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Nutrition and Healthy Cooking Nutrition is the studies of the way people consume foods in order to maintain the human body needs for growth, repair and maintenance. Thanks to the modern scientists and government regulations we are now able to determine the nutritional value of many more foods than in the past. This subject is not only very important to a Chef, it is increasingly required that many people are paying more attention to what they eat. As a Chef you must learn to cook a variety of nutritionally healthy foods and offer these options to your customers.

Lets take a look at the basic four food groups; Fruits, Vegetables, Meats & Proteins, Dairy and Grains. As you know there are all very important food groups and a healthy diet requires many of these several times a day. Click the following link to review the USDA Food Pyramid. The first thing you notice is the shape of the pyramid, this is very important. The bottom row with the grains and starches is very important for a healthy diet. Your menu should offer many choices in this food group. The next level is broken down into Vegetables and Fruits, both are important and you guests will like to see these on the plate.

Above is the Dairy and Meats, these are perhaps the most common on many menus and for good reasons, many guests like to dine in excess when they go out for a meal. Notice the top of the pyramid, Fats and Oils, while these are needed for cooking, there is no need to overwhelm your guests with platters of deep fried foods! Sweets are also mentioned and you know as well as I do that when people dine out they like sweets so let them have all the dessert they can consume!

Use these sparingly and you will cook more healthy food for your patrons. While this food pyramid is a great reference tool, it is dated and many people here in the USA are choosing other pyramids for their daily diets.

Now lets look at the Mediterranean Food Pyramid this pyramid is proven to be healthier for many people who follow it.

Does that mean every Chef should follow it? No, it is simply a healthy reference tool to help you decide what to serve your guests!

Starting at the bottom of the Mediterranean Food Pyramid, like the USDA Pyramid Breads & Grains are the most important food group. Then moving above, the Vegetables section is larger than the Fruit section and the Beans & Nuts are added. Above that is a section for olive oil and then Cheese and Yogurt. Above that are Sweets, Eggs, Poultry and Fish with servings of only a few per week. At the top is Red Meat with only a few servings per month. Also notice that Wine is mentioned! The magical bottled fruit juice that is good for you. Physical Activity is also recommended on a daily basis.

Every Chef must decide what to cook and how to prepare the foods to be served.

Below are some guidelines you may find useful in choosing the foods, preparing and serving them to your guests.

Eight Guidelines for Nutritional Cooking;

  1. Select all Foods with emphasis on a well-rounded diet and try to use foods that are seasonal.
  2. Cook these foods with care to preserve their nutritional value, texture, flavor and appeal.
  3. Try to shift the emphasis on the plate to grains and vegetables.
  4. Cook with monounsaturated cooking fats as much as possible; reduce the use of saturated fats.
  5. Use high calorie and high cholesterol foods moderately.
  6. Try to select a variety of different spices and seasonings to enhance the foods natural flavors.
  7. Select healthy cooking methods for many of the foods you prepare: (try grilling, steaming and poaching over deep frying foods)
  8. Review and update your menu and preparations as often as needed to satisfy your guests.


Following these guidelines will help you achieve a new level through more nutritionally prepared foods. Do you have our Chef knife Holster? Order one today and you will be more organized! Buy the best Chef knives, knife cases and cutting boards that you can afford, this is in investment, and you will use them daily. Support your sponsor and please - shop this website!
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