Nutritionists Share Their Secret Weapons for Eating Healthy
Registered dietitians practice what they preach and have developed an arsenal of tips and tricks for living a healthy lifestyle. So we asked nutrition experts to share their favorite secret weapons for making nutritious things happen in the kitchen and beyond.
Experts take their kitchen appliances very seriously. A few staple kitchen gadgets can help make healthy cooking much easier. Take your pick of which ones will work best in your kitchen.
“My secret weapon for meal prepping is utilizing my Instant Pot,” says dietitian Lara Clevenger. “I can cook healthy meals for the entire week in 3 hours or less. It takes away the excuse for not having enough time to eat healthy, plus I like that it reduces stress and I can just grab a meal and head out the door if I'm running late.”
Jessica Spiro is crushing on her spiralizer for turning veggies into zoodles of goodness. “I am a pasta lover so replacing some of my noodles with spiralized veggies like zucchini, sweet potatoes and squash adds more nutrition with fewer calories, all while giving me the satisfaction of eating a big bowl of spaghetti!”
Angie Asche relies on her Vitamix blender daily. “I use it for blending smoothies every morning…to make fruit and nut energy balls for snacks, and to blend marinades or puree soups!”
Much like a blender, a food processor can be extremely versatile. “My life would not be the same without my food processor” admits Basheerha Enahora of BE Nutrition. “I use just about every day to make sauces, oat flour, pizza crusts, muffins, black bean brownies, and chop fruit and veggies. Saves me so much time and makes eating a plant-based diet easier!
And let’s not forget about hydration. Karman Meyer thinks a good bottle can make a big difference. “My insulated water bottle goes everywhere I go to help me stay hydrated throughout the day. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger — so staying properly hydrated can help reduce unnecessary snacking and overeating at meals!”
Katie Pferrer-Scanlan is reaching for her immersion blender to make soup. “This portable handheld device makes it easy for homemade soups, sauces, and even dips! Forget canned soups when making soups at home is a breeze thanks to this magical tool.”
Finally, Sharon Palmer is going old school (and we love it!). “My go-to secret weapon in the kitchen is my toaster oven. Most people ditch these after they move out of the college dorm room, but they are so practical and useful. I make the best roasted veggies in my toaster oven, because you can get a real golden brown caramelized effect with the heat source so close to the surface of the veggies. Plus, you don’t have to heat up your entire oven to make something like a simple tray of roasted veggies.”
Shop Smart and Stock Up
Grocery delivery can help save time and money, especially when you check per unit pricing online. New York based Chelsey Amer agrees the convenience factor can help motivate you to cook healthy. “Food shopping can be overwhelming, crowded, and heavy, but having healthy food delivered right to my door at a time most convenient to me makes healthy eating much more manageable and cooking fun!”
However you choose to grocery shop, it’s important to stock up on healthy staple ingredients. “I usually don't have time to meal prep elaborate recipes, so I make sure I have quick essentials on hand to make balanced meals” says Lindsey Janeiro. “This looks like hard-boiled eggs, fresh fruit, quick-cooking brown rice, frozen vegetables…when I cook something like roasted vegetables or shredded chicken, I make a large batch to add to meals the rest of the week or freeze for future quick meals.”
Sprinkle in Some Nutrients
Experts love to create signature blends of all kinds of seasonings to help boost the nutrients in their recipes. Using these concoctions regularly helps make sure they can become a regular fixture in their diet – that’s how you reap the nutritional benefits.
Betsy Ramirez has ingenious method for eating more chia seeds. “I love to grind chia seeds in a coffee grinder and put it into pancakes, muffins, breads, oatmeal, and even my meatloaf! Grinding the seeds keeps them from sticking in our teeth. The added Omega 3s, protein, fiber, and healthy fats is the bonus.”
Fresh in-season produce and “a good all-purpose spice mix” are what Ayla Withee of Boston Functional Nutrition relies on. Danielle Omar mixes up her "trifecta" of chili powder, turmeric and cumin. “Sprinkle on these 3 spices before roasting anything. Chicken thighs to cauliflower, it's always going to deliver a tasty full-flavored result!”
Sometimes all you need is one star ingredient that can be molded into different recipes.
Alka Chopra uses marinara sauce several ways: “I use it as a pizza and pasta sauce, in curries or even to spruce up my vegetables.”
Abbie Gellman mixes up a homemade vinaigrette for more than just salads. “A handful of ingredients is all you need: your favorite oil and vinegar, salt, pepper and honey. I use it as marinade for meat and poultry, dressing for salads, veggies, and grain bowls, and to add to a sandwich. My daughter uses it as a dipping sauce for virtually everything.”
“I rely on dry oats whenever I am traveling” says Monica Salafia. “I can always find hot water and a warm, delicious filling breakfast is ready in no time.”
Jessica Cording scratches her itch for chocolate while adding a dose of nutrients. “I add cocoa or cacao powder to all kinds of foods. I love it stirred into Greek yogurt, cooked into oats, blended into a smoothie, or used to add depth to chili or hearty soups and stews. It also adds a little fiber and some antioxidants.”