From the start of football season, to the turn of colors in the leaves, to upcoming holiday gatherings, the fall season inspires memorable meals. It can also be a challenging time of year to eat healthfully and stick to our health habits.
Jennifer Stack, award-winning chef, professor at the Culinary Institute of America, and a guiding voice for foodies with diabetes and pre-diabetes, is a passionate believer that seasonal eating can be both pleasurable and healthful.
For Chef Stack, it’s all about flavor, “One of my guiding principles is that it has to taste good, really good, not just okay. I have found that flavor brings more people to the table of healthful eating,” said Stack.
Building memories of healthful family meals is what’s important, she explained, “Ultimately, if someone doesn’t come back to a staple in their eating habits, it’s not going to be a good source of nourishment,” she added. What’s on Chef Stack’s fall menu? I asked her to give readers her best cooking class tips.
Thanksgiving is fast approaching. If you are like most American families, you are scurrying about this month, gathering ingredients for time-tested, memorable family meals. But the Thanksgiving menu can be tricky when planning for family members who have specific dietary needs. What are the health needs in your family? An uncle who is managing his weight? A cousin who is a vegan? A son who avoids refined sugars? Loved ones with health concerns such as food allergies or gluten sensitivity? Harnessing the wisdom of healthful eating can satisfy everyone at the table. “Healthful eating is an acquired skill” says Katherine Tallmadge, M.A., R.D, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
Paying attention to what we choose to eat is one of the most direct ways to improve and maintain our health, particularly heart health. In an interview with Wolf Blitzer at CNN in May 2010, former President Clinton spoke about the changes he made with his own eating habits – adopting a plant based diet— to take hold of his heart health.
“I want a brothy soup… I want an ocean in a bowl…something salty and spicy,” mused Chef Erica Wides in a recent episode on Manila clams on her radio show, Let's Get Real, on Heritage Radio Network. Chef Wides is committed to her focused effort: to get her listeners to cook easily and enjoy it. “I try to cater my show to everyone, empowering listeners to make educated choices about food.”
Healthy eating as a tool for disease prevention and maintaining wellness is a frequent topic amongst many health initiatives nationally, but Wides spotlights an overlooked issue: “I don’t think people know how to cook. For people who grew up in homes where their family did not cook or relied on processed foods, they may not have developed an innate sense of cooking – the shopping and preparing, for example. We need to move away from frozen meals and diet cokes.”
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