40 Delicious Healthy Eating Tips For The New Year
When it comes to Healthy Eating we never want to give up the flavor.
With these healthy eating and cooking tips, you do not have to!
- When grilling an assortment of summer vegetables, try to cut them as uniformly thick as possible. This ensures they cook evenly and makes for a better presentation when serving.
- Another tip when grilling fresh vegetables is to cut them so that the maximum amount of surface area is exposed. The more surface area exposed to the grill grates, the better the taste will be.
- Many popular culinary herbs are available in citrus varieties and can be used to add an extra dimension to your recipes. Lemon balm, basil, thyme, mint, and lemongrass are popular and readily available examples. Choosing citrus varieties of herbs will allow you to add another subtle layer of flavor to your dishes.
- Lemongrass is a popular ingredient in many Thai recipes. Different parts of the plant have different uses: The base of each stem has a strong lemony flavor ideal for infusing simple syrups or cooking oils, while the more tender leaves are great for making tea or soups.
Fresh herbs are abundant during the warmer summer months so it makes sense to pair them with season’s most popular cooking method. Herb salts and compound butter are 2 super easy ways to add extra flavor to grilled meats and vegetables. Simply combine chopped fresh herbs with either salt or soft butter. Be creative! Add some fresh citrus zest to salt combos for even more flavor variations.
- Salt-cured lemons are great to have on hand because there are so many ways to use them. Preserving slices of fresh lemon between 2 slabs of Himalayan salt greatly intensifies the natural citrus flavor by reducing the water content while simultaneously infusing the slices with salt. The result is a concentrated, briny treasure that is perfect in pasta dishes or wherever you want to add an unexpected intense “pop” of flavor and seasoning.
- Himalayan salt blocks are very versatile kitchen tools that can be used to cook, chill, cure, or serve food. Caution should be exercised when using the blocks with heat, however. The blocks may contain small amounts of moisture inside that can cause them to break or even explode when heated. It is very important to follow directions carefully and temper salt blocks over moderate heat before placing them in a hot oven.
- When selecting a Himalayan salt block for heat applications, be sure to choose one that is “cooking grade.” Also, look for one that has a minimal amount of pattern to it. The gorgeous grain pattern that makes for a beautiful presentation block becomes a liability in the oven. Each striation indicates a fissure or potential weakness that could cause the block to break apart or explode when heated.
- The technique is everything when using Himalayan salt blocks to cure, cook or serve food. It’s easy to end up with overly salted foods if you aren’t careful. For example, when serving Watermelon Feta Salad on a salt plate, arrange the watermelon slices so that only a small portion of the exposed surface area is in direct contact with the salt. This will give a perfect hint of salty flavor without overpowering the entire bite.
For years, pork was always served well done due to fears of trichinosis. However, in 2011 the USDA dropped the recommended internal cooking temperature of pork down to 145 F – a full 15-degree drop from previous recommendations. This means it is now okay to serve pork that is still juicy and a little pink inside. Just be sure to use an instant-read thermometer to confirm the meat has reached a safe internal temperature before serving.
- Most recipes for frying call for using vegetable or canola oil. However, coconut cooking oil is a delicious, healthy alternative that does not infuse the food with coconut flavor. I highly recommend it!
- Want to enjoy raw kale outside of juices and smoothies? Although the tough, somewhat bitter leaves can be a bit unappealing raw, there is a simple fix for that. Simply massage each leaf with olive, sesame or other oil until they become more tender. Then enjoy kale in mixed green salads just like you would any green, leafy lettuce.
- With soup, it is easy to “Cook Once, Eat Twice” (or three times!). Soup is the perfect freezer food, which means leftovers won’t go to waste. Soup will keep in the freezer for a couple months, so don’t hesitate to whip up extra large batches to enjoy now – and later.
Allow soup to cool overnight in the refrigerator before freezing. Putting hot soup in your freezer can briefly increase the internal temperature of your freezer, which could negatively impact your already frozen items.
- When making soup, “sweat” aromatics, like onions or garlic, first. Simply sauté these ingredients in a little olive oil or butter until they are soft. This will release their flavors and enhance the final taste of your recipe.
- Add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime to broth-based soups before serving to “brighten” up the flavors. Citrus has a natural fresh taste to it that will liven up the other flavors in your soup.
- Save time cleaning up by making your salad dressing in the same bowl you plan to serve your salad in. Mix up your dressing ingredients and let them sit for a while to give the flavors a chance to meld. Then add the rest of your salad ingredients to the bowl and toss to coat right before serving. If you make more dressing than you need for one salad, simply pour off the excess into another storage container before adding your salad ingredients.
When making homemade vinaigrettes, add a little Dijon (or yellow) mustard or mayonnaise to emulsify the mixture. This will help hold together the oil and vinegar (or other acidic components) longer.
- Don’t add dressing until right before you serve it to keep your lettuce crisp.
- It’s important to thoroughly wash lettuce before eating it, but it can be challenging to get it dry enough to hold your dressing. If you eat a lot of salad, a salad spinner is definitely worth the investment.
- If you need to take your salad on the go, but dread soggy, wilted lettuce – try layering your ingredients. A good rule of thumb is to always put the dressing on the bottom (or in another container), followed by “tougher” ingredients like carrots and celery. Next up, add proteins like chicken breast or sliced eggs and then top with delicate lettuce or spinach leaves.
- Have extra tomatoes from your summer garden? Wash, chop and freeze them! Previously frozen tomatoes are too mealy to enjoy raw, but they are perfect for soups, chili, and stews.
- Don’t buy previously grated Parmesan cheese. A nice wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano isn’t overly expensive and will last you a long time. Plus, it won’t have a bunch of preservatives and anti-caking ingredients added to it. An inexpensive microplane is perfect for grating over soups or salads and makes for a nice presentation when serving guests.
Always save the rind from hard cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano to add to the pot or slow cooker when making soups. That delicious salty cheesy goodness will soften and infuse your creation with a wonderful new layer of flavor.
- Plain, old sandwiches can get boring really fast. Introducing an unexpected flavor to your favorite combinations is an easy way to liven things up a bit. Instead of mayo or mustard, try a creamy avocado spread, spicy jalapeno jelly or sweet fig jam. The options are nearly endless.
- Grilled Panini sandwiches are a great cure for the common cold sandwich. You can pick up a highly rated Panini press sandwich maker for a great price on Amazon – or you can use a grill pan and place a cast iron skillet on top of your sandwich for even heating (and those gorgeous grill marks).
- One trick to instantly up the ante on your sandwich creation? Heat the protein before assembling your ingredients. Heating up your chicken, ham, sliced beef or even tofu will add another delicious dimension to your sandwich.
Keep school lunches cool by freezing juice boxes or other non-carbonated beverage containers (e.g. water bottles) overnight so they can double as ice packs the next day.
- Large chunks of ice do not melt as fast as small cubes. To take advantage of this, rinse and fill empty ½ gallon cardboard milk or orange juice containers with water and freeze overnight. Add the frozen containers to your picnic coolers to keep food and drinks cool longer.
- According to Weber’s Way to Grill: The Step-by-Step Guide to Expert Grilling, the ideal thickness for hamburger patties is ¾ of an inch. Thinner patties tend to overcook or fall apart on the grill, while thicker burgers may burn on the outside before they reach a safe temperature inside.
- When it comes to grilling, it is important to know the difference between direct and indirect heat. Direct heat refers to when the fire or heat source is positioned directly under the food you are cooking. With indirect heat, the fire or heat source is still present, but it is not directly below the food. As a result, direct heat tends to cook foods faster than indirect heat.
- Direct heat is ideal for smaller and faster-cooking items that won’t over-cook on the outside before they are cooked through on the inside. Burgers, fruits, and vegetables are examples of foods that can be cooked over direct heat.
According to the USDA, the minimum safe internal temperature of ground meat, including beef and pork, is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest portion of your burger to ensure it has reached a safe temperature.
- For best results, grill burgers over direct, high heat for 8-10 minutes. Actual cook time will depend on the thickness of your burgers and the desired degree of doneness. Add softer sliced cheese to the patties about 1 minute before they are done. For harder, chunkier cheese, such as crumbled blue cheese, move your burgers to indirect heat a couple minutes before they are finished. Then add the cheese and close the lid for 2-3 minutes until it has completely melted.
- When it comes to planning your next picnic, embrace the concept of “less is more.” A perfect picnic comes down to just 3 things: a great location, good company, and delicious food. Keep the menu simple – think along the lines of finger foods, salads, fresh fruit, veggies, and plenty of cold drinks – so you can relax and enjoy the experience when you arrive.
- Want to add some spice to your morning smoothies or green juice? Many popular fresh herbs, such as mint, basil, cilantro, and parsley, freeze well. Wash, remove stems and chop herbs. Add chopped herbs to the bottom of an ice cube tray (filling each compartment about halfway) and top off with water. Once frozen, add one or two herb-filled ice cubes (plus a few regular cubes) to your blender for an extra “pop” of flavor.
Food safety tip: Keep cold foods at or below 40 degrees F to avoid contamination from harmful bacteria. Once this temperature is exceeded, you have a 2-hour window before your food will spoil. On exceptionally warm days (exceeding 90 degrees), that window is reduced to just one hour.
- Hot foods need to be kept 140 degrees or warmer to prevent harmful bacteria growth. Cooked foods that fall below 140 degrees need to be refrigerated within 2 hours (or less on super hot days).
- Foil packet cooking is perfect for carefree summer meals. This method is super simple and there is no messy clean up involved. Just layer your food items on a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to fold over your ingredients. Then, seal the 3 open edges completely when you are finished. You want to seal it tight enough that no steam escapes, but leave enough room for some expansion while cooking.
- Beat the heat! Cold side dishes are a great way to stay cool on a hot summer day. Traditional summer classics like pasta salad, potato salad, and coleslaw taste even better when made a day or two in advance – so they are perfect to make and take to your next picnic, potluck dinner, or backyard BBQ.
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