Top | Health+Food

Into the kitchen with Tyler Florence

(article, Marissa Lippert)

It’s February, it’s freezing outside, our New Year’s resolutions have fallen by the wayside, and we’re in full-on comfort-food mode. So how do we manage to keep it healthful?

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Culinate is all about inspiring people to eat well. So recently I jumped at the chance to chat with Food Network chef Tyler Florence, who shares my enthusiasm for healthy — and delicious — eating.

We agreed that playing around with new flavors and recipes — and making an extra effort to cook more from scratch — not only benefits your health and taste buds, but also your wallet. 

Florence is doing his part to get us revved up in the kitchen by partnering with Macy’s to kick off the '“Macy’s challenge. The contest runs through early April and asks entrants to make a short video depicting what inspires them to get cooking, whether it’s a favorite food, time of year, event, or whatever.

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The winner will get to go on a $2,500 shopping spree with Florence. It's a great way to promote food traditions, healthful cooking, and fresh ingredients.

What exactly does the “Keep America Cooking” challenge aim to do?
The contest is a great way to encourage people to get cooking back in the kitchen. We’ve put together a series of helpful podcasts on how to use different cooking equipment and how to prepare seasonal recipes perfect for this time of the year. We’re asking people to send in clips of what inspires them in the kitchen.

I think it’s fantastic that you’re working to encourage us to get cooking again and not be afraid to get creative in the kitchen. Why do you think this is so important?
I think it’s all about helping others to understand that there’s really no “quick fix” when it comes to good food. Quick fixes simply serve as immediate gratification — it’s like an empty promise. 

Food and cooking at home is really about reconnecting with who we are as a culture and a family. I always say a house should smell like good cooking — I really think it gives kids in particular a sense of comfort, family, and great memories around food. 

It’s important because food and home-cooked meals act as a vehicle of communication. They bring about a sense of gathering. 

What can people do to make healthy cooking more fun, exciting, and inviting?
I don’t think healthful cooking is boring in the slightest, or it certainly doesn’t have to be. I’m a big proponent of curbing gigantic portions and zoning in on the idea about consciously watching calories and your overall intake. 

In my house, my wife and I really focus on protein and vegetables. Four or five bites of great food is really all we need to be satiated. Think about balancing out the scale when it comes to smart eating and making the most of indulgences. 

It’s all about making a conscious choice and sitting down to a great meal with the people you care about.

p(bio). Marissa Lippert is a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant in New York City.

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