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Ask Food: Mistakes that many cooks make in the kitchen

Published January 12. 2011 05:00PM

Q: Do healthy cooks make as many mistakes in the kitchen as those who cook up unhealthy fried foods and heavy meals?

A: Cooking isn't rocket science, but there are mistakes many folks make that keep their foods from being as nutritious as they could be. Here is a sampling:

• Buying turkey burgers in place of 93 percent lean beef without reading the fat content. If the turkey burgers contain the skin, then they are often higher in fat than a beef patty.

• There is so little flavor in fat-free cheese that people end up grating up a mountain of the stuff just to generate the flavor they think they are getting. Use the real stuff; a little goes so far, and you know exactly what the ingredients are.

• Sugar provides many roles in the baking process, and using a sugar substitute in place of the real stuff just changes the taste, texture and the way your baked goods will look.

Use real sugar in recipes and reduce the amount that the recipe calls for by . Generally, the baked good will come out just fine.

• Many cooks go bland when cooking healthy. They grill a chicken breast without seasoning, they forget to spice a stew or they make a low-fat sandwich without a bit of excitement. Here's a fix: fresh thyme and rosemary go a long way, get saucy with basil leaves, kick it up with chili pepper, give it an Indian twist with cumin and turmeric or shred some ginger.

For a sandwich, go for it with a spicy mustard, horseradish or cranberry relish. Healthy meals do not have to be bland.

Courtesy Dana Angelo White, with examples from other nutritionists on

(For more information, visit or write Ask Food Network c/o Viewer Services Culinary Department, Scripps Networks, PO Box 50970, Knoxville, TN 37950.)

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