Tips for Creating Your Own Three Star Recipe

When people find out I develop recipes for Guiding Stars, their first question is, “Why is it so hard to make healthy food taste good?” Well, my answer to that question hinges upon the basic premise that food can only convey health benefits if a person is willing to consume it. I’m not going to publish a recipe unless I’m sure someone will want to eat it; if they don’t, we’re all wasting our time.

Food photography

Avoiding Tunnel Vision

I like Guiding Stars because the analysis it provides is comprehensive. Narrowly focusing on only one dimension of our diet–e.g., low fat, low sodium, high fiber–limits our ability to achieve moderation. And I don’t know about you, but if I can’t have some of everything I like while keeping my overall diet healthy, I’ll eat too much of it when I finally tire of the restrictiveness.

The situation is the same with products we buy; for example, many low fat versions of packaged foods compensate for their altered flavor with an increase in sugar content. We’re just trading one problem for another.

So You Want To Write A Star-Rated Recipe?

Recipes highlight the need to look at what we eat on a more comprehensive level. Hyper-focusing on a singular element of nutritional benefit will affect the flavor, and flavorless food will frustrate people and sabotage their efforts to eat better. So here are my three tips to making your recipe more nutritionally balanced:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the science of flavor. Studies have shown that our brains are wired to seek out a variety of nutrients, and there is some evidence that a diet lacking in variety (both in flavor and nutrients) can trigger overeating. Learning how to properly season your food when cooking can actually improve your health.
  2. Some alternatives to sugar in recipes can themselves make you healthier. Some naturally sweet ingredients, such as dates and raisins, are also high in dietary fiber and of course, they contain nutrients not found in table sugar. Check back next week for more information on how you can try this at home.
  3. Start with star-rated ingredients for a better shot at a star-rated recipe. Use the Food Finder to identify the healthiest choices among your favorite ingredients. If you start with something you like, you’re more likely eat it, benefit from it, and make it again.

If you need a little guidance, be sure to check out the recipe section at We’ve already taken the work out of it!