How can I get healthier foods to still taste good without adding a lot of butter or other fats?

Real Mom Problem

“I think that it's important to eat healthy foods, but shouldn't they taste good?”

by MomToAnArmyOf3 MomToAnArmyOf3

Quick Tips

  • 1. Herbs and spices can greatly increase the flavor of foods without adding any calories or fat
  • 2. Look to ethnic cuisine that you enjoy for flavor inspiration
  • 3. Remember that a small amount of fat is a good thing -- fats help your body absorb several vitamins and fill you up faster

Real Mom Solutions

Just because a food is healthy doesn't mean it can't have flavor! Learn to enhance the flavor of the foods you cook without adding a ton of calories and fat with these tips from other moms.

Jane Schwartz Jane Schwartz

Our Expert Mom Says...

First of all, remember that not all fats are bad. Using small amounts of "good" fats is actually healthy. Fats are critical for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E, and K). They keep skin supple, hair and nails strong. They fill you up, requiring less calories overall to maintain a sense of fullness. I typically use a little olive oil, coconut oil, or even a little butter (or a combo) when sautéing veggies, chicken, shrimp, etc. A little goes a long way. If more liquid is needed in the pan, I will often add some chicken or vegetable broth to stretch the oil. I will add about 1-2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil to a large family-sized serving of steamed veggies, with a dash of salt, pepper, and sometimes a little Parmesan cheese.

Using lots of good herbs and spices also helps increase flavor without adding any calories. Instead of cutting out fat and using fake substitutes, simply use less of the real thing, and enhance with your favorite fresh or dried herbs and spices.

Jane Schwartz is a mom of two and a registered dietitian and health writer based in Princeton, NJ. She is the Outpatient and Community Education dietitian at the University Medical Center at Princeton. You can find out more about her work at her website,

More on Making Healthy Food Tasty

  • SeventiesChild

    Keep it simple. Good food is good all by itself. For instance, try brown rice with broccoli and julienned carrots (get them from the produce department cut that way) with a little olive oil, soy sauce, garlic and grated ginger.

  • angchick

    There is so much you can do with salad. You can add veggies, a lean meat, fruit, nuts or seeds, and a light or fat-free dressing. The possibilities are endless!

  • donnakat

    Add some seasonings you are fond of. I will sauté a zucchini in a teaspoon of butter with some garlic steak seasoning and it tastes very good. If you can find a seasoning and add just a touch of butter (or olive oil), enough for flavor without adding too many calories, you could doctor up some veggies that you might not otherwise find appealing.

  • eema.gray

    Look at other cultures that rely heavily on vegetables. Southeast Asia and India are good places to start for flavors and techniques that make your daily five servings of veggies exciting, interesting, and tasty.