“New Year, New You.” A common New Year’s resolution centers around healthy eating– often kickstarted as a “cleanse” or framed as a specific and restrictive diet. To maximize success, I recommend neither of these, but instead a more simple and attainable goal of moving your eating in the right direction, in a realistic and sustainable way. My one size fits all advice is to simply eat more plants. Whether you’re interested in a vegetarian or plantbased diet or simply adding more vegetables to your diet, here are my top culinary tips for making this a delicious transition:
- Build every meal around a star vegetable, instead of a meat or carbohydrate.
- Use the flavor and health power of herbs and spices—this can transform flavor from bland to exciting.
- Use different cooking techniques to bring out different flavors—for example, roasting a vegetable can bring out sweetness; grilling a vegetable or tofu can bring out the smokiness you might usually enjoy in meat.
- Use a variety of textures—build a more interesting and satisfying mouthful by layering different textures, such as crunchy, chewy, and smooth.
- Get saucy– pestos are a great way to add flavor.
- Make cashew cream—a lot of people miss the creaminess usually associated with dairy products when they transition to a plant based diet. Raw cashews, soaked and then puréed, make a great substitute for cream.
- Go with the grain—grain bowls are a great way to get a meal on the table quickly and to improvise different combinations of grains, vegetables and proteins.
- Caramelize onions—these make an excellent flavor addition to almost any food.
- Make your food beautiful— we eat with our eyes first, so attention to presentation makes your food more satisfying, and the wide variety of fruits and vegetables are naturally beautiful.
I wish you good health, happiness and delicious food in 2019!
If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area and want a chance to learn how to put these concepts into action, come cook with us in the first class of the 3rd year of the Thrive Kitchen on 1/9: Soups and Salads of the World. A few spots are still available. Call 415-833-3450 or email SFHealthEd@KP.org to claim your spot! And follow along at our healthy cooking page at www.Facebook.com/TheDoctorsSpicebox for recipes, nutrition articles and more.