POPSUGAR Fitness

Hack Your Kitchen For a Healthier Life

Aug 13 2014 - 4:50pm

Source: Shutterstock [1]

Making your kitchen a healthy haven should not feel like a constant struggle. Whether you're constantly chopping, tossing leftover produce, or talking yourself out of enjoying your favorite foods, check all the time-saving, food-optimizing hacks we swear by.

— Additional reporting by Jenny Sugar and Michele Foley

DIY Smoothie Packs

If you're not prepared, making a smoothie can turn into a 15-minute production! These DIY smoothie packs [2] are the perfect solution to this predicament. Prep all the fruits and greens you use in your smoothies, and freeze individual serving sizes in quart-sized freezer bags (glass mason jars work well too). Note any additional ingredients that need to be added to the blender, and your smoothie is as good as done.

Photo: Jenny Sugar

Sub in Avocado

Rich and decadent dishes get a lightened-up makeover from one amazing ingredient: avocado. Aside from adding a creamy consistency to dishes, avocado can up the fiber content and heart-healthy fats in your favorite recipes. The next time you're making a dish that calls for milk, butter, cream, or cheese, you'll want to take a look at our avocado-substitution guide [3] to see how easy it is to replace those ingredients with the green goodness of this fruit.

Source: Oh She Glows [4]

Divide Your Salad

Buying in bulk saves money, but how frustrating is it when a funky aroma and wilted greens greet you from the crisper drawer? Try this trick [5]: divide your big container of greens into two to four smaller plastic bags. Place your fist over the opening, blowing through your hand and into the bag to fill it with air (carbon dioxide). Then seal the bag by twisting the top a few times before closing it firmly with a twist tie. Place it in the fridge, and your greens are good to go.

Photo: Jenny Sugar

Skip the Pasta — Bring in the Veggies

Swapping out noodles for veggies is all the rage for good reason. It's an easy technique to cut carbs and bring more nutrition to your plate. Check out these veggie noodle recipes [6] to see how to make best use of your spaghetti squash, zucchini, and more.

Photo: Lizzie Fuhr

Pack (Crisp) Salads For a Full Week

Don't have time to cut up a salad every single night? There's a way to make all the salads you need for your workweek at once. Whether you prefer plastic containers or mason jars, here are the directions [7] you need to know. Once you read through these, you'll never have to deal with a mushy salad again.

Photo: Jenny Sugar

Bring Beans to Dessert

Considering beans' fiber, protein, and iron content, everyone should include more legumes in their diet. If you're having trouble stomaching a bowl of beans, you can still reap the healthy benefits without your taste buds even realizing it. There are tons of bean-loaded dessert recipes [8] to appeal to your sweet tooth.

Freeze Your Greens

Tired of tossing greens week after week? This ice-cube hack [9] will help you out. Pick up some BPA-free ice cube trays or baby food trays, and buy a variety of greens. You can puree them separately in a food processor or blender or puree them together, adding a little water to yield a smooth consistency. Pour the puree into the little wells, attach the lids, and freeze them. Once the cubes are frozen, you can leave them in the trays or pop them out into gallon-sized freezer bags. When you're ready to make your smoothie, just grab a few, and throw them in your blender — it's a great time saver.

You can also use ice trays to store herbs and sauces [10], too.

Photo: Jenny Sugar

Go Greek

Skip oil, butter, and heavy cream, and bump up levels of calcium, protein, and probiotics by using Greek yogurt [11]. It can easily sub in for mayo, sour cream, or heavy milk in your favorite recipes.

Source: Flickr user alanagkelly [12]

Store For Freshness

Just tossing your produce is the fridge won't make it last. Check out a simple chart that lays out where to store your most common produce, whether at room temperature, on a refrigerator shelf, or in the crisper (the coldest fridge drawer). Print out this PDF [13] from POPSUGAR Food, and post it on your fridge for reference.

Bake With Applesauce

Applesauce works as a substitute for both eggs and butter. The ratio of applesauce to butter is one to one: if a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of butter, simply sub in 1/2 cup of applesauce. For every large egg a recipe requires, toss 1/4 cup of applesauce in its place. Try out this banana apple chunk bread [14] in which the applesauce complements the other fruity flavors while keeping each bite dreamy and moist.

Photo: Jenny Sugar


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http://www.fitsugar.com/fitness/Healthy-Kitchen-Hacks-35435517