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Help Me Cook for My boyfriend the Health Nut!

So here's the quandary I'm in. My boyfriend and I are both foodies and we love to cook (I more than him though). My boyfriend is also a big health nut and convinces himself that it's ok if he eats rich food out at restaurants as long as he eats healthy at home (he used to live on Tofu dogs and veggie frozen burritos). Since we moved in together, I've been cooking dinner, which he loves, but is getting whinny about my recipes being too unhealthy. I, on the other hand, am a big live well die young girl and while I do try to keep things kind of healthy (EVOO, avoid unnecessary starch sides, etc.), my repertoire of really healthy dinners is pretty limited. I’ve tried to look for recipes on line, but it seems like most health nuts have no taste buds as their recipes seem to be wholly uninspired to outright bland.

The only ones I really liked that I found so far are miso & mirin glazed halibut w/ brown rice and cold poached salmon pressed in fresh herbs over salad greens. These at least required a little culinary skill and tasted like something at the end!

You all are my last great hope. Post recipes that will easy his fitness conscience and inspire my food soul. Both of us are adventurous eaters, so feel free to explore whatever ethnicity or ingredient of food you like (the only boundary is no pork products).


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  1. I just got a book out of the library which I'm likely to buy since it looks really great; it's called Spices of Life by Nina Simonds, and it's all healthy food, with a definite ethnic twist (mostly asian but not entirely). Last night I made a hot and sour soup with lemongrass and scallops and it was amazingly good. (A reviewer on Amazon said something like, it's a healthy food book where the food doesn't taste like "health food"). It's heavy on the vegetables, but not at all vegetarian.

    1. Try these lentil burgers:


      After soybeans, lentils are probably one of the most healthy things you can eat: low fat, lots of protein and fiber. Mujadarrah is another great lentil dish, it's basically just rice, lentils, and onions:


      1. Check out the newly published Esalen Cookbook - many great healthy and super yummy recipes....all based on whole foods and unrefined sugars/good fats.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jbyoga

          Just bought this cookbook and the recipes seem to have some mistakes in the translation that must have been made from cooking for many to a few. It was a complete disaster. I went online and found other reports of this from the cookbook. Example: calling for 2 1/2 tablespoons when it meant 2 1/2 teaspoons.

        2. Look for Indian vegetarian recipes, particularly from South India. I love the food which is intensely flavorful with layers of spices. The emphasis is on pulses (lentils, beans, whole grains) with proteins like paneer and lots of vegetables, cooked in blends of spice.

          I had a lot of fun last year exploring Middle Eastern foods. Look at Spice by Ana Sortun for lots of creative ideas based on Turkish cuisine. Paula Wolfert and Claudia Roden have both written extensively on this area. If you google these writers you should find plenty of online recipes to get you started.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cheryl_h

            I have to agree with cheryl and Buckethead about lentils - quick and easy and healthy. The secret is getting some really good curry spices. Then just saute some onions in oil, add lentils (I like red lentils) and the curry spices and water and you have a delicious soup. Cook for 30 minutes, but otherwise very easy to prepare.

          2. The most exciting but healthy (I think this is healthy...it seems to be) recipe I've tried recently was from the General Chowhound topics board under a post entitled "Kaffir Lime Leaves" this week for Spicy Thai Basil Chicken...my goodness, it was SO delicious, different and exciting (for us, anyway!)...here's the link to the recipe:


            NOTE: If you can't buy the kaffir lime leaves near where you live, it might not be a good option for you because this ingredient totally makes the dish, along with the basil. I used one very large jalapeno pepper WITH seeds--can't imagine using 12-20 peppers but I don't know how hot or large Thai peppers are. It only has a pound of chicken and you can substitute anything for it, it sounds like. Next time, we'll try shrimp, I think. My son came in the house and said "Whoa, what's cooking? Smells so great!"

            2 Replies
            1. re: Val

              Real Thai food can be EXTREMELY hot by American standards, it's very rare to find a Thai restaurant in the US serving food at authentic Thai heat levels.

              Thai peppers, in my experience (and I've grown them) are very similar to fresh red cayenne, so this recipe confuses me in saying that you could substitute 4 - 6 jalapeños for 20 Thais. I would think the ratio would be reversed.

            2. This is one of my favorite fish recipes. I've used it for all kinds of fish (salmon, halibut, tilapia, etc) and I've used the sauce as a marinade before grilling as well. My boyfriend is very health conscious as well (in addition to being picky) and he LOVED this. Good luck!

              1. As you guys are both adventurous, Korean food is pretty healthy if you avoid the pan-fried things like dumplings, seafood pancake. It's a bit high on the sodium -- so you have to watch it. There's bi bim bop, seaweed soup, soybean sprout rice, porridges, kimchi, soon tofu, bean paste casserole. A great cookbook is Eating Korean by Cecilia Lee.

                1. I think I'm probably a lot like him. I like to eat good amounts of green veggies, especially roasted, while having smaller portions of rich, very satisfying food. I feel much more satiated after a meal and it's healthy, both in terms of calories and nutrients. My default is lightly oiled, salted, and roasted brussels sprouts, green beans, broccoli, etc. Since there's two of you, you can even split a rib eye with a side of veggies and have a good meal. Same for carbs.

                  1. I've adapted a lot of Mexican food easily to be pretty healthy and the spices and roasting really perk up the flavor. Try the cookbook regional Mex Cuisine, and instead of frying every step of the way, use oil more judiciously. Most things have turned out pretty tastey.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jsaimd

                      I've also had success making chicken enchiladas with cheese only on the top layer. You can hardly tell the difference.

                      1. re: juster

                        juster, i do the same with a pinto/potato enchilada - no one even notices.

                    2. Then again, you could read some books like Nina Planck's Real Food, among others, which points out the many health benefits in traditional fats over things like canola oil and skim milk. She's a big proponent of grass-fed meats, mlk, butter, and eggs from grass-fed or pastured animals, plenty of fish, lots of vegetables, whole grains and beans...even chocolate. Her main point is that it's processed foods--and that includes vegetable oils and esp. margarine and other trans fats--that are unhealthy, not butter and real milk. Very interesting and thoughtful, and backed up with a fair amount of science. The more "scratch" cooking you do from natural foods (as in, just the way they grew naturally), the healthier your diet will be!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: dixieday2

                        My DH has bought into Nina Planck's thing wholeheartedly, and now he won't eat anything that hasn't been sprouted, fermented or otherwise soaked. Not so good for last minute meals.

                        On the plus side, he'll now eat bacon, as long as I buy the pasture-raised stuff from the farmer's market.

                        To the OP: That book has very bad things to say about faked foods made from soy, so maybe it will get him to lay off the soy dogs. Yuk.

                      2. A few thoughts ...

                        * Veggie risotto or fried rice
                        * Roasted root vegetables (buy some exotic things like golden beets and globe carrots) can be wonderful
                        * Shrimp stir-fried with orange juice/peel/dried chilis and green onions over brown rice
                        * Spaghetti's healthy
                        * Current Martha Stewart Living has several whole-grain pasta recipes that look interesting (farro pasta-goat cheese gratin for instance)

                        If you disagree about what constitutes healthy food, you might check out Nina Planck's book Real Food ...

                        1. I'm a lot like him, I think.

                          Some of my faves:

                          Poached egg(s) on roasted veggies or a green salad
                          Vegetarian summer rolls
                          Veggie pho (I know, not authentic)
                          Veggie soft tacos (you can use lettuce wraps if he's low-carb)
                          Peppers or eggplant stuffed with lentils
                          Baked tofu with stir-fry (use cooking spray or just a little oil)
                          Chunky veggie soup

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: piccola

                            do you have a recipe for veggie pho? what is it?

                            1. re: lollya

                              Like I said, it's super not authentic, and it won't fool anyone who knows their pho. But it's a quick, healthy, comforting meal.

                              Basically, it's a gigantic veggie noodle soup, Asian-style. I use veggie chicken broth (sometimes I add star anise for flavour), flat rice noodles, smoked or baked tofu, and whatever veggies I have. Plus I garnish with bean sprouts and cilantro.

                            2. re: piccola

                              I love doing poached eggs over roasted veggies, or even seasoned beans and salsa. Very healthy and yet still rich.

                            3. I think Rick Bayless's book Everyday Mexican is very healthy. Pretty low fat, pretty low carb and lots of taste. I highly recommend it.

                              1. My ex and I were both health nuts together, so it worked well...

                                He made an excellent crock pot Ahi Tuna w/ Shiitakes and Leeks; he also did a great crock pot Chicken w/ Sundried Tomatoes, Mushrooms, and Artichoke Hearts.

                                Consider marinades for adding flavor to chicken breasts.

                                Blackened fish is one of my favorites

                                Pureed butternut squash as a great carb

                                Miso glazed eggplant

                                Egg white omelettes with fancy mushroom or veggie fillings.

                                Make pasta sauces that are healthy and serve over steamed or roasted veggies instead of pasta.

                                Cioppino or bouillabaise--just go easy on the butter and oil.

                                I love stirfries of grilled veggies with shirataki noodles and roasted chicken, generally grilling the veggies with garlic salt, then adding soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, a little mustard, and lemon juice to the stirfry process.

                                My favorite throw together salad includes chicken breast shredded, tomatoes, grilled eggplant, hearts of palm, basil, and a few garbonzos.

                                Consider grilling veggies that have been basted with balsamic vinegar.

                                Cauliflower pureed with a little fat free sour cream or yogurt or even chicken broth.

                                1. I'd honestly say that the best solution is for you to take it in turns to cook... when it's your turn you cook what you like to eat and don't worry about pandering to his whims, and on his nights he can cook all the cardboard he likes! :P Seriously, if the guy is serious about 'his food' he ought to be willing to share the work of preparing it, or at least demonstrating to you what his parameters for 'healthy' are.
                                  Everyone has a different idea of what 'healthy' consists of, but stir-fries are a good way to push up the vegetable content of the meal and they're healthy if you go for light seasonings (like fresh ginger/garlic) instead of the sugary sauces...

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Kajikit

                                    Hear, hear! Well put, couldn't agree more with the first paragraph.

                                    1. re: Kajikit

                                      I also agree whole heartedly with the first paragraph of Kaj, while your intentions are sweet and you want to cook what he likes, he needs to share in the meal planning and keep his critiques to himself... Especially since he has a meal agenda! He should be happy he has a nice girl cooking him something other than nasty tofu dogs and veggie burros...blah! Beyond that, make a cooking schedule where you each pick a night to cook and make something "healthy" you both might enjoy! That way you get an idea of his likes and dislikes and his style of preparation.

                                      Ok, off my soapbox now....on to the topic....I know this may sound lame but what about using the recipes out of the diet books like The South Beach Diet, The Zone, Atkins and the like. Those books would definately have some good tips on "healthy" foods and preparation as well as interesting recipes!

                                      Good luck!!

                                    2. I'm a little like him . . . my favorite last-minute meal is an egg-white omelet (usually 4 whites, 1 yolk) filled with some combo of spinach, sauteed shallots, mushrooms, pecorino romano or feta . . . mmm.

                                      Roast chicken can also be healthy - especially Marcella's Chicken with 2 Lemons, which has no added fat. Get a nice free-range organic chicken.

                                      Adapt pasta recipes using whole-wheat pasta and lean turkey or chicken sausage.

                                      Seared tuna (peppercorn or herb crust, nonstick pan), other types of fish dressed up with herbs and lemon and popped under the broiler - or learn to make sushi together!

                                      You could also try stuffed peppers or acorn/butternut squash, with a stuffing using wild rice, maybe some cranberries, pecans, etc.

                                      1. I've got the opposite problem. I'm the health freak and my boyfriend is the hardcore foodie. When I'm cooking for both of us, I either make healthy food that's more my taste but he likes or make something enjoyable, but bad for me, that's more his style. The top 5 recipes I make for both of us are:
                                        1)Palak Paneer (Indian peas and cheese)
                                        2)Channa Masala (Indian chickpeas in a spicy tomato sauce)
                                        3)Some sort of salad with seared fish
                                        4)Quiche (not healthy, but very tasty)
                                        5)My mom's mac and cheese (delicious, but a heart attack waiting to happen)

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: kalidaemon

                                          Kalidaemon, do you make your own paneer? I've recently tried Palak Paneer (frozen--we regretably don't have an Indian restaurant in town) and love it. I've heard that paneer is easy to make but requires a TON of milk.

                                          1. re: Val

                                            I cheat and buy my paneer frozen, although I've been given a recipe for making my own (but never tried it).

                                          2. re: kalidaemon

                                            Actually, palak paneer is spinach and paneer; mutter paneer is peas and paneer. I'll bet you know that and just mistyped, but for anyone who might go on a recipe search...

                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                              Agree paneer is awesome. How are saag paneer and palak paneer different?

                                              1. re: averill

                                                saag = spinach
                                                palak = peas
                                                so it's just a different veggie with the paneer

                                                1. re: averill

                                                  Saag paneer and palak paneer are the same dish, spinach and paneer, though saag can also refer to other greens (mustard greens are common, I think, though not in North American restaurants).

                                                  Mutter paneer is peas and paneer, mutter being green peas.

                                            2. not to be snarky, but if your b/f's idea of healthy means tofu pups and frozen burritos, i think you have plenty of wiggle room.

                                              make friends with herbs and spices.

                                              likewise garlic, chilies, citrus and ginger.

                                              on meaty fishes like tuna or salmon, make crusts with sesame seeds, nuts, even crushed wasabi peas. tuna holds up well to au poivre also.

                                              re-think the proportions on your plate. most americans plan meals that focus on the protein, then a starch and veg last. flip that over, and instead start with veggies. have at least 2 every dinner. a serving of meat or fish is about the size of a deck of cards -- 3 or 4 ounces.

                                              pasta is not inherently bad, but again, a serving is a lot less than most people envision. i like it far too much to torment myself with whole wheat pasta, so treat myself occasionally, but am certain to get plenty of whole grains elsewhere. spaghetti squash is fun and healthy.

                                              i never make cream sauces, (except for company) and rarely cook with butter. finish dishes with olive or sesame oil. treat it like a garnish or seasoning, rather than using copious amounts. up the other flavors a little (like lemon and salt) to carry the taste in your mouth. after you eat this way for a while, you'll be amazed how sensitive your palate becomes to fats.

                                              slow-roasting, and its opposite flash-searing, are both excellent techniques for bringing out natural flavors.

                                              flavorful soups are a snap to make, can be made with zero fat, and can be made in bag batches, divided and frozen.

                                              plain low-fat yogurt is a great addition to eggs and potatoes for creaminess, and also as a dressing on spicy lentil or bean dishes.

                                              for everyday stuff, i'm more of an intuitive cook than a recipe slave. but for beginning help, do a search on mediterranean diet and you'll get tons of useful info.

                                              1. no offence, but this poor woman just wants some healthy recipe ideas. Yes, everyone needs wiggle room to live every now and again and eat their favourite foods. But for some people, that would mean ice cream and deep fried things, and I dont care how good it tastes, for some people watching weight or wanting to live a long healthy life, it can be a huge problem. If this guy wants to eat more healthy , good for him! and its true, once you cut out the loads of butter and start using more low cal things like lemon or herbs to season instead, you would not believe how much more sensibtive your taste buds become. Same goes with veggies. Kids say they dont like veggies b/c they dont think they taste good but they only think that b/c theyre used to such heavily salted/oil drenched food that their tastebuds cant taste the delicious flavours in a simple salad. I think the best solution for this women is to just keep it simple. Add more veggies to every meal, less fatty cuts of meat (think skinless and triming visible fat off beef etc) and resonable portion of starches cooked in minimal oil and seasoned with herbs, vinegars, citrus zest etc. Give the guy a break.. i give him credit!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: hungryabbey

                                                  I think what the previous poster was getting at, in his first paragraph at least, was that if you're cooking at home from scratch with whole foods, you're already much better off from a health standpoint than the average person who eats crappy processed food out of a frozen box or at Applebee's once or twice a week.

                                                  A pint of steamed green beans with lemon on them is not bad, but a pint of green beans with a pat of butter on them is divine, and adds hardly anything in fat and calories when you use it judiciously.

                                                2. That was my gut reaction too. But then the OP didn't say what she normally cooks.

                                                  I was just thinking that I can't really think of anything I cook from scratch (and I cook from scratch at least 6 nights a week) that is really UNhealthy. Maybe mac & cheese, but I do that maybe once or twice a month. I don't generally use a lot of butter or cream, and I do make loads of veggies or salad. And I don't worry too much about salt because I don't use a lot of canned or processed foods.

                                                  So I would just ask the OP what she already does cook that her boyfriend thinks is unhealthy. But if he thinks tofu dogs and frozen burritos are healthy, he's not to be trusted in that regard anyhow!

                                                  My advice is not to look for "healthy" recipes. Just look for varied foods of different ethnicities that you like, and recipes that are heavy on vegetables, legumes, etc.

                                                  1. Funny post ... I do agree that advice to eat cardboard before attending a party surely is a sign of someone who doesn't understand the point of a party ...

                                                    But, given that male life expectancy is comparatively low, all women should be applauding those who are trying to stick around a bit longer ;)

                                                    I think educating him about what really is healthy (and it doesn't usually pop out of the freezer case) would be a good idea.

                                                    1. I am the first person to admit that butter and oil and cream definitely make things taste good.

                                                      But realistically, take a look around....people are getting bigger and bigger and bigger....I don't care how good cream tastes....sometimes, you have to watch what you eat. I would love to indulge every night, but in the interests of also not wanting to end up huge, healthier choices are important.

                                                      While I do agree that it's far better to create your own meals, and that it's always a good idea to get away from overly processed foods....just because cream and butter are natural doesn't mean you should eat them all the time. And bacon is terrible for you. Sure, it tastes great, you can eat it once in a while....but if you subsist on a diet of bacon, cream, butter, etc., you will find yourself in an early grave....

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: mrbunsrocks

                                                        yes I think it all comes down to what InmanSQgirl's boyfriend THINKS is healthy/unhealthy and what his realistic goals are. Does he want to just be healthier? In which case, maybe cookign with alot of fresh veggies, not large amounts of EVOO, lean meat cuts etc would be a good idea. Does he want to lose weight? in which case, you will together have to decide how much you want to cut calories and maybe start cutting down on the added cooking fat/ large starch and meat portions and adding more veggies to his plate..

                                                      2. Try the Vegan chef she has plenty of Vegan gourmet recipes online.
                                                        Italian food from Liguria is extremely healthy; olive oil instead of butter, plenty of fish, with pesto , or sautee garlic & chili peppers in olive oil & then add a vegetable. Broccoli Rabe, Fennel, Mustard Greens, Dandelion Greens are fantastic etc..
                                                        I'm vegan due to hereditary high cholesterol & cook up a storm: Southern Indian food, Kerala is fantastic, an array of spices, flatbreads, it's very complex.
                                                        I substitute low fat coconut milk for full fat. Also I use Quorn faux 'chicken' and Morningstar faux 'beef' for Asian stir frys, Italian meat recipes & Indian meat curries, works like a charm. You can even do bbq this way.
                                                        I'm not a "Health Nut" just a person who wants to enjoy her life,& live a long healthy time .

                                                        1. While I'm not a "health nut" every once in a while I get a wild hair up my a$$ and try to make meals that are healthier.

                                                          If your boyfriend is a meat eater, there are plenty of chicken recipes out there that you can bake or grill. Not to mention plenty of lean cuts of other meats.

                                                          Seafood is another one of my favorites, shrimp, tuna...you name it - I love it! Grilled is how I prefer most but, if you visit this latest discussion on tuna salad, there many version that could fit the "healthy" category. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/359801

                                                          Also, I've found a friend in quinoa. I find it to be very versatile. I've even used it to make an alternative version of homemade mac and cheese. I have to say that it was different but, still good.

                                                          Here is one of my favorite quinoa recipes, it's great with chicken or fish. Good luck in your search for healthy but, tasty recipes!

                                                          Curry Quinoa
                                                          2 1/2 cups quinoa
                                                          5 cups water
                                                          1 bunch scallions, sliced
                                                          1 cup raisins or currants or craisins (or a mix!
                                                          )2 1/2 tbsp. curry
                                                          3/4 tsp. salt
                                                          1/2 tsp. black pepper
                                                          juice of 1 lemon
                                                          1/8 - 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

                                                          Combine quinoa and water in medium sized pan. Bring to a boil and turn heat down to low. Quinoa will be cooked in 15 minutes. (I basically cook quinoa like I would rice on the stove. The quinoa to water ratio I use is 1:2.)

                                                          Put cooked quinoa in a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Can be served warm or cold.

                                                          You might want to adjust the seasonings a little depending on your taste preferences.


                                                          1. Last night I made an accidental healthy recipe, I didn't set out to do that, but it ended up that way. First of all, my recommendation to the orginal poster is to buy the best ingredients you can: that translates to seasonal fruits and vegetables, preferably local, and meats, poultry and dairy products that are raised cruelty free (there is a lot of literature to support the idea that 'free range' meats etc not only taste better, but are higher in nutrients and protein, just by a factor of how they're raised). It's much easier to cook healthier when the ingredients you start out with taste better from the get go. Now I'll get off my high horse...haha.

                                                            I had a craving for lots of fresh veggies this weekend, and bought up a storm (wild mushrooms, green top carrots, leeks, potatoes, and zucchini -- yes, yes, zucchini isn't in season now, but they looked so fresh and good). I made a "lasagna" using zucchini ribbons for pasta (I don't object to pasta, I just forgot to buy it and didn't want to go back out). The filling was a saute of the mushrooms, carrots, potatoes and leeks with fresh thyme. I made an unintentionally light bechamel sauce, because all I had in the house was 1% milk. And I had some parmesan and romano cheese in the house. It was absolutely delicious, and quite healthy. I used very little oil at all stages of cooking, and the oil I did use was a very high end, first pressing olive oil from Sicily...with the exception of the 4 tablespoons of butter I used for toasting the flour for the bechamel, and the sprinkling of cheeses, it was virtually cholesterol free as well.

                                                            1. I just got finished a "vegan" week experiment.

                                                              Here are a few healthy recipes that I came up with:

                                                              Lentil and Roasted Veggie strudel with port-braised mushrooms, serve atop sweet potato purée

                                                              Roasted Parsnip Soup:

                                                              Glazed Seitan with Soybeans and Peppers:

                                                              And for healthy-ish indulgence.....
                                                              Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Torte (made with tofu.....

                                                              Also great resources are www.vegweb.com, www.fatfreevegan.com. Mmmmmmmmmmm....food.

                                                              1. Quinoa is a great idea. Also, exploring Asian cuisine. Pad thai can be really healthy if you make it at home. I also learned to make sushi and it is easier then I would have ever imagined. Thai rice paper rolls are great and healthy.

                                                                Curries can also be very flavorful and healthy. I use soy products to make stuffed peppers (soy sausage & rice/quinoa), tacos and many other things. I make a mean lasagna with tofu and soy sausage.

                                                                I began eating much healthier for health reasons and believe me, with a little creativity you can eat great tasting food.

                                                                1. Last night I made an excellent and healthy shepherd's pie, substituting nutrient rich yams for white potatoes, and lean ground turkey for beef. I use a lot of that nonfat greek yogurt now, finding it to be an excellent substitute for sour cream, and it worked beautifully with the potatoes. I used lots of healthy veggies along with the turkey, including cremini mushrooms, celery, fresh peas, carrots, and onion and cooked everything in extra virgin olive oil with a low sodium organic chicken stock. My boyfriend loved it, and I'm sure yours will, too. Super easy to make and delicious.

                                                                  1. Here are a couple of my faves. This first one is a garbanzo bean recipe, just wonderful. Rich, flavorful, great for dipping bread, entirely vegan and low-fat if you want it to be, but my meat-needing SO loves it, too.


                                                                    This one's a nice one for creamy, rich, tangy, tomato eggs. Your call on whether eggs are healthy :



                                                                    1. When I've been in such mixed culinary matches, I've found common ground by serving fabulous salads (with high-fat items optional add-ins) as well as yummy soups that together have all the necessary meal nutrients available. These offer an alternative or healthy offset for whatever else is being served and enable each to be happy if the entree doesn't please.

                                                                      1. I'm sorry this reply is so late but I just recently joined the board. I'm a chef, specifically using organic and healthy foods. There is a misconception with people that healthy foods are boring and can only consist of bland tofu and raw veggies. Not true! Also, you don't have to get really fancy with exotic ingredients to cook healthy. The key is to use fresh ingredients, no canned products or packaged products. Use as little salt as possible by replacing it with lemon juice and fresh chopped herbs. If you are a meat eater, pick meats that are lean and preferably organic or free-range which means the animals are free to graze and eat instead of being force-fed with a bunch of hormone and steroid pumped feed. There is definately a difference it taste! That being said, there is also a difference in price. Be willing to pay more for fresh, organic foods. When cooking, do not over cook your food. No frying either. Use whole wheat flour for baked goods too. Good luck!

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: organicmom

                                                                            Just wanted to note that I use 50/50 flour for baking. I was really amused when I tweaked the Toll House recipe (50/50 flour, organic evaporated cane & brown sugar, organic butter & eggs, 60% Ghirardelli chips, extra pecans) and took them to a potluck, people asked me what kind of cookies they were! And I got lots of requests for the recipe. The 50/50 gives a nutty, sometimes a bit chewy texture to cookies that really just adds to their appeal, makes them less white bread, rather than taking anything away.

                                                                          2. I have a couple fave salads that I got from Nigella that I can almost live on!
                                                                            One is her Vietnamese inspired Glass noodle nad shrimp salad

                                                                            And another is her Green Fatoush salad - I often add a grilled peice of fish to this to make a whole meal.

                                                                            I love them both and I think they are pretty healthy!
                                                                            Oh and sometimes I add dry roasted peanuts to her Vietnamese salad :)

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: starlady

                                                                              Now that it's getting close to summer, I start thinking about cooking with fruit. This is tasty, plus it gets you an extra fruit serving for the day. Grill some salmon filets and serve them with fresh pineapple salsa with jalapenos and a little lime juice. Or make a glaze for chicken breasts with apricot jam (the no added sugar kind), fresh orance juice, and chopped poblanos. Slather this on the chicken the last couple of minutes of grilling. Serve with green rice--a pilaf with onions, jalapenos, cilantro, and lime juice.

                                                                            2. Hi there. I totally feel your pain, as I love to cook, and my health conscious girlfriend, while she loves the way my food tastes, is reluctant to eat much of it because she is worrried its not terribly healthy. So I adapted, and came up with some recipes that you may find useful.

                                                                              First of all, unless you already have a grill in your backyard, I highly recommend gettting yourself a grill pan. This is a great way to cook food without adding a lot of fat. I simply brush the pan with a little olive oil and thats the only fat I use. There are some really nice ones that cost a pretty penny, like the Le Creuset, but I found a cast iron one that fits on my stovetop for $12 bucks, and the amount of meals I have cooked on it have already paid for itself.

                                                                              Anyway, on to the recipes. The one that my girlfriend absolutely loves is Smoky Tea Grilled Yellowfin Tuna with Grilled Asparagus. This is so simple its not even funny. For a special occasion, I wouldn't think of using anything but fresh tuna, but on a day to day basis, we use flash frozen Yellowfin tuna steaks that you can buy in bulk from places like Costco.

                                                                              Anyway, this is the recipe. Ahead of time, find a tea shop or a supermark that sells Lapsang Souchong Tea. This is a Chinese Black tea that is smoked over cedar or pine needles, which gives it a unique smoky flavor and aroma. This is the base of the seasoning used for this recipe. Grind up your tea, into smaller pieces that are closer to the size of large grainse of course Kosher salt. Use a mortar and pestle or if you need to improvise, a coffee cup and spice bottle works well. For every tablespoon of Kosher salt, add two tablespoons of ground Lapsang Souchong tea. Now you have your Smoky salt seasoning.

                                                                              Oil your grill pan (use a paper towel or brush to coat with a thin layer) and heat it up. Take one bunch of asparagus, break off the tougher ends of the stalk, and toss in a bowl with a little drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. When your pan is starting to smoke, start grilling the asparagus. Grill that for a few minutes on each side, getting some nice grill marks.

                                                                              When the asparagus is done, remove from the pan, let it get hot again (begin to smoke), and season your tuna steaks with the smoky salt on each side and put on the grill pan. cook to desired doneness.

                                                                              We like our Tuna just seared on the outside and rare on the inside. For that, I suggest cooking about 60 to 90 seconds per side for an inch to inch and a half thick steak. If you like your tuna cooked more than that, I would recommend rubbing a little extra virgin olive oil over the fish ahead of time to help keep it moist. It will add a little more fat, but it will keep your tuna from being dry.

                                                                              Anyway, give it a try and tell me what you think.

                                                                              1. Microwave sweet potatoes (much healthier than white potatoes) until soft, cool a bit, scoop out flesh. Mix in hummus, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper -- and chiles if you want spicy, cotija cheese if that isn't too unhealthy. Stuff poblanos, or squid. Roast.

                                                                                1. Um, if frozen tofu pups and veggie burritos are homeboy's definition of healthy, he's got a thing or two to learn. Wow. That's not a good diet for anyone.

                                                                                  I'd get him reading Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" to push some thinking about healthy eating involving local produce and animal protein, and maybe get some Deborah Madison cookbooks, full of all sorts of delicious, healthy, and largely vegetarian recipes to try out. Good luck!

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: andytee

                                                                                    Love Deborah Madison's cookbooks -- they'll make a produce-lover out of anyone. That said, the first thing dude should learn is how to make his own veggie burritos. It's cheaper and healthier that way.

                                                                                  2. Um, I feel a little out of place here, but the OP did say to post recipes.
                                                                                    Here I am 2007!

                                                                                    I'm Japanese, my mother makes this great stew out of natto and seafood / pork / chicken. winter vegetables, chives (or any type of strong onion), and tofu. It's kind of Korean-ish. I will state that she makes traditional Japanese dishes just fine, but the above stew is definitely mention worthy, and ought to appeal to more non-Japanese palates. If you want, you could make dashi properly out of kombu, dried shiitake or dried scallops, but if you add in other types of protein you shouldn't need it.

                                                                                    Use whatever pot you use for soups and stews.
                                                                                    Fry plenty of (I mean it!) garlic, natto, ginger, chili both dried and fresh, and maybe a little stuff like dried shrimps with a small amount of sesame oil at first until fragrant. If you really like seafood, a few prawns (with their shells and heads intact) or shellfish at this point will be good. Like-wise if you're going with chicken (I love chicken breast, but something on the bone would give better flavor, so a combination of the two would be recommended). Don't stew the chicken breast, only the on-the-bone first.
                                                                                    Add the slow-cooking vegetables etc. (chinese cabbage and some shirataki, or whatever you have on hand), and just enough hot water to let the contents cook. Bring to a boil, take out the prawns if you can be bothered to, and let it simmer for a while. When the slow-cooking ingredients seem tender and done, add your choice of quick-cooking protein (squid, fish, fresh seaweed, or even the frozen stuff, chicken breast, boiled eggs), quick-cooking vegetables (mushrooms galore, kale, spinach, water cresson etc), the taken-out-prawns.
                                                                                    Let the whole mess come to a boil.
                                                                                    Salt to taste, add kimchi or miso if it seems a little weak.
                                                                                    Some people like to bring the stew to a boil, again, add starch (dumplings, noodles or pre-cooked rice) and a broken egg or two to make a kind of porridge with strands of lightly cooked egg at the end of a meal.

                                                                                    The natto brings a great depth to the dish, it's hearty and complex at the same time.
                                                                                    If you intend to forgo the porridge, the soup goes great on its own with steamed rice, crusty bread, or any type of dumplings (flour-and-water-only-s, the Korean tokku are good) on the side. You can twist things around after serving with some grated cheese or black pepper. Considering how the recipe does not rely on butter or beef fat, flour for its flavor, and that you could easily play around with the ingredients, I'd say this recipe is reeally healthy.

                                                                                    1. It's very important still to include carbs in your meals, but try getting into healthy carbs. Things like quinoa and millet (as well as the more obvious option of brown rice) can help to vary your diet and are a great alternative to white rice or potatoes.

                                                                                      Similarly, try things like cannelini bean or chickpea purée instead of mashed potato - fry some garlic in olive oil and mix through it for a really tasty accompaniment to fish, chicken, etc.

                                                                                      You can also get great healthier alternatives to regular carby products such as noodles (for stir-frys or noodle soups) - there are wholewheat noodles, as well as ones made with buckwheat, spelt and brown rice. Serve them with a tofu/fish/chicken and vegetable stirfry and you're sorted!

                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: chochotte

                                                                                        I eat no starches with any meals and replace them with colorful, leafy and fibrous veggies.

                                                                                        My endocrinogist (and academic dept. chairman) recommends "no starch, no sugars."

                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                          You're clearly a very specific case, but most people should eat carbs, especially healthy, high-fiber ones.

                                                                                          1. re: piccola

                                                                                            I do eat a lot of carbs by volume, just not the sugar and calorie dense starches low in nutrients. Vegetables and fruits are carbs. So is the lactose in dairy, for instance.

                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                              True. I just meant that whole grains have a place in a healthy diet, unless your doctor says otherwise.

                                                                                              1. re: piccola

                                                                                                We're not going to agree; I see nothing but health detriments relative to grains in the diet, but disagreeing agreeably is okay, too. :-)

                                                                                              2. re: mcf

                                                                                                Quinoa and brown rich are not high in sugar or low in nutrients and should be included like piccola said, unless youre instructed not to.

                                                                                                1. re: hungryabbey

                                                                                                  If someone likes them, they should eat them. But there's no nutritional *need* for them. I was not instructed to avoid starches I'd been doing it for a decade. My endo recommends no one eat starches or sugars. All the carbs in qunioa and brown rice are sugar once they hit your blood stream and compared to non starch carbs, they are extremely low in nutrients and high in calories. Just compare 100 grams of spinach,say, to 100 grams of brown rice.

                                                                                        2. Your life mirrors my own. My husband and I both love good food, but he is much more cautious about calories, protein and fat counts (except when he is eating chicken wings and pizza!). John Berardi's "Gourment Nutrition" saved our marriage (or at least the mealtime portions of it!). http://www.gourmetnutrition.com/

                                                                                          1. Depends on his definition of healthy. My husband and I are vegans and I'm gluten-free. We take turns cooking and make/eat lots of delicious food (he's a better cook than I am). Consider quinoa, it works like a carb (can replace rice in most recipes) but is very healthy and has a healthy amount of protein. Another advantage to quinoa is that is cooks quickly (1 minute at high pressure and natural pressure release in pressure cooker).

                                                                                            Here are some quick, easy ideas, particularly if you have a pressure cooker.
                                                                                            Quinoa with black beans, greens, broccoli, or zucchini, and salsa (and/or guacamole).
                                                                                            Masamba (from Malawi) is one of our favorite easy comfort dishes. Potatoes and kale or collard greens topped with a mixture of salsa and peanut butter.

                                                                                            Brown rice with sweet potato, hazelnuts, and cranberries or currants.
                                                                                            Lentil soup w/spinach.
                                                                                            Brown rice with stir fry veggies, cashews, and pineapple.
                                                                                            Pasta (corn, brown rice, or quinoa) with artichokes, tomatoes, and hummus.

                                                                                            We also have vegan goulash, chickpea vindaloo, vegan posole, savory pumpkin pie, homemade vegan pizza, etc.

                                                                                            See if your library has: ExtraVeganZa by Laura Matthias, Clean Food by Terry Walters, Vegan Lunch Box and Vegan Lunch Box Around the World by Jennifer McCann, The Voluptuous Vegan by Myra Kornfeld, Short-Cut Vegetarian and Cooking Under Pressure by Lorna Sass, Delicious Jamaica! by Yvonne McCalla Sobers, Pure & Simple by Tami A. Benton,Flavors of the Southwest by Robert Oser,Spicy Vegan by Sudha Raina, and Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson or peruse them at your local bookstore for ideas.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: lgss

                                                                                              Even absent a pressure cooker, quinoa is very quick, just 15 minutes or so.

                                                                                            2. This reply is a little off-topic, since you asked for recipes. Sounds like you're in Cambridge, MA. There are some adventurous healthy options at various restaurants in the area... Eritrean/Ethiopian, Tibetan, Cambodian/French, etc. might give you some ideas for cooking at home and reduce the gap between his wish for healthy (at home) and rich (when eating out) foods.

                                                                                              It can also be quite sexy to cook together. Maybe start with little tasks for him to get him comfortable in the kitchen... Consider making a cooking/baking date once a week or once a month.

                                                                                              1. try a ratatouille. its a mix of cooked veggies. maybe with a side of whole wheat pasta or something like that. or try making homemade freah pizza with whole wheat crust or something. fresh homemade pizza is really good compared to fast food. it might not be the healthiest thing but its great to make yourself and you can change the recipes to make it healthier and u can load it up with all different king of veggies or anything else you like. fish is always good but you can get bored or that fast. the biggest thing to look for it fresh ingredients.

                                                                                                1. anything out of The Thrive Diet by Brendan Brasier. It's my family's food bible, full of nutritious, delicious food. anything that I've made of it has been absolutely delicious, unless it was my fault. Special personal emphasis goes on spicy sunflower-seed burgers with mango chutney and chili-chocolate pancakes with tahini and fresh fruit. (as you may have noted, I love spicy foods.)