Food TV: Inspiring Healthy Cooking
Cooking demonstrations help home cooks feel at ease in the kitchen.
Tricks of the Trade
So just what are some of those tricks that can make dishes both healthier
"All it takes is a basic understanding of how to bring out the natural
flavors in food," says Connie Gutterson, RD, PhD, author of The Sonoma
Diet and a TV food demo veteran.
One of her own favorite flavor-developing techniques is toasting grains and
nuts before adding to recipes.
She is also a big fan of experimenting with different kinds of whole grains,
and of roasting and caramelizing vegetables for added flavor.
"There are so many things you can do in the kitchen that don't come out
of a bottle," says Gutterson, also a chef and dietitian at the Culinary
Institute of America.
As you become more comfortable with cooking techniques, you can use key
ingredients to completely change a basic recipe. A pantry stocked with a
variety of spices, herbs, vinegars, oils, mustards, whole grains, beans, nuts,
and vegetables can turn a single recipe into multiple variations.
"Using a different spice rub or grain can completely change a
recipe," says Gutterson.
Break Out of a Rut
Do the same meals repeat themselves week after week in your house? If so,
you are not alone. One thing home cooks can learn from cooking shows is how to
add variety to the menu -- essential for keeping meals interesting, healthy,
"Most cooks stick to the tried-and-true family favorites they can cook
without a recipe and rarely venture out of that comfort zone, except for
holidays and special occasions," says Holly Clegg, a cookbook author and
frequent television guest.
Clegg recommends breaking out of your mold by starting with a familiar dish,
such as lasagna, then tweaking it. Try adding salsa to your grilled chicken. Or
maybe use different greens, veggies, or dressing for your standard salad.
"Start with recipes you know will give you the confidence to be
creative, and experiment with techniques to lower the fat, calories, sugar, and
sodium," Clegg recommends.
Many people just use one or two recipes from each of their cookbooks. But
Clegg tells her audiences not to make the same recipe twice.
"The quickest way to culinary boredom and ordering takeout is by
preparing and eating the same food all the time," says Krieger.
For inspiration, treat yourself to an afternoon of food television -- or
surf the Internet for online cooking demos.