Healthy food belongs to a class of foods that are highly beneficial to the health and well-being of a person. Healthy foods are usually low in fat, sugars, and total calories. According to the FDA rules for labeling a food as healthy, the labeled food must be low in saturated fat, refined simple sugars, sodium, and cholesterol. Also, if the food refers to a “healthy dish,” it should meet at least 10% of the total daily needs of Vitamin A or C, Iron, Calcium, Protein, or Fibers.
Healthy recipes, however, is a very broad concept and includes several sub-divisions like heart-friendly, kid-friendly, fiber-rich, and gut-friendly healthy recipes. The popularity of healthy dishes has increased lately due to improved awareness of the health implications of irregular and poor dietary habits. According to several surveys, young mothers and people in their middle ages are the largest consumers of healthy recipes. Some foods that are commonly labeled as healthy include, wheat germ, low fat yogurt, sugar free desserts, soy based recipes, Ginseng, etc.
History of Healthy Recipes
The concept of healthy recipes is not a new one; in fact, food for healthy well being is one of the oldest and most significant notions in the history of human civilization. According to many historians, the early ideas of healthy recipes were conceptualized only after humans mastered the art of animal and plant domestication, following which, he was faced with a situation of surplus food.
However, the early logic of food restrictions and inclusions on the basis of improving the health of a person were very vague and based more on religious dogmas rather than factual data.
The concept of “healthy food” and emphasis on cooking “healthy recipes,” in the modern sense, took birth only in the early 20th century. During this time, owing to the work done by several medical experts, independent researches, and scientific institutes, Nutrition was established as a stream of science and the modern medical world accepted the fact that while certain foods helped in preventing disease conditions, several others aggravated existing physical maladies. Thus, the concept of Healthy food was established.
Today, terms like, healthy recipes, healthy food, and healthy dishes usually refer to foods that are low in refined carbs, low in saturated fats, and provide favorable effects on a person’s health.
Popular Healthy Dishes from Different Cuisines
Almost every cuisine has a set of recipes that can be termed as healthy. Certain popular healthy recipes belonging to different cuisines are:
· Indian Cuisine: Idli, Dosa, Dahi (yogurt), fruit lassi (sweet cultured milk), Paneer (cottage cheese), Bhakri (whole millet flat breads), and dal halva are some popular traditionally prepared Indian foods that may be termed as healthy dishes.
· Western Cuisine: Spinach Soup, Chicken soup, Granola bars, Protein Shakes, Oat biscuits, Whole wheat breads, wheat germ, etc. are some popular healthy recipes from the Western hemisphere.
· Chinese Cuisine: The Chinese have several traditional recipes that can be termed as healthy, some of these being, ginseng, bird’s nest soup, tofu, and herb soup.
· African Cuisine: Akamuti (African black soup), Kale & Chickpea stew, Lasary Voatabia (raw salad), Basque Chicken Yassa, and lentil bake are some popular healthy dishes from the African continent.
A food is termed healthy by virtue of the ingredients and the cooking technique used. Thus, as is evident through to list of foods mentioned above, healthy food can be a part of any course. Moreover, recipes for foods that may not be considered as traditionally healthy can be easily modified into healthy recipes.
Preparation and Commercial Availability of Healthy Food
Though, preparing healthy recipes at home is very much possible, ready to use healthy dishes seem to have a higher demand and market value. All healthy recipes can be categorized into three segments:
1. Healthy recipes that are best prepared at home: Certain healthy recipes, like almond soup, herb soup, vegetable juices, healthy sandwiches, fruit salad, etc. are best eaten fresh. Hence, preparing them at home is preferred.
2. Healthy foods that are best bought readymade: Several new generation healthy foods like, wheat bran, alfalfa, sea weed extract, nutrient enriched flour, soy nuts, low fat cheese, etc. are difficult and at times impossible to be prepared at home. It is best to purchase such food items from a nearby grocery store.
3. Healthy dishes that may be prepared at home or store bought: This third category of healthy foods forms the major chunk of health food market. Foods like yogurt, gluten free flour mixes, low fat snacks, and sugar free desserts are few of the examples of healthy recipes from this category.
Healthy Food: Trivia
In 1906, the United States Congress passed the U.S. Pure Food and Drugs Act. This Act, in the later years formed the basis for health food labeling.