These are the ways that a chef can make
solid, practical use of the suggestions to modify a typical "American"
diet in favor of one that relies more on whole grains, meals, cereals,
fresh fruits and vegetables, leaner meats, fish, poultry and a more
judicious use of ingredients that are typically high in fats, sodium and
Developing Menu Items and Recipes
Recipe development and modification is one
of the chef's main tools for introducing nutrition into the menu. If you
want to begin slowly, you can make some simple adaptations of existing
recipes. You might grill a piece of chicken rather that sautéing it. Or
you might replace a fattier cut of meat with a leaner one. For some
cooking, it will be helpful to use nutrition software to evaluate where
existing recipes fall with respect to suggested guidelines.
Current interest in dishes from cuisines
around the Asia offer new flavors, textures and ingredients to feature on
menus. Book, magazines and newspapers can offer inspiration and recipes to
Portion control is an important point, Even
if you remove the skin from chicken breasts, trim all of the visible fat
from steaks, and omit the heavy cream sauces from fish entrees, you can
still exceed optimal amounts of fat, sodium, cholesterol and calories if
your entree is too large. If you are worried about acceptance of small
portions of meats, fish and poultry, make changes slowly. Be sure that as
the size of the steak becomes more in line with current recommendations,
you are keeping the plate full and appetizing by serving generous and
varied portions of grains, vegetables and legumes.
Identifying Healthful Cooking Techniques
Grilling, roasting, steaming, poaching and
baking are all excellent ways to prepare foods without adding fats during
the cooking process. When possible, opt to use these techniques instead of
pan-frying, broiling in butter or deep-frying.
Sauces made from vegetables and herbs,
salsas and chutneys are popular alternatives to heavier toppings and side
Purchasing for nutrition
Identifying those foods that naturally fit
this style of cooking. Many of them are those already found in your
kitchen. When an ingredient you might typically use in a recipe falls into
the category of foods too high in fat, total calories or sodium, then
consider using substitutes. For instance, you might replace regular sour
cream with a reduced-fat version, a traditional soy sauce with low-sodium
tamari sauce. Remember that no one expects to sacrifice flavor when they
attempt to make their diets more healthful, so be sure to sample different
brands to get the best quality.
In some cases, there is no really good
substitute. In that case, it is better to simply reduce the ingredient, or
change the way in which these foods are used in a menu item. Instead of
blending a large amount of heavy cream into a soup, for instance, try
floating a rosette or dollop on top of the soup. It will still add
richness and flavor, without as many calories.
Nutrition may have been viewed askance by
classically trained chefs even as recently as a few years ago. In today's
climate, however, there is no excuse for failing to meet your cooking
needs for highly nutritious and delicious foods. The two needs are
intertwined in the best of health-conscious cooking.