Dispelling the Myths About Healthy Cooking!
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Global Calgary

When people find out I am a dietitian they often think I eat boring bland health foods and have no fun. I don’t blame them, because the word dietitian contains the word “diet” and also contains the word “die.”  Surprise, nutrition geeks like tasty food too! After all I am the chocoholic nutritionist (a.k.a. lover of both healthful and soulful foods).

1.  What are some of the myths and misconceptions about healthy cooking?

health mythsThe most common misconceptions about healthy cooking was that the food won’t taste good, it is hard to make, takes too much time and is too expensive.

Fat, salt and sugar make food taste good and healthy cooking isn’t about avoiding these but using them strategically and showcasing the natural profiles of fresh seasonal food.

Multi-task active tasks (such as chopping) once you have inactive time (such as waiting for something to bake).  Cook in bulk for some freezer friendly options and use planned extras (intentionally making more of one thing such as grilled chicken that goes into two meals such as for stir-fry one day and a salad the next day).

If you are time crunched each week pick three meals and shop for these foods specifically and be sure to make enough for leftovers or lunch the next day.

2.  What are some of the “must have” items to help get organized in your kitchen to cook healthy food and make it fun?

Must have…

A well stocked pantry, good selection of spices and a selection of “real” food.
Sharp knives and cutting boards.
Metal frying pan (better than non-stick pans for browning known as “fond” and deglazing for flavoring poultry, fish and sauce).
Pot(s) and roasting pan(s).
Inspiration (eg. cookbooks, food/recipe blogs, pinterest, recipes on the fridge)

Nice to have…

Oil sprayer
Potato peeler, julienne peeler, mandolin slicer
Fresh herbs
Grill basket/pans for the BBQ
Slow cooker
Top-notch blender and/or food processor

3.  What are some tips on how to keep flavor while cooking healthier?

  • I am a huge advocate for visiting the farmers market for inspiration and quality.  Shop from the grocery store flyer since it is typical going to showcase seasonal flavors for fresh produce.
  • Take some cooking classes.  Once you understand the basics on knife skills, cooking methods and build confidence you will find trying any new recipe or adjusting things much easier.  Check out cookbook stores, grocery stores, culinary institutes to begin your search.
  • Use fresh seasonal ingredients and when things are out of season think about frozen, dried or canned options (such as canned tomatoes and sundried tomatoes in the winter).
  • Learn how to make homemade vinaigrettes. So much tastier than bought versions and simple to do.  The basic method is 2-3 parts oil to 1 part acid (such as vinegar, lemon/orange juice or wine), season with salt, pepper and herbs.
  • Roast or grill vegetables to bring out and enhance natural sweetness.  All you need is veggies (such as peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, cauliflower, carrots, beets, squash, onions) tossed in a little olive oil with salt and pepper.  Place in a roasting pan and bake until soft or alternatively grill on the BBQ (small pieces can be placed in a grill basket/pan with small holes).
  • Slow roast meats to maximize flavor.
  • Think about healthier desserts such as grilled pears/pineapple, baked apples, fruits sorbets, homemade frozen yogurt, vanilla/chocolate homemade pudding, oatmeal date squares and fruit crisps.

Click here to download a printer-friendly PDF of this article

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

As seen in


Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This