Please share how YOU make "healthy food" taste better - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 07-01-2011, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If more Americans are to eat healthier (and I have too many friends that eat junk food), then how can we make it taste better so we can share our ideas with our more mainstream friends? Whether it's whole wheat bread, brown rice, or anything else that you have found to be healthier than mainstream shelf items- share how you make them delicious. Food that many people hate because they're "just healthy" but not as good as the unhealthy alternative.

 

For example, I recently came up with an amazing whole wheat pancake recipe- after time after time of trying to perfect it. The problem I have with most whole wheat waffles or pancakes is how friggen dry they are. I came up with one that is 100% whole wheat, but you would honestly never know it. The secret is to add an extra egg to a basic whole wheat pancake recipe and add more milk. It's really important to be as moist as possible, if they are to not taste like dry bricks.

 

Brown rice is a classic healthy food that many people hate, including myself. I completely hate it. In every way. To me, it ruins the taste of any food I've had. I refuse to eat it with ethnic food, Indian food, Thai food, etc. HOWEVER, I am willing to try it in a completely different way- ie, not as a replacement for white rice, but rather, a meal in its own, unique- if that even makes sense. I've heard some people will fry nuts and put it in as a "nutty snack"? I've never tried that, but if you think it tastes good- do tell!

 

So, I was curious what other people do to attempt to make raw foods, whole wheat, brown rice, soy, or anything else that you think is healthy for your family, actually taste good. Some people think it all taste good on their own without much effort, that's great. But me, and quite a few others who want to completely convert to a more whole grains, raw food lifestyle, have problems with the taste of it.

 

Website recommendations? Book recommendations? Etc.?

 

Ideas? 

 

 


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#2 of 13 Old 07-01-2011, 11:01 PM
 
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Well we have slowly gotten used to more healhty foods in their natural state- that is, not having too much added or done to them etc, but a lot of times I make foods for others and us that are a combination of healthy and tasty and we really love. 

 

Spanish rice- 1 cup brown rice (rinsed and drained) 1 can chicken or veggie stock, and 1 can mexican-style tomatoes with juice, cook in rice cooker or simmer. Soooo good, my grandparents loved it and they hated brown rice every other way! You really can't tell it is brown rice at all. Also good for brown rice is red beans and rice- fry 2 or 3 andoiulle sausages and half an onion together until cooked through. Add 1 can stewed tomatoes, 1 can red kidney beans and 2 cups cooked brown rice. But really we all love brown rice and white rice tastes really bland to me now, haha.

 

for whole wheat, google "bev's chocolate chip cookies" and you will find an awesome all whole grain recipe. I cut the sugar to 1/4 cup each type and added some cinnamon and it was really good, better than all white even. I usually use half and half any recipe I really want to maintain texture with, because it rarely affects it if it's only half and half

 

every night we have a green smoothie together after dinner- it's the only way DS will eat greens. I use yogurt or tofu (sometimes both), almond milk or rice milk, bananas, berries, peaches, etc- whatever I have on hand- an pack it with all the spinach and kale I can fit in it. Sometimes I make orange ones with mango, carrot and such.

 

Will add more if I can think of any later on

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#3 of 13 Old 07-02-2011, 12:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Celticqueen View Post

 

Brown rice is a classic healthy food that many people hate, including myself. I completely hate it. In every way. To me, it ruins the taste of any food I've had. 

 

Ideas? 

 

 

We get our brown rice from an Asian market.  It is short grain and very delicious.  The taste difference between that rice and normal grocery store long grain brown rice is literally night and day.  
We have a rice cooker, which also helps.

I have found knowing how to select fresh foods and knowing how to prepare and spice them makes the biggest difference.  It is a learning curve.  We eat healthy because it tastes so good.  And has the added benefit of making us feel good too.  

 


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#4 of 13 Old 07-09-2011, 08:44 PM
 
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I love healthy food -- I grew up on it, so it's what tastes good to me.

 

What I've noticed helps other people love the food is adding butter or oil, salt, and other seasonings.

 

I love sauteed vegetables with nothing more than olive oil.  However, they are more of a hit with my husband if I add salt and garlic or fresh basil or tamari (soy sauce) and garlic and a dash of fish sauce (like a quick teriyaki) or lemon and pepper, etc.

 

Steamed veggies are nicely spruced up with a little butter and some minced fresh herbs like parsley or chives.

 

Brown rice is good as Spanish rice, fried rice, or you can sautee minced onion in olive oil or butter, then add the rice and sautee a few minutes before adding water (or stock for even more flavor).

 

You said you have a good whole grain pancake recipe, one thing that helps make whole grain quick breads moist and tender is to use yogurt or buttermilk for the liquid and add a little baking soda to the recipe.  Also, bananas, applesauce, sour cream, and oil cake recipes are often quite moist and wonderful.  I am gluten free, so I use brown rice flour, and I think it might make better cakes than wheat (or white wheat) flour...everyone loves our cakes.

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#5 of 13 Old 07-10-2011, 01:33 PM
 
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Lots of butter :)

 

 

For me healthy food means fewer grains and plenty of fats so it's pretty easy to get great flavor.  (I avoid soy.)  Curry powder, herbs, garlic, chili, bacon, onion, etc. all make things taste good.

 

Celticqueen I did discover some years ago that short grain brown rice has a much better flavor to me for lots of uses, nice with sesame oils in a fried rice or with stir fries.


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#6 of 13 Old 08-05-2011, 04:15 PM
 
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With brown rice a rice cooker is a necessity!  I put a dry cup brown rice with 2.5 cups water in the rice cooker, and about 1/4 of an onion diced, one whole tomato from the vine, half of a jalepeno, some himelayan sea salt and some minced garlic and it's pretty darn tasty.  You can add oil or butter and it will be perfect.

 

I don't particulary shy away from adding fats or salts to my food, because 95% of what we eat I make, and it's made from scratch.  If you are eating out, or eating packaged food a lot, then I suppose it is better to be more mindful than I of adding fat or salt.  I prefer healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, but will use a little butter sometimes.  With salt, I add until it tastes good.  The body needs salt to hold water in the cells, so as long as it is a good salt like himelayan sea salt I say use some!  If you have high blood pressure, you need to up your potassium intake more than decrease your sodium intake, as it is an imbalance of the two which causes the blood pressure to rise.

 

A tip on produce, it can be such a pain in the butt, but it is SOOOO worth it to go to the farmer's market for your produce.  It all tastes so incredible, you can just eat it raw.  Even WholeFoods produce is no where near as good.  I find that fruit is not even worth buying when it's not in season, as it tastes terrible.  But when they are in season, it is such a treat! 

http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/seasonalcooking/farmtotable/seasonalingredientmap  <-- use this to know which fruits and veggies will taste phenomenal right now.

 

When eating raw produce, it will taste infinitely better if you eat it at room temp.  My DH is a big meat eater, but when I go to the farmer's market and buy whatever veggies are in season, I cut them up and drizzle garlic infused olive oil and salt and pepper over them and we will just stand in the kitchen eating them giddily.  Most things also taste amazing when they've been sauteed with garlic, onion and mushrooms.


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#7 of 13 Old 08-05-2011, 11:48 PM
 
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When I was growing up, I thought my mom was a great cook. Now I can barely eat many of the things she makes. They are just gross--white rice, white flour, no spices, over cooked (what she calls "tender" I call inedible.) Blah!!! So, it's all a matter of what you're used to. It sounds like you may be used to highly processed foods. Give yourself time and exposure and your tastes will change. Someday you will crave the stuff you now find yucky.

 

 

Maybe try recipes from The Sneaky Chef http://www.amazon.com/Sneaky-Chef-Strategies-Healthy-Favorite/dp/0762430753/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1312612497&sr=8-1 or Deceptively Delicious http://www.amazon.com/Deceptively-Delicious-Simple-Secrets-Eating/dp/006176793X/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b. I don't like most of those foods because they're made to taste like processed foods, but you might like them.

 

Do you like spices? If so, find recipes with the spices you like and the healthy ingredients you need but aren't used to. Lots of people have mentioned adding fats. That's probably not a healthy choice, but it could aid in the transition as your palate gets used to healthier foods.

 

Try Tinkyada brand rice pasta. You'll get the health benefits of whole grains without the heavy taste of whole wheat pasta (I don't really like whole wheat pasta. I think it tastes like cardboard.) Whole Foods sells Tinkyada. (We don't like Trader Joe's brand rice pasta, but  maybe you'd like it as a transition food.)

 

We recently went gluten free and I am learning a whole new way of cooking that is even healthier and tastier than what we were doing before. (I don't think grains are all that healthy for you.) I make my own bread out of almond flour. http://www.elanaspantry.com/gluten-free-bread-20/ I've also made almond crackers, cupcakes, and cookies from her website and cookbook. So much tastier than wheat stuff. Maybe you could experiment with flour other than wheat flour. (Stay away from all the processed gluten free foods. They aren't healthy and I think they taste awful.)

 

I like brown rice, I think it has more flavor than white rice (I think white rice tastes like sand...which is about how nutritious it is.) I don't use a rice cooker and my rice turns out perfect (as I define perfect) every time. I put 1 cup brown rice and 2 cups water in a covered pan. I bring it to boil then turn down to simmer. I turn on the timer for 20 minutes. At 20 minutes I turn off the burner and let the rice set until I need it. I do not add more water as the rice then just becomes a mash. Better than brown rice are the packages of mixed brown rices. They're pretty expensive and take longer to cook, but so yummy.

 

I must say, I found this sentence of yours cute. "So, I was curious what other people do to attempt to make raw foods, whole wheat, brown rice, soy, or anything else that you think is healthy for your family, actually taste good." Those foods DO taste good. You just have to retrain your tastebuds. OK, I will admit that tofu can be totally gross if it is cooked wrong, though it can be fantastic with the right recipe. Then again, I try to avoid soy, I don't think it's very healthy...too much estrogen and unless it's organic it's probably genetically modified. 

 

So, stay the course and your tastes will change. You may be more successful if you look at this as  you adapting to the food rather than adapting the food to you. (Remember, the food is as nature made it, you've just been raised on processed foods that were stripped of their nutrition and God-given tastes.)


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#8 of 13 Old 08-06-2011, 09:10 AM
 
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Cuisines from around the world like Indian, Thai, Greek, etc. are really healthy and really flavorful.  But I agree, whole foods served simply are also nice. Some of my go-tos to mix with rice or vegetables are lemon juice, olive oil, bacon, fresh herbs. Also the method of preparation can really impact the flavor of food. I love roasted vegetables (slice up some sweet potatoes, mix with a little olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 35 minutes-yum!).  You can put meat or vegetables in a simple marinade (vinegar, soy sauce, citrus juices, spices, olive oil, honey, etc.) and grill.


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#9 of 13 Old 08-07-2011, 09:08 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SundayCrepes View Post

When I was growing up, I thought my mom was a great cook. Now I can barely eat many of the things she makes. They are just gross--white rice, white flour, no spices, over cooked (what she calls "tender" I call inedible.) Blah!!! So, it's all a matter of what you're used to. It sounds like you may be used to highly processed foods. Give yourself time and exposure and your tastes will change. Someday you will crave the stuff you now find yucky.

 

 

Maybe try recipes from The Sneaky Chef http://www.amazon.com/Sneaky-Chef-Strategies-Healthy-Favorite/dp/0762430753/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1312612497&sr=8-1 or Deceptively Delicious http://www.amazon.com/Deceptively-Delicious-Simple-Secrets-Eating/dp/006176793X/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b. I don't like most of those foods because they're made to taste like processed foods, but you might like them.

 

Do you like spices? If so, find recipes with the spices you like and the healthy ingredients you need but aren't used to. Lots of people have mentioned adding fats. That's probably not a healthy choice, but it could aid in the transition as your palate gets used to healthier foods.

 

Try Tinkyada brand rice pasta. You'll get the health benefits of whole grains without the heavy taste of whole wheat pasta (I don't really like whole wheat pasta. I think it tastes like cardboard.) Whole Foods sells Tinkyada. (We don't like Trader Joe's brand rice pasta, but  maybe you'd like it as a transition food.)

 

We recently went gluten free and I am learning a whole new way of cooking that is even healthier and tastier than what we were doing before. (I don't think grains are all that healthy for you.) I make my own bread out of almond flour. http://www.elanaspantry.com/gluten-free-bread-20/ I've also made almond crackers, cupcakes, and cookies from her website and cookbook. So much tastier than wheat stuff. Maybe you could experiment with flour other than wheat flour. (Stay away from all the processed gluten free foods. They aren't healthy and I think they taste awful.)

 

I like brown rice, I think it has more flavor than white rice (I think white rice tastes like sand...which is about how nutritious it is.) I don't use a rice cooker and my rice turns out perfect (as I define perfect) every time. I put 1 cup brown rice and 2 cups water in a covered pan. I bring it to boil then turn down to simmer. I turn on the timer for 20 minutes. At 20 minutes I turn off the burner and let the rice set until I need it. I do not add more water as the rice then just becomes a mash. Better than brown rice are the packages of mixed brown rices. They're pretty expensive and take longer to cook, but so yummy.

 

I must say, I found this sentence of yours cute. "So, I was curious what other people do to attempt to make raw foods, whole wheat, brown rice, soy, or anything else that you think is healthy for your family, actually taste good." Those foods DO taste good. You just have to retrain your tastebuds. OK, I will admit that tofu can be totally gross if it is cooked wrong, though it can be fantastic with the right recipe. Then again, I try to avoid soy, I don't think it's very healthy...too much estrogen and unless it's organic it's probably genetically modified. 

 

So, stay the course and your tastes will change. You may be more successful if you look at this as  you adapting to the food rather than adapting the food to you. (Remember, the food is as nature made it, you've just been raised on processed foods that were stripped of their nutrition and God-given tastes.)


I completely disagree.  Adding healthy fats to your diet is a completely healthy choice.  Real, organic, minimally processed oils and fats are totally good for the human body.  It is a myth that low fat is healthy and high fat is a recipe for death.

 

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#10 of 13 Old 08-07-2011, 10:11 AM
 
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I don't see the word SALT here- it's not the evil most think it is------there are tons of different (thus different tastes) with salts- knowing when to add salt to a dish is the key and a tiny pinch makes a whole BIG difference!!

 

we do not do ANY soy so no help here-that we view as a EVIL

 

and YES< YES< YES!!! add healthy fats--again a little goes a longggggggggggg way and totally changes the taste--onions sauteed in fat (you need only a little bit!) add garlic and a splash of white vine and what ever else you need and presto--------a great dish 

 

 

there are so many great cooking sites

just play around with the ingredients you want and look what others are adding in

 

 

herbs--fresh is best! cheap too--simple window garden and snip snip away-year round

 

 

 

we eat lots of WW and brown rice and have no issue with tastes at all (it's all in what you add in!) eat.gif


 

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#11 of 13 Old 08-09-2011, 03:56 AM
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I think "whole foods" are the best and restorer healthy food option out there. The problem lies in the processed junk that Americans are eating! Buying local fresh vegetables and fruits really does make a difference in the taste of your food. Simple additions like olive oil and herbs allow you to enhance their natural flavors without making them unhealthy. Another favorite of mine is quinoa, it's similar to a rice, but choc full of healthful vitamins like iron. Quinoa is sold as a "flour" and can be used to substitute white flour and also sold in it's grain form which can be used in place of pasta to make a yummy "pasta salad-like" dish. Finally it can be used like oatmeal and mixed with cinnamon and apples and some honey to have as a breakfast.

I am going to begin doing "farm fresh Friday" recipes at www.happygreenbabies.com, keep an eye out on Fridays to see what I'm cooking
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#12 of 13 Old 08-09-2011, 07:42 AM
 
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Properly seasoned whole, fresh food is delicious by its own right when cooked with a talented hand.  You don't have to have something unhealthy to make it tasty.  Unfortunately, so many people just can't cook anymore and without the aid of the two tons of sodium in processed foods, they can't make things taste good.  Add enough salt and your taste buds are zapped into oblivion and you think something tastes good.  Before you know it, your taste buds are trained to expect that salt shot and when it isn't there, food tastes "bland".  Using good techniques (oven roast your vegetables to let their natural flavors develop, for example) along with quality ingredients (local, fresh) will make for a good meal.  I think the biggest problem is not the ingredients but the people preparing them.

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#13 of 13 Old 08-09-2011, 08:06 AM
 
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I find that making it prettier really helps. I try to think about attractive and tasty garnishes and make sure the plate is colorful instead of all brown.
For example, I like to make a cold summer meal of tabouleh made with quinoa, a beet and beet greens salad with just a few tablespoons of feta and chopped kalamata olives and hummus with pita and colorful veggies for dipping.
I can't stomach brown rice either but I find quinoa a tastier alternative. The red quinoa is pretty, too.

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