5 quick tips to stocking a healthy kitchen:
Healthy eating begins in the kitchen, whether it’s in a home, restaurant, dining hall, or other venue. To get the most out of the recipes you prepare, keep your kitchen stocked with ingredients from the Healthy Eating Pyramid.
1. Produce. Choose locally grown vegetables and fruits whenever you can. Keep on hand garlic, onions, dark salad greens like spinach and romaine, carrots, and apples. When you shop, select produce that looks good, or what’s on sale. Read about vegetables, fruits and health or try these delicious vegetable recipes.
2. Grains. Trade in white rice for the bounty of great whole grains: barley, cracked wheat (bulgur), oat berries, quinoa, brown rice, and a host of others. Try whole wheat pasta or one of the whole wheat blends now on the market. Read about whole grains and health or try these whole grain recipes.
3. Protein. Rely on healthy protein packages such as fresh fish, chicken or turkey, tofu, eggs, and a variety of beans and nuts. And move away from the traditional mealtime paradigm of a large portion of meat at the center of your plate. Instead, build a healthy plate with equal servings of protein, whole grains, and vegetables. Try these healthy recipes for nuts and tofu, fish and chicken.
4. Fats and oils. Use liquid vegetable oils whenever possible for sautéing vegetables, stir-frying fish or chicken, and as the base of salad dressings. Good choices include canola, sunflower, corn, soybean, peanut, and olive oil. A dash of a specialty oil, like extra-virgin olive oil, walnut or pistachio oil, sesame oil, or truffle oil, can make steamed vegetables come alive. Mashed avocado, rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, makes a fabulous topping for sandwiches. Read more about fats and health, or try these recipes that use healthy fats.
5. Other essentials. Learn what chefs have known for a long time: A small amount of a high-quality ingredient goes a long way toward boosting flavor. Stock your kitchen with good-quality tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, fresh and dried herbs, dried cherries or cranberries, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and a variety of unsalted nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, and pistachios).
Healthy eating can be as delicious as it is nutritious—a feast for the senses as well as good for the body.
Health food, often lampooned as bland and tasteless, is anything but that. True health food, from crisp sugar peas to Spicy Chicken Kebabs with Moorish Flavors, pleases the palate and delivers the nutrients you need. The recipes collected here offer a variety of ways to put the ingredients embodied in the Healthy Eating Pyramid to work in your kitchen, whether you are cooking for yourself, your family, or a roomful of paying customers.
Some of the recipes were contributed by well-known cooks and chefs like Mollie Katzen and Ming Tsai. Some come from the kitchens of Legal Sea Foods, a restaurant committed to great taste and good nutrition, which it demonstrated by being one of the first restaurants in the country to ban trans fats from its larder. Some are from the renowned Culinary Institute of America. Others are from the “Heart of the Plate, Heart of the Pyramid” collaboration between Mollie Katzen and Harvard University Dining Services chefs Martin Breslin and Patty Gregory. These contributors whip up delicious dishes from healthful ingredients—good protein packages, whole grains, vegetable oils, and vegetables.
Read about the Healthy Eating Pyramid, created by the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health.
Check out Harvard’s new Healthy Eating Plate, which shows how to translate healthy eating recommendations to a typical meal.
The aim of the Harvard T.H. Chan of Public Health Nutrition Source is to provide timely information on diet and nutrition for clinicians, allied health professionals, and the public. The contents of this Web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Web site. The Nutrition Source does not recommend or endorse any products.