Dr. Gourmet Newsletter:
July 24, 2006
Chef Tim Says...
When I am being interviewed for television or other media I am often asked about how I go about making recipes healthier. There are two basic goals. One is to reduce the number of calories (along with saturated fat and sodium). The other is to create a recipe that is a satisfying portion size. There's excellent research to show that by making these goals part of your life you can eat well and eat healthy (See Dr. Tim Says - Proof that You Can Eat Less, Eat Fewer Calories, and Still Be Satisfied).
I begin making changes by picking out the key flavors in a dish. For example, in the Caesar Salad the key flavors are garlic, mustard, anchovies and parmesan. These are the tastes that make Caesar dressing distinctive.
Sometimes it may take a few tries to get the key flavors and their combinations blended correctly requiring different mixtures of the key ingredients. Once the flavor is the way that I want it I begin to work on the texture. Because Caesar dressing traditionally gets its creamy consistency from oil and egg, I look for substitute ingredients that will give a similar mouthfeel. (Mouthfeel is the term that is used for how flavors and textures are spread throughout your mouth). Key Flavors, Mouthfeel, and Developing Recipes
Ask Dr. Gourmet
My husband's grandmother was recently hospitalized for heart related issues. When she was released from the hospital, she was told to live on a low sodium/ sodium free diet. She lives alone out of state, has no "helpful" family nearby, and is legally blind. Sending her a standard text cook book is not an option. She does very little cooking. My understanding is that she eats primarily frozen foods, deli foods, and canned foods. Do you have any suggestions as to what types of easy to prepare foods I can recommend to her?
Dr. Tim Says...
I find this to be a common issue with my elderly patients. Often they don't want to take the time to cook just for themselves and it can be a challenge for them to even get to and from the grocery store. it is possible for her to eat healthy and control the amount of sodium in her diet with just a few simple changes.
For breakfast a healthy cereal like Shredded Wheat, Raisin Bran or Cheerios is a good choice. She should choose skim or 1% milk. Slicing fruit over her cereal or having a piece of fruit with her breakfast as well as for snacks throughout the day is important for a healthy diet.
More on Managing a Low-Sodium Diet