October 7, 2009 at 5:40 pm , by Arpita Joshi
Diet Coke partnered up with the The Culinary Institute of America, the American Dietetic Association, and Chef Tom Colicchio (of Bravo’s Top Chef) for their Eat Tastefully campaign, which aims to educate people about eating and living well, and not sacrificing delicious taste and culinary style for nutrition. The campaign features an online guide at DietCoke.com filled with recipes and tips for cooking and entertaining, as well as pop up kitchens in New York. I visited one and got to sit down with Chef Colicchio (I almost squealed like the total fangirl I am) to talk about the project and get some tips.
Our readers are mostly women — busy women who juggle husbands, kids, jobs– sometimes all three at once. What kind of advice can you give them on feeding their families delicious meals that are healthy at the same time?
Making a good meal doesn’t have to be fancy — you can take some shortcuts and still have a gourmet meal ready that’s tasty and healthy. Keep using fresh vegetables, fresh meats, but it’s ok to buy prepared marinades and things as shortcuts. But, after a certain point, you really have to realize it’s less about shortcuts and ways to cut time and more about finding the time. Families need to place more importance on cooking and eating — these days there’s always someone in front of the TV, someone on the computer, someone on their video games — when I was growing up, everyone had to be home before dinner, and everyone had to pitch in. If you get everyone to pitch in and appreciate making and eating food, then you spend less time doing it and worrying about it. Buy fresh food, appreciate the process of cooking and eating, make more time. It’s easier than you think.
That’s good advice — a lot of families these days are too wrapped up in other activities to actually realize that eating well is one of the most important things that need attention. That said, I still want to know — what’s one really simple thing a busy person can squeeze into their food routine every day? Something they barely have to think about but that can really make a difference?
Too often people equate good health with dieting and changing their lives around to diet — you don’t have to sacrifice good taste and the food you like to be healthy. You can incorporate little things like cutting corn syrup out of your diet, eating flavorful vegetables and fruits that are in season…and what’s most important is to walk away before you’re stuffed. We should go by the French diet — eat what you want, eat better, richer tasting food, but in moderation. You’ll get satiated faster than when you try to diet and you’ll enjoy what you’re eating too, which is important.
Ok, one last thing — what would you tell someone who watches Top Chef and other cooking shows and feel intimidated? What would you say to someone who really finds it difficult to cook healthily and deliciously and insists on taking the “easy” way out, with processed foods, fast foods, frozen foods and the like?
Learn basics like roasting – which is one of the easiest things to do, and once you learn them, you’re fine. Buy one good, sharp knife for the kitchen – and keep it sharp. Invest in good pots and pans that make your life easier – it’s better to get good ones that last forever than a set that’s flimsy.With cooking, it’s like the more you do it, the faster and better you’ll get at. It’s a matter of practice. You have to be willing to practice to get it down. And a meal doesn’t need to be elaborate to be good– even us chefs don’t cook what you see on TV at home. I never cook like that at home. Cook or roast some meat, or get a fresh fish – add tomato, basil, and onion and you have a simple but delicious meal already.
So ladies, what do you think of Chef Colicchio’s advice? Is it truly possible to eat delicious food daily and keep your health in check too? I say it is — bring on the butter! (But only in moderation of course.)
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