This is from one of my sister’s best friends, Sarah. She is interested in pursuing a career in nutrition and wanted to share some of her knowledge on the blog! Thanks, Sarah 🙂
With the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year approaching, our schedules tend to get busier and the days of long, lingering suppers get shorter. Don’t let this fall be the unraveling of that healthy summer diet. Here are five easy ways to keep up with your healthy eating routine in any season.
Add Acids. While the past few months have seen lemons and limes as the main attraction for many summer drinks and desserts, citrus and acids have many other cooking advantages. Acids (think vinegars) and citrus (think lemons and limes) act similarly to salt in that they help bring out the nature brightness of food and work to meld flavors together. Make a quick salad dressing with lemon juice and zest, or red wine vinegar and a smidge of oil… with such a bright taste you won’t even realize summer is over.
Texture, Texture, Texture. Add texture to your meal. A healthy meal doesn’t have to mean mushy baby food or raw veggies. Mix and match your textures for a little smoothness here and a nice surprise crunch or pop there. Make a fall grain salad using quinoa to experience the little ‘pop’ of the kernels, then add some crunchy raw veggies like kale or peppers, beans or avocado for that silky, buttery feel, and some craisins for something to chew on.
Herb It Up. While the summer months are fading, they leave an abundance of fresh garden herbs in their wake. Nothing helps bring a little extra life to a meal or dish than some fresh herbs while not adding any fat or calories. Next time you harvest or buy fresh herbs (such as basil, cilantro, rosemary, or thyme), give them a good chop and oil mix them with a little oil. Add some of your herb-infused oil to veggies or meats before grilling, and store the rest in ice-cube trays in the freezer for a ready to use marinade or seasoning all winter long!
Spice and Everything Nice. While herbs are usually used while fresh, spices tend to be dried and jarred, enabling you build a diverse spice rack collection over time. Spices are another great way to add flavor and character to a dish without the added calories and fat from sauces. Use the new school year to try a palate of new spices. Warm up on a chilly autumn night with a roasted acorn squash stuffed with cumin couscous, an earthy and robust taste to help rink in the fall.
Taste the Rainbow. Summer isn’t the only time for rainbows and sunshine. How can you tell a healthy meal by looking at it? Just count the colors! Thinking of foods as a color wheel, we draw nutrients from the whole spectrum – reds and oranges, dark greens, blues and purples, and lighter colors. Roast some fall harvest crops with a little olive oil in the oven – beets, squash, eggplant – and serve over kale for an eye popping side dish. A well rounded, healthy meal is scrumptious to eat but also beautiful to look at.