Making a home cooked meal can be healthy and rewarding.

Likely the foods you enjoy the most come right from your own kitchen, so it only makes sense to make them as tasty and healthy as possible.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers some cooking tips to enhance flavor and retain nutrients without adding extra fat, calories or salt. They suggest maximizing your food’s flavor by starting off with high-quality ingredients at their peak freshness.

They have provided these seven tips to enhance the flavor and retain the healthy nutrients your body requires.

  1. Intensify the flavors of meat, poultry, and fish with high-heat cooking techniques such as pan-searing, grilling or broiling, which help to brown meat and add flavor. Just don’t overcook, burn or char the meat.
  2. Grill or roast veggies in a very hot (450°F) oven or grill for a sweet, smoky flavor. Before popping them into the oven, brush or spray lightly with oil, so they don’t dry out and sprinkle with herbs.
  1. 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.
  2. Pep it up with peppers! Use red, green and yellow peppers of all varieties — sweet, hot and dried. Or, add a dash of hot pepper sauce.
  3. Add a tangy taste with citrus juice or grated citrus peel: lemon, lime or orange. Acidic ingredients help lift and balance the flavor.
  4. Use small amounts of ingredients with bold flavors such as pomegranate seeds, chipotle pepper or cilantro.
  5. Give a flavor burst with good-quality condiments such as horseradish, flavored mustard, chutney, wasabi, bean purees, tapenade and salsas of all kinds.

When it comes to meals, we love to dress them up and load them with flavor. Dare to step out of your comfort zone and try one of the above tips to add even more pizazz with these tasty extras.

Edna Cox Rice, Founder of Carolina Nutrition Consultants, is a well-known Nutrition and Fitness Expert in Lexington, SC. Edna shares reliable and practical advice on how to incorporate healthier food and smarter lifestyle choices for a healthier YOU. 

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