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Cooking for the Feel of it: Healthy Leads to happy

Today is a new day and as promised I will be blogging 3 days a week to start. While I may not be a licensed nutritionist…yet... Many of you have asked what I do in the kitchen that I consider health hacks. So today I am going to share a few of my favorite things to use in the kitchen and hope it helps some to get creative too.

First of all let me preface this with the fact that I am not a chef. I have, in truth rarely followed recipes and if I am honest, when I do follow recipes they tend to not be nearly as tasty as when I just wing it. When I was a teenager my father mentioned he had been a chef in a fancy French restaurant. I had such dreams of him in his chef hat making delicious and succulent meals and it inspired me. Cooking must be in my blood and I got to work. I watched every show on the food network and I spent a total of one semester at Kendall College in Evanston IL. I was not there for cooking but being there somehow inspired me. I kept this up until the age of 30 when I learned the ugly truth. My father was a line cook..prepping vegetables in a college cafeteria. So everything I had thought was a lie and now what?

Well I decided I didn’t care. It was in me regardless and I continued cooking. I actually got even better once it was for me and not him. So here are just a few of the things that I have learned in my own cooking journey that I have taken to help me begin a healthy cooking journey.

-First of all, you do not need to add fat to get flavor. The best flavor I add is made up of Spices, garlic, peppers, onions and other various vegetables. Do not be afraid to play around with spice and definitely look into seasoning things with your own spice creations instead of the pre-made ones you get from the store. Those tend to have tons of sodium in them.

-Second, full fat Greek yogurt can go a long way. It can substitute as sour cream, makes amazing sauces, can be added to dressings, used to cream soup, you name it. Greek yogurt can be your best friend in the kitchen.

-Third, if you cook the crap out of your food you kill the flavor so don’t be afraid to leave a little crunch on your veggies. Plus it adds nutritional value.

-You have to train your palate to crave less sugar and a good way to do that would be substitute your dessert with fruit. Berries in my opinion work the best and don’t bother with the artificial sweeteners I feel as though they leave a weird thing in the back of your throat in my opinion. Honey is good, so is maple syrup. Use in moderation, that is the key.

-While hydration is key to health, it can get tricky when you don’t like the taste of water. So don’t be afraid to squeeze a bit of lemon, lime or orange into it. Stick a cucumber slice in and never underestimate the wonders of ice.

-Never hesitate re-purposing your meals. That turkey burger you made the other night can be used to make tacos the next day. That grilled chicken can make one hell of a salad the next day. On Wednesday I’ll be sharing an amazing recipe I’ve grown to love for tzatziki, a great slow cooker chicken recipe and how to garnish and make your food look incredible not with fancy tools but with the simplicity of the rainbow that is the world of vegetables.

Most importantly have fun with your recipes and never forget that food cooked with love is the best food of all and loving your own body and filling it with nutrients is the first start to that. So as always, Be good to your body and your body will be good to you. Happy cooking people.