Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Creative Tips for Healthy Eating


We have a guest blogger today – Darya Pino from Summer Tomato. We “met” last spring while taking an online blogging class, and I have been reading her faithfully ever since. Thanks to Darya, I have made changes in my eating and lifestyle, and I feel so much better because of it! I read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” recommended by Darya, and it has literally been life-changing. For those of us with food issues, Darya is a breath of fresh air! And…there is NOTHING like food from the farmer’s market! Plus – since so much of this blog is about creativity, why not apply it to eating? So without further ado, here’s

“10 Creative Tips For Healthy Eating”

Darya Pino

(Bio: Darya is a scientist, San Francisco foodie and advocate of local, seasonal foods. Get more healthy eating tips at her blog, Summer Tomato . Follow her on Twitter @summertomato .)

Food is the key to health. Whether you want to lose weight or simply live a fulfilling, active lifestyle your diet is the most important factor in your success.

But I am not talking about trendy superfoods and gimmicky diets. These things make big promises, but are never a real solution. Research has shown over and over that the only true path to health is an overall pattern of healthy eating. Vegetables, fruits, legumes and other natural, unprocessed foods must be the foundation of your diet.

Since processed and industrial foods are so common in Western culture, I have found cooking at home to be the only realistic way to improve your healthstyle .

So where do we start?

To make home cooking and better health a reality, it is critically important to embrace variety. Every natural food contains a unique profile of nutrients that work together in a special way that cannot be mimicked by dietary supplements. To capitalize on this ingredient diversity it is vital to consume a wide variety of whole, natural foods.

And while variety is important to health, it is equally important for quality of life. No one can eat fish and steamed broccoli every night of the week, so food and flavor creativity is key to better nutrition and maintaining your healthy lifestyle.

Here are 10 tips for infusing creativity into your cooking to optimize health and happiness:

1. Avoid the temptation to fall back on the same dishes and flavors. Nothing is more boring than eating the same thing over and over again. Even if you only know how to cook one or two things, try adding new spices and ingredients whenever possible.

2. Learn to explore new recipes. If cooking is not your strong point you can start by expanding to dishes that are prepared similarly to ones you know. If you can’t cook at all, try making more exotic salads and other raw foods. Just start playing with flavors and you will become more comfortable in the kitchen.

3. Learn to explore new ingredients. Vegetables are rarely very expensive and can be a wonderful source of inspiration for your cooking. Fresh herbs and new spices are also a great way to discover new tastes and flavor combinations.

4. Let the farmers market and the season dictate food shopping, not your cookbooks. Few things are more inspiring than a bountiful haul of ripe, farm fresh vegetables from your local farmers market. Go to the market without an agenda—just find what looks good and figure out how to cook it later.

5. Learn to talk to the farmers and ask for serving suggestions. Even if you think you know how to cook a certain food, ask the farmer you are buying from for recipe suggestions and ideas. They will often share with you how they have been eating it, and sometimes discuss how it is being served at local restaurants. This is also a convenient starting point for a Google recipe search.

6. Find specific cooking recommendations on the internet. Once you’ve narrowed in on some flavors to explore, make use of the internet to find specific recipes. Google can be infinitely more useful than any number of cookbooks. Be sure to read through the recipes before choosing one. And don’t forget to read reviews if they are available!

7. Do not tie yourself to one recipe. I often find that different recipes for the same dish have different appeals to me. For example, one might have flavors I like better (or have on hand) and another might be a simpler technique. Learn to creatively combine different recipe sources to customize your dish to your taste. Once you’ve mastered your own version of the recipe you can post it as your own!

8. Search for recipe ideas that specifically combine foods you have purchased. You do not have to limit your recipe search to one ingredient or cooking method. Frequently you will find that different cultures use the same ingredients as a base to create very different flavors. Have tomato, lime, chili and cilantro? Explore dishes from Mexico, Southeast Asia, North Africa and Southern India.

9. Use restaurants for inspiration. If the idea of cooking Moroccan food is appealing in theory but you aren’t really sure how it should taste, try finding a local restaurant and ordering a few of their most traditional dishes. Restaurants are a fantastic source of flavor inspiration, and you will be surprised to find how easy it is to make ethnic cuisines that seem impossibly complicated.

10. Be creative. Creativity is absolutely essential for upgrading your healthstyle. Getting out of your rut and learning to love cooking and eating is the critical first step. It does not matter where you start, just find foods you enjoy and get creative!

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2 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Creative Tips for Healthy Eating”

  • GiGi:

    That's funny! I always eat the same thing… pretty much daily or I rotate the same three meals every night and I never get sick of it! ha ha! I guess I am just ODD!

  • Linda Moran:

    Not funny – healthy!!! Thanks for visiting!

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