March is National Nutrition Month® and this year’s theme is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.” Most of the time, people make food purchasing decisions based on taste. There are other factors to consider like cost, convenience and nutrition, but if it doesn’t taste good, people aren’t going to eat it. And many people seem to think that healthy food doesn’t taste good. On more than one occasion I’ve heard a client say, “I don’t want to eat like a rabbit,” (referring to raw lettuce and carrots, I guess); but eating healthy doesn’t have to make you feel like a rabbit! Healthy food tastes good when you prepare it the right way.
One prime example of a food group that Americans don’t eat enough of in general is vegetables. I think people just don’t know how to cook them or have never tried alternative cooking methods to bring out their natural, wonderful flavors. Some vegetables are bitter, but many can be quite sweet if cooked properly.
One of my favorite ways to prepare vegetables is by roasting them, which brings out their natural sweetness. You can roast just about any vegetable – some of my favorites are sweet potatoes, butternut squash, eggplant, zucchini, okra, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli! Okay, that is quite a few – can you tell I love roasted vegetables?
Best of all, roasting veggies is simple and quick. You can roast a large batch of them on the weekend and save them in the refrigerator for the week ahead. They are great on sandwiches or salads, over rice or quinoa, and even with a bowl of cottage cheese. Admittedly, that last one may not appeal to everyone.
Here is a basic recipe for roasted veggies your family will love:
- Cut your vegetable(s) of choice into similar-sized pieces.
- Place them in a bowl and toss with a little bit of olive oil, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and a pinch of salt.
- Spread vegetables in one layer on either a baking sheet or a pan coated with cooking spray. Be careful not to overcrowd your vegetables or they will end up steaming rather than roasting.
- Roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until browned (this usually takes 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of the vegetable).
- Optional: Toss with balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese in the last few minutes of roasting.
You can easily add other flavors if you want to jazz things up or try a different flavor profile. Some great options include curry powder, cumin or smoky Spanish paprika.