Mel’s Hints For Healthy cooking

Want to start transforming the way you cook but not sure where to start?

Here are some healthy hints to change your cooking!

A Quick Guide to Sugar

1 cup sugar = 1 tsp liquid stevia

1 tbsp sugar = 6-9 drops liquid stevia

1 tsp sugar = 2-4 drops liquid stevia

White sugar can be replaced by granulated stevia, xylitol, dextrose/glucose, coconut sugar, or rapadura using a 1:1 ratio. In recipes that call for liquid sweeteners, rice malt syrup, honey, maple syrup, and agave are interchangeable. 

 Some helpful hints when using different sugars:

  • Xylitol will not be as sweet but you tend to get used to it quickly. It can be used in place of sugar in any recipe that doesn’t require the sugar to break down into liquid form - it is impossible for xylitol to caramelise even at an extremely high temperature or when cooked at length.

  • Dextrose needs extra wet ingredients, so you can add an extra egg. Make sure to not over-beat it, and to not let it burn.

  • Coconut sugar and rapadura are great for replacing brown sugar as they have a stronger flavour and a caramel colour and texture. They can be over powering in light baking, such as a sponge cake, but work great for banana bread or sticky date pudding.

  • Honey will give a honey taste as well as the sweetness.

  • Rice malt syrup will just add sweetness.

  • Agave can come in light, dark, and raw. The darker the colour, the more caramel-like the flavour will be. Light agave just adds sweetness.

  • When using natural sweeteners, remember to always keep the end product in the fridge and don’t keep for too long as sugar is a preservative but these are not.

 A Quick Guide to Oils

When using oil, there are a few options with slight differences:

Coconut oil and ghee are great for high heat cooking. Extra virgin olive oil has a stronger flavour and lower smoke point, making it good for dressings, marinades, sauces and low-heat cooking. Avocado oil is lightly flavoured, and carries other flavours well. It has a very high smoke point. Nut oils (almond, hazelnut, macadamia, peanut, pecan, walnut) are great but only certain nut oils can be used for cooking. Macadamia and peanut, for example, have high smoke points, but walnut oil should only be used in dressings. 

 In-The-Kitchen Recommendations

  • Use organic wherever possible

  • Use organic free-range eggs if available

  • Keep skin on vegetables

  • Use activated nuts and seeds

  • Use filtered water where possible

  • Use non-iodised salts such as Himalayan or Celtic sea salt

  • When using vanilla, try to always use whole vanilla beans. When buying, look for plump beans that look glossy on the outside and bend a little when you touch them. Beans that are dull looking and brittle are hard to scrape seeds from. 1 vanilla bean = about 3 tsp vanilla extract.

Healthy Condiment Options:

- Bragg’s apple cider vinegar

- Bragg’s herbal sprinkle

- coconut aminos

- red/white wine vinegar

- Bragg’s healthy vinaigrette

- organic Dijon mustard

- seaweed flakes

- Himalayan crystal salt

- organic cold pressed olive oil

- organic pepper

- any fresh herbs

- mashed avo + coconut cream makes a nice ranch dressing

- organic ‘nothing added’ coconut cream/milk

- organic unhulled tahini.

For more healthy cooking inspo, grab a copy of our latest cookbook here.