I blame the dietary dogma gurus for making the world think that healthy eating is boring or miserable!
IT’S SIMPLY NOT TRUE!
Here are 5 EASY ways to boost the flavor AND the nutrient content of your staple foods.
I like to think of the following practices as sneaky ways to boost your nutrition intake!
1. Add exciting sauces that make your food POP! Pesto, chimichurri, tahini dressing, and miso dressing are some examples of “sauces” that will turn your regular old dishes into nutrient and flavor explosions!!
And the cool thing about this is that you can make a batch once a week, keep it in your fridge and use it in a bunch of different dishes. It’s just sitting there waiting for you to use on everything and just make life more DELICIOUS!
2. Cook everything with bone broth (or veggie broth if you are vegetarian or vegan). When you make broth you are slow-cooking bones and/or veggies for a long time to let the nutrients in those foods seep out into the water. So broth is basically nutrient-rich liquid!
AND it makes everything taste better!
This is why chefs all over the world have been using broth forever to boost the flavor or their foods.
And you can easily do this at home!
3. Marinate meat and fish ahead of time. This may sound like a lot. But it’s not. Here’s the deal. If you rub sea salt on any meat or fish before cooking and let it sit, it will boost the flavor quotient dramatically! I promise! If you marinate meat or fish with spices in addition to the sea salt, you will thank you me later because everything is going to be DELICIOUS!
Just a few guidelines on this.
The larger and thicker the piece of meat or fish, the longer you can marinate with sea salt. If you are making burgers, liberally add sea salt 5-20 minutes before cooking. If you are making a whole turkey, you can salt it for 2 days. A large steak can be salted for a few hours. A large pork or pot roast can be salted overnight. Get it? The salt does NOT make the food saltier, it makes it MOISTER and MORE FLAVORFUL! Seriously, this is amazing stuff. You can rinse the meat before cooking if you want but I never do.
As for spices, the sky’s the limit. There are thousands of combinations of spice mixtures you can use.
4. Use briny foods, ideally naturally fermented veggies. Adding fermented sauerkraut, pickles, beets, kimchi, etc to your food will boost the nutrition content because these foods are rich in healthy probiotics (beneficial bacteria). But this will also make the food taste better (unless you don’t like briny foods like pickles). If you do, add these foods to salads in order to add a whole dimension of flavor and texture.
There are some cases when adding briny foods that are not naturally fermented will still boost the nutrition and, of course, taste of your food.
My two favorites are: capers and home-pickled red onions. Trust me when I say that you will enjoy your dishes even more with one or both of these foods!
I always have pickled red onions in my fridge, well, and capers too. I throw them both in salads of all kinds. I add capers to a lot of cooked dishes as well. They can go into any stir-fry or if you are baking fish, turkey, or chicken.
And the cool thing is that both capers and red onions are SIRT foods. These foods are super rich in polyphenols, which help you to burn fat, build muscle, and be healthier overall.
For the pickled onions, I just dice the onion, add it to a glass storage container, and add 1/2 red wine vinegar and 1/2 apple cider vinegar (just enough to cover all the onions). You can let them sit for 15-30 minutes before using and they stay nicely in the fridge for up to a week or so.
5. Plan, plan, plan, plan, plan!!! And plan some more! I cannot emphasize enough the power of planning. Life happens, whether we’re prepared or not. The more prepared you are, the better you’ll be able to deal with the inevitable challenges that pop up. Whether it’s being much busier than normal, an illness, a snowstorm, traveling for business or pleasure, difficult luncheons with clients, etc., the more prepared you are the less likely you will be to end up eating some food you know is not good for you.
I”m a huge fan of the weekly sit-down to prepare a list of what you are going to eat for the week. I actually do this twice a week, once on Sunday and once on Wednesday. It is rare that I am left wondering what I’m going to make for dinner at 6:30 PM on a weekday.
It takes me about 10 minutes to map out the meals (ALL OF THEM, not just dinner) and then create the shopping list.
I promise that if you are not doing this now, it will boost your nutrition if you start.
WHY? Because when you are calm and you have time to look up some new recipes and think about what’s in the house, and plan for eating more veggies, better quality meat, less processed foods, etc you will do better.
This is not rocket science!
Just take a little time, sit down, and plan. This is part of SELF-CARE!!
Also, if you are going on a trip, make sure you think about each meal. What will you eat on the plane? Every meal! And bring healthy snacks in case you need them.
As a matter of fact, pick one shelf-stable healthy snack and have it with you all the time for those inevitable times when you are stuck with no food and no healthy options.
I always have a bag of walnuts with me. I like RX Bars and Elemental Bars as well (not for everyday use, just in a pinch). I’ve also found that Kind Bars are available in a lot of conventional places like rest stops and airports (and Starbucks). They are not terrible in a pinch.
So, do not go out without a plan. Do not start your week without a plan. Do not travel without a plan.
This will REDUCE STRESS!!
And it will ensure you do much better with making healthy choices!