Monday, February 28, 2011

Finding Healthy Recipes

I have always counted myself as exceedingly lucky that my adventures in cooking began with the Internet by my side. I wished my mother was alive to see how many new and different things I was able to try in the kitchen, simply on a whim, because the technique was a mere click away for free. However, as I began to transition toward a healthier lifestyle I found, in the beginning, that the recipes I needed were more and more clicks away. If you are beginning this journey yourself, I would like to impart some of the tips I have used to expedite the process., once known as Recipezaar, has always been my personal favorite for finding a recipe for all of my needs. I always loved how this was a community-built project and how the Nutritional Facts of all of the recipes are available. Now I have learned about other great recipe search engines like Recipe search engines are where my kitchen-computer relationship began, so it was here that I first began my quest for healthier recipes as well. While, in the beginning, I could just go to the site and type in anything I needed, I found that there are a couple of things I can do to ensure that I get back some of the less indulgent recipes when I need them. Here are a couple tips:

Choose Your Words Wisely

Select your search terms carefully, instead of just typing in "lemon chicken" search for "baked lemon chicken" (223 recipes come up for that search and Foodily's responses  seem endless). Terms such as baked, broiled, grilled, and steamed can steer your searches away from the deep fried delectable daring to tempt you on your search!

Use the Search Filters Provided

Begin by typing in your search into the search bar. When the results are revealed, click the button "Narrow Your Search", a menu will open up on the left hand side of search. You can really control what kind of recipes you get back here.
This is just a piece of the side bar.
The major categories for the filters are Courses, Main Ingredients, Preparation, Cuisine, Occasion, Dietary and Nutrition. These categories, particularly Dietary and Nutrition can help you find recipes that fit within your new dietary desires.

On each recipe comes up visually with its list of ingredients displayed. Next to each ingredient is a magnifying glass. These magnifying glasses serve as your filters (they are pretty awesome). Simply click on one next to an ingredient you love or hate and see the options appear:
You can instantly refine your search to either take out all the recipes that include this ingredient, or, if it is something you know you have sitting in the kitchen, you can show only recipes that have it. I love this feature, personally, because it helps me quickly sort out all of the gluten-packed recipes that I can't even consider!

Expand Across the Internet 
There are tons of other recipe search engines out there. Some of them have similar filters and many have "Healthy Cooking" or "Healthy Recipe" sections. Saying you don't know how to cook healthy is no excuse if you are reading this! Because if you are reading this, you have an Internet connection and there are countless places to find healthy cooking techniques for free! I gave you two to start with - that is created by people of the Internet sharing their own home tested recipes, and that searches many of the recipe sites of the Internet ( included) to give you exactly what you are looking for. No excuses now... Get in that kitchen!!

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