Mediterranean diet, MIND diet, heart diet, meals that support bone health, keep blood pressure on the rails and help us retain muscle strength… As we get older, cooking meals means health-boosting as well as tasty. One place to look for recipes that meet your nutritional needs is Pinterest. This online visual discovery tool lets you browse, search and save (or “pin”) and organize ideas and links—and it’s a favorite platform of many cooks.
If you’re new to Pinterest, read our primer. Then follow these tips to get the most out of the platform as you search for the best recipes.
Searching on Pinterest
Pinterest uses a smart search system, which means that it learns about your interests from your past actions on the site. If the system knows you’ve clicked on or pinned a certain typeof recipe in the past, it will show you more of these when you do your next search.
If you’ve never searched for recipes before on Pinterest, start by following a few “pinners” or boards (as in pinboards) that focus on healthy eating. When you see a recipe that appeals to you, just repin it to your own board. Meanwhile, the site will start learning that you’re interested in, for example, a Mediterranean diet, and it will start showing you more of those recipes when you conduct a search.
Do you live alone? Try typing “healthy recipes for one” and then click “boards.” You’ll find that other pinners have done the work for you. You can scroll their boards and repin your favorites. Here’s what you’ll see when you try that search.
Refining Your Search
Another great Pinterest feature? Below the main search bar, the site offers a menu of choices that lets you narrow your results, such as “healthy” when you’re searching for recipes using fruit.
Although searching for keywords such as “DASH diet recipes” (for lowering blood pressure), “MIND diet recipes” (for brain health), “Diabetes recipes” or “Mediterranean diet recipes” (for heart health) yields results, you can also search for combinations of ingredients that you know these diets include. For example, if you should have less animal protein and plenty of fresh vegetables, try searching “recipe, lentils, vegetables,” or a similar combination.
Evaluating a Recipe
You can add the words “tested recipe” to your search to improve the quality of results.
Why is quality important? Some recipes have vague or missing instructions. And although several excellent cooking and nutrition blogs are pinning to Pinterest, so are sites that focus more on hits and advertising than on quality and substance.
Tested recipes are more likely to meet the nutritional needs that you’ve searched for—and that they tout. But plenty of blog authors also post original and adapted recipes. Before pinning, scan the ingredients. Are there some hidden ones that your doctor has warned against? For example, does it include lots of salt or can you easily reduce the salt and maintain the flavor?
To up the chances of having quality, tested recipes come up in your search, add the names of chefs or cookbook authors who specialize in healthy meals and fresh produce (or search their names on Pinterest to see if they have an account). For example, I searched “Recipe, Monica Reinagel” a nutritionist and authority on the anti-inflammatory diet.
Organize Your Boards
It’s easy to create a board for “Recipes,” but if you keep pinning to it, you’ll soon find that it becomes too full and hard to navigate. It’s better to start out by creating boards for specific types of recipe.
How you organize your recipe boards is a personal choice. You can categorize boards by meal (breakfast, lunch, etc), common ingredients (fish, leafy vegetables, etc.) or cooking method (slow cooker, grill). You can create a board for “recipes for one.” Or you can organize your boards according to health benefit: heart health, brain health, blood pressure, and so on.
Five Healthy Recipe Boards
Veggies. one of several healthy food boards by certified nutritionist and personal trainer Norma Saulino (a Senior Planet contributor)
Diabetic Foodie Soups & Stews. The Diabetic Foodie blog has won numerous awards. Soups and stews make sense whether you’re cooking for one or more, making this board perfect for anyone who wants to control blood sugar, lose weight or just eat healthy.
Healthy Recipes. board by Epicurious
A More Plant Based Life—a board by Anna Henthorne
KalynsKitchen Fall and Winter Recipes. Kalyn Denny started her blog in 2005 as a way to store and share low-carb recipes—it’s now a popular resource. This board collects her favorite seasonal dishes.