Cooking Healthier: After the holiday's excesses, we bring you some tips to make your meals more balanced, nutritious and healthy.
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Here we share some ideas for better cooking
1- Wave the flag!
La Bandera Dominicana (the Dominican flag), our traditional lunch meal is an outstanding combination of all the necessary nutrients. Rice provides carbohydrates (try brown rice for an even healthier choice), you get proteins from beans and meat (or seafood) and a delicious salad prepared with fresh vegetables completes this healthy meal.
2- Use salt sparingly
Don't add too much salt to your dishes. If you want to add some extra flavor use herbs and spices instead. You will eventually acquire a taste for lower-salt food.
3- Fat in moderation
A common mistake some Dominicans make is to add use too much oil when cooking, which takes away the benefits of the Dominican diet. Use a non-stick pan to cook your meats and pan- fry your arepitas and tortillas, that way you will only need a minimum of oil. Add a clove of garlic to the rice, that mimics the taste of oil in the rice.
4- Prefer fresh salad
The traditional Dominican fresh salad contains a wealth of nutritious vegetables: tomatoes, lettuce, beet, cabbage, etc. Always chose fresh salad over other more fattening salads and prepare your vinaigrette with a minimum of oil. But if you must absolutely have your ensalada rusa we suggest that you use low-fat mayonnaise instead of regular, or substitute half the regular mayonnaise for sour cream. This healthier version of the Russian Salad will have a different albeit nicer taste.
These days we take a lot of shortcuts trying to save time in the kitchen, but we can cook our foods with natural ingredients and put healthier food on our table without sacrifices. We show you here how to substitute some pre-made ingredients commonly used in Dominican recipes with some you can prepare at home.
Chicken and beef broth
Buy a whole chicken and use legs, wings, and breast for other dishes. Use the remaining parts and bones to make homemade chicken broth. Use beef bones to make beef broth.
In a pot boil parsley, onion, green peppers and celery for 30 minutes. Strain and freeze. You can use this broth to add to your soups and stews or use it in lieu of vegetable broth cubes. Also, use it as a substitute when the recipe calls for chicken or beef broth if you want to adapt the recipe for a vegetarian diet.
Make your own homemade tomato sauce, much healthier and tastier than commercial tomato paste.
Use one of our recipes for sofrito here.
Why not substitute for the very authentic and most delicious agrio de naranja, the Dominican equivalent?
Do you have any other healthy substitutes? Let us know.