Johnson City Press: Add more flavor to your meals
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Add more flavor to your meals

By Elizabeth Hall, MS, RDN, LDN • Apr 24, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Making meals at home gives you more control over the nutrition in your food and can be better for your budget. However, most of us choose foods based on taste. How can you add more flavor to your meals at home to compete with the intense flavors of restaurant foods? Try these tips to keep your meals healthy and satisfying while keeping taste a top priority.

START WITH HIGH-QUALITY INGREDIENTS

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive, but choosing more whole foods from the perimeter of the supermarket can start your meal off right. After purchasing your food, handle and store your food properly to preserve flavor. Storing your food improperly by leaving it out too long or not sealing it well can destroy the quality and dampen the flavor.

COOK YOUR FOOD PROPERLY

Overcooking not only damages flavor but nutrients as well. Cooking for the right amount of time in the right way can heighten flavor, texture and color. The right cooking method depends on what you’re preparing.

— Meats

The flavor of meats is intensified when they are marinated with herbs, spices and an acidic agent like lemon, lime or vinegar. Browning meats by pan-searing, grilling or broiling adds flavor — just try to not to char.

— Vegetables

Grilling or roasting vegetables adds crunch and smoky flavor. Rinse the vegetables and dry thoroughly, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, then roast at 400 to 450 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes until the colors are bright, but the texture still has a crunch. Drizzle with acidity like lemon or orange juice before serving to bring out the flavor even more.

TOP WITH FLAIR

Add a burst of flavor and spice with condiments like Dijon mustard, horseradish, wasabi, salsas or caramelized fruits. Top with fresh herbs for bright flavor and a pop of color. These ingredients not only improve taste but can also add nutrients. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories but high in vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Cooking at home can be delicious, flavorful and healthier too. Gather your ingredients and your creativity and get cooking!

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