After reading the introduction to Secrets of a Skinny Chef: 100 Decadent, Guilt-Free Recipes (Rodale, 2010), titled “Ditch the Diets and Enjoy Food Again,” we knew author Jennifer Iserloh would offer some commonsense healthy eating advice. Like her, we grew up in the Midwest, so we related to her description of coming to terms with her meat-and-potatoes upbringing, which includes always cleaning your plate.
A trained chef, Iserloh shares her six, easy-to-follow principles for healthy eating, prefaced with the following advice, “In a nutshell, it all boils down to this: Use healthy recipes; make small, manageable changes; and cook delicious, tasty meals at home for yourself as much as possible.”
Iserloh incorporates her simple principles — such as adding vegetables to dishes and using whole-grain carbs — into the recipes, divided into five categories: breakfast, main courses, side dishes, desserts, and soups, appetizers and snacks. Healthful takes on familiar meals include maple apple waffles, French onion soup, Chicken Paprikash, tender beef Stroganoff, Cajun catfish and creamed spinach. Iserloh even does a “skinny” take on her grandmother’s cinnamon coffee cake.
The book is peppered with “Skinny Secrets,” such as the following: “Part of integrating healthier eating habits into a busy lifestyle is choosing ingredients that you can prepare in minutes. Fish fits the bill perfectly.” Below is her recipe for quick and tasty salmon. Remember to make environmentally sound choices when selecting fish using the Seafood Selector from the Environmental Defense Fund, which ranks wild Alaskan salmon as a more eco-friendly choice than farmed or Atlantic salmon. Farmed fish have a tendency to be high in toxins, notes Iserloh, so she specifies wild salmon in her recipe. “Since wild salmon is less abundant, seek out a shop or dedicated fish monger that sells high-quality fish,” she says. “It’s your best bet to get the freshest wild salmon, avoiding the ‘bait and switch’ when it comes to mislabeling farmed fish as wild.” The budget-conscious can opt for canned wild salmon, which works well in recipes that require pre-cooked salmon, such as omelets and risotto and pasta dishes, she says.
2 small limes, zested and juiced
3 tbsp reduced-fat peanut butter
3 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Nonstick cooking spray
4 6-ounce boneless wild salmon fillets, skin on
Preheat the oven to 425° F. In a small bowl, mix the lime zest, lime juice, peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger and garlic. Heat large skillet over high heat. Coat the skillet with cooking spray and place the fillets in the pan, flesh side down. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, until salmon starts to brown. Turn fillets over; turn off the heat. Spoon the lime mixture over the salmon and slide the skillet into the oven. Bake 7 to 8 minutes, until the salmon flakes when pressed with a fork.
NUTRITION SCORE (per serving)
Fat 10 g
Carbs 6 g
Protein 37 g
Fiber 1 g
Calcium 78 mg
Iron 1.1 mg
Sodium 817 mg
Salmon also is a great source of omega-3 essential fatty acids that are good for the heart and brain. In fact, Iserloh points out that heart disease has been linked to overconsumption of saturated fats and not consuming enough omega-3 monosaturated fatty acids. But fish isn’t the only source — for more information about omega-3s and recipes, check out “Omega-3s: The Skinny on Fatty Acids” in the latest issue of VIVmag. What are some of your favorite healthy takes on traditional comfort recipes?
Photo credit: Courtesy Skinny Chef