Put Your Best Fork Forward!
This is the theme for this year’s National Nutrition Month®, sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. When it comes to good nutrition, there are lots of forks to put forward. Today’s post is about the “cooking fork” and ways to make healthy delicious. Future posts will cover the eating fork, the fork in the road and the pitchfork.
The Cooking Fork
It’s time to wake up your foods and taste the deliciousness! And believe me, good healthful, nutritious meals can be oh so delicious.
Clearly we have more control over food when we prepare it ourselves or give input to whomever is the cook. Sadly, too often clients describe their attempts at a healthful dinner as something along the lines of a boneless, skinless chicken breast baked with only pepper and garlic, unseasoned steamed broccoli and a plain baked sweet potato. Yuk! At best that’s bland and boring! It’s no surprise that good intentions get pushed away and less healthful fare is what’s next on the menu. But you can definitely make healthy delicious.
Make Vegetables Rock – the Healthy Delicious Way
- Thanks to rock star registered dietitian Ellie Krieger for teaching this technique to me. If you’re a garlic lover, I’ve just made your day. Sauté thinly sliced garlic in extra virgin olive over low heat, being careful not to burn the garlic. When the garlic turns just golden, remove the pan from the stove. The garlic slivers will become crispy in the hot pan. Toss broccoli or any favorite steamed vegetable with this garlic yumminess.
- Roast vegetables. This technique turns even picky eaters into veggie lovers or at least veggie acceptors. Simply cut your vegetables into uniform pieces, toss with olive or canola oil and seasonings. Without crowding the pan, spread the vegetables onto a baking sheet and roast at 425°F until caramelized. Here’s a terrific roasting guide I found.
Let Protein Foods Be Your Canvas – the Healthy Delicious Way
Most meats need a little jazzing. Instead of thinking of a plain piece of meat as a near finished product, look at it as a blank canvas. There’s so much you can do with a chicken breast or thigh, a lean cut of beef or a fish fillet. Let an imaginary trip around the world spark a few ideas.
You can create infinite tasty dishes with a chicken breast or ground turkey and a variety of spices, for example. Sit down to a Greek-inspired meal when you season with garlic, onions, oregano and mint. Toss in some tomatoes, feta cheese and kalamata olives. The same poultry can inspire a Mexican meal with onions, garlic, lime, cilantro, avocado, cumin and chile powder. Here are a few ways I use unique combinations and flavors from around the world to turn nutritious into delicious. Let your creativity fly with meats, vegetarian meals, side dishes and more. I’d love to hear your ideas.
- Asian-Inspired Fish Fillets
- Sweet Potato Walnut Balls
- Veggie-Powered Pasta Sauce with Lentils
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- Curried Chicken and Chickpea Stew