Healthy foods shouldn’t be bland and boring. Learn how to cook and season them to enhance their naturally delicious flavors. You can make vegetables, fish, poultry, whole grains and fruits taste great.
When you hear the words “healthy food,” it’s all too easy to think of bland, uninspired, or unfamiliar food that takes all the pleasure out of cooking and eating. What often prevents us from practicing healthy eating habits: the wealth of misinformation out there about what foods are healthy and the idea that we have to sacrifice the flavor that makes food such an enjoyable part of life.
The truth is that it can actually taste amazing if it’s done well. A new study from the University of Cologne finds that people rank healthy food as more satisfying when they make it themselves.
There’s actually a scientific term for this phenomenon: the IKEA Effect. Basically, researchers say, humans tend to get more satisfaction and reward when they create something on their own, whether it’s a bookcase, a shake, or a salad.
Anything that makes healthy food more satisfying is a surefire boon for your health—and your waistline. One recent study found that frequent home cookers eat 137 fewer calories and 16 fewer g of sugar every day, on average, compared to people who eat out more. Do it every day, and even that small calorie cut can help you shed 10 pounds over the course of a year. All the more reason to break out your apron.
When you know a few simple things about seasonings and cooking, you can satisfy even the most demanding taste buds. Build muscle, pump up your immune system, and feel your energy levels soar with the right ingredients.
There are two keys to making healthy foods taste good. The first is to start with the best possible ingredients. When foods are as fresh as can be, they’re at their peak of quality, which means they’re also at their peak of flavor.
The second key to making healthy foods taste good is to learn how to cook and season them. It helps if you’re willing to be a little fearless in the kitchen. If you’re not much of a cook, you might not trust your instincts and worry that you’ll make a mistake. But that’s part of the fun. It’s also how you learn to enhance flavors, not simply cover them up.
Use Fresh, High-Quality Ingredients- The purest versions of things like peanut butter or tomato sauce – the ones that aren’t buried in sugar, salt, oil and preservatives – have a much richer flavor.
Spice Things Up- Spices and herbs should become a regular part of your meals. They add flavor, and they even add nutrients!
Give Beans And Grains A Boost- If you want them to taste amazing, don’t serve them on their own. Vegetables and fruit are bursting with flavors, and pairing them with beans and grains in a meal is a great way to make a dish more interesting – and healthier!
Infusing flavor into the water that you use to cook grains or beans or a sauce or dressing is another way to add flavor.
Don’t Be Scared Of Fat – Contrary to what you may believe, you don’t always have to sacrifice flavor for nutrition. Choosing the right kind of fat is important to keep things healthy, but once you get that sorted out you should embrace it. It makes a huge difference to the flavor of your food, plus your body needs some fat to run properly.
Don’t Be Scared Of Salt – Salt brings out the flavor of vegetables, softens them and reduces their bitterness, and brings the flavors of the whole dish together. When you’re cooking, add enough salt to bring the flavors out and draw them together but stop short of it actually tasting salty.
Practice eating mindfully, without distractions – If you eat while you’re working, driving, surfing the internet, or watching television, you might not focus on your food very much—if at all. This means you don’t get much satisfaction from your meal when you’re not paying attention—and, you often eat too quickly. On top of that, it’s easy to lose track of how much you eat. To eat more mindfully, set aside 20 minutes to eat your meal, and do nothing else. Try to slow your pace and really savor every bite. When you take time to focus on how your food looks, smells and tastes, it will be much more enjoyable and you’ll leave the table more satisfied.
Learn how to cook a healthy Indian meal using recipes that have been inherited from my great-grandmother.
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