We’re already one week into National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme – Eat Right with Color – is a simple way to boost the nutritional value of every meal. A press release from the American Dietetic Association explains: “A rainbow of foods creates a palette of nutrients, each with a different bundle of potential benefits for a healthful eating plan….To maximize the nutritional value of your meal, include healthful choices in a variety of colors.”
I get giddy about anything involving color-coding and spreadsheets, so I tracked how much of the spectrum I scarfed down during this past week:
This week’s strange-foods theme has left me exhausted. I’m not sure why I expected this to be easy: I chose seven ingredients I’ve never prepared (and several I’ve never eaten, period), many of which are nowhere near local in Massachusetts or easy to find in February, and then I had to find seven brand new recipes in which to use them.
Star fruit, chia seeds, tomatillos, phyllo and sunchokes
But before anyone calls the waaaahmbulance, let me introduce you to Eating The Week’s secret weapon: my friend Drew, who is a professional word-other-than-chef. I call him that because Drew says he doesn’t like the term chef, but has been cooking professionally for over a decade. He has done fine dining, catering, personal chef, and taco truck work, and just accepted a position as the culinary instructor at a Seattle Whole Foods. He doesn’t think about healthy eating as much as he should, but knows local strawberries that are in season are one of the best things on earth.
I gave Drew the list of ingredients – chia seeds, cactus paddles, farro, phyllo, star fruit, sunchokes, and tomatillos – and a vague plea for help, and he delivered big time. As I write about each of the foods in this (very long) post, you’ll see Chef says sections featuring Drew’s expert guidance on preparing each food. It was an immense help, and if he’s not careful, I’m going to drag Drew back for future posts.