Healthy Eating Tip: Play Matchmaker with Flavors

Mindy Hermann

The Ultimate Volumetrics DietIn honor of National Nutrition Month®, my colleague Mindy Hermann shares her tip to help you savor the flavor of eating right.

Play matchmaker with flavors.

Think about your favorite flavor couples that have enjoyed many happy years together — onion and garlic, salt and pepper, basil and oregano, to name just a few. Their partnership tastes as good as, or even better than, each one alone. In their book The Flavor Bible, Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg discuss how certain herbs, spices and seasonings bring out the best of each other and in foods. A squeeze of lemon juice, for example, can brighten up a green salad or pair with rosemary and garlic on roast chicken. Lime juice, in contrast, adds a tart note to guacamole and Asian dishes.

Recently I learned about the importance of umami, or “savory,” thought to be the fifth taste (joining sweet, salty, sour, and bitter). Umami is a bit hard to describe, but dishes with umami ingredients and foods have a more satisfying flavor. Meats, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, ripe tomatoes, and fermented foods all contribute umami. So do glutamate seasonings like Accent or MSG, and soup mixes and concentrates that contain glutamate. Some foods like mushrooms work together with umami foods and seasonings, hence, why pasta with tomatoes, mushrooms, and parmesan is so yummy. The Flavor Bible is filled with pairings that can help you “savor the flavor” of your meals. Try a few!

Flavor Affinities:

  • Mushrooms + garlic + parsley
  • Feta cheese + salad greens + fresh mint
  • Beef + mushrooms + potatoes
  • Soy sauce + garlic + ginger
  • Orange juice + seafood + tarragon

When she isn’t writing about food and nutrition, Mindy Hermann, MBA, RDN, enjoys playing in the kitchen and shopping in ethnic grocery stores. Visit Mindy’s website to learn more about her and about the many books she’s written. Mindy learned about umami at a sponsored conference in London. All information in this post represents her independent professional opinions.

Jill Weisenberger

Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, CHWC, FAND, is a Nutrition, Culinary & Diabetes Expert, Wellcoach®-certified health and wellness coach, Freelance Writer, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's also the author of four books, including a best-seller. She's a nationally-recognized media expert in high demand for print and online interviews, as well as corporate and one-on-one nutritional counseling. Jill's philosophy is that nutrition science should be understandable, realistic and oh so delicious.

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Like most of my patients and clients, I lead a busy life. You probably do too. Fortunately, you don’t need weeks, days or even hours to start living better and healthier. This blog offers timesaving strategies and bite-sized nutrition and health information. Come by often for tips and inspiration to healthy living – no matter how busy you are. I am a registered dietitian nutritionist offering credible, practical nutrition advice to keep busy people healthy. Yes indeed, we can be both busy and healthy.

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