Healthy Way to Cook For Special Diets

Dietary needs affect how you cook and what you can eat. The healthy way to cook depends on your eating philosophy and what diet you are following! Here are some tips for healthy cooking when following these specific diets.

The Atkins Diet (Low- Carbohydrate)

The Low-Carbohydrate diet became popular in the early 2000’s, but Robert Atkins first published his idea in 1972. The central idea around the diet is that by restricting carbohydrate intake, the body’s metabolism switches from burning the refined sugars in the carbohydrates to burning stored body fat, thus enabling weight loss. The diet has four phases:
1. Induction: Severe limitation of carbohydrates, accompanied usually by fairly large weight loss
2. Ongoing Weight Loss: Slow increase in carbohydrate intake but still maintaining weight loss
3. Pre-Maintenance: Increase carbohydrates again
4. Lifetime Maintenance.

General Weight Loss Diet

There are many components to a simple, general weight loss diet.
1. Control Portion Size
2. Healthy Cooking at Home
3. Trade in the butter for oils
4. Try switching out starches for vegetables a few nights a week
5. Balanced meals, with more focus on vegetables than proteins and starches

Gluten-Free Diet

Celiac disease is an intolerance to gluten. There are also various scales of gluten intolerance. Gluten-Free diets are on the rise, and you can find many Gluten-Free products now at your regular grocery store. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, and is also used as a food additive for flavoring or thickening, and is in a surprising number of products. Label reading is important to know what types of products can be eaten! Gluten-free diets excludes all wheat based products such as pasta and bread. There are many starch alternatives besides specific Gluten-Free products, such as corn, potatoes, and rice.

Low-Calorie Diet

Calorie counting is a popular dieting technique that has been popularized by both Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig. It simply makes users look at how many calories they consume in a given day, and in order to lose weight, reduce that amount.

South Beach Diet

Designed by cardiologist Arthur Agatston and dietician Marie Almon with the initial goal of preventing heart disease through diets, the South Beach Diet has eventually been transformed into a popular diet for those who want to lose weight. Simple in principle, the South Beach Diet focus on two groups: carbohydrates and fats. Those are then divided into Good vs Bad.

The foods to focus on are:
Good Carbs: Products with a low glycemic index, such as beans and whole grains.
Good Fats: Foods with Omega-3 fatty acids and unsaturated fats, such as lean meats like pork and nuts.

The foods to avoid are:
Bad Carbs: Foods made with bleached flour and heavily refined sugars, such as white bread and donuts.
Bad Fats: Trans-fats and saturated fats.


Feature image via Alan Cleaver via photopin cc