Terri Williams of Terra Cuisine joins the 864Living podcast to discuss eating healthy at home. Terri is a personal chef in the Greenville area and has a ton of tips for our listeners. Join us as we explore ideas for shaking up boring dinners, sneaking in healthy foods, and the one thing that will change your home cooking experience.
(Transcript has been cleaned up for clarity.)
Anja: Welcome to basics for a living. Today we’re talking about healthy eating at home with Terry Williams owner and personal chef at Terra cuisine. Welcome Terri.
Terri: Thank you Anja. Pleasure to be here.
Anja: So Terri how how long have you lived in upstate.
Terri: I’ve actually been in the upstate for about 30 years now. I’m originally from up in New England Massachusetts and moved down here in my early high school years.
Anja: And what’s your favorite thing about living in the area?
Terri: Mainly it’s you know the economy is really strong here. Often a lot of jobs. The proximity to the mountains in the ocean you can just take a day trip to both of them if you would like. And then currently Greenville is really becoming a new and upcoming city. And you know there’s just been a new life going into the area. So that’s also exciting to be part of.
Anja: So how long have you been a personal chef.
Terri: I’ve been a personal chef actually it will be four years this month. And how did you get in that line of work. You know it stumbled across. I was in the middle a changing career paths in and I was taking a vacation with some friends. We were all supposed to do different dinners at the beach house. And they were just raving about all the cooking that I was doing and he said that I should look into being a personal chef. He had a friend of his up in New York City that does that. And so I looked into it. And so here we are four years later and it’s worked. It’s been well-received in the up states and I’m very fortunate to have a successful business here.
Anja: Talk us through what it looks like to plan a menu for your client.
Terri: Each family or individual I have both. They’re all different. I have a fixed menu that they can choose from and some of them do that I have some of that have a specific dietary regimen that they need to choose that they need to go by and so I might produce their menu every single week something different. So it starts with figuring out what they’re going to eat for that week and then is simply getting my recipes together all in order. Getting the grocery list put together making sure all the proper equipment is loaded up in my car because I bring all of my own equipment to their home and then I just wait for the cook day.
Anja: How do you balance healthy eating versus tasty eating. Do you think that has to be a trade off.
Terri: I personally do not feel there has to be a trade off. You know food in general is beautiful. And I don’t think that you have to choose between healthy and tasty. I’m a big proponent of eating healthy fats which to us fats are tasty healthy fats your avocados your olive oils things like that. Your your cheeses if you’re not lactose intolerant. Those can all be healthy integrated into our meals. And so I don’t think that you know healthy and tasty are two different things you can have a perfectly healthy meal sitting in front of you that’s delicious. And that’s with my business that’s one of the things I strive for with my clients is I strive to make very healthy meals. But of course they’re going to be delicious for them.
Anja: When you’re looking at putting together a meal and that you want to be a good balance of healthy foods. What are you looking for?
Terri: Exactly that I’m looking for a balance I’m looking for high protein, I am looking for healthy fats. Most are looking for good sources of fiber because I believe and keep in mind I’m not a dietitian or nutritionist as this is just my own personal opinion. I believe that these three things help provide good fuel for our bodies. It also keeps our bodies satiated. And it also helps us prevent us from unnecessary snacking. So when I’m looking at a meal a lot of it. One of the things that I like to use as an example is I have this entree that’s what I call chicken Parmesan on steroids. And I take only forearm chicken breasts. So it’s not full of meat. I’m going to pound it out. I bred it. I roll. I roll up with a mixture of her cottage cheese Parmesan and spinach and I put it in the oven and I bake it and top it off a pasta sauce and a little bit of mozzarella cheese and it sounds incredibly fattening. And in it’s and it is a little on the high calorie side of the fact that I only used the forearms portion of meat. I bake the chicken and not fry it and then when I [indistinct]4:11 like steamed broccoli or a salad. And so you balance that out instead of having that wonderful tasty piece of chicken stuff with cheese and then having a side of pasta with it. You balance that out with some lower calorie side dishes. You know the contrary, if you’re having fish which is typically low in calories you can splurge a little more on that side dish and a risotto or maybe a pasta side dish. Calories still balance out. You’re also getting, getting your what you call your food fixes you can’t have your pasta and your burgers and your pizza is all just about balance and have one slice of pizza with a big giant salad have half of that hamburger or maybe only have you know half of the pizza and just do a salad with it. There is certainly a balance in everything and that’s what I try to provide for my clients.
Anja: What about food rights? How do you tackle food boredom and come up with fresh ideas?
Terri: Well, I would like to say for me that’s easy because that’s my job. I’m constantly looking at different literature websites Pinterest. So for me I want to say that it’s easy for the average person it might not be quite so easy. However there are outlets that you can do online. I believe all recipes.com might send you a weekly recipe and those are pretty simple recipes. There are probably other different Web sites that you could have something you know different in your inbox and you’re like oh that sounds like something I would like to do. In talking to all your friends and your coworkers say hey what do you have for dinner last night. And sometimes you know that will give you some different views of what to bring home for dinner.
Anja: I think for a lot of families figuring out what to eat for dinner can be kind of a daunting task. Do you have any tips for helping make it more fun or exciting rather than feeling like a chore?
Terri: Well, definitely if you have a family get the family involved you know everybody wants to be involved in decision making often so make it a job of everybody to bring up you know one dish they might want to have a week. And my main thing is I really stress to plan for your week, if you if you come home every night from work and you’re trying to figure out what to have for dinner is going to be a horrible task. You know plan your week out and only shop once that’ll save you not only time but also save your money and it’ll save you from the big headache in addition you know in order to eat at home. Your food doesn’t have to be 100 percent from scratch. Get some help with what we have so many different healthy options now. With freezer meals, get some healthy meals and keep in your freezer for those days that you just really not want to cook but you can still eat at home and watch your calories and be healthy and not have to go out to eat. Or even there’s some wonderful shimmering sauces out there and marinates that you can kind of add to your chicken or or your protein but you’re not having to go through the whole horrible daunting task of reading all these different ingredients to make an entire meal. It’s OK to cheat. Watching labels pay attention to nutrition. And regardless you’re still gonna be better off financial and nutrition wise than eating out.
Anja: Are there any tricks of the trade for making a healthy meal that a kid will actually eat?
Terri: You know children are are my biggest critic. I one of the miracle things for me that I have even turned adults on with vegetables that they don’t like is roasting vegetables and it’s a very simple process. You just basically take your fresh vegetables through it on a cookie sheet put some oil on it or some spray, with salt and pepper mix it all up and throw it in a preheated oven at 425 degrees. And usually after about 20 minutes it’s all cooked. And the thing what happens with the roasting is it brings out the natural sugars of the vegetable and so it kind of makes it more palatable. And I’ve had better luck with children. I have kids and adults who hatted broccoli before I started working with them and now they’re constantly asking for roasted broccoli. The other thing we’re just getting not only just vegetables. Just getting them to eat healthy. One big popular item is not and it’s popular in my own home is burrito balls that you take out that high calorie flour tortilla. And just do make sure you watch your portions of course watch for the sour cream and cheese because you can get crazy with the dish. But if you just have reasonable portions of race beans and meats along with some sauces kids typically will love that. And it’s so super healthy as long as you’re watching how much cheese and sour cream you’re putting on the dish.
Anja: Can you think of one pro tip that could be really life or at least extremely helpful for our home cup.
Terri: It might be life changing I’m not sure but just invest in a good knife. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Make sure it’s sharp. A lot of people I’ve heard several times oh if I had a sharp knife I would cut my fingers off. But I assure you you’re more of them more likely to cut your fingers off with a dull knife. And also You-Tube the proper way to hold the knife. Not only the knife in your hand but the knife that you’re cutting up against that’s holding the food product it’s very important if you use that claw technique that’s going to save a lot of fingers from being, being cut or injured in the future.
Anja: What in your opinion is the best kept secret.
Terri: And why would I want to share my secret. Well, you know I’ve been asked this before unfortunately I think too many people have told because it started to become not a not a secret. There are two places that I thought was Greenville’s best kept secret and maybe it still might might only be a secret. But Bacon Brothers definitely a wonderful wonderful addition to Greenville and Asada Latin American Kitchen is amazing. Their food is incredible. So those in my opinion are two best kept secrets for me anyway. But too many people are talking about them. So I had to wait in line too much now.
Anja: Well, Terry thank you so much for giving us your time today and as well as your wisdom about healthy eating. I think this was really valuable for our listeners before we go. Can you tell our listeners where they can find out more about Terri cuisine, how they can connect with you. Minor in person.
Anja: And that’s T E R R A.
Anja: Awesome. Thank you so much.
Terri: Thanks Anja.