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Published: Sunday, 3/10/2013 - Updated: 2 years ago

To eat right, learn how to cook right


WASHINGTON — Restaurant meals, takeout, and prepackaged microwaveable dinners feel like unavoidable parts of modern life. But Washington nutritionist Kristen Ciuba says health and convenience can go hand in hand — without dieters having to resort to a frozen low-fat meal or a processed meal-replacement product.

Ms. Ciuba says the key to taking control of your health is taking charge in the kitchen. “A meal-replacement shake might be useful for [losing weight] in the short term, but you can’t drink those forever,” she says. “Cooking for yourself is sustainable, and it will have fewer calories and more nutrients than eating out.”

Start by identifying what foods, flavors, and textures are appealing and researching recipes online and in cookbooks. Use this information to turn the main components of a meal — lean protein, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains — into something you would enjoy eating.

Once it’s time to cook, Ms. Ciuba recommends making double and triple batches of food. Freeze soups in plastic or glass containers for easy reheating. Grill extra pieces of meat that can be used in meals all week. As long as the oven is on, roast two baking sheets full of vegetables instead of just one. “You have to make your health a priority,” she says. “That includes making time to cook.”

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