When it comes to healthy eating many people believe they have to deprive themselves of flavour and texture, but that’s not the case. Here are some tips to help you produce meals that will lift your heart as well as nourish your body:
Don’t think healthy equals bland
“When you say ‘healthy eating’, a lot of people think lettuce, tomatoes, that’s it,” says foodnetwork.com chef Robert Irvine. Healthy eating is just the correct balance of foods.
Do keep it simple
Flavourful, healthy meals don’t have to be complex, and they don’t have to include a main dish and two sides.
Don’t deprive yourself
“A ‘diet’ implies that you’re depriving the body of something. I can eat fried everything every day of the week if I want, but the time I eat and what I eat in between meals and which exercises I do are the important things.”
Do learn to regulate heat
Heat your frying pan before you cook a protein so it spends the least possible amount of time cooking. “Master heat control, then with any grill, any pan, any oven, you can cook nutritious meals,” Irvine says.
Do make friends with your blender
A blender is amazing – you can throw (almost) anything in to make a flavourful sauce. “I use a lot of fruit, like strawberries and mangoes, to blend into sauces for proteins,” says Irvine.
Don’t kill the vegetables!
“I grew up with my mother cooking vegetables; it was like drinking them through a straw,” Irvine jokes. 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 flavour boosters
“Rice wine vinegar and ginger are my go-to flavour boosters – they travel with me anywhere I go!” he says. Irvine uses them for sauces, dressings or flavourful broths. “Stone-ground mustard is also a big one. It’s a great way to emulsify salad dressings.”
Don’t get burnt out
Don’t try to eat chicken breasts and a salad every day. Vary your diet to keep it interesting. “If you have chicken on Monday, have fish on Tuesday, then some kind of beef or pork on Wednesday,” Irvine recommends.