If you’re trying to eat healthy, you already know that cooking at home is the surest — though not always the easiest — way to control the ingredients in your dish. But sometimes it can feel like creating healthy recipes from scratch is just too dang hard and overwhelming. That’s why we scoured our favorite food blogs to find the cooking hacks guaranteed to reduce the blood, sweat and tears (not to mention time) that goes into your meal prep.
9 Cooking Hacks That Make Healthy Eating Ridiculously Easy
1. Kitchen Conundrum: Preventing guacamole from browning.
Everyone loves a gorgeous green guac, but when it starts to brown, it can look like a slushy mess that isn’t as appetizing.
Quick Fix: There are about a million ways to keep avocados green, but once you’ve whipped them into guacamole, your options are far more limited. To keep your guac from browning, take it from Life as Mama. Simply pour a bit of water over the top of the guacamole, seal and stick it in the fridge. When you’re ready to dip your chip in again, gently pour the water out, and you’re left with perfectly green guac.
2. Kitchen Conundrum: Making the fluffiest scrambled eggs.
Ever wondered how to make your scrambled eggs come out light and airy? You don’t have to learn any special cooking techniques to achieve this brunch staple.
Quick Fix: Your blender is good for so much more than green smoothies, acai bowls and soups! Next time you’re whipping up breakfast, grab your blender and beat the eggs with that, says Pinch of Yum’s Lindsay Ostrom. This method yields eggs that are super-fluffy — perfect for scrambled eggs and omelets. Bonus: Blenders are big enough to beat eggs for a small army in one quick go, and the measurements printed on the side will help you measure out even portions for every omelet in the batch.
RELATED: 13 Ways to Pimp Your Scrambled Eggs
3. Kitchen Conundrum: Peeling a kiwi in a flash.
As small and delicate as kiwis are, going after them with a typical paring knife or vegetable peeler could easily mangle the fruit and remove far more flesh than intended.
Quick Fix: Instead, cut off the two tough ends of the kiwi and scoop the middle out with a spoon, as described on Steamy Kitchen. The shape of the spoon perfectly mirrors the shape of the kiwi, gently freeing the sour-sweet gem from its skin.
4. Kitchen Conundrum: Easily halving cherry tomatoes.
Just about every salad recipe can benefit from the addition of juicy, sweet cherry tomatoes. But if you don’t fancy chasing a tomato around your plate with a fork (or baptizing your dining partners with tomato juice when you take a bite), you may want to chop the tomatoes in half — a time-consuming task if you’re cutting them one by one.
Quick Fix: Follow Food52’s suggestion and use two plastic lids to hold a handful of tomatoes in place as you slice through the lot in one go.
5. Kitchen Conundrum: Sharpening knives.
We love creative kitchen tools as much as the next cook, but you may occasionally find yourself without the tools you need. For example, your AirBnB rental or — dare we say it — your own home doesn’t have a knife sharpener. In such circumstances, it’s nice to have a few hacks up your sleeve.
Quick Fix: You can actually use the bottom of a ceramic mug to sharpen knife blades. Just make sure the mug is going to stay stationary on your countertop before running the edge of the blade across it. (FYI, using sharp knives is essential to preventing slice, chop and dice-related accidents!)
6. Kitchen Conundrum: Reviving wilted greens.
Food waste can costs the average household a whopping $43 per month, so don’t let wilted greens contribute to it.
Quick Fix: Perk them up with this simple trick: Submerge leafy veggies in a bowl with cold water and vinegar (the ratio is two cups of water to one tablespoon of vinegar), and leave them in the mixture for an hour. After drying the greens, they should be looking fresher for an extra one to two days, according to One Good Thing by Jillee.
7. Kitchen Conundrum: Cooking perfect rice every time.
It can sometimes feel like cooking grains (a seemingly simple feat!) might involve some sort of sorcery. How do restaurants get their rice perfectly cooked through, yet not sticky and gooey? The Wanderlust Kitchen has the answer.
Quick Fix: It involves using a dishtowel to prevent condensation from gathering on the lid of your pot and dripping back down into your rice. Be sure to read the full instructions for flawless execution.
8. Kitchen Conundrum: Softening butter.
Ever get halfway through your baking recipe only to discover that the recipe calls for “softened” butter, and all you have is chilled butter straight out of the fridge?
Quick Fix: Rather than microwaving the butter and risking it turning into a yellow pool, use a coarse cheese grater to instantly soften a stick of butter, as instructed by The Bearfoot Baker. This is a great trick when you want to get cold butter to spread easily on toast, too!
9. Kitchen Conundrum: Softening brown sugar.
You’re all ready to sprinkle your delish oatmeal with a touch of brown sugar when you discover — ack! — it’s completely solid.
Quick Fix: To soften brown sugar that’s gotten hard, simply do what Adrianna of A Cozy Kitchen does, and add a slice of bread to the sugar. Like magic, the bread becomes dry and the sugar moist. (Note: This method does take a few hours so foresight is key.)
Have a favorite cooking hack that we missed? Share it in the comments below!