Build Healthy Habits in the Kitchen With These 5 Vegetarian Cooking Tips

Chefs Sara Boan and Linda-Soper Kolton of the Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s Compassionate Cooking program provide simple guidelines for a better kitchen experience.

Adobe Stock | Photo by exclusive-design

Learn how to incorporate delicious vegetarian cooking practices into your kitchen routine with advice from the Catskill Animal Sanctuary.

Chef Linda-Soper Kolton, of the Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s Compassionate Cooking program, and Chef Sara Boan, formerly of Catskill Animal Sanctuary, provide simple vegetarian cooking guidelines for a better kitchen experience.

1. Focus on whole, plant-based foods.

Choose foods closest to their freshly harvested state to ensure you’re getting the most nutrition for your buck. Unlike processed foods, which are often stripped of gut-healthy fiber and pumped up with sugar, salt, and oils, whole foods are rich in fiber and a variety of nutrients.

2. Choose organic produce where it matters most.

Every year, the Environmental Working Group publishes a list of its “Dirty Dozen,” the twelve fruits and vegetables that are the most heavily sprayed with pesticides. By opting for organic, you’ll be drastically reducing your exposure to the chemicals of commercial agriculture, and voting with your wallet to encourage the production of more organic foods.

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3. Put an emphasis on adding in healthier foods, rather than eliminating less healthy foods.

Generously pile your plate with salads, sautéed or roasted vegetables, bean and grain dishes, and fresh fruit. By adding in more healthy foods, you’ll naturally and easily crowd out the foods you may wish to avoid. Your dinner plate only has so much space, so fill it with gorgeous, delicious plant foods to make the best use of its real estate.

4. Embrace the adventure!

Make it a point to try new-to-you fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans every week, which will broaden your culinary palate. You might even find a new favorite food! At a loss for what to do with certain ingredients? A simple Google search will yield plenty of tempting recipes to try.

5. Make changes gradually and be kind to yourself.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are healthy lifestyle changes. Unlike diets, which require adhering to strict rules, adding in more healthy foods doesn’t have to smack of deprivation. Try new foods, experiment in the kitchen, and be gentle with yourself as you learn and grow. With love and kindness at the forefront, you can’t go wrong!

Related: 3 Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes to Spice up Your Hudson Valley Table

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