Guest Blog: Susan Harrell

How to make healthy eating delicious

By far one of the things as a chef that drives me crazy are recipes created by “health professionals” that claim this one recipe is both healthy and taste great. No it doesn’t. It usually tastes like cardboard because they just don’t understand how food should be seasoned, how different ingredients work together and even basic cooking times for meats or seafood.

As we head into this New Year, athletes are writing out resolutions for better healthy eating habits by consuming more clean foods for a number of different reasons. They could be for weight loss, increasing their performance for the next season or maybe just overall health and well-being. However, the side of the road more often than not leaves these resolutions as they end up just not liking what they eat. The fact of the matter is that most people, including athletes, will not stick with a lifestyle change around food if it does not taste good.

Here are my tips to help you make your healthy meals taste great!

Don’t be afraid of salt

healthy eating | saltOne of the biggest perks to creating healthy meals and recipes for athletes is that we don’t need to be afraid of salt if we are relatively healthy. We take salt tablets when training and racing so let’s not make under-seasoned and bland food for no real reason at all. I recommend using Kosher salt for everything. It adds flavor with adding that dreaded “salt” taste that table salt will give you.

Disclaimer: If you do have a heart condition or other serious health ailments, you should follow your doctor’s advice on sodium intake.

Layer the seasonings

I believe that this is one of those things that most people don’t quite understand. Food is usually cooked in steps like sautéing the onions, then sautéing the meat, followed with maybe a stock. You need to lightly season each layer. What it does it builds a deeper flavor profile than if you dump in all the seasonings at the end. This is really important when you are cutting fats from a recipe. A well-seasoned recipe can trump any amount of fat.

Use acidhealthy eating | acid

Acids like lemon juice or white wine vinegar tend to add a bright, fresh flavor to foods without adding any fat or calories. I’m a big fan of marinating poultry with citric juice and using vinegars in stews. You don’t need to use a whole bunch of any acid in your dish, just a splash or two.

Fresh herbs

Talk about a huge bang for your buck cooking tip. Fresh herbs have a ton of flavor if used at the very end of the cooking time. They are not something you put in at the beginning of any dish because they lose their flavor. Add fresh basil when serving pasta or fresh thyme in sautéed brandy mushrooms for even more flavor.

Two examples of highly flavored recipes that are packed full of flavor are a Vegetable, Apricot and Chickpea Tagine and a Quick Seafood Piccata.

If you stick to these simple tips, you can easily have a healthy and fantastic tasting dinner on your table tonight!

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