Here’s a fun way to prepare easy meals which are good for you and the planet.
Impress your guests by using Chef Gerard Viverito’s shopping and cooking tips
If you think of popcorn as a main entrée, if you’ve ever eaten an entire meal while standing over the kitchen sink because you didn’t want to dirty more dishes, or if entertaining friends always involves take-out menus, then keep reading. With Chef Gerard Viverito’s fun cooking tips, you’ll be making delicious, one-pot meals that will taste like you spent hours in the kitchen. You may also lose some weight and do something good for the planet.
Chef G. travels the world, educating and demonstrating his passion for simple, sustainable cooking. He’s also an expert on kitchen short cuts, and how to make cooking fun even if you’re a novice. His five tips for making cooking enjoyable, easy and sustainable are:
- Make it fun. “Set the mood. Play your favorite music and pour yourself a glass of wine. I would rather have a glass of red wine than a piece of bread with butter. It’s doing something good for your heart, and I love wine.”
- Become the one-pot meal expert. “Not only will you have fewer dishes, but the bigger batches will make freezing leftovers easier. You may think about stews or stir-fries, but there’s actually a lot of variety. Nearly every cuisine has a one-pot meal, so you can serve many different flavor profiles.”
- Stock your fridge, freezer and pantry with sustainable ingredients. “You’ll make a huge impact on the world and your own health.” These include:
In your refrigerator: “Buy local and choose vegetables that are in season, instead of shipped in from other countries. The food is fresher and more nutritious, and it reduces your carbon footprint.”
In your freezer: “Wild-caught seafood from U.S. fisheries. The American seafood industry generally has better sustainability practices than those of other countries. Choose grass-fed and/or pasture-raised meats. Also keep a variety of stocks and sauce bases, as well as vegetables.”
In your pantry: “Malaysian sustainable palm oil. Palm oil requires less of our precious land resources than other cooking oils. And the Malaysians take sustainability and conservation seriously. They have taken great measures to protect the local wildlife. Also keep plenty of canned tomatoes and beans, and a variety of spices.”
- Prep ahead of time. “If you spend a few hours chopping and slicing at the beginning of the week, you’ll spend even less time on meal preparation each evening. That means you’ll be more likely to stick with your healthier eating goals.”
- Cook with passion. “Enjoy all of the steps and find pleasure in taking better care of yourself. It is empowering to take charge of your dietary lifestyle.”
Three ingredients = a nutritious, delicious sustainable meal
Chef G. offers some examples of how choosing just one item from your fridge, your freezer and your pantry can give you the basis of a flavorful meal. “Once your kitchen is well stocked, you should be able to choose anything from each area to create a fast and nutritious meal.”
- Seafood Stew: “Prepare this nutritious dish using shrimp from the freezer, low-sodium chicken stock and Malaysian sustainable palm oil from the pantry, and fennel from the refrigerator.”
- Lentil Curry: “This Indian-inspired favorite uses vegetables from the freezer, lentils and Malaysian sustainable palm oil from the pantry, and low-fat yogurt from the refrigerator.”
- Cooking “en Papillote”: “This is a fancy word for a simple technique involving cooking a meal in reusable parchment paper. It works with fish, chicken or even tofu. The meal is steamed to lock in the flavor. This impressive-yet-simple dish requires fresh-frozen fish, chicken breast or tofu from the freezer; Malaysian sustainable palm oil and capers from the pantry, and fresh herbs from the refrigerator.”
“Studies have shown that we consume 200 more calories every time we eat out. That means, if you cook 15 meals at home instead of eating out, you save 3000 calories and could lose a pound,” Chef G. points out. “Plus, with these fun and simple strategies, you may find that making dinner becomes your favorite part of the day.”
Robin Miller is a health and nutrition editor with more than 30 years of industry experience. She researches and writes about the nutritional benefits of palm fruit oil, with the goal of giving readers factual, science-based information that will be useful in their daily lives.