6 Ways to Enhance the Flavor of Your Meals
By: Angela Ugarte, TNT APRIN
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
I love cooking for my family. Though each one of us has different tastes for food, I have found that is quite easy to cook healthy once you have the necessary tools and techniques.
Cooking at home can be healthy, rewarding and cost-effective. And, according to research, taste tops nutrition as the main reason why Americans buy one food over another. The foods you enjoy are likely the ones you eat the most, so make taste a kitchen priority when preparing healthy, nutritious meals.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers cooking tips to enhance flavor and retain nutrients without adding extra fat, calories or salt. To maximize food's flavor and nutrition, start with high-quality ingredients at their peak quality. They don't need to be the most expensive foods — or served in big portions. It's also important to handle and store foods properly, because poor storage destroys flavor and quality.
Overcooking can destroy flavor and nutrients. So cook to retain nutrients, flavor, color, texture and overall appeal. Cooking can't improve poor-quality foods, but it can enhance the flavors of high-quality foods.
Try these seven simple techniques to enhance flavor and experiment with flavor combinations.
Intensify the flavors of meat, poultry and fish with high-heat cooking techniques such as pan-searing, grilling or broiling, which help to brown meat and add flavor. Just don't overcook, burn or char meat.
Grill or roast veggies in a very hot (450°F) oven or grill for a sweet, smoky flavor. Before popping them into the oven, brush or spray lightly with an oil such as extra-virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil or avocado oil so they don't dry out and sprinkle with herbs.
Pep it up with peppers! Use red, green and yellow peppers of all varieties — sweet, hot and dried. Or, add a dash of hot pepper sauce.
Add a tangy taste with citrus juice or grated citrus peel: lemon, lime or orange. Acidic ingredients help lift and balance flavor.
Use small amounts of ingredients with bold flavors such as pomegranate seeds, chipotle pepper or cilantro.
Give a flavor burst with good-quality condiments such as horseradish, flavored mustard, chutney, wasabi, tapenade and salsas of all kinds.
Please note, when cooking always be aware of food allergens – including those in the spices. When roasting or grilling vegetables make sure not to overcook as you want them to be lightly roasted or grilled so you benefit from all the nutritional properties. A great location to get your veggies is bountifulfarms.com
The healthiest way to eat is to cook it yourself. TNT recommends that all ingredients you use be gluten free and organic when possible. Sourcing of meats, poultry, and fish is important. For example, beef should be grass-fed, chicken should be free-range, and fish should be wild caught. (Great locations for these are: pastureprimewagyu.com and butcherbox.com, and seafood from The Fresh Market) Hopefully you will find these 6 techniques helpful. Also, TNT offers a variety of healthy cooking classes, such as, Insta Pot Class, Air fryer, Tools of the Trade, and Juicing/Blending. Check our TNT calendar to see when the next class is is scheduled.