March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.” This month we remind ourselves that healthy foods don’t have to be bland or boring; taste and nutrition can be a winning combination. As my Mom always said, “the secret to nutritious is delicious!” Following are a few of my simple tips to help you perk up the taste, flavor and nutrition of any meal.
Add a bit of crunch to your meals by adding nuts and seeds to vegetables or grain dishes, fruit salads, hot dishes, salads, yogurt and snacks. To make their rich flavor even more powerful, consider toasting your favorite nuts and seeds. Pine nuts, almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds are great options and provide protein, too. Toasting releases natural oils and reveals new, delicious flavors.
Taste and smell work together in ways you may not even realize. Smell not only influences flavor, but is an integral part of how we taste and experience foods. Elevate the taste of your meal by perking up the aroma. Add crisp and tangy notes at mealtime by squeezing a lemon, lime or tangerine over vegetables, greens or fish. Try citrus juices in place of salt on chicken, steak or beans to brighten the smell and flavor. Cooking with sautéed onion and garlic also fill a room with irresistible aromas.
Explore New Flavors
Herbs are a great way to give your meals a flavor boost. Experiment with new herbs and try new combinations. Top eggs or potatoes with rosemary and thyme or fresh sage. Toss vegetables with tarragon and lemon rind. Replace your typical seasonings with something different like marjoram instead of oregano or cilantro instead of parsley. For beef dishes, add a little cinnamon or cumin. When slow-cooking, add herbs or spices at the end, within the last 45-60 minutes of cooking. For dry herbs, consider soaking them in water that has just boiled as the heat can release even more flavor.
Perfect your Cooking Technique
Cooking techniques can really bring out the natural taste of foods, and mastering a few techniques can help add layers of flavor. Learn how to brown, roast, deglaze and caramelize your foods. These techniques help unlock rich flavors, give more depth to your meals and heighten the taste of all the ingredients.
The freshest produce will give you the most flavor satisfaction. Check out your local farmer’s market to see what’s local and in season this month.
For more ideas on healthy eating and quick meals, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009) or contact me for individual counseling. My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating more enjoyable and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia Kostas Nutrition and visit:http://www.georgiakostas.com.
This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.