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20 Ways to Cook Healthier Meals

Want to begin eating healthier? Start at home. It’s where you can have full control over what you put on your plate. And with these kitchen tools and healthy cooking tips on hand, you’ll be whipping up healthier, tastier meals in no time!


1. Chop Chop!

If you’ve got a big family to feed, Electrolux’s Masterpiece food processor with a 2000W induction motor is the strong, silent workhorse for you. Its 4.2-litre tilt bowl and large 15cm-wide feeding chute will help you prepare large batches of ingredients quickly. (Available for $959 at major electrical and department stores.)


2. Cooking Under Pressure:

The latest models in line for Silit’s pressure cookers feature the handy Sicomatic econtrol, which enables you to choose between unpressurised cooking (steaming), gentle cooking (which preserves the vitamins and minerals of fish or vegetables), or fast cooking (for meats and stews that take longer to prepare). The nickel-free Silargan ceramic that it’s made of ensures that the natural flavours of the ingredients remain unadulterated. (Available from $259 at BHG Bugis, Isetan Scotts, Metro Centrepoint, Robinsons The Heeren, Takashimaya D.S., and Tangs Orchard.)


3. “Not all processed food is bad. Wholegrain pasta, frozen fruit and vegetables are just some examples. Read the label and skip processed food made with high sugar, fat or sodium. Go for 100 per cent wholegrain items and fresh produce with as little additives as possible – if you want more sugar or salt, add it yourself later.”  – Nutritionist Christine Rubi-Cruz, wellness and lifestyle manager at Cold Storage Singapore


4. “Olive oil, which contains monounsaturated fat that can reduce the risk of chronic heart disease and cancer, will always be my first choice for cooking oil. Use extra virgin olive oil (the first pressing of the olives) for salads and finishing touches – never heat it! For cooking, use normal olive oil (from the second to fourth pressing).”  – Stephan Ziosl, chef and owner of 2015L


5. For the Lazy Cook

It only takes a spoonful (20ml) of oil to prepare stir-fried and gravy-based dishes in Tefal Actifry’s ceramic coated pan, which cooks at a controlled temperature of 170 deg C to preserve the nutritional value of food. Throw in all your ingredients, then set the timer for the appropriate cooking time and let its automatic stirring paddle do all the work! (Available for $359 at Metro, #02-28 Paragon, tel: 6835-3322.)


6. Treat Yourself

Whip up guilt-free, all-natural desserts at home with the Severin yogurt maker! All you need is yogurt starter and milk. After preparing the mixture, pour it into any of the seven jars, and incubate the mix between seven and 10 hours (depending on the type of milk used). For flavoured yogurt, add pureed fruit. When it’s done, refrigerate it, add toppings such as fruit and granola, and indulge yourself! Available for $59 at Harvey Norman, #02-56 to 62 Millena Walk, tel: 6311-9988.


7. Easy Noodles  

Get the most natural flavours at home by preparing your own noodles! Enlist the help of Philips Avance Collection’s noodle-maker, which kneads and extrudes the raw ingredients, producing homemade noodles within 10 minutes. You can customise the noodles’ shape and bounciness by changing the shaping discs and kneading time. Available for $289 at Metro, #02-28 Paragon, tel: 6835-3322.


8. Wholesome Cooking  

For an appliance that you can depend on to prepare all your healthy meals, fit your kitchen with Brandt’s built-in steam oven. Its 29-litre volume is able to fit dishes large enough to feed a whole family, and an electronic touchscreen control panel and LCD animated display adds to its sleek, modern appeal. (Available for $1,799 at all authorised dealers.)


9. Homemade Take-Away

Swop your morning coffee for a refreshing smoothie instead. With Cuisinart’s Smartpower portable blending and chopping system, you can blend fruit in its slim jar, and take it with you on the road by switching the blades to an on-the-go travel cap. Available for $360 at Tott, 896 Dunearn Road, tel: 6219-7077.


10. “Use olive oil instead of butter. Butter contains a higher percentage of not-so-healthy saturated fats and cholesterol compared to olive oil, which is rich in antioxidants.” – Daniele Sperindio, chef of Open Door Policy


11. “Ingredients play a very important part in healthy cooking, sometimes even more so than cooking methods. Use herbs, vegetables and fruit to help enhance the flavours of dishes. For example, sometimes, we cook a slow-braised beef cheek (a healthier cut) with lotus root and wolfberries and, on other days, we whip up pan-fried salmon with passion fruit glaze.” – Martin Wong, head chef of Tess Bar & Kitchen


12. Big Mouth

Masticating (cold press) juicers are said to help retain the enzymes and nutrients of fruit and vegetables as they use a pressing mechanism as opposed to a fast-spinning blade in centrifugal juicers. The Kuvings B6000S slow juicer has a 7.5cmwide feeding tube, which reduces prep time as you can drop whole fruit through it!  (Available at Harvey Norman, #02-56 to 62 Millena Walk, tel: 6311-9988.)


13. Soup Up

Skip the stove with the Delice soup maker by Mayer, which is able to blend and heat up your ingredients simultaneously. You can choose from its high, low, or simmer heat settings when preparing soups, and they’ll be kept warm automatically for up to 40 minutes so you don’t have to pop your soup into the microwave if you decide to have second helpings. (Available for $96.90 at www.lazada.sg)


14. “Organic vegetables are not necessarily more nutritious than non-organic crops. Even today, some experts say there isn’t enough evidence to prove any real advantage of eating organic food, apart from avoiding the traces of pesticides or herbicides found on non-organic vegetables.” – Vijayakant Shanmugam, executive chef for Parkroyal on Pickering


15. Always Handy

Blend, whisk and chop like a cooking-show host with the two-speed Smart Stick hand blender from Cuisinart. This nifty gadget is a must-have if you enjoy making soups, as you can use it to puree ingredients directly in the pot, eliminating the need for a blender. (Available for $193 at Crate & Barrel, Orchard Gateway @ Emerald, tel: 6634-8488.)


16. Don’t rule out canned food. Fresh produce can suffer the loss of variable nutrients due to exposure to oxidation during transport. On the other hand, canned products are sealed at their optimum freshness and nutrition, locking in the vitamins and minerals.” – Sharina Nogot, senior nutritionist of Mykenzen


17. “Use less oil, and good-quality oil if you do. Avoid canola oil because it’s mostly genetically modified, and use grapeseed oil for frying as it’s one of the most neutral and healthy oils for cooking.” – Johnston Teo, executive chef of Sorrel


18. Steamy Delights

A modern take on the traditional Chinese bamboo basket steamer, Tupperware’s two-tiered Steam It is a more hygienic option, and is less likely to cause soggy food as it has a ridged base that allows water to drain efficiently. (Available for $24.90 at #01-00, Tupperware Brands Singapore, 85 Defu Lane 10, tel: 6285-3988.)


19. Get a Good Griddling

With its reversible plates, the Cuisinart griddler can easily be turned into a grill, allowing you to prepare everything from eggs to steaks. When closed, its hinged floating cover that adapts to various heights of your food transforms this flexible appliance into a Panini press. You’ll also be delighted to know that excess grease can be drained easily from its plates! (Available for $499 at Crate & Barrel, Orchard Gateway @ Emerald, tel: 6634-8488.)


20. “Choose simple and healthier cooking methods. Steaming often ensures that the nutrients of the ingredients used are kept intact, which optimises their true nutritional value. Such dishes can be further enhanced with simple spices like ginger, coriander, lemon and lime. I always try to keep my dishes uncomplicated to highlight the freshness of the ingredients.” – Paul Hallett, chef de cuisine of Equinox Restaurant, Swissotel The Stamford


Where to Shop

Wellness4Life Section at Cold Storage

Take a walk down the healthy aisle at the Wellness4Life section housed under selected Cold Storage outlets, and find products that are allergy-aware, glutenfree, and low glycaemic (diabetic-friendly), to help you make better grocery shopping choices.


Kranji Countryside Farmers’ Market  

Embark on a day trip to the outskirts of Singapore to find fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood from local farms, as well as locally made food at this authentic quarterly farmers’ market.


Organic Himalaya  

Have fresh organic fruit and vegetables harvested in the Himalayas delivered to your home through this locally run boutique business. Grown in unpolluted Nepali farms, the produce are free of pesticides and chemical fertilisers.


More healthy eating tips here!


By Mavis Ang, Home & Décor, April 2015

Photo: 123rf.com

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