Written by Brittany Vickers, editorial intern
Let's face it: we can't all be super chefs in the kitchen. And you know what? That's OK. If you need saving from all the scary stuff staring at you from your refrigerator, we found your kitchen hero. Danny Boome, host of the Food Network series Rescue Chef, surprises everyday chefs in distress with tips and tricks to survive (and enjoy!) cooking a nutritious meal. "I tell everyone, don't be scared of the kitchen," says Boome. "If you feel comfortable in it, you can learn to use healthier or preferred ingredients in daily cooking, which gives you great control over your diet and will help you reach your goals." Boome, like 50 million Americans (that's about 1 in 5), suffers from arthritis and had to alter his diet to keep up with his fast-paced career. "Being a chef is physically demanding, but I think we should all be a little more conscious about what we're eating. I've learned how to replace the foods that trigger my arthritis, like wine, chocolate, ham and cheese, with healthy alternatives that taste just as good," he says. We sat down with this healthy chef to find out what quick tips you could utilize in the kitchen.
How can less-than-stellar cooks still whip up nutritious meals? Approach everything with confidence and remember, it's not rocket science. You can whip up simple, healthy stuff pretty easily. A great place to start is my perfect omelet recipe on Arthriving.com because if you mess it up, you can turn it into scrambled eggs. Having an easy backup option is a great way to go. The key is to start with the basics, then gradually build up to more complicated recipes as you feel comfortable.
How do you add great flavor to healthy dishes? I love things that add good, lean flavor. Ham is one of my arthritis triggers, so if I'm making an omelet for breakfast, I use turkey instead. It's a much leaner meat and it's still delicious.
Do you have any go-to ingredients that are always in your house? Fresh ginger, garlic and onion are always on hand! These are major flavors that can (and should!) be incorporated into all meals.
What are your quick meal tips? I love cooking what I call one-pan meals. Pick something that you can cook all in one pan, like a stir-fry. And remember, it's not cheating to go to the store and buy the pre-chopped stuff! It's a chopped pepper no matter who did the actually cutting. It's much easier, not to mention faster, to skip the prep work, throw everything into a pan and cook it. If you want to do a little bit of prep work yourself, don't be afraid of the food processor or other specialty tools like it. It can cut, chop or slice ingredients, so you're still seeing exactly what's being done, but it gets the job done much faster.
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