Make Healthy Foods Taste AMAZING!

I saw this headline today “ADA Survey Shows More Families Eating at Home” and clicked through to read more. According to this survey of roughly 1,200 pairs of parents and children:

  • At-home family meals increased from 52 percent in 2003 to 73 percent in 2010.
  • Most families eat out less often, with an average of 57.2 families eating out less than once a week.
  • Aside from hunger, most children said taste was the main reason they ate, and said it would be easier to eat more healthfully if the food tasted better.

While I am encouraged by the first two points that contradict much of the trend data I have seen in recent years with respect to meals eaten away from home, the third point was most interesting to me.

This quarter I decided to audit the quintessential Bastyrian nutrition course “Whole Foods Production” taught by renowned author of Feeding the Whole Family Cynthia Lair. I have taught my own versions of whole foods cooking classes and incorporated whole foods cooking demonstrations into classes, community talks and events for several years but I have never taken a formal cooking class. I know from my experience both cooking and serving at different vegetarian restaurants prior to pursuing my nutrition career, that healthful food can taste amazingly good and often much more interesting than the standard American fare. I also know both from personal and professional experience, many people do not know how to make healthy foods in general and vegetables in particular, taste great.

What excites me most about the Whole Foods Production class is that the hundreds of students who take this class each year will go forward to spread the knowledge and skills (often with enthusiasm) related to making healthy foods taste great. When I go to a restaurant where the salad consists of iceberg lettuce topped with a few pale, mealy tomato slices, maybe a bland cucumber slice, and a few croutons sprinkled on top I think about how I, a longtime vegophile, would not eat vegetables the way I do if this was my regular option!

So here’s a question for all of you….what makes healthy foods taste GREAT to you? Do you already know how to make these foods taste good? Let’s get a conversation going to drive the trend towards eating better not because it will make us skinny or live longer (though these are certainly noble goals) but because we will enjoy eating that way!

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21 Responses to “Make Healthy Foods Taste AMAZING!”

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  20. Mary Howley Ryan, MS, RD Says:

    Great comments Ground Cherry! It all sounds so simple and straightforward and yet the actual practice of choosing, preparing and enjoying food eludes many. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  21. GroundCherry Says:

    What makes healthy food taste great? There are the obvious: freshness, herbs and spices, basic skill in cooking it. But I think you must also start at the very beginning: what variety is grown, and under the conditions the plant is grown. Slightly adverse condition without too much stress tend to create strong, flavorful plants full of nutrients. And, duh!, a tasty variety will be better than a bland one. Take broccoli– most commercially grown broccoli is pretty bland by the time it reaches an east coast table but if you try homegrown or even farmer’s market broccoli the flavor will be astonishing.

    And, of course, the cook must care about the food and people eating it. Even a plain steamed vegetable can be elevated to greatness by someone who cares.

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