Healthy & Tasty

Healthy, great-flavored ingredients are a good start, but remember to consider the method you prepare your recipes to lower the overall fat or maintain the nutritional value of the ingredients you use…

• Use non-stick pans and cooking spray to reduce the need for oil and butter.

• Grill or roast meat on a rack so the fat drips away.

• Add flavor to lean meats by marinating them in low fat vinaigrette dressings enhanced with food bases or flavor concentrates.

• Steaming, baking or roasting your meats is the best way to assure you do not add fat to the recipe in the cooking process.

• Consider char-grilling your softer or blanched vegetables lightly to add flavor. For example, use Grilled Vegetable Ratatouille as a side dish or pasta topping.

• Stir-fry and soy sauce need not be synonymous. Rice, noodle and broth bowls are the trend, and a healthy and very cost effective menu offering. By using Mediterranean, Southwest or Caribbean seasonings or ingredients, for example, you can offer a variety of menu items with fantastic flavor. Toss bite-size pieces of boneless chicken, chopped red and green peppers, onions, garlic with black beans and corn and finish with an Ancho or Chipotle flavored chicken broth thickened with cornstarch, rather than a thick prepared sweet sauce. Portion over pasta or Spanish rice and garnish with a fresh salsa for a great Southwestern Noodle or Rice Bowl that has very low added fat and sodium.

Incorporating a selection of these products and techniques give all foodservice operators the ability to lower overall fat and sodium, but — better yet — bring a level of great flavor your campers will appreciate.

Some easy ideas:

• Add Ancho, Chipotle or sun dried tomato pesto to your creamy salad dressings or Alfredo sauce.

• Add roasted garlic to your mashed potatoes or rice.

• Season your ground beef and meatloaf with beef base at about 2 tsp. per pound.

• Before baking, roasting or sautéing, lightly rub chicken base on chicken instead of salt for added flavor.

Additional resources:

• If you are interested in learning more about the Food Guide Pyramid there is a great website that will answer all your questions at

• Nutrition Analysis Software: There are many products out there, and the National Restaurant Association Web site offers a Windows package that allows you to enter your recipes, scale them up or down, create shopping lists and recipe cards, as well as nutritional values. This Web site also includes additional information tabs, including Food Safety, Government and Legal, Running Your Business and Industry Research. Go to and select the health and safety section.

Knowing the secrets and methods of great chefs will help you create healthy recipes with rich, bold flavor for your campers. I hope you will try some of these ideas in your operation. You’ll find how easy it can be to get great results.

Scott Gilbert is a corporate chef for Nestle Food Services Inc., and lives in Medina, Ohio.

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