Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right is this year’s theme for National Nutrition Month. Taste continues to be first and foremost when it comes to the way people think about food. Not far behind is nutrition and health. Most people want to eat food that is healthy but they are not willing to sacrifice taste. As a Supermarket Dietitian I am constantly showing consumers that healthy food can taste good!
The 5 Tastes
There are 5 types of receptors on the tongue that sense the flavors we taste. They are sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and umami. Each of these flavors can act on its own, but how they interact is essential to making food taste delicious. Activation of any one taste will enhance another taste. Blending these tastes together is the foundation for great tasting healthy recipes.
Taste Foods Sour
Citrus fruits (lemons, limes, orange), kiwi, blueberries
Apples, watermelon, grapes, pears, carrots, sweet potato, beets
Celery, rhubarb, bok choy, sea vegetables
Leafy greens (arugula, kale)
Tomatoes, mushrooms, raw corn*Umami is a Japanese word that describes a meaty or savory taste. Tomatoes and mushrooms are high in free form glutamate which provides a natural umami flavor. Roasting or sautéing will further intensify this flavor.
All tastes contribute to a well-balanced diet as the foods that make up each contain several essential nutrients. Usually when all 5 tastes are incorporated into a meal it leaves you feeling satisfied and less likely to overeat. Adding a squeeze of lemon to cooked dishes can quickly satisfy the sour taste, while adding a side salad will fulfill the bitter taste.
Now this is real food you can taste! Check out the recipe below and experiment with the many tastes of eating right.
5 Taste Salad (Kale, Lentil and Brown Rice Salad)
- 1 cup of Lentil Soup Mix (mixture of green lentils, red lentils, black lentils, and brown rice- ¼ cup of each)
- 2 cup of chicken broth
- ½ cup of Curry Fig Vinaigrette (1/4 cup of fig balsamic vinegar, ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp. curry powder)
- 1 pkg. of baby kale (Bitter)
- 1 pkg. shitake mushrooms, sautéed (Umami)
- 2 medium-sized beets, peeled and boiled until tender (Sweet)
- ¼ cup of red onion, diced
- 3 stalks of celery, diced (Salty)
- ¼ cup of dried or fresh blueberries (Sour)
- Rinse lentil and rice mixture. Combine lentil mixture and broth in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a low simmer for 30 minutes until lentils are tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile combine vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- Add baby kale to a large mixing bowl and coat with dressing. Add lentil and rice mixture to baby kale. The warmed mixture will soften the baby kale so that the kale has a slightly wilted look.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and toss to mix. Serve immediately and enjoy the 5 tastes of eating right!