By Jennifer Heinen
As a food lover and registered dietitian, my passion is creating delicious and healthy meals to share with my friends and family. I have fun finding ways to make nutritious meals without skimping on flavor. This is why recipe development is one of my favorite – and most rewarding – parts of my job, especially when clients tell me they have made my recipes and include them regularly at their table.
It can take time to find a recipe that is tasty, simple, quick, and healthy. If you have searched the internet for recipes lately you will quickly find there are a plethora of options to choose from (a recent search on Google for "chicken recipes" returned 68 million results!).
This is how our recipes work. All of our recipes follow the recommendations from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association for reducing saturated fat, added sugar, and sodium. We also include nutritious ingredients such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins.
To determine if a potential recipe is simple enough to become one of our everyday favorites, we have a recipe writing checklist with a number of criteria. Some examples include:
- Must contain less than 9 ingredients.
- Recipes cost less than $2.50 per serving.
- Ingredients are flexible and allow for fresh, frozen, or canned fruits or vegetables to be used.
- List the most efficient order of work to avoid extra dishes, extra beating, etc.
- Recipes must be tasty!
As registered dietitians we understand the importance of making the healthy choice the easy choice and aim to motivate families to make nutritious meals more often. Our program volunteers feel the same way and recently formed a recipe development team. Together they are expanding our database of recipes, so there is always something new and interesting to share.
Jennifer Heinen, MS, RD, LDN, is a licensed, registered dietitian for the JF&CS Hunger and Nutrition program. Jennifer began her work at JF&CS as a Boston University intern during the early production stages of the Home Cooking without a Kitchen cookbook. She has a passion for educating and empowering others to make healthy choices easy and delicious. Previously she worked as an inpatient and outpatient dietitian and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Dietetic Association. Her favorite food is avocado smashed on whole wheat toast.