Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS) released its ‘Healthier Traditions: Italian Cookbook’ to facilitate healthy eating habits year-round. This marks the fourth edition of the TCHS Healthier Traditions Cookbook series, with previous free versions including healthier takes on Soul Food, Regional American Classics and Traditional Mexican dishes. According to the Sixth Annual Consumer Healthcare Survey from TCHS, a majority of Americans (62 percent) report having a chronic illness, and “making personal health changes” (37 percent) came up in their top three health-related priorities. The 18 Italian classics featured in this new edition were crafted and reviewed by registered dietitians, with the expectation that making simple substitutions to traditional recipes can improve diet and increase overall well being.
ITALIAN FOOD: A HEALTHY CHOICE
“A month into the new year, many people are looking for ways to maintain new resolutions centered on making healthy lifestyle changes, and that starts with diet and exercise,” says Hector De La Torre, executive director of TCHS. “Consciously thinking about the ingredients in meals and knowing that healthier, equivalent options exist can inspire thoughtful choices and help make sticking to health-conscious routines less daunting”. To develop the new cookbook, TCHS partnered once again with Christina Badaracco, MPH, RD, an enthusiast of Italian cuisine, culture, and helping people make connections between food and health. The cookbook includes interesting historical facts on the origins of some classic Italian dishes, while informing people how ingredient substitutions can have a lasting impact on their health by incorporating those changes into their diet in other ways.
HEALTHIER BUT (STILL) DELICIOUS
“Italian food is a favorite for so many Americans, yet we often rely on restaurants and food companies to make the dishes or decide which ingredients to use, which are not always the healthiest – said Badaracco -. What makes Italian food special is the fresh and healthy Mediterranean ingredients, which should be chosen with care. The recipes for favorite dishes in this cookbook are accessible to home cooks with easy-to-incorporate tweaks to make them healthier, but still as delicious as ever”. “We have traditional recipes like Lasagne alla Bolognese, which substitute some of the meat for mushrooms and lentils, so the dish is still just as hearty and flavorful, but higher in nutrients. We also offer alternative takes on desserts like Tiramisu – with less saturated fat and more fiber” – added De La Torre.
Cooking videos for selected recipes from the cookbook are featured on the TCHS YouTube Channel. Home cooks can follow along when making their favorite Italian dishes including Antipasto Salad, Mushroom Farrotto, Bolognese, Pizza with Pesto and Roasted Vegetables, Panzanella, Caponata, Minestrone, Cauliflower Alfredo, and Cannoli.