Why do I love spices?! (Besides the fact it’s the name of our blog…)
I love spices because they are the cherry on top, cream of the crop, the spice of life! Any dish can be completely transformed with a pinch, a dash, or even a handful of just the right spice blend. While a grain of salt and chili pepper flakes may be small, they can big flavor to any food.
Is your food tasting a little “blah?” Herbs and spices are a great way to add flavor to healthy foods, while still keeping them nutritious. Many of us these days are trying to monitor calories, salt, sugar and fat in our diet so using herbs and spices is a great solution. For example, instead of saturating your broccoli in cheese sauce try mixing it with some olive oil and sprinkling garlic powder on top to cut calories, fat, and sodium. Also the majority of herbs and spices contain antioxidants which can help prevent many diseases and cancers.
There are over hundreds of different herbs and spices throughout various cultures ranging in textures, tastes, and aromas. When it comes to buying herbs and spices mix it up by purchasing a combination of fresh and dried. However note that the two types are not necessarily interchangeable in a recipe. A good substitution rule to follow is one part dry herb is equal to three parts fresh. The following is a list of some of the basic seasonings you should have in your cupboard. Mix them in a dish, sprinkle them on top, and add some SPICE to a healthy life!
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- Garlic powder (not garlic salt*)
- Onion powder (not onion salt*)
- Bay leaf
- Curry powder
- Chili powder
- Italian herb seasoning blend
*Notice that there are no salt-based spices listed above. While salt may be one of the most popular spices, it is not the best for our health (refer back to Ginger’s post on salt). Opt for using low or no salt seasonings first, and the if you really need it, add just a sprinkling of salt.