Generally speaking, opting for a home-cooked meal is always a healthier option than dining out. But as dietitian and author Susie Burrell points out on My Body+Soul, a few seemingly innocuous cooking mistakes can turn your favorite family recipe into a restaurant staple. What's worse is that many of the recipes we find on Pinterest or pull from celebrity chefs are loaded with salt, butter, sugar, and the like. "Take oil for example—the amount we regularly see celebrity chefs use in their recipes is often adding more fat to the meal than you need in an entire day," explains the Australian lifestyle publication. Below read up on the common cooking mistakes that pack on the fat, sugar, and calories into an otherwise healthy home-cooked meal.
Loading on the Sauces
Adding every sauce under the sun is a surefire way to jack up the calorie count of your meal without even consuming a second serving. "Take a standard stir-fry—sometimes three or four different sauces are added, each of which adds calories, a whole lot of extra salt, and even extra sugar," explains the lifestyle publication. It recommends measuring out each sauce and limiting dishes to just one or two added seasonings or sauces if possible.
Cooking in Oil or Butter
That seemingly harmless drizzle of olive oil or pad of butter is apparently adding unnecessary fats to your meal. "There are a number of pans and grills that require no added oil in cooking," the site points out. "Another ingenious option is to use baking paper as a lining for the pan to cook fish and sausages without any added fat at all."
With that said, we'd argue that olive oil is a nearly inescapable healthy fat that offers a host of health benefits (and is definitely a healthier option than butter). Be sure to pick a high-quality blend and remember, everything in moderation.
Going Crazy With Toppings
A salad is healthy until you add cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, croutons, avocado, olive oil, candied walnuts, and the like. "When we cook at home, we are often adding a number of extras to make our meals taste great, but they also add hundreds of calories," the site points out. It recommends limiting yourself to just one or two add-ons and measuring out portions of high-fat sauces and toppings. "Or even better, look for lower fat and calorie options, including cottage cheese, plain yogurt, or herbs and spices, which add flavor with far fewer calories."