Northeastern University Dining Services Blog

Friday, February 19, 2016

Healthy Alternatives While Celebrating Culinary Diversity

Friday, February 19, 2016 | 12:54 PM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , , , No comments


tom barton
with campus executive chef Tom Barton

Our latest Menus of Change principle is "Celebrating Cultural Diversity and Discovery" and over the next few weeks our residential dining halls will be featuring menu items that celebrate the cultural diversity of our associates. As I was reviewing recipes in preparation for these events at both International Village and Stetson, it occurred to me that some of the ingredients in the traditional recipes could be swapped out for healthier alternatives while also remaining faithful to tradition. Here are some examples of ways to make recipes even a little bit healthier (which means you can enjoy them even more often!):
  • Instead of using butter why not use a fat free margarine? Canola, safflower or olive oils could also be substituted
  • Rather than using whole milk try a skim, evaporated skim or even plain nonfat yogurt can be used
  • Instead of using whole milk cheeses, look for ones that are made with part skim
  • Low fat or fat free sour cream can be substituted for regular sour cream
  • 2 egg whites can replace 1 whole egg
  • Try simmering vegetables in a fat-free / low sodium chicken or vegetable stock instead of seasoning with many seasonings that have a high sodium content. Lightly tossing with freshly chopped herbs can also add plenty of flavor
  • Remove skin and fat from meats before cooking – or if the flavor of the skin is important to the dish try removing the skin before serving it
  • When using ground beef, look for a leaner grind such as a 90/10 blend
  • Instead of frying foods look for ways to bake, broil, or roast them
  • With stews and casseroles that are traditionally heavy on meat and light on vegetables, try changing up the recipe to incorporate more vegetables and less meat protein
  • When making salads use lighter vinegar-based dressings instead of the heavy mayonnaise- and dairy-based dressings
  • Using fruits that are packed in their own water or their own juice do not contain the added sugar that fruits packed in syrup do
  • Try serving half portions of traditional foods and desserts instead of full portions
  • Try using leaner cuts of meat such as turkey, chicken, and fish instead of red meats
Hopefully some of this will inspire you to go ahead and try some new ideas when approaching traditional foods!

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