Nutrition Recipes Wellness

How to Make Healthy Food Taste Great

Busting the myth that healthy food has no flavor and isn’t tasty is such a fun thing to do. There...

Busting the myth that healthy food has no flavor and isn’t tasty is such a fun thing to do. There are so many different ways to flavor healthy food so that it tastes amazing and makes you want to eat it, and today, we are going to dive into some of these different flavor options! Adding things like fresh herbs, acidic flavors such as vinegar or citrus, strong flavors like garlic and onion and more can really boost the flavors in a dish taking it from average to incredible. Load your grocery cart up with foods such as cilantro, limes and green onion for healthy boosts of flavor to your food.

 

Thai Coconut Soup maximizes citrus for flavor.

1. Citrus

Lemon juice and lime juice are loaded with a tart flavor that works in many dishes. Fish tastes great with lemon juice squeezed on it. Salad dressings get a boost of flavor from lemon, lime or even orange juice. It is a low-calorie and salt-free way to add flavor to many different dishes. Having fresh lemon and lime wedges at the table is another great way to add a zing to the food when serving it.

2. Garlic

Garlic is a seasoning that I use for almost everything savory that I cook. I like using garlic powder or chopped garlic in a jar the most. Another option that provides the most flavor but takes a little bit more time is using fresh garlic. Almost all vegetables that I grill or roast get a sprinkle of garlic powder for flavor. It is wonderful on chicken and shrimp as well.

Asian Chopped Salad

Vinegar helps the flavors pop in this Chicken Ramen Noodle Salad.

3. Vinegar

Vinegar is a tangy, sour ingredient that adds tons of flavor to food. It is wonderful in salad dressings. When making a salad dressing recipe, I recommend reducing the amount of oil used and adding more vinegar for a lighter dressing option. Tomatoes and cucumbers are delicious marinated in vinegar, black pepper and a little salt.

4. Onion

Onions are like garlic in that they provide tons of flavor to savory foods. Options include using onion powder, fresh white, yellow or red onions or even green onion. It really helps to season the food without adding salt or fat. I love adding onion powder to scrambled eggs, vegetables, meat, potatoes and more. Fresh onion is great on salads, potato salad, pasta salad and more.

5. Use a sprinkle of cheese

While cheese is not a low-calorie or low-fat option, it is a delicious way to add flavor to healthy food. A big Greek salad or chicken gyro wrap tastes delicious with a sprinkle of feta cheese. Whole-wheat pasta with vegetables is enhanced with Parmesan cheese. Healthy black bean tacos also taste great with a bit of cheddar cheese. 

Greek Hummus Toast –just a sprinkling of Feta Cheese goes a long way!

6. Roast Vegetables

Roasting vegetables is a great way to make them taste amazing. Turn up your oven to 400 degrees and toss your choice of vegetables in olive oil and seasonings for lots of flavor. To give them an Asian spin, toss with toasted sesame oil and when they are done roasting, add a sprinkle of soy sauce, garlic powder and rice vinegar. To give them an Italian spin, toss in olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning blend and garlic powder.


7. Cook with fresh herbs

There is nothing like a bit of fresh herbs to give a dish flavor. Use your choice of basil, mint, parsley, chives, oregano, dill and more. These herbs are wonderful in pasta salads, potato salad, on fresh vegetables and more.


8. Marinate meat and vegetables

Before using a method of cooking like grilling, it is super delicious to marinate meat and vegetables ahead of time for maximum flavor and it often also helps to tenderize your meat. Vinegar and citrus are awesome for marinades along with a bit of oil and your choice of spices.

These tips to make healthy food taste great are loaded with flavor and are easy, inexpensive ways to maximize flavor in your food without adding too much fat and calories. Here are recipes that incorporate some of these cooking techniques, including Chicken Ramen Noodle Salad , Greek Hummus Toast and Thai Coconut Soup. Give them a try; your taste buds will be happy you did! 

— Amanda Hernandez, MA, RD of The Nutritionist Reviews