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Healthy Food Tips from Melissa d’Arabian

Food Network host Melissa d’Arabian shares tips for meal planning and food shopping.

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Hi, Guideposts. I’m Melissa d’Arabian, TV host and cookbook author and author of “Supermarket Healthy” where I give you over 130 recipes and tons of tips and strategies for eating healthy without spending a lot of money and without spending a lot of time. So today, I want to share with you some of my favorite tips for eating healthy at home without overspending. 

So one of my best tips for you is to buy a combination of hardy vegetables and softer, leafier, more perishable vegetables, like this is arugula or spinach. Use the leafy vegetables at the beginning of your week. So when you’re planning out your menu, put these vegetables first. The heartier vegetables can last longer. So you can stick them in your crisper drawer and know that they’ll last for a week or even more. And these hardy vegetables, you can use them in a whole variety of ways, which will prevent vegetable burnout and ultimately save you money. 

So for instance, you can think about roasting these vegetables. Just chop them up, toss them with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, stick them in the oven for 15, 20 minutes, and you’ve got an earthy, sweet dish that your whole family will love. You can chop up these little Brussels sprouts and saute them with a little bit of garlic and a little bit of olive oil for a whole new flavor profile. You can even think about shredding up these vegetables and using them raw in salads or put them into soups or stews. So the options are endless. 

Another tip for you– when the vegetables seem to be getting a little bit softer and a little bit heading south, think about making a vegetable soup. A vegetable soup is super flexible and super forgiving. So you can use up whatever odds and ends are in your crisper drawer to make a fantastic soup really easy. And don’t forget, use the whole vegetable. So many people cut off the stalk of the broccoli and throw it away and only eat the floret. And did you know that if you peel the outside layer of the stalk, the inside is tender and sweet? And it’s actually my kids’ favorite part of the broccoli. 

So go ahead and chop up those stalks, saute them, or use them in a slaw. Fantastic. Another healthy eating strategy is to have flavor enhancers at the ready. So stock your fridge with some low cal flavor enhancers like Worcestershire sauce, salsa, vinegar, hot sauce, or my favorite, Dijon mustard. All of these items are going to be at the ready so you can add flavor without adding any extra calories to your meals. 

My next tip– use your freezer. Your freezer can be your best friend to extend the shelf life of a lot of flavor enhancers like ginger root. Go ahead and stick it in a bag and stick it in the freezer. You can grate it up straight from frozen into your recipes. Citrus zest, if you’re going to eat an orange, peel that orange and then stick the peel in the freezer. And then you can go ahead and microplane it when you need it. That is free flavor that you don’t want to throw away. 

And speaking of the freezer, I’ve got a great tip for fresh herbs. Now I love fresh herbs, great for healthy cooking. But fresh herbs are a little bit expensive. And they don’t last all that long. So here’s what you do. When you have fresh herbs, and you’re getting to the end of using them, don’t throw them away. Go ahead and blend up two parts herbs with one part water or oil and pour it into a small container and freeze it. You can also use an ice cube tray so you get little cute cubes of herb flavor. So then you have fresh herbs all year round. I hope you enjoy these healthy tips. 


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