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How to Prepare a Healthy Soul Food?

Soul food is the traditional food of African Americans. Many food components commonly related to soul food are considered to have an augmented risk of some illnesses, like a heart attack or stroke. Now, the question is how to create a healthy soul food dish?

Meals ranging from staples like rice and beans, fried chicken, greens, potato pies, yams, pork chops, peas, macaroni and cheese, cornbread, etc. are an integral part of the culture so it is difficult to change the base as it evokes strong feelings of family, home, and togetherness. Though, soul food can be made healthier by considering a few tips and the nutritional value of dishes.

How to make soul food healthier?

The diet, associated with soul food, includes organ meats, processed meat items, fried foods, eggs, added fats, and sweetened beverages. Some of these food items can be well replaced with nutrient-rich dishes and leafy green vegetables to become the staples of your healthy soul food. 

Tips to make a healthy soul food

  • Change unhealthy fats with digestible (or healthy) alternates
  • Use cooking techniques like stir-frying instead of deep-frying
  • Enjoy the richness and heartiness of soul food soup
  • Avoid extra spicy red meats and replace them with healthy alternatives
  • Avoid processed food items and use fresh ingredients
  • Include green leafy vegetables

With the changing perceptions and practice of "healthy" eating, some of you may use preparation methods that make a lot of difference like using liquid oil like vegetable oil or canola oil for frying and cooking, or using smoked turkey or chicken instead of pork, instead of deep fry, stir fry the greens. Such changes and cooking techniques increase the nutritional value of any dish. Once you have the understanding of how to create healthy soul food then it becomes extremely easy to make it for yourself or the guests the next time.

Some of the components involved in soul food recipes have distinct health benefits. For example, collard and other greens are rich sources of folic acid or vitamin A, B6, B9, K, and C, manganese, iron, calcium, fiber, and some amount of omega-3 fatty acids as well. A portion of healthy soul food may also hold several phytonutrients, which play an important role in the prevention of breast and ovarian cancers.

The traditional method of preparing soul food vegetables, meat, and meals often includes high temperatures or slow cooking methods, which can lead the water-soluble vitamins (e.g., Vitamin C and the B complex vitamins) to be destroyed or trickled out into the water in which the greens are cooked. This water has a lot of nutrients and is often consumed alongside the soul food meal. Do you know what this liquid-based, micro nutrient-rich beverage is known as? It is called pot liquor, traditionally. Legumes and peas are inexpensive sources of protein and contain several vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Hence, next time you want to know as to how to create healthy soul food, follow the above tips. Enjoy your hearty, healthy soul food and stay happy!

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