If you’re adding salt to your dishes, you may be increasing your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. Try some of these healthy flavor boosters instead.
Americans are a nation of salt lovers. Although the current recommendation for salt intake is only about a teaspoon a day, most people take in far more than this amount. The result is an increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. One solution to this problem is to use healthier alternatives to flavor foods. Believe it or not, there are a multitude of tasty and healthy options available to energize bland food. After trying some of these healthy flavor boosters, you may even find you don’t miss the added salt. Here are some tasty and healthy ways to flavor food:
Low calorie, low fat salad dressing
Salad dressings aren’t just for salads anymore. If you want to wake up the taste of your hot vegetables, add a small amount of the low fat salad dressing of your choice. Flavors that work well include low fat ranch, low fat creamy garlic, Italian, and any of a number of vinaigrettes. Be creative and mix several dressings together to create your own unique hot veggie sauce.
Lemon and lime juice
Lemons and limes add a zesty taste to meats and vegetables and can really pick up the flavor of a bland dish. Although fresh lemons and limes are best, a quicker option is to buy plastic squeeze bottles that contain fresh lemon juice. A few squirts of lemon or lime juice and you won’t miss the salt at all.
Herbs add instant flavor and health value to meats and vegetables and you have so many salt-free options to choose from including rosemary, garlic, thyme, oregano, cilantro, basil, cumin, and tumeric, among others. You can also buy salt-free dried herb blends to shake on your food in place of salt. Do a little experimenting and come up with your own unique spice combinations.
Catsup and hot sauce
Although catsup is high in sugar, there are low sugar formulations available that still have all the lycopenes that make this condiment healthy. Hot sauce contains capsaicin which is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. Both of these condiments add a flavor boost to meats of all types. Keep a bottle handy when you want to turn up the heat.
Vinegar is fat free and low in calories plus it’s one of the most versatile condiments around. Take a break from the apple cider vinegar and explore the world of balsamic and rice vinegar for an entirely new way to flavor food. You can even make your own herbal vinegars to flavor your food. If your vegetables or soups taste a bit bland, sprinkle on a few drops of balsamic vinegar to give it added flavor power. Rice vinegar also has the power to subtly enhance flavor without being overpowering.
Mustards are another condiment with lots of choices. Instead of automatically reaching for yellow or brown mustard, explore the world of champagne mustards, cranberry mustard, Dijon mustard, creole mustard, and wasabi mustard. These mustards are low in calories and can be stirred into vegetables, soups, and salads to pick up the flavor. Keep several varieties on hand and your food will never be bland or boring.
There’s no need to keep the salt shaker handy when you have these healthy flavor boosters on hand. Have fun experimenting!
Published in: Cooking