Soul Food recipes are going into the new year with a new attitude and the attitude is leaner and meaner. With more consumers demanding a healthier diet, this popular southern cuisine continues to clean up its act. Long criticized for it's high calorie, fat, salt and sugar content, but love for it's taste soul food continues to reinvent itself to adapt to a changing public demand.

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Now you can find more health friendly ingredients in the recipes.  With the elimination of artery clogging ingredients such as fat back and ham hocks, often used to add flavor to vegetables and beans, more cooks use smoked turkey, turkey bacon, turkey ham or turkey sausage instead. These items contain up to 85-90% less fat than it's predecessors. In addition, more dishes are prepared by steaming, roasting, sautéing and stir frying as opposed to the less healthy deep frying.  This helps to preserve the flavor but more importantly the valuable vitamins and minerals contained in vegetables.

One of the biggest challenges faced by soul food recipe cooks is to increase the health benefits as well as the taste.  Now that challenge is being met better and better as more creative cooks are discovering and including  more natural and healthier ingredients in their dishes. For example, natural herbs and spices are slowly replacing butter, salt, fat. Lemon  and lime juice as well as apple cider vinegar are examples of liquids many cooks are using to flavor their dishes and add the health element at the same time.

In addition, natural herbs and spices help to add flavor without the health dangers of the past. For example, healthier seasonings like onion and garlic powder, rosemary, bay leaves, oregano, tarragon,  peppers and a host of other flavor enhancers  help to make today's healthy soul food recipes leaner, meaner and tastier. With the work of creative cooks the future looks bright for this popular southern food favorite.