Sun, Mar 16, 2014

Five Ways to Dress Up Food For Maximum Flavor

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Five Ways to Dress Up Food For Maximum Flavor Image credit: Kimberly Bacso

Five Ways to Dress Up Food For Maximum FlavorIf food tastes delicious, it must be unhealthy in some way.  And those healthy choices?  They are bland and boring.

Sound familiar?  Unfortunately these misconceptions can lead to unhealthy food choices because we all want appetizing and satisfying food.  In reality, nutritious and healthy food can be delicious when prepared well.  With a little experimentation and a willingness to try something new, you can create snacks and meals that are both tasty and good for your family.

Operation Live Well’s free cookbooks, Grill & Chill and Eat Well to Live Well, are great resources incorporating the following ideas.

Here are five ways you can dress up your food for maximum, healthy flavor:

1. Herbs and spices. Change up the flavor in your tried and true recipes by using a variety of herbs and spices to enhance vegetable, meat, and fish dishes. Sautéing or roasting vegetables in some extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and fresh herbs brings out the natural sweetness in the veggies and makes them taste great. Make a paste with Greek yogurt, dill, and lemon zest and rub it on salmon fillets before cooking. The combinations are endless. Experiment to discover your favorites.  Check out Operation Live Well’s guide to herbs for recipes, instructions on how to prep and store, and even herb/food pairing suggestions.

  • Yogurt Sauce – Grill & Chill – Page 5
  • Herbed Tilapia – Grill & Chill – Page 6
  • Grilled Pork Tenderloin – Grill & Chill – Page 10
  • Black Bean and Corn Salad – Grill & Chill – Page 17
  • Vegan Tzatziki – Grill & Chill – Page 20
  • Herbed Goat Cheese & Sun-Dried Tomato Spread – Eat Well to Live Well – Page 7
  • Winter Tomato Soup with Bulgur – Eat Well to Live Well – Page 10
  • Tuscan Bean and Kale Soup – Eat Well to Live Well – Page 12

2. Salad additions.  Add fruits and nuts to your salads, such as berries, apples, and walnuts.  Change up your dressings with flavored vinegars, like balsamic, champagne, or wine vinegar.

  • Tossed Salad – Grill & Chill – Page 12
  • Broccoli Salad – Eat Well to Live Well – Page 16
  • Mediterranean Salad with Green Beans and Feta – Eat Well to Live Well – Page 17
  • Grand Marnier Salad Dressing – Eat Well to Live Well – Page 22

3. Citrus.  Add lemon, lime, or orange zest to meat, fish, salad dressings, and even desserts. Citrus zest brings a fresh, yet not overwhelming, zing to your food. You also can add citrus wedges to a pitcher of water to quench your thirst in a flavorful way.

  • Asian Tuna Burgers – Grill & Chill – Page 4
  • Grilled Salmon with Citrus Salsa – Grill & Chill – Page 7
  • Alida’s Grilled Boneless Chicken Breasts – Grill & Chill – Page 9
  • Chilled Avocado & Yogurt Soup with Melon – Grill & Chill – Page 14
  • Seared Scallops & Fresh Pea Puree – Eat Well to Live Well – Page 30

4. Replace salt with spice.  As an alternative to salt, try different types of ground pepper or hot sauce to give foods like eggs, soups, starches, and meats a bit of pizzazz.

5. Grill fruit and veggies.  Grilling enhances the taste of vegetables such as bell peppers and zucchini. Mushrooms grill up nicely as a side dish or vegetarian option.  Grilled fruit makes for a great dessert – no sugar needed to enhance the flavor!  Pineapple, peaches, and mangos work really well.

  • Grilled Vegetables and Fruits – Grill & Chill – Page 11
  • Karen’s Poultry Pineapple Grilled Cutlets – Eat Well to Live Well – Page 25
  • Grilled Pineapple – Eat Well to Live Well – Page 43

If you have a recipe that uses one of the strategies above, please let us know in the comments!

Christopher Lopez

Christopher Lopez is the senior spokesperson for Operation Live Well (OLW), the Department of Defense's (DoD) long-term initiative to improve the health and wellness of the 10+ million members of the U.S. defense community, including Service Members and their families, retirees, and DoD civilians. OLW is a multi-year effort that involves an education, information and outreach campaign along with demonstration projects such as the Healthy Base Initiative, which has been implemented at 14 DoD sites world-wide. Over time, OLW will work to expand the most effective programs DoD-wide. Chris is also a uniformed public affairs officer in the United States Navy Reserve.

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