7 strategies to take the bland out of healthy cooking
November 13, 2012 10:15AM
Person adding ingredients to skillet
Updated: December 15, 2012 6:02AM
“When you say healthy eating, a lot of people think lettuce, tomatoes, that’s it,” says chef Robert Irvine. Healthy eating is just the correct balance of foods — mostly healthy recipes with a few sinful treats now and then.
Do keep it simple. Flavorful, healthy meals don’t have to be complex, and they don’t have to include a main dish and two sides. “I love to cook lean proteins like chicken, salmon and sea bass on a grill, then top with a simple black bean salsa made with canned tomatoes, black beans, onions and a little hot sauce,” Irvine says.
Don’t deprive yourself. “A ‘diet’ implies that you’re depriving the body of something. I can eat French fries every day of the week if I want, but the time I eat them and what I eat in between and what exercises I do is the important thing,” Irvine says.
Do learn to regulate heat. Heat your skillet before you cook a protein so it spends the least possible amount of time cooking.
Do make friends with your blender. A blender is amazing — you can throw (almost) anything in to make a flavorful sauce. For a savory sauce, try red onions and olives atop roasted vegetables or proteins.
Don’t kill the vegetables. It only takes a couple of minutes to cook fresh veggies — any more and they start to lose precious nutrients, not to mention taste.
Do use healthy flavor boosters. “Rice wine vinegar and ginger are my go-to flavor boosters,” Irvine says. “They travel with me anywhere I go.” Stone-ground mustard also is a big one, because you need it to emulsify dressings.
Don’t get burnt out. Don’t try to eat chicken breasts and a salad every day — mix it up!
Courtesy Robert Irvine
Scripps Howard News Service