Whether you’re a professional chef or just a busy professional or parent, it can seem like a real challenge to come up with meals that are both palate-pleasing and healthy. How can you help “tasty” and “healthy” get along better in your kitchen?
Last week during our Twitter chat, a variety of culinary and nutrition pros shared their ideas. We talked about how to use less sugar in desserts, how to add creamy mouth-feel in healthier ways (besides smothering in butter!) and alternatives to salt for flavor.
Here are some “chef secrets” shared during our chat:
Make it creamy without all the (saturated) fat:
Puréed or blended veggie-based soups provide a comfortingly creamy texture, and low-cost canned beans add a satisfyingly creamy texture when puréed while also offering fiber, protein and nutrients.
From top chefs to parents, it’s a question on everyone’s mind these days: how do we bring together flavor and healthfulness?
Food scientists are already hard at work on this. Last week a study out of the University of Florida shed light – literally – on how much flavor matters to us. Researchers used light treatments to enhance the taste and aroma of tomatoes and berries – a technology that could one day make its way into your home refrigerator.
Now the culinary world is getting in on the action. A hot field of study known as culinary nutrition merges the art of cooking with the science of nutrition – in other words, how to make healthful food taste delicious.
Let’s face it: no one wants to eat a tasteless tomato or bland meal, no matter how healthy. Yet the impact of what we eat on our risk of chronic disease cannot be put by the wayside. AICR’s report and its continuous updates link a diet filled with a variety of fruits, vegetables and fiber with a lower risk of many cancers. Read more… “Culinary Nutrition: Shedding Light on Flavor and Health”
Cooking can save you money and help you and your family eat healthier, which will lower your risk of getting cancer. (It’s also really helpful when you’re trying to lose weight, which is why it’s a part of the New American Plate Challenge.)
However, if you don’t cook a lot, getting started in the kitchen can be daunting. I know when I started cooking, even basic meals seemed overwhelming. It might be that you don’t have a lot of time, the right tools in the kitchen, or you’ve just never really tried.
But cooking can be a lot of fun, and it doesn’t have to be challenging. Here are some tips to make it easier.
Get your kitchen essentials:
3 quart (or larger) sauce pan or stockpot
10-12 inch frying pan
Large chopping knife
Glass or ceramic baking dish
Spatula and wooden spoon
Set of mixing bowls
Spice it up with herbs
Make sure to also stock up on a few basic herbs and spices – these can help flavor food without adding a lot of salt. I recommend a basic Italian herb mix or any other salt-free blends, like those by Mrs. Dash. Read more… “Testing the (cooking) Water”
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