The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is getting a running start to March’s designation as National Nutrition Month by kicking off this year’s campaign early.
With its Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right campaign, the academy is urging people to experiment with new flavors in healthy foods.
“According to consumer research, taste tops nutrition as the main reason why [people] buy one food over another. The foods we most commonly eat are often those we enjoy the most,” said Joy Dubost, RD, an academy spokeswoman. “So make taste a priority when preparing nutritious meals.”
She and the academy offered the following tips on how you can do it:
1. Begin with high-quality ingredients by choosing foods that are at their peak of freshness.
2. Store food properly to minimize nutrient loss and enhance flavor, color, texture and overall appeal.
3. Broil, grill or pan-fry fish, meat and poultry to intensify flavor.
4. Grill or roast vegetables in the oven at 450 degrees for a sweet, smoky taste.
5. Caramelize sliced onions to bring out their natural sugar flavor by cooking them slowly over low heat in a small amount of oil. Use them to make a rich, dark sauce for meat or poultry.
6. Simmer juices to make reduction sauces. Here’s how: Concentrate the flavors of meat, poultry and fish stocks. Reduce juices by heating (without boiling) them. Then use the reduction as a flavory glaze or gravy.
7. Experiment with fresh or dried herbs and spices, like basil, cumin, caraway and coriander.
8. Boost flavor with small amounts of strong-tasting ingredients, such as chipotle peppers, cilantro and pomegranate seeds.
9. Intensify taste with dried fruits and vegetables, such as apricots, cranberries, mushrooms or sun-dried tomatoes.
10. Add tang with citrus juice or grated lemon, lime or orange peel. Acidic ingredients like these help lift and balance flavor.
“The average adult has 10,000 taste buds, and people sense the same foods differently,” Dubost said. “So don’t be afraid to try new foods, flavors and taste combinations. There’s truly a world of flavors to explore.”
You can find the academy’s library of recipes here.