Was today another day where you had to swallow your bland meal for the sake of your health?
The reality is that all we really want from our food is flavor. Unfortunately, fat products often have a lot of flavor, such as, butter and cheese. But, eating those fatty foods can give disastrous results for our heart health and our weight and so have to be eaten in moderation, if at all.
Many people lose the joy of eating when they resort to desperate measure of eating dry broccoli and tasteless chicken breasts imagining that they can maintain that type of diet for the long term and not become bored, irritated and so, they eventually abandon the whole “health thing” and resume old habits.
The above is a typical scenario because many do not believe in eating healthy as a lifestyle change. It is so easy to take advantage of utilizing ingredients that add a lot of flavor without a ton of fat and calories. They do exist, that is for sure.
If only healthy food could taste better, but, yes many savory dressings and condiments that make your meal delicious are high in calories and harmful fat.
However, most people are unaware of the power of herbs and spices; they can add a great taste to your food, without adding many calories and harmful fat.
There are numerous varieties of herbs and spices that are used in different cuisines all over the world; thanks to globalization, you can get dried herbs and spices from around the globe at your supermarket. You can also grow the ones you love at your home.
Dried herbs and spices are an extremely convenient and healthy way to make your dinner interesting. They can last for a year in your pantry, and the wide variety available gives you the freedom to indulge your creativity.
You can try different combinations with the same base food and have a diverse range of flavors with addition of little calories.
Sound wonderful, don’t they?
Here are some ideas how to use some of the common herbs and spices:
Basil- It brilliantly complements savory recipes that use tomatoes and eggs, adding a delicious flavor. It tastes great in soups and salads too.
Oregano- An herb which is used in almost all Italian dishes; it is versatile and can be used in a wide varieties of foods and recipes. Also works well chicken, and roasted vegetables.
Ginger- You can use it in recipes that call for stir-frying or saut?ing; in salads, soups and stews; and in marinade for meat and poultry. It can also settle your stomach…
Mint- It can be used in many dishes and even desserts; everyone enjoys the combination of mint and chocolate. It tastes divine in sandwiches and complements the flavors of meat, poultry and seafood quite well. You can also use mint as the prime seasoning in recipes.
Black Pepper- It is a staple in many cuisines and is used in all varieties of dishes. You can buy ground pepper or grind some peppercorns yourself. Freshly ground pepper imparts more flavor. Don’t be afraid of pepper it really gives great flavor.
Spice mixes – Spice mixes like Bragg organic sprinkle is salt free spice mixture that gives fantastic flavor to salads, main dishes, eggs and even popcorn.
This is not a comprehensive list, but hopefully it’s enough to arouse your curiosity.
There are many more amazing herbs and spices which you can use to create a tempest of flavors in your dishes. The key is to experiment and find those flavors that you love.
Often marinating is key to infusing meats and vegetables with flavor. Mixing herbs and spices with lemon juice or a little wine can yield fantastic results.
Find the spices and herbs you love and say goodbye to bland dishes, forever!
Very Versatile Herb Dressing
It can be used, as salad dressing, mixed into chicken salad, used to flavor roasted vegetables, can be a marinade for chicken, or even just a dip for raw veggies. This recipe uses only monounsaturated fats, which are heart healthy.
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 avocado, scooped out
- 4 tbsps. chopped ginger
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1 jalapeno Chile
- 2 lemons, zest from 2, juice from all 4
- 3 tbsp. tahini
- Dash of veggie pepper
- 5 cups fresh herbs, use a variety (parsley, cilantro, dill, basil, tarragon, oregano)
- Put all ingredients except herbs and water in a food processor and mix until combined to a paste
- Add the herbs and mix again
- While still mixing add the water and mix until everything is combined and has a smooth texture.
- Now it is ready and can be stored in the refrigerator for three days
by Jamie Feit, MS, RD