Food TV: Inspiring Healthy Cooking
Cooking demonstrations help home cooks feel at ease in the kitchen.
Stroll through any bookstore or surf the Internet, and you can take your
pick from thousands of healthy recipes. But for some cooks, words and pictures
on a page or screen are not enough to inspire them to take the leap and try
Enter food television, where reluctant cooks can be motivated by watching
professionals share their cooking tips and ease with the kitchen.
"Cooking is very sensual, and the beauty of a cooking show allows
viewers to see and almost feel the texture, shape, and quantity of the
ingredients and finished product," says Ellie Krieger, host of the Food
Network's Healthy Appetite.
Says Liz Weiss, MS, RD, who co-hosted a pilot program called Recipe
Rescue: "Seeing a food demonstration is a very powerful motivator
because it reduces any anxiety that you can't do it."
Cooking on TV is not a new idea -- Julia Child was doing it decades ago. But
the Food Network and its star chefs have made it more popular than ever. And
some cooking shows, like Krieger's, are specifically aimed at showing the
public just how easy -- and tasty -- healthy cuisine can be.
"There is a misconception that eating healthy and delicious food is
mutually exclusive -- but they are not," Krieger says. She says she tries
to show viewers that they can still enjoy their favorite foods as long as they
prepare them in a healthful way and watch portion sizes.
Krieger also tries to dispel the notion that healthy cooking is
"I am a busy mom like everyone else, and so I focus on recipes that are
easy, and have discovered some very simple tips, tricks, and options to
encourage viewers to venture beyond their comfort zones and see just how easy
it is to create delicious, healthy dishes," she says.
Recipe Rescue, a pilot on a PBS affiliate, actually put a family to
work in the kitchen with dietitians Liz Weiss and Janice Bissell, co-authors of
The Moms' Guide to Meal Makeovers. The goal: To make the family's
favorite recipes more healthful.
"Our family realized their favorite foods were loaded with fat, calories
and sodium," says Weiss, "and with a few simple steps, and without
using convenience foods, we made their dishes much healthier."