By: Paul Jenkins CEO and founder of DNA Lean
Nutritious Food in a Nutshell
Fitness experts, medical doctors, psychologists and even venture capitalists recommend eating better every chance they get. But with fast-food chains readily available within walking distance of workplaces and whole, organic, fresh foods more expensive than their processed counterparts, it’s not easy to implement such expeditious advice.
If this weren’t hard enough as it is, farmers’ markets are sometimes located remotely from central areas, making it an entire adventure to fit a two-way trip in one’s schedule without missing out on an entire afternoon. Moreover, healthy food always seems to taste… well, plain-old bland in comparison to ice-creams or the good, old-fashioned burger. Not even those venture capitalists would spend their life-earned investments on such odds.
Nonetheless, when it comes to the quality of one’s life, all of these problems fade away and turn into mere hindrances that are easy to deal with. Below, you’ll find some of the fastest and cheapest ways of delivering some richness to your healthy food. Using this advice, you can also improve upon 6 of the best pre workout meals you need to know.
Are you ready to make healthy food delicious again?
5 Ways in which healthy food will taste better
Baking vegetables in the oven is guaranteed to improve their taste, especially for those with an aversion towards anything green. The flavours concentrate, whilst their natural sugar tends to caramelize. All that is required is a light coating of oil, a sprinkle of salt and enough time to roast them until tender and brown according to taste.
Lemon zest or fresh herbs added before serving provide yet another layer of depth to a simple vegetable that nobody would ever think can make a delicious snack on its own – like, for instance, an eggplant, zucchini, asparagus or bell pepper.
Depending on thickness and consistency, some veggies might take more to cook than others. To make the most out of the available spare time, it is recommended to slice them thinly, spread them evenly across the baking surface and cook at around 400F/200C. Resist the temptation of butter or parmesan, as they would only add unnecessary calories and fat.
After all, baking is considered to be one of the healthiest ways of preparing food, on par with steaming, poaching and boiling.
- Blending into Smoothies
Smoothies are more of a modern-cuisine invention, which is why a lot of household consumers are still wary of trying out magic bullets and blenders. However, blending vegetables into a smooth drink is an incredibly fast and easy way to concentrate a lot of nutrients in a very small portion.
Whilst some smoothies can have odd colours or shades, people always know what they put in them, which gives ample control over how healthy a drink is. Collards, kale and spinach can be combined with couple of tablespoons of Greek yogurt, some berries, water and bananas to render hefty quantities of greenery more delightful than ever.
There’s just no end to the combinations of roots, veggies and leafy greens that can go into a bullet, and in order to make a beverage delicious, some fruits are all that is needed. The latter have natural flavour and natural sugar in the form of fructose. Stevia is a good alternative and honey is still OK, but other sweeteners, starting with coconut sugar and various syrups go from slightly bad to detrimental, in the case of brown and white sugar, and almost-certainly carcinogenic for aspartame.
- Fresh and Organic is Always Better
It’s not always obvious, but every single consumer that makes the transition from supermarket produce to farmer’s markets and organic items is thoroughly impressed by the difference in taste. Using various chemicals and chemical processes, retailers often seek to prolong the shelf-life of their fruits and veggies, to make them more resistant to pests and even to make them look better.
Whenever you have a choice, go for fresh and organic without hesitation. The money invested in a slightly higher grocery bill yields thousands in savings that would otherwise go on health bills, but also a more flavourful and natural product.
- Whole Grains and Taste Components
From brown rice and whole oats, to rye, buckwheat, barley or quinoa, there are a multitude of whole grains out there ready to be explored and turned into the perfect side-dish. Slightly nutty and aromatic, in most cases, they constitute the perfect sidekick to a not-so-attractive broccoli or kale.
The fastest way to add some flavour to whole grains is to sauté them in a bit of oil over medium heat until they turn light brown. During this stage, a bit of garlic, diced carrot, tomato or pepper can go a long way in terms of richness.
For their experiments, chefs often use taste components to make up new dishes and combinations of food items others never even thought of. This is how duck a l’orange or chicken with chili and chocolate came to be. You can easily find charts indicating flavour pairing on websites such as winefolly and others like it.
- Spices and Herbs
Seasoning foods with ginger, dried orange peel, star anise, cumin, oregano, basil or curry powder will turn any foodie’s palate into a party. Squashes go amazingly well with crushed garlic clove, ground nutmeg or cinnamon.
Roasting cauliflower with some ground coriander seeds, salt, pepper and garlic makes up a complex, yummy and thoroughly satisfying vegetable course. Instead of processed meat, try purchasing your cuts from local producers. Any kind of meat can be marinated with a little vinegar, citrus juice and a blend of spices in order to obtain an almost butter-like tenderness. Also, before cooking, it is highly advised to put together a combination of seasonings that are rubbed onto the surface of the meat.
Especially for fish and poultry, some liquid is necessary when cooking in order to keep them juicy. A little citrus juice in combination with any variety of vegetable stock usually does the trick.
You Stand to Gain
The fact that healthy foods have a less satisfying impact on our palate is also a consequence of the strong tastes we are used to these days. High amounts of fat and sugar in mass produced items bears heavily on their aroma. But after a couple of weeks without sugary drinks and ready-made hamburgers, the palate starts to reset and re-accommodate itself. Having gone through this transformation, the true taste of things will become obvious, rendering some items, such as certain syrups, candy or fatty dishes almost unbearable.
You stand to gain the most out of the transition to healthy, whole and organic produce. Regardless of what it is, if it is personally prepared and cooked, it is undoubtedly better than something off the shelf. It’s also more satisfying to make something good instead of just buying it, but it will take some experimentation and adjustment before things get really fun and tasty.
- Flavour pairing: http://winefolly.com/review/taste-flavor-pairing-chart-combinations/
- More on what is considered healthy sugar: http://furthermore.equinox.com/articles/2015/04/sugar
- For other easy ways to make veggies and healthy foods taste better: http://www.discovergoodnutrition.com/2015/06/healthy-foods-taste-great/
- More on the benefits of organic food: http://time.com/4206738/organic-food-worth-the-price-study/
- How processed food affects our capacity to taste and hijacks our brain: https://health.spectator.co.uk/processed-food-is-having-a-sinister-effect-on-our-taste-buds/