Boring! Bland! Bleh! Whatever names you’ve heard ‘healthy eating’ – watch out! Healthy food is striking back! With herbs and spices, a little know-how and a dash of creativity, you can enjoy healthy eating just as much as a gooey, fatty pizza that tips your calorie count for the day.
In 2008 the theme for National Nutrition Week, run by Nutrition Australia, was Falling in Love with Food – value yourself and your health. Read on to gain some top tips to truly enjoy healthy eating – not simply tolerate it.
Say “Yes” To Healthy Food
Sadly, healthy eating has been labeled many awful names over the years – “yucky”, “rabbit food” and the like. Due to a lack of imagination it can be boring – but so can unhealthy food.
Healthy eating should be the norm, not a fad. Unfortunately unhealthy food can be very addictive. Changing from unhealthy eating habits to healthy ones can take weeks or months, but it’s worth the effort. Easier weight control, more energy and a better immune system can be some of the many gains to look forward to. Try the following tips to help you fall in love with healthy food.
Start with Fresh, Good Quality Ingredients
Know how to select fresh, ripe, good quality fruit and vegetables. Choose locally grown fruit and veg in season rather than imported ones. Locally grown produce tends to be fresher because it’s travelled less distance to get to you. The older the fruit and veg the fewer nutrients they contain because many vitamins break-down over time.
Stale, limp and mouldy fruit and veg can’t be resurrected and made fresh again. It’s got to be good quality to begin with or don’t use it.
Slimy, smelly, out-of-date meat, fish and poultry is for the bin, not your family. Poor quality food puts you and your family at risk of food poisoning, and it tastes awful.
Experiment with Herbs and Spices
Know how to store herbs and spices, how much to use, in what combinations and so on. Read CalorieKing’s article Your Handy Guide to Herbs and Spices for ideas.
Join a Cooking Class
Try Thai, Indian, Italian cooking classes and more – mmm delicious! Check-out your local community centre for what courses are running. You might also make a friend or two (or three…) – a beaut bonus.
Buy Some Cook Books
There are lots of delicious cook books around with healthy recipes. Your local library might have some too, which will save you money. The internet also has many recipes you could use.
Swap Delicious Healthy Recipes with a Friend or Family Member
Sponge ideas off others (in a good way) and give them ideas too. Why not? You have nothing to gain but healthier, tastier meals, better health, and stronger friendships.
Prepare and Cook Food So it Looks and Tastes Great
There’s a big difference between fresh, tender vegetables compared to overcooked mushy vegetables. Have you ever eaten vegetables cooked so long they are sloppy, unappealing and awful smelling? Squid, steak, prawns – whatever food it is, know how long and how to cook it to bring out the best in its texture and flavour. Knowing which foods combine best with others is also important.
Obviously if food looks good then you’re more likely to eat it. Chop up fruit and vegetables for children and arrange them in ways that would make them want to eat it. Smiley faces, fruit kebabs and fruit smoothies are easy ways to make kids want to eat their fruit. Do the same for adults (minus the smiley faces) and arrange food so it looks good. Add a garnish and keep the rim of the plate clear of food.
Adapt Recipes to Make them Healthier
You probably know ways to adapt recipes so they are healthier – there are plenty around. Check-out the ones below. For more ideas read the related article Clever Cooking: Your Guide to Adapting Recipes.
- Grill, steam, microwave or bake your food instead of frying it. Avoid boiling veggies in water because vital nutrients leach into it and are lost. If you do boil them, at least use the liquid for soups and stews.
- Use olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil or other oils high in mono and polyunsaturated fats (‘good fats’) rather than blended vegetable oil and other oils high in saturated fat (‘bad fat’). Buy Australian olive oils to ensure you are getting the genuine product. Research has found that some brands of imported olive oil are not even olive oil. Check-out the ABC’s 7.30 Report broadcast Imported Olive Oil Quality Under Scrutinyfor more information.
- Choose healthy snacks, such as fruit and veggies and air-popped popcorn, instead of less healthy snacks like crisps, biscuits and cakes.
So spice up your food, “think outside the box” and experiment with your meals so you fall in love with healthy food.