Missy Chase Lapine’s The Speedy Sneaky Chef released this morning full of ideas on how to sneak more fruit and vegetables into family dishes to increase the nutritional quality of their meals. We have to ask though – is sneaking in the good-for-you foods sending the right message to your kids about healthy eating?
In her 2007 book The Sneaky Chef, Lapine inspired parents to “sneak” fruit and vegetables into their children’s meals by adding fruit or vegetable purees into unexpected dishes, like spinach puree to a pan of brownies. Her latest book offers readers 75 all-new healthy recipes that they can prepare, relying on convenience foods like jarred tomato sauce, boxed macaroni and cheese and prepared pancake mixes.
While adding fruits and vegetables to packaged foods will inarguably up their nutritional ante, there are pros and cons to relying on bags, boxes and jars to get dinner on the table. Though Lapine recommends only the highest quality products, even some natural and organic options, the reality of today’s economic times is that many families will opt for lower-priced packaged foods, many of which contain artificial dyes, high-fructose corn syrup and other highly processed ingredients with little to no nutritional value..
Learning how to cook can be intimidating, but learning how to cook when you’re trying to lose weight can seem impossible. Easy and Healthy Ways to Prepare Fresh Vegetables is an approachable, easy to read book that instructs readers how to peel, prepare and preserve your favorite produce.
Co-authors Arnold Weislo and Annabelle Delaval decided to write the book after a trip to their town market where Weislo watched his friend, an excellent cook, choose vegetables for a pasta dish that he would prepare.
“When I saw him choose the vegetables while I was buying pasta, it bugged me slightly. And I wanted to do like him: be able to choose vegetables and most of all, be able to cook them afterwards,” said Weislo.
With plenty of photographs to help guide readers through the steps of cooking with popular vegetables, the book addresses nutritional qualities, health benefits, peak seasonal information and recipes, like Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart, for 20 vegetables.
Not only does the book offer general tips for preparing fruits and vegetables, but it provides insight on how to clean, cut and prepare some of the trickiest types of produce. (more…)
Picture this: It’s 5:00pm and you’ve yet to think about what you’re having for dinner that evening. If you have a family of picky eaters to feed and you’re trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight, it can be hard to pull together a balanced, nutritious meal on the fly.
“Think the “Take 5″ way,” said Robin Miller, host of the Food Network’s Quick Fix Meals and author of Robin Takes 5. “Carefully select five key, flavorful ingredients and you’ll need little else to pull a great meal together.”
Miller’s favorite standby pantry ingredients include oil-packed sundried tomatoes (drain away the oil and save the wonderful, tomato-infused oil for sautéing chicken and vegetables another night), marinated artichoke hearts (save the marinade for home-made dressings and marinades), jarred roasted red peppers, capers and stuffed olives. “Strong cheeses (such as blue, goat, feta, smoked Gouda, Parmesan) are great because a little goes a long way,” said Miller. “Toasted nuts (almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, pecans) add flavor, crunch and protein.”
If you do, then Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RD and Liz Weiss, MS, RD, of the award-winning website Meal Makeover Moms, have the perfect solution with their latest cookbook, No Whine with Dinner (M3 Press, 2011).
The book contains 150 recipes that were tested by their own families and offers advice on choosing “healthy basics” from the grocery store – from fresh fruits and vegetables to convenience foods like jarred pasta sauce and salsa.
“We don’t believe in ‘kid food,'” said Bissex and Weiss in the book’s forward. “All of our recipes are made with color and flavor in mind and incorporate nutritious ingredients into their essence.
Who doesn’t love a wonderfully prepared meal that’s made with fresh ingredients and full of flavor? It’s for those people who truly enjoy food and healthful eating that Flavor First was written, a new cookbook by Cheryl Forberg, RD. This James Beard award-winning chef, and nutritionist for The Biggest Loser, wants to see us eating healthier foods that we’re making ourselves at home.
Inside Flavor First you’ll find 75 all-natural recipes that use the best ingredients any garden could grow and any well-stocked pantry should have. From fresh herbs and bold spices, to ripe vegetables and tender cuts of meat, each recipe from Flavor First will help you reconnect with the way food is supposed to be enjoyed.
“When you learn to optimize the flavor with each different ingredient there’s just an exponential explosion of flavor in the finished product,” Cheryl told us in an interview about the book.
Don’t be intimidated if you’re not well-versed at cooking, or even just starting your healthy journey, Cheryl wants you to use this book as a guide for conquering the kitchen, and says it can help the home chef increase their confidence. Flavor First is part cookbook and part culinary lesson, carefully teaching you about flavor layers, a way of preparing food and combining ingredients to bring out the best taste from any meal, and she uses simple, accessible ingredients to show you that even the busiest people can prepare meals.
“Bottom line – everybody is busy,” says Cheryl, and she wants us to re-prioritize and make meal planning an important part of our to-do lists.
Learn more in some excerpts from our interview with Cheryl, plus preview some of these delicious recipes. (more…)