06 March 2009

Four Tips For More Exciting Healthy Eating

The food you eventually put on your plate should command your attention long enough to actually land in your mouth. Bland, plain foods do not cut it, even if they wear the ‘healthy’ label. Here are a few tips to making healthy eating command your attention and get you to actually eat what’s on your plate:

1. Some Fat Goes A Long Way: Nothing can replace the unique taste of fat in a meal. Fat has been so effectively stubbed as ‘unhealthy’ that this has led the health conscious to almost completely eradicate it from their cooking. But this should not be.

A bit of oil in the pan adds another flavor dimension and is valuable to the overall experience of the meal. Even with roasting or grilling vegetables, potatoes etc. in the oven, adding a little olive or canola oil along with herbs and pepper/salt, adds appeal and flavor. Some blue or feta cheese crumbled onto a salad or a couple tablespoons of salad dressing offers powerful flavor to an otherwise drab salad. It’s better to actually want to eat a salad with a little more flavor than to turn away from a ‘dry’ salad with no flavor.

2. Add Marinades or a Dry Rub to Lean Meats like chicken breast, fish, turkey etc. Lean meats which have less fat content, may loose some of the flavor and moisture element which this very important nutrient can add. If not well marinated, they can dry out fast upon being cooked.

Simple marinades made of a combination of ingredients like spices, oil, chicken stock, fruit pieces or juice, soy sauce, mustard, herbs, salt and pepper can make a world of a difference in the texture and flavor of the meat. A dry rub of two or more spices is also beneficial to the overall palatability of the food.

3. Variety is Key: The fastest way to boredom and loss of interest is to do the same thing over and over again. I’ve spoken many times on the topic of adding different spices and herbs to cooking. And this simple act need not be daunting. You can’t really go wrong with this.

You can add almost any herb to any food and it will add valuable flavor to that food. The spices might take a little more experimenting. It pays to start off with only a few or to add one or two to your existing spice rack, then adding a modest amount to begin with.

Variety in the types and preparation methods of the actually food itself is also important. If something looks good, even if you’ve never tried it before, try it. Give different fruits, vegetables, grains, cuisines, and cooking methods a go.

4. Make It ‘Nutty’: Nuts contain many protective elements like fatty acids and a wealth of pytonutrients. In addition they are very filling and delay hunger for far longer than a regular carbohydrate based snack. The greatest concern with most people and nuts is that it causes weight gain, but a handful of nuts five or six times per week contributes to an overall healthy diet. Almonds, for example, offer a good source of Vitamin E, a powerful anti-oxidant of which many people get only half of the recommended amount.


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