It’s easy to cut down on fats and kilojoules without sacrificing anything in the way of taste and pleasure. Sure, you have to think a bit more about what you’re going to eat and how it’s prepared, but you’ll soon find that healthy eating is also flavourful and enjoyable.
The keys to a diet that’s both healthy and delicious are to select a variety of quality ingredients, then add flavours that enhance the taste of every dish.
First, stock up your pantry with herbs and spices; the plainer the food, the greater will be the impact of the flavours you add. Keep lots of fresh vegetables and fruits on hand and toss out all the ‘junk’ or processed food in your home.
You don’t have to give up your favourite meats; just go for the cuts that are lowest in fats. Start with lean cuts of beef, pork and lamb, or choose the white meat of poultry like chicken and turkey.
Oily fishes like salmon and trout are also ideal as meal bases because of their high omega-3 fatty acids content that reduces the risk of heart disease.
Now you can add the tastes that make your healthy meals memorable. Rosemary and fennel go well with chicken, mint can be rubbed into pork, pepper and lemon mint can be put onto fresh fish.
Marinades are a great way to add taste to any meat. Use fruit vinaigrette dressings as a marinade for meats. Twenty minutes of marinating is usually sufficient, but allow longer marinade times to add even more flavour.
Low-sodium soy sauce adds flavour to any dish and lets you cut down on salt used in cooking. Spices like chilli and curry will also add taste and interest.
Healthy eating can even include desserts. Fruits like berries or bananas are always welcome, topped off with low-fat vanilla yogurt.
You may want to set aside one or two meals a week that include foods you’ve taken off your shopping list, just so you don’t every have to feel you’ve given up everything you used to eat.
Over time your palate will adjust to the new, healthy recipes you’re eating and you’ll find that some of the dishes you once enjoyed now taste fatty or heavy. You’ll also be aware that foods with lots of artificial flavours no longer have the appeal they used to.
When you start eating meals prepared from fresh ingredients your taste buds will return to their natural state and you’ll really appreciate the new flavours of the healthy meals you’re now enjoying.