What to look for in healthy recipes | voices

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is well documented that Americans spent more time eating, working, and cooking at home. And for many, that included many more visits to the family’s favorite recipe book.

Recipes are fun, but “they are also a science”. K-State Research and Extension family and consumer specialist Sharolyn Jackson said in the northeast. “You can make some changes and tweak recipes in some cases, but for many baked goods, for example, these measurements are based on scientific proportions. So it is very important to be precise and follow the recipe. “

However, Jackson knows that science is constantly changing.

“I think of a favorite quote: ‘Science is not the truth; Science finds the truth. And if science changes its mind, it hasn’t lied to you. It learned more. ‘

“I think about it because good nutrition is a very new science compared to a lot of other science.” Jackson pointed out that nutritionists once advised people to choose a low-fat or fat-free diet. “That science has changed because you’re not only looking at low-fat or fat-free foods, but also the types of fat in that food,” she said. “We always knew there were different types of fat, but years ago we thought that the body processed them in the same way, and now we know that they are not. “We are now recommending that people use unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats. Things that we told people to avoid years ago, let’s now say to eat them because they are good for you, even though they contain fat. “

These types of changes have helped provide guidelines for adapting tried and tested recipes, some of which may have been passed down through generations of families. Jackson gave the following thoughts on choosing healthy recipes or adapting existing recipes to make them healthier:

* Watch Out for Vegetables: “We know fruits and vegetables are important in your diet, and recommendations on how much to consume have actually increased over the years,” she said. Jackson said one idea is to look for recipes that allow vegetables to serve as a main course, “and then if you want meat with the meal, add a side dish of fish, grilled chicken, or the occasional red meat.” To make meat the main course, you make the vegetables the main course. “

* Use whole grains: If a recipe calls for white rice, consider substituting brown rice or another cereal. “You can even experiment a little with some of the old grains,” said Jackson. “And think about mixing grains; take half and half pasta and rice or half white / half whole wheat pasta or rice. “

* Use whole wheat flour instead of white flour. This is an easy substitute for any recipe that isn’t leavened by yeast, including cookies and quick bread. If your family is not interested in traditional whole wheat flour, we use white whole wheat flour.

* Bake it to make it. If a recipe calls for deep-frying a food, bake it instead, avoiding the breading, which adds fat and calories.

* Cut sugar. Use one-third to one-half less sugar in recipes for goodies like cookies, muffins, and quick breads. “If there’s a recipe that you use frequently, such as a family recipe, start by cutting off maybe a quarter of that sugar,” Jackson said. “Then every time you make the recipe, but a little more out and not how much you used each time.”

* “If you get to the point where this recipe has stopped working, or your family may not like it, then you know you can save so much. From then on, change the recipe. ”Use the same strategy if you’re using less salt.

* Replace salt with herbs and spices. Herbs and spices can be more pleasant in many foods. Jackson said that many people’s taste buds are trained on salt, but with small changes, they can be retrained to enjoy certain herbs and spices in food.

* Choose dark greens. Iceberg lettuce is the most popular type of salad, but it is mainly made from water. “If you’re using iceberg lettuce in a salad, load it up with lots of other vegetables – tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and more,” said Jackson, who suggests leafy greens like spinach, mixed vegetables, arugula, and kale.

* Eat Mediterranean style. This is a diet that includes fruits, vegetables, nut kernels, fish, and leaner meats, as well as lots of vegetables.


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