French Ways to Eat for Pleasure and Good Health Part 3: Challenging
Oh la la, are you up for the challenge to eat for pleasure and good health, stealing some ideas from the French? If you have been reading this series on tips and techniques to live healthy, eat healthy and be healthy, striving for pleasure and no guilt, then continue reading because we are in the Action Plan. This challenge includes three areas: brushing up on cooking skills, eating more fresh foods, and finally doing that extra twist to make most of your dishes look so good you and your entourage won’t be able to stop drooling. Don’t you agree that real changes to our lifestyle, changes to eating healthier long-term are those that are pleasurable and fit easily into our busy lives? Here are some realistic techniques to move your health up one notch for good health, long-term. Before we get into the nitty-gritty, here is Part 1 and Part 2 of this series: Eating for Pleasure and Good Health Part 1 and Eating for Pleasure and Good Health Part 2
COOK, BE A COOK, LEARN TO COOK, HELP TO COOK, LOVE A COOK, JUST COOK
Julia Child once said, “This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook-try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!” Ah Julia! Oui Oui! Don’t you agree that to really appreciate and enjoy the real taste of delicious food we need to know at least the basics of cooking? Why not enhance your cooking skills (and get your kids involved in the process)? Here are some ideas:
- Using the internet to watch videos on cooking. Here are some websites which are great resources: rouxbe cooking school, kathy maister’s cooking school , chow.com (and do you have one?)
- Websites to find great recipes, food ideas and menus: allrecipes.com, food network, epicurious.com
- Joining a cooking class in your area; check out your local college or night school
- Starting a small cooking class with friends to exchange ideas, cook together and discover new cuisines
- Opening a classic cookbook, like Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking (2 Volume Set) on page 1 and start cooking
And your ideas? Today make a committment to cook “real” food, a main meal from start to finish for at least half of your meals. Is this realistic? Plan weekly menus and chart your progress visually. Try one new recipe a week. Plan your grocery list around this weekly menu and stick with what you have planned to cook. Need a helping hand? Check out these websites for menu planning tools: meals matter and menus4moms (and dads too).
5 A DAY & FRESH FOODS ARE THE BEST WAY, FRESH FROM THE GROUND, NOT COOKED TIL BROWN.
This could be the biggest challenge of the three and one of the most important habits to include: to eat foods as fresh as possible, close to the earth, picked locally. Eating foods that are less processed helps to avoid these additives:
- high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
- trans fats
- foods with too many artificial flavors and colors
- foods that seem reprocessed such as 0% fat (fat free) yogurt, blue-colored drinks, chicken flavored potato chips etc.
This list is not exhaustive. There are other food additives that can be dangerous for your health to consume regularly. The key is to try to have a balance to eat foods that are in its most natural state. Take a look in your cupboards and read labels. Know what you are eating to make the best food choices. When reading labels and you are in doubt whether something is healthy, if the ingredients sound too complex, don’t buy it and come back to this website and ask me what you were going to buy. I’ll try to help you make the best food choices. Goal for today: Look through your refrigerator and pantry and find 5 foods that you can substitute fresh for or less processed for. Put these substitutions on the grocery list and pick them up at the store next trip.
PRESENTING EACH MEAL LIKE IT WAS CANDY FOR THE EYES
All our efforts to eat well for pleasure and good health will be for nothing if the food doesn’t look good.
Check out these two pictures and tell me which one looks better:
For me it is the lasagna on the right side. It looks better with a sprinkle of melted white cheese on top. Actually, both lasagnas were delicious. In Bologna, Lasagna al Forno is one of the specialties of this gastronomic city.
Now…what can you do with your foods to add that extra look that changes the dish from looks ok to eye candy food?
Here is a salad eaten in a small bistro by the Bordeaux train station as a great example of ‘oh,la, la’
What makes this dish look appetizing? Different colors, textures, served on a nice plate. There is a sprinkle of herbs on top and the goat cheese is melted just right.
Here is three easy ways to add a presentation twist to each of your dishes:
- Use fresh herbs sprinkled on top
- Mix colors appropriately
- Serve the food on the right color plate
And yours? What are your ideas to add that special touch? Starting on your next main meal add that presentation touch to meet this action plan: The Challenge. Are you up for it? Let me know how things progress by shouting out your comments. Until next time Buon Appetito!