The gastronomy industry has undergone a huge transformation in recent years, as consumers seek out big flavors and delicious tastes that produce beautiful food that still isnutritionally-balanced. On one hand, these channels showcase the “stand and stir” approach that was perfected decades ago by Julia Child, and on the other hand, many viewers tune in for the adrenaline-rush of the competitive shows in which the masters of their craft aim to be both inventive while health-sensitive. Alongside the proliferation of these new television superstars, however, has been an even more intriguing trend: amateur chefs lacking any professional training or experience are trying out their skills in the kitchen at home, guided by the advice of their favorite culinary celebrities. But before attempting the more complicated technical dishes that their favorite famous chefs have claimed as their signature recipes, consumers should be sure to master the basics of healthy cooking. Before you can call yourself a truly healthy chef, incorporate the following ten tips into your kitchen routine, allowing you to obtain that coveted balance between innovative taste and wholesome healthiness.
Switch to Whole Grains When Possible
Though some refined, enriched grains are truly necessary for a few special recipes, a healthy chef should look for whole grain products to replace enriched flours, pastas, and breads in their cooking. Some of the most popular pasta brands now come with added Omega 3 fatty acids, which boost skin, nail, and heart health.
Smart Fats for a Health Boost
Using unsaturated fats within your cooking – those that are typically liquid at room temperature – instead of saturated fats such as those found in butter within your cooking is a heart-healthy technique.
Cut Back On the Salt
A few hundred years ago, salt was a coveted kitchen staple as it helped to preserve food’s freshness and natural flavors. Now that we have access to fresh foods year round, as well as refrigeration equipment that keeps foods at a healthy temperature, the amount of salt we should be severely reduced for our circulatory system to stay healthy – try cutting the salt in half in traditional recipes, and eliminating added salt when possible. Often, the final dash of salt we automatically sprinkle on top of our food can be replaced by fresh minced spices, boosting flavor without presenting any health risks.
Stop Eyeballing:Get the Right Equipment
Scientists have discovered that when we rely on estimation for our measurements in the kitchen, we tend to exaggerate use of higher-calorie ingredients. Be sure to invest in a full set of measuring cups and spoons for both wet and dry ingredients, as well as a small scale for measuring protein portions.
Use Low-Fat Dairy Products When Possible
Especially when combined with high-quality herbs and spices, the difference in taste between whole milk and cream products and their lower-calorie, low-fat milk alternatives is minimal.
The Importance of Portions
Just because the restaurant industry takes pride in large servings does not mean that your plates must be massive as well. Balance the meal’s composition between proteins, carbohydrates, and vegetables, and keep your portions small – often, one tapas-sized plate is enough to fill even the most ravenous customer.
Pump Up the Flavor
Flavor doesn’t always have to cost you calories – if you are looking to add a bigger punch to your dish, consider a spritz of lemon, a dash of cayenne pepper, or a spoonful of a savory curry spice blend before adding butter, oil, or other fatty alternatives. In many sweeter dishes, you can use less sugar whenever nutmeg and cinnamon are combined in the dish.
Make Meat Your Side Dish
Many chefs tend to feature the meat in all of their dishes –even if the flavors and textures in the side dishes are the true highlight of the plate. Consider reducing the ounces of meat on each plate, while offering a higher ratio of carbohydrates and proteins to compensate, which reduces cholesterol levels while also lessening your carbon footprint. Also, attempt to expand your vegetarian and vegan culinary repertoire through use of hearty lentils and rich vegetables such as mushrooms, artichokes and eggplants. Should you really crave an animal-based protein in your cooking, seek out fish and other seafood products that will match well with the flavors in your dish.
Swap Standard Vegetable Oils for Nutrient-Packed Options
Not all oils are created alike: some vegetable oils are incredibly unhealthy for the body, while olive oil, grapeseed oil, and avocado oil provide fantastic minerals for the body, even lowering cholesterol levels in the body due to their complex structures on a molecular level. Experiment with new oils that might not be part of an original recipe to see what tastes might enhance the flavors of a particular dish.
Use Fresh Herbs in Combination With Dried Spices
Some herbs have just as much zinc, magnesium, and fiber as their larger vegetable counterparts – and they pack a lot of healthy flavor into a dish. Be sure to use fresh, locally-grown herbs within your dishes, supplementing with delicious dried blends to achieve the taste you crave.
Kate Simmons is a freelance health writer and aspiring cook. She shares her tips and advice on healthy cooking along with delicious recipes on various blogs.