With our entire food culture currently in flux, it’s an appropriate time for expanding skills in the kitchen. The secret to delicious food is good quality ingredients prepared in a creative way. This article discusses strategies for enjoying nutritious meals packed with delicious flavour with minimal time and effort.
Step 1: Ingredients
The end product of a wholesome meal starts with acquiring the appropriate ingredients, which are generally sourced from grocery stores or a personal vegetable garden. A good strategy is to gather a week’s worth of vegetables, fruit, quality protein, and healthy fat sources, which can later be selected for the individual meal at hand. This reduces the burden of planning specific meals for the entire week, while maintaining easy access to healthy ingredients that can quickly be combined as needed.
The following are some examples of ingredients that are useful to keep on hand on a rotating basis. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, and items can be substituted based on seasonal availability, personal preference, and to maintain variety.
Vegetables: carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, spinach, chard, pepper, zucchini, onion, ginger, garlic, yam, potato
Fruit: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, bananas, apples, oranges, grapes, cherries
Protein: salmon, sablefish, trout, chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, eggs, bone broth, beans, lentils, peas, nuts, seeds
Fat: salmon, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds
Step 2: Cooking
Once a base of healthy ingredients is accessible, the fun part of combining different flavours together is next. This is the most exciting phase of preparing a meal, because it allows for tuning in to what specific foods are being craved by the body, and putting a creative spin on integrating those nutrients and flavours. A wholesome meal should generally include protein, vegetables, and healthy fat. Different recipe resources are available to spark ideas on different combinations, but a simple strategy is to select preferred protein and vegetables sources, along with a desired flavour theme.
One example is salmon with broccoli, asparagus and wild rice. The salmon can either be prepared simply with salt and pepper, or more extravagantly with herbs or a marinade depending on time and energy availability around that meal. Vegetables can be lightly steamed or sautéed in heat-stable cooking oil. If using condiments, it’s important to check the ingredients for sugar and artificial flavour content. Seasoning with herbs is preferred, and many culinary herbs have medicinal properties, such as rosemary and ginger, which act to soothe the digestive tract and regulate gut contractions to ease cramping and gas.
Another example is chicken with salad and yam. Chicken can be prepared with many different seasonings and cooking methods for achieving different flavours. Salad options are endless as well, including garden greens with various dressings or Greek salad. Variation is highly encouraged, both for providing the body with different nutritional content, and for keeping taste buds excited.
This cooking method promotes a primarily whole foods-based diet, which facilitates extensive intake of key nutrients important for health and wellness. Specific individual recipes can be referenced in order to experiment with endless flavour combinations. Bonne Appetit!