Chefs' Secrets for Healthier Cooking
4 top chefs share tips and recipes for lighter dishes that don't scrimp on taste and style.
You want to cook healthier. But where do you start, what do you buy, and how
do you keep it from tasting like cardboard?
WebMD posed these questions to four top chefs, some of whom not only gave up
high-calorie ways, but changed their lives in the process.
What follows are their tips -- and a few recipes – aimed at helping you cook
lighter while still enjoying every mouthful.
An Eye-Opening Diagnosis
Although he'd long been committed to a dinner table loaded with veggies,
chef Michel Nischan admits he was a butterfat junkie, too.
"My mom was a farmer and I was raised on vegetables, but when it came to
using butters and oils and processed fats in my cooking, well, the sky was the
limit," says Nischan, author of several award-winning cookbooks including
Homegrown Pure and Simple.
But when Nischan's young son, Chris, was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes,
it changed everything.
"As I researched the kinds of foods my son needed to eat -- and why --
my eyes opened and I began to see my responsibility as a chef from a different
perspective," says Nischan, who will share his insights in a healthy eating
show titled Pure and Simple, starting this summer on the new LIME TV
Among the healthy bylaws that govern Nischan's kitchen: Buy seasonal, local
fruits and vegetables.
"If you buy local, you not only get the most nutrients and the best
prices, but you add a natural variety to your diet that is extremely
healthy," he says.
Another tip: Use the right oil or fat at the right time.
Olive oil is healthy for your heart, but degrades when used to sauté foods
at high temperatures, he says. Instead, he suggests sautéing at high
temperatures using flavorless grapeseed oil, then finishing your dish with a
drizzle of olive oil before serving.
"All you'll taste is the olive oil," he says.
If it's the rich flavor of fried fish you crave, Nischan says, sear it in
grapeseed oil till golden brown, then dip a pastry brush in room-temperature
butter and coat the fish before serving.