is recommended for pasta recipes.

Related: How To Make Kimchi

5. Plan your meals and stock up your kitchen wisely

And we don’t mean with toilet rolls, instant noodles and potato chips. Ever since the pandemic has kept us off the streets, there has been increased activity in the kitchen with people cooking more frequently to provide meals for family members that are working and studying from home. Now that you know what ingredients are good for you, do up a list of your favorite recipes and make sure the ingredients for these dishes are always available so you can easily whip up something healthy yet delicious for a satisfying meal.

Lechon Manok

Treat your family to a scrumptious feast with this Lechon Manok. A whole chicken that has been marinated in a sour-salty mixture made with fish sauce and calamansi juice, it is also stuffed with aromatics such as lemongrass and scallions for added flavor and fragrance. Remember to coat the chicken with Doña Elena Pomace Olive Oil - recommended for recipes that involve roasting and frying - before leaving it to cook in the oven. This results in a lovely roast chicken that is crispy golden brown on the outside and juicy on the inside.


This article was created in association with Doña Elena Olive Oil. For information, visit their Facebook and Instagram pages. You can also buy Doña Elena Olive Oil on Lazada and Acemarket.ph.

All health content on asianfoodnetwork.com is provided for general information only, and not intended as medical advice to diagnose, treat or cure. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider.

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