My wife and I are always on the lookout for healthy alternatives to foods we like. In looking for alternatives to the traditional Italian pork sausage, we switched to turkey sausage. Even though it is a much healthier alternative to the Italian pork sausage, it still contains too much sugar and sodium to be really healthy. We also tried some of the chicken sausage that was available at the time. Again, it was better than the Italian pork sausage, but still had too much sodium to really be considered healthy.
The idea is simple. While many food service companies regularly purchase just about everything to avoid paying for skilled labor, we try to make as much as possible from scratch. (How skilled we are is certainly up for discussion!)
Just like kids, adults just need to eat well, whether they like it or not. To get them to do that we employ a term called “stealth health”. Without revealing all my secrets, I can say that there is a fluidity in the recipes we use. 2 tablespoons of salt become 1, three cups of sugar becomes 1 cup plus some organic honey. Milk chocolate becomes dark chocolate, 4 oz. chicken thighs become trimmed breast, and ground beef becomes ground white meat turkey. Whole eggs becomes half egg /half egg white. There is always an opportunity to improvise and make food more nutritious. If we can’t stop you from mac and cheese, we can use whole-wheat pasta, skim milk, and fresh vegetables. We want to sneak in some nutrition to foods that are basically empty calories because we know they will be purchased, then so be it, we do.
The summer season is upon us and that means a summer full of cookouts celebrating everything from Memorial Day to Fourth of July, graduations, birthdays and family reunions. And, with all these cookouts come a lot of high-calorie and high-fat foods and drinks like chips, beer, soda and desserts.
As I find I’m still trying to shed both holiday and ‘owning my own business’ weight, my goal this summer is to try to demonstrate some discipline. Instead of grabbing soda, my plan is to ask for water or bring my own reusable vessel. Portion control is another obvious goal and as a guest I plan to bring my own low calorie/low fat recipe offering a healthy choice for myself as well as others.
Guiding Stars Expert Chef Erin Dow recently had a great blog post about Greek Yogurt. I have started using it in some of my own recipes lately and I find it to be a great alternative to higher fat ingredients like butter. For example, this summer I plan to try this low fat potato salad recipe:
Last night, I looked through my kitchen cabinets – not just in the front, which houses all of my go-to, use-all-the-time ingredients, but to the deep, dark back. I was shocked. Soup from 2005. Canned tomatoes from 2006. Canned veggies from who knows when (the label was ripped).
I moved to the freezer. I’m embarrassed to say how many bags of frozen vegetables I have stockpiled. Suffice it to say, I could make stir fry every night for the next three weeks.
Lucky for me, all of these (mostly) non-perishables will last for a little while longer. It got me to thinking, though…how many of us stock pile like this? And is it just being wasteful?
Never fear. We can combat this torturous use of the heart of the home in three (pretty painless) steps…
You don’t need to spend a lot to lose a lot (of calories, that is). Try these replacements to make your kitchen – and your cooking habits a little healthier.
Use extra virgin olive oil (or even my Mom’s favorite – sesame oil, which can be used at higher temperatures without burning) instead of butter.
One of my favorite tricks is using fat free (or low fat) plain or flavored yogurt instead of oil when I make brownies. It depends on what you’re making, but there are probably a ton of baking recipes where this trick could be used.
Use egg whites instead of whole eggs – you’ll lose a lot of cholesterol and fat, but maintain the protein.
Love your fruity cocktails? I know they’re yummy, but replace that full-of-sugar juice with soda water in your mixed drinks, and you’ll lose a ton of the calories.
Get rid of your bleached white flour and replace it with whole wheat for all of your baking and cooking.
What is your favorite replacement in the kitchen?
I was a late bloomer on liking avocados. It really only happened in the last few years. They are so delicious, you can do so much with them, they are available all year and they are good for you!
Eating healthy means getting lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. Fruits and vegetables are expensive and if not stored properly they will go bad before you get to eat them.
Oxygen, Moisture and direct sun are our worst enemies on keeping fruit and vegetables to last longer after you get them home. Crispers in your fridge are usually great but sometimes it is hard to tell what foods should be left out and which foods should be refrigerated.
Here is a list of some popular fruits and veggies we have at my house and how we store them:
I can make really delicious banana bread. In fact, it’s one of my (very few) specialties. It’s quick and easy, kids love it, and if you do it right it can be reasonably healthy. Best of all, it does not contain yeast, so there are fewer things that can go wrong…