One of the most common myths about healthy eating is that healthy food doesn't taste good and is boring. If you feel this way, it is probably because you have not properly explored seasonings, new flavors and alternative cooking methods. Next time you go to a restaurant, take a look at the menu. You'll find that most dishes have been elevated with spices, herbs or a flavorful sauce.
Explore seasonings and new flavors: As long as you are limiting sugar and salt intake, it is fine to go crazy with seasonings! In fact, this is an opportunity for you to put your own spin on a dish. Fresh herbs, citrus juice, dry herbs, aromatics like onion and garlic, seasoning mixes and sauces bring interest to a dish. Mustard, salsa, tomato sauce, Cajun seasoning and Italian seasoning are my favorites. Consider having one night per week where you try a new spice combination from another culture. A few cultures to consider are Mexican, Indian, Greek, Asian and Caribbean.
Cooking methods: The best way to cook healthfully is without a lot of added saturated fat like butter or lard. You can use a small amount of unsaturated fats like olive oil or canola oil but it is important to use sparingly. The following cooking methods are ideal for cooking with little to no added fat: Air frying, broiling, grilling, slow cooking in the oven or crockpot and sautéing with a small amount of oil. My personal secret to healthy cooking is to embrace browning. Browning is when something called a Maillard reaction occurs and natural sugars or amino acids actually rearrange themselves. Many people are afraid that when browning occurs, that the food is burning and will not taste good. You will find that if you stick it out and let the browning happen, it will make all the difference in the flavor profile of your dish.
It’s also important to remember not to force yourself to eat foods that you do not like. If you are enjoying what you are eating, you are much more likely to continue choosing those foods. Chances are there are a variety of healthy foods that you do like, and it is ok to prioritize these and exclude the foods you do not enjoy.
Written by: Gigi Ravenhall, RDN