Try these healthy changes to your favorite dishes without losing the taste you love

Simple cooking techniques and ingredients to add flavor and nutrients.

If you are trying to think of new ways to improve the healthfulness of your favorite recipes, here are some ideas to try that are both healthy and tasty. Michigan State University Extension recommends that people decrease the amount of saturated fat and sodium in their diets and include more vegetables and fruit.

Change the ingredients and experiment by adding more fruit, vegetables and whole grains to a recipe.

Try these cooking techniques to intensify the flavors of meat, poultry and fish. High-heat cooking techniques such as pan-searing, grilling or broiling will add flavor without adding any extra saturated fat, sugar or sodium.

Grill or roast veggies in a very hot oven (450 degrees Fahrenheit) for a sweet, smoky flavor. Before popping them into the oven, brush or spray lightly with oil so they don’t dry out and sprinkle with herbs.

Caramelize sliced onions to bring out their natural sugar flavor by cooking them slowly over low heat in a small amount of oil. Use them to make a rich, dark sauce for meat or poultry.

Pep it up with peppers! Use red, green and yellow peppers of all varieties — sweet, hot and dried. Or, add a dash of hot pepper sauce.

Add a tangy taste with citrus juice or grated citrus peel: lemon, lime or orange. Acidic ingredients will help lift and balance the flavor.

Use small amounts of ingredients with bold flavors like pomegranate seeds and cilantro.

Give a flavor burst with good-quality condiments such as horseradish, flavored mustard, chutney, wasabi, bean purees, tapenade and salsas of all kinds.

Cut portion sizes as choosing to eat large servings of food can be unhealthy. Cut your serving sizes in half or to one fourth of your regular serving size. This way you can enjoy your favorite foods and also cut unwanted calories. Need help to estimate portion sizes? Visit MSU Extension.

Most recipes can be easily modified. Recipes are changed all the time so don’t be afraid to try out these ideas to help put a healthy spin on your favorite dishes without losing the taste you love.

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