Everyone knows that they should eat healthy, but making good choices can feel like a chore rather than a pleasure if healthy food does not taste good. Luckily, as Lark will tell you, food that is good for you can taste good, too. Here are a few tricks for turning great foods into delicious dishes, and for transforming delicious dishes into nutritious meals.
Superfoods into Delicious Dishes
What can you do about those foods you know you should eat, but do not really like or do not know how to prepare them? In most cases, it is pretty simple to make a delicious dish out of almost anything. Here are a few other examples of turning healthy foods into delicious healthy foods.
- Tuna: Add avocado or plain Greek yogurt, diced celery and tomatoes, capers or olives, mustard, and thyme or rosemary to make a creamy tuna salad.
- Beans: mix garbanzo, kidney, black, and/or other types of beans with apple cider vinegar, olive oil, green and/or wax beans, and chopped bell pepper and green onion to make four-bean salad.
- Lentils: mix with chopped mushrooms, carrots, onion, corn, whole-grain breadcrumbs or almond meal, egg, garlic powder, and broth to make a veggie burger.
- Olive oil: use for roasting vegetables, or mix with vinegar and herbs to make salad dressings.
- Vegetables: roasting them with olive oil and herbs such as rosemary can keep them flavorful and not like the mushy ones many of us grew up eating. Cauliflower, brussels sprouts, onions, beets, turnips, and carrots are just a few great roasted vegetables.
- Nuts: great when added to stir fry or vegetable dishes, or roasted with paprika or a dusting of cocoa.
- Popcorn: shake on some cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or ginger, or a blend of black pepper, paprika, and garlic salt.
Turn Old Favorites into Healthy Friends
Eating well and losing weight does not mean you need to give up your favorite foods. With a few small tweaks, familiar favorites can become healthy friends for life. Strategies such as adding vegetables, swapping whole grains and lean proteins for refined grains and fatty proteins, and using lower-fat cooking methods can make the transformation. These are just a few examples.
- Lasagna: sliced eggplant instead of lasagna noodles, extra spinach or other vegetables, ground turkey instead of beef
- Pasta: whole-grain pasta or spiralized zucchini or carrots, tomato sauce instead of cream sauce, extra vegetables
- Pancake breakfast: buckwheat or other whole-grain, cottage cheese for extra protein, fresh fruit instead of syrup, egg whites instead of fried egg and bacon
- Breaded fried chicken or fish: baked skinless chicken or fish with pecan or almond meal or whole-grain breadcrumbs for a coating
- Pie/cobbler: baked apples with cinnamon, toasted oats instead of crust
- Beef burrito with rice: whole-grain wrap or lettuce instead of white tortilla, seasoned shredded chicken or ground turkey instead of beef, brown rice instead of white, lettuce and tomatoes
- Burger and fries: lettuce or whole-grain bun instead of white, ground turkey or veggie burger instead of beef patty, baked sweet potato or zucchini sticks instead of fried potatoes, mustard instead of mayo or butter on the bun.
- Pizza: whole-grain pita, English muffin, or other crust, light cheese, extra sauce, veggie toppings, and grilled chicken or meatless sausage instead of fatty meats, or (if ordering) thin crust with extra sauce, light cheese, veggie toppings, and anchovies instead of pepperoni or sausage
- Ice cream sundae or banana split: pureed frozen ripe banana instead of ice cream, melted dark chocolate instead of chocolate syrup, fresh fruit and nuts instead of cookies, strawberry syrup, or other sugary toppings
Whatever you are craving, it is possible to make it healthier but still tasty. With some experimentation, you can learn which swaps you can make to get a meal you still love and can feel better about eating.
Healthy eating really can be delicious. Sometimes it takes several tries to acquire a taste for a certain food, sometimes it takes a few different recipes before you settle on some you like, and sometimes it takes minor substitutions to turn less-healthy dishes into foods to love.