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A Change of Taste For a Healthier and More Interesting Diet

Updated on January 29, 2013
Citrus flavors like this lime go a long way toward cutting the need for sugar, fat, salt to enhance taste.
Citrus flavors like this lime go a long way toward cutting the need for sugar, fat, salt to enhance taste. | Source

Taste with Less Fat, Sugar, and Salt

Do you ever find yourself falling into a rut of making the same meals and snacks each week with the same recipes and not questions the fat, sugar, and salt content of them? It may be convenient to plan meals weekly or even monthly with the help of computerized schedule building applications, menu templates, and recipe cards; but the macaroni and cheese every Friday night could cause family members to take their time coming home - say, after stopping at the local diner or fast food palace.

Using the same weekly menus can become boring and cause mealtime to become a chore rather than an enjoyable activity. In addition, Eating the same dishes that may contain unhealthy levels of fats, salt, and sugar can add weight to the human body each month. It can accumulate nutrition-related health conditions that lead to obesity, illness, and earlier than average mortality. Bored and dead is not a desirable status.

From Sxc.hu by user cjjc_jules.
From Sxc.hu by user cjjc_jules.

Spring Clean Your Cooking

With spring, many folks perform spring cleaning, airing out winter-soaked houses and apartments, rearranging closets, donating items from attics, closets, and garages to charities, and making way for new living habits that are fresher than the forgotten New Year's resolutions lying on the mind's compost pile. Why not take a little time and review favorite recipes for 1) nutritional content, and 2) alternative versions to create greater interest and joy in meal and snack times? IF eating a variety of foods is a healthy habit, then we can accomplish it more easily through good-tasting, nutritionally effective alternate recipe sets.

Famous Food Network comedian and cooking engineer (I don't think chef is the correct term for capturing his style) Alton Brown recently lost 50 pounds in 9 months (that's fast) through menu and recipe changes. He recommends eating a)pasta and b)red meat each only once per week. My own experience is that angel hair pasta used as a base for vegetables and nuts can be consumed 2-3 times a week without adverse health effects. Red meat, I can take or leave, but certainly cannot tolerate daily. AB joins other professionals in recommending fish at least 3 times a weeks, and green and leafy vegetables and nuts several times weekly. I like this person more all the time. Funny, smart, and he can cook - healthy. I hope he cooks for his wife and daughter and makes them laugh, because these two actions are among the greatest gifts one can give.

How to Change Taste for Health

The following recipes are a set that I've revised to provide smaller amounts of salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats, while retaining good flavors and textures. Alternative ingredients are listed for variety and a change of taste. Whole wheat based pastas are always a possibility and a range of noodles and shapes are available made form vegetables like tomatoes and spinach. They needn't be out-of-reach price-wise either, because I find them at Big Lots, well within expiration dates and more than half-price. One or two grocery chains here also clear out the pasta shelves at the end of each calendar quarter or so and offer the goods at less than half-price.

From Sxc.hu by user davidlat.
From Sxc.hu by user davidlat.

Please Rate If You Can!

5 stars from 1 rating of Apple Walnut Pasta

Apple Walnut Pasta

This recipe originally calls for pasta, salted butter, olive oil, and 1.5 cups of salted cashews. The salt and fat content is too high for good health. A few changes make it nicer to your body and good eating.

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Pound of angel hair pasta
  • 6 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Large Spanish or Vidalia onion, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1/2 Red onion, sliced thin
  • 3 Large Delicious variety apples, or your favorite eating apple, cored and sliced, with peel remaining
  • 1 zucchini, sliced thin
  • 1 Red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1.5 Cups English or Black walnuts
  • 3/4 Cup Grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • White Pepper to taste.
  • Salt, if needed

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Cook pasta according to package instructions and drain. Set aside.
  • Warm a large skillet over medium heat, then add 3 Tbsp olive oil and heat.
  • Add onions and apples and cook until just tender.
  • Pour in the red pepper strips, zucchini slices, and walnuts. Stir constantly for 2-3 minutes to heat through.
  • Place pasta into a large bowl and add 3 Tbsp olive oil and grated cheese.
  • Pour contents of skillet over pasta and toss together.
  • Season to taste and serve and go light on the salt.

Vegetable Pastas: Tomato and Spinach
Vegetable Pastas: Tomato and Spinach

Pine Nut Pasta

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Cup pine nuts (substitute slivered almonds)
  • 1 Pound pasta bow ties or "sewer pipes" (try green pasta made from spinach or red, made from tomatoes; or milti-colored)
  • 2 Zucchini, sliced thin (substitute 1 green and 1 yellow squash)
  • 1.5 Cups broccoli florets (substitute yellow or white cauliflower or broccoflower)
  • 3/4 Cup Ricotta or other soft cheese
  • 2/3 Cup 2% or skim milk
  • 1 Tbsp chopped or 2 tsp powdered basil
  • 5 oz. Mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 oz Crumbled bleu cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped parsley

Variations: If you choose all white or mostly white with one or two yellow ingredients, use a yellow cheese sauce - grate 3/4 Cup mild cheddar cheese with the large holes of a cheese grater or buy lower-fat shredded cheese in place of Ricotta. If you use all white ingredients except for the bleu cheese, chop some red onion and place on top of each serving for crunch, flavor, and color. Then garnish with parsley as well.

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Toast pine nuts in a hot dry skillet, taking care not to toast so long as to burn.
  • Cook pasta to al dente and drain. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, steam zucchini and broccoli until tender-crisp and drain.
  • Place Riccota cheese and milk in a saucepan and melt, stirring, over medium heat, being careful not to burn.
  • Add mushrooms and basil to cheese and cook 3 minutes. Crumble in bleu cheese and stir.
  • Place pasta in a serving bowl, pour cheese and vegetables on top and toss. Season to taste and toss lightly.
  • Scatter nuts across the surface of the pasta, garnish with parsley, and serve.

Fresh pink salmon. Sxc.hu from user lockstockb.
Fresh pink salmon. Sxc.hu from user lockstockb.

Salmon Pecan Linguini

Serve 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Pound of linguini
  • 18 oz Salmon, fresh (substitute white meat chicken for an alternate version)
  • 3-4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Large Spanish onion, sliced
  • 1/2 Red onion, sliced
  • 1 Zucchini, sliced thin (use yellow squash or another type for a different flavor)
  • 1 Yellow bell pepper, sliced into thin strips (try red or green peppers instead)
  • 1 Cup of broken pecans, and additional for sprinkling
  • Black pepper to taste.
  • Salt, if needed
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 3-4 Tbsp lemon juice

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Brush salmon with a little olive oil. Broil or grill salmon skin down, about 6 minutes, or until fork-flaking consistency.
  • Cook pasta according to package instructions and drain. Set aside.
  • Warm a large skillet over medium heat, add 3 Tbsp olive oil, and heat.
  • Add onions, zucchini slices, and bell peppers and cook until tender-crisp. Add pecans and cook 2 minutes.
  • Place pasta into a large bowl; pour contents of skillet over pasta and toss together; season to taste.
  • On individual serving plates, place a portion of pasta.
  • Divide cooked salmon and place atop pasta servings.
  • Pour vegetable and nut mixture over salmon.
  • Mix lemon juice into plain yogurt and drizzle over each serving. Sprinkle with a few pecans and serve.

 

Comments

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    • profile image

      caretakerray 

      8 years ago

      Patty Inglish, MS:

      Great hub! I need to 'revise' my healhy eating.

      thanx :)

      caretakerray

    • Smireles profile image

      Sandra Mireles 

      8 years ago from Texas

      I love your hub. You have offered great choices for cutting out salt and other unhealthy ingredients. Red meat bothers me if I eat it too often. I guess I took it out of my diet and never realized it. Good job.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 

      8 years ago from Great Britain

      Brilliant idea. Spring cleaning my recipes here I come!!! The pine nut pasta sounds delicous. Thanks again. x

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I am reminded that after high school graduation, I cut out salt and sugar. Happily, I have only rarely added salt to any cooked dish since that time. After I began reading food lables and found so much sugar there and in the buns and breading of fast food items, I began to pay more attention and cook mroe from scratch.

      Thanks, Everyone, for the comments and for reading my Hub!

    • profile image

      brtaiwo 

      8 years ago

      What a great hub... I hope you make mine and mail it to me. Keepit up

    • JenDobson27 profile image

      JenDobson27 

      8 years ago

      Some of those recipes sound delicious! Thanks for sharing.

    • betherann profile image

      Beth Morey 

      8 years ago from Montana

      I have found that as I do with less sugar and unhealthy fats and switch to more nutritious options (healthy fats, complex carbs, natural sweetness) my palate and my body both begin to crave the good-for-me stuff more than the junk stuff.

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 

      8 years ago

      Nice changes. I think I'll give the pine nut pasta a go.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      These are wonderful recipees and certainly will spring clean. Thank you.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thanks Rose - I looked at the one for apples and nuts and shuddered at all the salt and fat of the original recipe that added a big glob of butter and a lot of high-fat salty cashews.

    • Rose West profile image

      Rose West 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      Great hub! Changing up food habits is such a good idea. Same old-same old gets so tiresome. Your recipes sound delicious!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Yes, might as well! Hope you enjoy the dishes and thanks for stopping by.

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Spring clean your cooking...what a wonderful idea. Thanks for the recipes.

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