Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right | March 26, 2014

Research confirms that taste is the number one reason that one food is purchased over another.  So, what are consumers to do when the taste of favorite foods start to lose their luster?

As part of the 2014 National Nutrition Month theme, “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right,” the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to explore new foods and flavors, keeping the taste and nutrition on your plate at every meal.

When we find foods we like, we are no different than children.  We often fall into the rut of eating the same foods over and over again.  There is a whole world of tasty and nutritious foods available today just waiting to be discovered.  No matter where you are eating, here are some easy steps to enjoy the tastes of new and nutritious foods.

At the grocery store – When shopping, make a point to try one new fruit, vegetable or whole grain every week.  If you are conservative when it comes to new tastes, try a different kind of apple or a different type of lettuce.  For more adventuresome souls, try quinoa, forbidden black rice, couscous or other fun grains like chia seeds.  Here is a great site for 10 great chia seed recipes:  http://noshon.it/blog/2013/08/10-must-make-recipes-using-chia-seeds.

Eating at restaurants – The next time you and your family head out to eat, choose a restaurant that features ethnic foods from other countries.  Coeur d’Alene has Brazilian, Greek, Mexican, Asian and Indian restaurants that often feature menus filled with healthy options that will be new to you.  There are also many local restaurants that specialize in using seasonal ingredients for a fresh and exciting taste.

Cooking at home – Add a variety of new spices to your staple dishes.  A pinch of this and a dash of that can add a fresh zest to an old favorite. Here are some quick spice and herb tips for beginners.

  • Basil: This Italian seasoning is great in pesto, on white meats, combined with fruit (such as raspberries and strawberries), or added in stir-fries.  Just remember to add it at the end – cooking it ruins the flavor.  Fresh basil is always the best.
  • Dill:  This aromatic herb is best with salmon, added in borscht or other stews, on a variety of cooked vegetables (especially carrots and cucumbers), and even mixed with yogurt for a vegetable topping, dip or cucumber salad.
  • Cilantro:  From the same plant as coriander seeds, cilantro has a slightly citrusy taste.  It’s best in salsa, guacamole, and combines with lemon and lime for marinades.  It also freshens quinoa and other grain-based salads.  A little goes a long way.
  • Coriander:  Coming from the same plant as cilantro, these seeds are great added to soups, fish, and smoked meats, like turkey.  It also blends well with cumin.
  • Turmeric:  This colorful spice is most commonly used in curries, but it also adds flavor to stir-fried veggies or rice.  It is very high in antioxidants and adds great flavor to bland vegetables.
  • Thyme:  This is a great spice to ad to bean, egg and veggie dishes.  If you’re a meat lover, try it with lamb.  It blends well with bay leaf seasoning and parsley.

The average adult has about 10,000 taste buds, and while we lose the acuity of these as we age, we should not be stuck with our usual choices or bland foods.  Shake it up and challenge yourself – try something new!