If you need to lose weight or cut fat and cholesterol from your diet, consider cooking more Asian-style recipes at home. When you shop in an Asian market these days, you'll find an impressive number of grocery products to fit special dietary needs. It includes gluten and dairy-free products along with reduced sodium, sugar, and fat. There's an unwritten ratio of three to one vegetables to meats in many Asian-style main courses. They're a far cry from western recipes where meat is the main ingredient of a meal. When you have the needed sauces and flavorings on hand, your family will love what you prepare.

Soy sauce is among the products with the most alternate versions. Lower-sodium choices have been on the market for some time now, but others are wheat-free and have up to 80-percent less sodium than traditional recipes. If you love the umami-rich flavor of soy sauce, you'll be delighted by the healthier alternatives. Some are made with sea salt that's rich in minerals. No two people's tastes are alike, so it's wise to try some new products to see which ones you like best. There are also items made with natural and organic ingredients if you're trying to avoid food additives.

If you or someone in your family is lactose intolerant and you need to cut dairy from the foods you cook, Asian grocers are way ahead with tasty plant-based (tofu) alternatives. Many provide tremendous amounts of protein and restores some of the texture that recipes lose when you omit the dairy ingredients. You may also learn to enjoy tofu on its own in unique recipes such as crispy tofu bites. They're fun to make and a healthy snack alternative to replace heavily processed snack products. You'll also love to serve them as appetizers on special occasions to friends and family. They can be your signature snack.

For anyone who lacks an Asian grocer in their area, online shopping can save the day. Ever since the coronavirus pandemic caused a spike in online shoppers, virtual grocery markets have risen. Nearly all offer convenient home delivery, which saves hours compared to running from store to store. Anyone who has enjoyed the convenience of having a pantry-stocking grocery order home delivered at the right moment can attest to it. If you tried a virtual supermarket in the early days and were frustrated by a cumbersome ordering process, try it again today and see how much things have improved.