As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I love stories connecting health to creative new foods in the kitchen! It’s a perfect time to spread our creative wings.

Veteran Smith has been making healthier changes to his diet but was getting bored eating the same foods. He joined our weekly Healthy Teaching Kitchen class and after a few weeks, shared his enthusiasm about being introduced to things he hadn’t tried before. Trying new things, creating new recipes, and expanding our palettes are some of the most exciting parts of healthy eating.

Tips to make food flavorful

The culinary arts are just one way many people express their imaginative side. There are so many ways to make amazing food creations!

Here are some culinary tips to make foods flavorful and healthy:

  • Use pureed fruits in place of oil in baking;
  • Use unprocessed meats & animal products;
  • Use local fresh foods that are in season (check your farmers market);
  • Use pureed beans to thicken soups;
  • Use plain non-fat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream or mayo;
  • Make rice out of cauliflower;
  • Swap vinegar or lemon juice for salt;
  • Use herbs and spices instead of butter for flavor;
  • Spruce up entrees with more veggies.

VA facilities across the country offer programs which teach Veterans about food, nutrition and how to make healthy and delicious foods at home. The classes might be demonstrations, hands on, or cook along programs. The best part is you get to taste a sample of the recipe to see if you’d like to make it at home.

Contact your VA PACT team to see if your facility has a program. Classes might be offered in person at your local VA or online via the VA Video Connect platform.

Ways to celebrate culinary arts month

  • Buy a cookbook or check the VA cookbooks available to download for free;
  • Take a cooking class: Ask your local VA about available classes. Some are customized for those trying to lose weight, improve their kidney health, deal with cancer, or more;
  • Create something: Concoct a recipe of your own, take photos and highlight it to family, friends and others via social media;
  • Try a new healthy recipe or a Healthy Teaching Kitchen video.

Visit our website for additional information.

By Erin Vaillancourt

Registered dietitian nutritionist with the MOVE! program at the Saginaw VA

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Published on Aug. 6, 2022

Estimated reading time is 1.9 min.

Views to date: 801

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