One of the biggest complaints that is associated with eating healthy and with eating for weight loss is that food can be very bland. That can definitely be the case…but only when you’re doing it wrong! It is possible to healthily add flavor to your food.
The odds are that you have been relying on three primary flavor enhancers: fat, salt, and sugar. If you haven’t been adding them directly, then you have likely been adding them indirectly in the form of sauces that are spiked with any or all three of these things. It’s true that they taste great, but they’re not the only things that can spike the flavor levels of your meals. Herbs and spices can bring more color, flavor, aroma and even nutritional benefits to your meals. Your taste buds will never miss a thing, but the rest of your body will thank you!
Here are some helpful tips and tricks to help you to make sure that you’re using herbs and spices to add flavor to your food in the best possible ways:
• Keep it simple. You may feel as though you’re having an inspired moment and all you want to do is keep adding more flavors, but the flavors of some herbs and spices can be very strong, and combining too many of them can be overwhelming. Be strategic about your use. Avoid combining two powerful herbs. Instead, choose one herb to lead the way and then complement it with milder flavors to add depth and layers to the taste of the food, itself.
• Watch your timing. Dried herbs should be added early on to allow them to hydrate and to let their flavors fuse with the rest of the foods. Fresh herbs shouldn’t be added until the very end for the best and brightest tastes.
• Treat cold dishes differently when you want to add flavor to your food. Add your herbs and spices to a cold dish a few hours ahead of serving time. This will give the flavors enough time to blend together as it takes much longer for this process to occur in cold food than it does in hot food.
• Chop fresh leaves very finely. The more you chop up the herb’s leaf, the more openings you make so that flavor can be absorbed by the rest of the food.
• Know how to change your recipe. If you’re following a recipe but you are going to be doubling it to make enough for more servings, only add 50 percent more of the herb. You don’t need to double it, as that will likely be too strong.
• Dry herbs are more powerful than fresh. For this reason, you don’t need as much. Here is a guide to help you along the way: ¼ of a teaspoon of an herb or spice is the same as ¾ of a teaspoon of dried, which is the same as 2 teaspoons of fresh.