Cooking Healthy

| JoAnna Weinand

I’m sure you’ve heard before… “Eat more fruits and vegetables” or “Choose lean meats”. So you head to the grocery store and pick up a grocery cart full of fruits, veggies, and the leanest meat on the shelf.

Step #1 is complete, you’ve bought the healthy foods, but how are you going to prepare them, so your meals are still nutritious?

In this blog, you’ll learn some easy tricks to keep the healthy foods you want to eat, nutritious in the cooking process as well.

Roast your vegetables

This is such an easy and hands-off way to cook your vegetables. First dice your vegetables. I like to use brussel sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes. Place your` diced vegetables on a cooking sheet; next you’ll drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Finally, cook on 425 degrees for about 30-45 minutes. Sometimes stirring/flipping half-way through is necessary.

Use vegetable oil instead of butter when cooking on the stove top. 

Butter is a source of saturated fat, the type of fat that should be consumed in small amounts. Vegetable oils, such as olive oil, are a source of unsaturated fats, the type of fats that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are great for brain health. Keep in mind, coconut oil and palm oil are also rich in saturated fats, so remember to consume these in moderation as well. So next time you’re sautéing some vegetables, frying an egg, or making some chicken, use vegetable oil.

Add vegetables to your pasta dishes 

Do you have some favorite pasta dishes that you like to eat regularly? Perhaps the kids love spaghetti. No harm in that. One way to make these favorite dishes healthier would be to add more veggies. Try dicing mushrooms up and adding to your spaghetti sauce. Some people enjoy zucchini sautéed with onions and garlic added in. You can also choose a whole grain pasta to “fuel” your body with the energy needed and get more fiber in your diet.

Preparing meats

Baking, grilling, or broiling are ways to prepare meats in a way that won’t add extra calories during the cooking process. Chicken and turkey are the leanest meats to choose. But what about the summer days to come when you want to grill a steak? The more tender cuts of steak, like porterhouse or ribeye, are going to have a higher fat content. This is what keeps the steak tender while cooking. Sirloin steaks are going to be the leanest choice. If you find sirloins to be “tougher,” try marinating to add flavor and help tenderize.

Here’s a marinade for you to try next time:


  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 lb steak

Mix ingredients together in a Ziploc bag and shake to mix. Place steak in bag and let sit for 1 hour overnight.

Remember that add-ons such as butter, cheese, sauces, and gravies can make a healthy dish high in calories that may not always be desired. Taste your food first before adding on the extras!

For more tips and tricks on living a healthy lifestyle, schedule an appointment with a dietitian today! You can learn fun ways to create nutritious foods you will enjoy eating on a daily basis!

Wishing you health & happiness,

JoAnna Weinand graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2013 as a Registered Dietitian and started her career in New Mexico, working with many different disease states including diabetes in children and adults, kidney disease, malnutrition, weight management, and many different gastrointestinal diseases.

JoAnna has an adventurous spirit and her career has taken her from many different places, from New Mexico, to California, North Dakota and Alaska. She has worked in many different settings including hospitals, dialysis centers, skilled nursing facilities, gyms, and within the community with youth and adults in Alaska.

JoAnna has always had a passion for nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle. In her spare time, she loves to travel, mountain bike, rock climb and backpack. Living back in Minnesota, she also loves to spend time with her family.

JoAnna believes that nutrition is not “one size fits all” and each nutrition plan should be tailored to meet an individual’s needs. JoAnna enjoys working with many different disease states and developing the right plan so each person can reach his or her own personal goals.

¹How to make the ultimate marinade for tender grilled steak., Accessed 23rd, March 2019.

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