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Dietitian’s Corner: How To Spice Up Your Next Meal

Registered Dietitian Shana Griffin offers health and wellness services at ShopRite of West Hartford. Submitted photo

Shana Griffin, registered dietitian for the ShopRite of West Hartford, shares some simple and healthy tips on how to ‘savor the flavor’ with spices and herbs.

Registered Dietitian Shana Griffin offers health and wellness services at ShopRite of West Hartford. Submitted photo

Registered Dietitian Shana Griffin offers health and wellness services at ShopRite of West Hartford. Submitted photo

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Just because a food is healthy doesn’t mean it can’t taste delicious! In order to optimize flavor without compromising nutrition, I encourage people to be brave and bold in their use of spices, and to get creative with their cooking methods in the kitchen. It’s easier than you think!

To maximize the flavor of your meals, try the following tips:

  • Take inventory of your spice cabinet. See what you have, and which flavors might be missing. Try adding a new salt-free herb blend. Having a variety of dried herbs and spices on hand makes cooking fun and tasty.
  • Make your vegetables more interesting (and delicious) by adding nuts, seeds, or a little shaved parmesan cheese. Try Somewhat Spicy SuperSeedz Pumpkin Seeds (made in Connecticut)!
  • Sauté vegetables in broth, wine or a flavorful oil – like olive, coconut, sesame or walnut.
  • Blanch vegetables before stir-frying. Blanching works well with strong-tasting veggies like broccoli and cauliflower. Cut the vegetables and place in boiling, salted water for 60 seconds. Drain, then stir-fry with a little olive oil, garlic and a drizzle of soy sauce or balsamic vinegar.
  • If you like creamy dishes or sauces- try a cauliflower puree (with a touch of parmesan cheese) as a substitution for alfredo or cheese sauce.
  • Roast your veggies. This brings out so much flavor! Toss veggies with a little olive oil or coconut oil, salt and pepper, roast in a single layer on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes until tender and beginning to caramelize.
  • Massage strong-tasting greens like kale or cabbage before eating them raw. Finely slice the greens, then massage under a spray of warm water for a minute or two. This softens the texture slightly and removes some of the bitter taste. Rinse with cold water to refresh, then dry thoroughly and dress with a little vinaigrette.
  • Sweeten your veggies by adding sliced apples, pluots, or oranges to your green salad; or try sautéed pears with swiss chard with quinoa, or add a few golden raisins to a broccoli stir-fry.
  • Add fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice to your cooking. Citrus fruits are naturally low in sodium and high in vitamin C. Their flavorful juices will provide an extra boost and brightness to any meal.
  • Marinating meat or poultry before cooking intensifies flavor, keeping it moist & tender. Try citrus juice, vinegar, or yogurt in your marinade.
  • Add veggies to your eggs! It’s a great way to increase your fiber, vitamin and mineral intake, keeping you feeling full for longer. Season with a simple salt-free herb blend or red pepper flakes.
  • Make your own salad dressing! Simply combine extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar (or try rice wine or balsamic vinegar) with a sprinkle of dried Italian herb blend.
  • Invest in buying a few infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars, as this makes simple homemade salad dressings and marinades quick and extremely flavorful.
  • For dessert, instead of chocolate or chocolate-covered nuts, try making your own cocoa-dusted almonds. Simply toss almonds with unsweetened cocoa powder and a little bit of coconut oil and bake until toasted for about 5-10 minutes. This sweet treat is sure to satisfy your chocolate craving!

Shana Griffin is the registered dietitian for the ShopRite of West Hartford. Shana has an office in the store, located on the corner of Kane and Prospect streets, and offers a variety of free health and wellness services, including one on one nutrition consultations, grocery store tours, weight management and culinary workshops as well as food sampling and recipe demonstrations.

All nutritional services are available to customers free of charge. To make an appointment, customers can call Shana at 860-233-1713 or e-mail her at [email protected]. For her latest happenings at the store, follow Joseph Family Markets on Facebook: www.facebook.com/josephfamilymarkets.

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